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September 17, 2020 at 1:30 PM - Academic Affairs Committee

Call to Order
Roll Call/Declaration of a Quorum
Action Item
A. Consideration of Policy 1:025 Policy on Academic Tenure
Background Information:  Public Chapter 869 (2016), also known as the Focus on College and University Success (FOCUS) Act, established that the management and governance of Austin Peay State University be vested in the University’s Board of Trustees. The Act requires the Board to promulgate a tenure policy for faculty at the university, which ensures academic freedom and provides sufficient professional security to attract the best qualified faculty available for the University. Proposed revisions to Policy 1:025 Policy on Academic Tenure include the delegation of some authority of the President to the Provost and the removal of some outdated language from the original Tennessee Board of Regents policy.

Proposed Implementation Date: September 18, 2020

Item Details: See attachment.
B. Consideration of Policy 2:038 Undergraduate & Graduate Admissions
Background Information:  Policy 2:038 Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions Policy sets the procedures for admission of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The proposed changes to Policy 2:038 require the official undergraduate transcript from a regionally accredited degree granting institution or a letter of good standing from a currently enrolled graduate program at a regionally accredited institution.
Proposed Implementation Date: September 18, 2020

Item Details: See attached.
Information Item
A. Teaching & Learning during COVID-19
Background Information:  APSU faculty pivoted thousands of course sections to remote instruction in March 2020 and faculty taught the remainder of the semester through online and remote approaches.

After the pivot to remote instruction in March, the University provided laptop and mi-fi device loan programs. In addition, the Woodward Library provided lobby hours two days a week while campus buildings were closed. This allowed students, faculty and staff to pick up and return books, materials and equipment.

To prepare for Fall 2020, faculty, staff and administrators worked tirelessly to adjust course delivery methods, modify the academic calendar, prepare the classroom environment, and identify strategies and tools to assist faculty and students during this unprecedented time.

Description:  A summary of the major strategies implemented in Fall 2020 are provided below.

Class Delivery Options
Many faculty members spent the summer modifying classes to ensure several delivery options for students. Thanks to their efforts, the University could accommodate students who prefer classes on campus, online or a blend of options. To better serve all members of the APSU community during this pandemic, APSU divided these delivery options into four categories. Those categories include:
  • Traditional face-to-face classes.
  • Online courses to be delivered in a synchronous format (scheduled days and times).
  • Hybrid courses with differing levels of face-to-face interactions and remote delivery modes (HyFlex)

Faculty had to be prepared to instruct all of their students, some attending in person, and some attending online. To aid in this effort, Distance Education worked with the Office of Information Technology to upgrade approximately 90 classrooms to HyFlex with lecture capture technology in order for faculty to be able to "live stream" their class lectures through Zoom technology to those students who might not be physically present in the classroom.

APSU also added a new delivery method of "synchronous online" (scheduled instruction through video conferencing systems) where students and the faculty member log in at the same time, from their homes and offices, to conduct the class session virtually. 

Students were notified of any course delivery method changes that impacted their class schedule, and were provided an opportunity to switch to another class section if available

Changes to Fall 2020 Academic Calendar
In-person and online classes began as scheduled on Aug. 24. However, the University modified the academic calendar by canceling Fall Break, so that classes will meet on Oct. 12-13 and the semester’s last day of face-to-face instruction has been changed to Wednesday, Nov. 25.

After the Thanksgiving holiday, the University will transition fully to remote learning for the semester’s final assignments and exams. The University will remain open and completely operational as normal until the end of the semester on Dec. 11. This will allow students their normal access to academic buildings, the library, student services and other programs during this time. These changes do not apply to the Fall I or Fall II terms at Austin Peay’s Fort Campbell Center.

Supporting Faculty
The Academic Affairs office worked with faculty and staff to design and offer a variety of faculty workshops during the "pre-semester calendar," including workshops on the following topics:
  • Teaching in COVID-19 Era: A Pedagogy of Care
  • Techniques for Building an Inclusive Classroom Environment
  • Online Testing and Testing (Assessment) Alternatives
  • Spotlight on Mental and Emotional Health for Faculty
  • Clinical, lab, field and experiential course approaches and adaptations framed by COVID-19 restrictions     
Academic Affairs also developed a webpage that contains a Faculty FAQ, supplemental syllabus information and a PowerPoint that faculty can adapt for classroom discussions related to the COVID-19 guidance.

Final Preparations for the Fall Semester
The Office of Admissions coordinated several face-to-face Govs ROW (Registration, Orientation and Welcome) events for new students. These events were designed as mini-ROWs to ensure compliance with CDC guidelines, therefore each session was limited to 20 families per group. The Office of the Registrar facilitated additional open registration sessions for any student who needed assistance with registration. The Provost postponed the normal "drop for nonpayment" date in order to provide students more time to confirm and pay for classes or make arrangements for a payment plan.

Dozens of employees called thousands of registered students in July and August to see if students and their families had any questions about the fall semester, offer assistance and information.

Faculty were asked to prepare all courses to be ready to be delivered remotely at any time for instances such as a quarantined student, an instructor working remotely or if the University pivots to fully remote. Faculty were asked to identify a colleague who could assist in teaching the course if the faculty member is unable to teach the course for a brief period of time due to COVID-19.

A syllabus statement detailing the mask requirement and other classroom protocols was prepared by the Provost’s Office and Faculty Senate and provided to faculty in early August. PowerPoint presentation was developed by the Provost’s Office that can be used to inform students about masks and classroom protocols at the beginning of class.

In addition, D2L course shells were opened one week prior to the beginning of the semester to allow students to view the syllabus and first week’s assignments. This allowed students to get an early glimpse of expectations, learn about the technology requirements and self-assess whether the course delivery method is best for them. Some faculty contacted students early and conducted practice Zoom sessions before the semester started. 

At the beginning of the semester, volunteer tables were placed outside of classroom buildings to greet students, hand out masks and direct students. APSU cloth masks were distributed at the entrances to academic buildings, at the ASK ME tents, in the Morgan University Center and at Public Safety.

Tents were placed in certain areas near academic buildings to provide additional study and workspaces for students. Tables and chairs were set up to ensure social distancing. Each tent has a maximum capacity of 24 individuals. 

Classroom Environment
All individuals, faculty and students, participating in a face-to-face class are required to wear a mask or face covering in the classroom. In certain situations, a faculty member may be permitted to wear a face shield instead of a mask. Face shields were distributed to every academic department.

Each classroom has been rearranged with desks six feet apart and approved to meet CDC guidelines for social distancing. Each door to the classroom displays a sign detailing the socially distant capacity of the room.

The regular classroom cleaning schedule has been supplemented on a daily basis with more frequent cleaning of high-touch, high-traffic areas. In addition, APSU provided academic departments with access to masks and cleaning materials for self-service use in the classroom and offices. In addition, volunteers delivered cleaning kits to each classroom; the kits contain disinfectant, wipes, sanitizer and masks.

QR codes were placed in each classroom. Students can scan the code and "check in" with the PeayMobile app, to assist the University in notifying individuals who may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

B. Degree & Certificate Awards by Type & Academic Year
Background Information:  During Academic Year 2019-2020, Austin Peay State University experienced its highest-ever number of degrees awarded (3,200), which is a 45% increase in total degrees and certificates awarded since Academic Year 2015-2016. Please note that an academic year includes summer, fall and spring semesters. For example, Academic Year 2019-2020 includes Summer 2019, Fall 2019 and Spring 2019. The significant increase is attributed, in part, to the large increase in the number of associate degrees awarded.

Notable Highlights:
  • During this five-year period (2015-2020), the number of associate degrees awarded increased 235% while baccalaureate degrees increased 7%. This increase indicates that many students who earn an associate degree through Tennessee Promise continue to earn their baccalaureate degree.
  • The number of master’s degrees awarded during the five-year period increased 38% and experienced a 7% increase from the previous year. This increase is due to APSU’s increased efforts to create new graduate programs and attract new graduate students.
  • The number of Post-Baccalaureate and Graduate Certificates awarded increased over 525% during the five-year period.
Description:  A summary of unduplicated enrollment by degree and certificate type and year is provided below.
Five-Year Degree Awards by Type and Academic Year (AY)*
Academic Years 2015-16 to 2019-20
Degree/Award Type AY 2015-2016 AY 2016-2017 AY 2017-2018 AY 2018-2019 AY 2019-2020**
Associate 316 321 380 407 1,061
Baccalaureate 1,558 1,562 1,613 1,517 1,672
Post-Baccalaureate or Graduate Certificate 4 2 2 13 25
Masters 314 371 301 403 434
Education Specialist 9 12 13 9 8
Total 2,201 2,268 2,309 2,349 3,200
Notes: *Academic year includes summer, fall, and spring
               **The all-time high for number of degrees awarded is 3,200 in 2019-2020
C. Program Productivity Report
Background Information:  The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) monitors program productivity at each public institution in Tennessee. Program productivity is measured by the number of graduates each year in the undergraduate and graduate major. While THEC produces this report every three years, APSU monitors degree productivity on an annual basis.

According to THEC standards, productive programs are expected to graduate the following number of graduates per year:
  • 10 graduates in the major at the associate degree and bachelor degree level, based on a rolling five-year average
  • 5 graduates in the major at the master’s degree level, based on a rolling five-year average
  • Certificate programs are not counted.
Notable Highlights:
  • BA/BS Philosophy and Religion is considered by THEC standards to be low producing. THEC designated this program as low producing in 2017 and APSU continues to implement actions to increase BA/BS Philosophy and Religion enrollment.
  • BS Physics and BA/BFA Theatre/Dance programs are considered low producing by THEC standards. APSU is actively taking steps to increase enrollment in these two programs.
Item Details: A summary of APSU’s graduates by major is provided in the attachment.
D. Preliminary Fall Enrollment
Background Information:  Austin Peay State University’s official Fall 2020 census enrollment will not be determined until November. Data collected 14 days after the first day of Fall 2020 semester indicated preliminary enrollment to be 10,122. As shown in the chart below, the number of students enrolled on the 14th day of the semester, on average, is 98% of the final census enrollment. While it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enrollment declines at APSU and most other US institutions, the preliminary data indicate that final November census date enrollment should be at least 10,250 students.

Census is the date at which the official "snapshot" of enrollment and student credit hours (SCH) is taken. The census date is defined as the 14th day of all terms in the Fall and Spring and the 7th day for Summer terms. This is a one-time snapshot based on the number of students enrolled on that date.

The official Census Enrollment Report for APSU includes the sum of all students enrolled on the three census dates in Fall:
  • One each for Fall I (the first short fall term at Fort Campbell that begins in in late August),
  • Full term (the long term and the part of term A, which is a short term within Fall that begins before the census date on Clarksville campus and other locations), and
  • Fall II (the second short fall term at Fort Campbell that begins in October).
Therefore official census enrollment numbers for APSU, unlike other Tennessee institutions, are not available until after the census date for Fall II.
Description:  According to the following chart, APSU’s preliminary enrollment 14 days after the first day of classes is, on average, about 98% the official census enrollment. The chart divides enrollment into regular enrollment and dual enrollment to demonstrate how each affects total enrollment.

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