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News & Media

How APLU is Helping Institutions Respond to the Impact of COVID-19

May 20, 2020

APLU is working to help members address the impact of coronavirus through the association’s councils, commissions, projects, and initiatives. Below is a sampling of some activities the association has undertaken to help members amid the pandemic. APLU is also sharing COVID-19: policy priorities and analysis; public university communications; member research; and teaching and learning approaches.

Council on Governmental Affairs
The Office of Governmental Affairs has developed a comprehensive rundown of its COVID-19-related advocacy efforts and a detailed agency-by-agency analysis of the U.S. government’s response to the pandemic and its fallout. The office is engaging policymakers and members of the Council on Governmental Affairs to marshal support for public universities’ COVID-19 policy priorities. APLU is deeply collaborating with member institutions and partner higher education associations on advocacy. CGA is holding regular virtual convenings with its members.

Council of Presidents
The Council of Presidents held a presidents - and chancellors-only open discussion about reopening for the fall term. The virtual meeting discussed issues such as housing and dining, classroom and online learning, laboratory research, safeguarding the health of students and faculty with greater health risks, and much more.

This week, the group hosted a virtual meeting for presidents, chancellors, and their senior staff responsible for reopening that covered effective policies and practices for student housing and dining and delivering instruction in the fall.

Council on Strategic Communications
APLU’s Council on Strategic Communications convened a virtual open forum for members covering: communicating around the fiscal impact of coronavirus; keeping students engaged while they’re away from campus; alternate commencement ceremonies; and the pivot to communicating the value of public universities in this new environment. The council is planning future virtual forums around communicating with students and families, student mental health and self-care, and more. It will also hold a virtual summer meeting on July 20-21.

Council on Student Affairs
The Council on Student Affairs announced its newly developed slate of CSA Huddles through June. CSA Huddles are one-hour virtual convenings that allow senior student affairs officers to connect and share resources on important and time-sensitive topics.

The newly announced slate includes the following topics developed with CSA’s Program Planning Committee:

  • May 26 - Financial Impact on Student Affairs Divisions related to COVID-19
  • June 10 - Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19: For Students & Staff
  • June 24 - Cultivating Civil Discourse on Campus through Diverse Viewpoints During an Election Year
  • June 25 - CSA Virtual Happy Hour: Remembering our Summer Forum

CSA members can contact Travis York, APLU’s Assistant Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs to access the huddles. CSA Huddles in development for summer and fall will be announced in July.

Council on Research
The Council for Research (COR) instituted a listserv to help senior research officers respond to the effects of COVID-19 on university research programs, augmented with as many as 140 participants on a weekly video call. Senior research officers are now interspersing webinars with the video conference calls discussing how to address institutional challenges. COR has recorded versions of the calls on ramp up and recovery due to COVID-19 and estimating losses and costs due to COVID-19.

COR members have participated in the collective development of principles and framework for the phased reopening of research laboratories. The University of California research vice chancellors began and are curating the document, with contributions from COR members. Those who would like access to the document can contact Bethany Johns, APLU’s Assistant Director of Research Policy, for more information.

Commission on International Initiatives
The Commission on International Initiatives is convening regular monthly webinars to help senior international officers share best practices, challenges and solutions on dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Future webinar themes will include the future of study abroad, how to keep international offices sustainable during the pandemic, and a discussion on the possible impact of COVID-19 on student mobility trends. The commission is also working with a group of eight member institutions to identify innovative ways to provide global learning through online instruction and virtual exchanges.

Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence
To help institutions address the impact of the coronavirus, the Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence (CADE) Executive Committee has created CADE Coffee Breaks. The purpose of these bi-weekly virtual chats is to: provide support to diversity officers and other interested APLU members; provide a forum for members to stay connected and share ideas about fostering diversity, equity and inclusion principles in the midst of the pandemic; and to aid in addressing/solving common issues amongst the campuses.

Commission on Information, Measurement, and Analysis (CIMA)
The Office of Data and Policy Analysis (DPA) created estimates for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to colleges and universities weeks in advance of the Department of Education publishing their numbers; provided state-by-state estimates of the Maintenance of Effort provision in the CARES Act; and developed estimates for the allocation under the CARES Act of funds specifically for governors to use in support of K-12 or higher education. DPA also created estimates of funding for Minority Serving Institutions under the CARES Act. DPA has also created estimates for institutional level funding under the recently passed “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act” (HEREOS Act) in the House.

CIMA hosted its second COVID-19 Huddle– which, similar to the first one – provided members an informal opportunity to discuss some of the challenges they are facing with colleagues. Participants shared some of the amazing ways they are using data and analytics to help inform decisions related to the fall semester, including several schools using geolocation data to model the movements of people in various buildings at various times of day based on historical WiFi patterns.

Coalition of Urban Serving Universities
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities is convening calls for presidents and separately for urban-serving provosts tackling topics such as the financial impact of COVID-19 and preparing for the fall semester. Other USU-wide calls have covered meeting basic student needs, supporting successful admissions and transitions, and preparing the class of 2020 for the workforce.

Commission on Economic and Community Engagement
The Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement is holding drop-in calls to share concerns, resources, and strategies among members and share APLU-provided resources and updates. The office is also collating a set of grant opportunities and other resources that will be shared with commission members. The commission’s rural communities learning community has been focusing on how universities are helping their communities plan for post-pandemic economic recovery. The office is also gathering information about broadband access and curating and sharing resources and strategies for providing students and communities access to broadband in rural communities and in households that don’t have access due to cost. CECE members can register for the drop-in virtual calls here.

Powered by Publics
The Powered by Publics initiative has temporarily paused collaborative work amid the coronavirus pandemic, but many of the Powered by Publics clusters are still holding drop-in calls for members to discuss their response to the crisis, share ideas, and problem-solve challenges together. Some clusters are also holding group calls with the presidents of participating institutions. Topics have included, among other things: faculty development activities over the summer to support high-quality online learning and student engagement; projecting enrollment; contingency planning for fall semester; distribution of student funds from the CARES act; grading and assessment policies; and the impact of COVID-19 on university budgets. Powered by Publics will be announcing a phased re-start strategy in June.

Personalized Learning Consortium
APLU’s Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC) is working with both its members and all members of APLU to support flexible technology enhanced instructional planning for the coming academic year. These discussions or presentations are based on developing a focused approach to planning flexibly. PLC continues to be available to others for virtual meetings. Earlier this week, PLC was featured on a Global Minded webinar, discussing on how to promote student success and equitable outcomes in first year courses, it is available for viewing here. PLC’s collaborative grant work within the Every Learner Everywhere network has resulted in the publication and sharing of multiple resources for best practices on remote learning. Every Learner Network released a new faculty guide to Delivering High-Quality Instruction Online in Response to COVID-19, which will help faculty enhance Remote Learning into higher quality online learning courses.

The Aspire Alliance
The NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance, co-led by APLU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a collaborative effort with an array of groups and universities working to diversify STEM faculty and ensure all STEM faculty use inclusive teaching practices. Aspire maintains resources on the following topics:

Aspire’s Research Team released a new guide for institutional leaders to support inclusive institutional faculty practices and policies during the current health crisis. The guide is publicly available and targeted for Chief Academic Officers and Associate/Assistant Provosts for Faculty Affairs - Supporting Faculty During & After COVID-19: Don’t let go of equity.

Finally, Aspire announced this week a new mini-course opportunity for faculty, Teaching Online in Summer & Fall 2020, designed to walk instructors through the process of designing an online course that is effective, equitable, and inclusive. It will focus on developing both synchronous and asynchronous formats and will include both types of sessions. The course will address the basics of online and inclusive pedagogy and over the three weeks, participants will design their own online course materials. Those interested in taking the course can register here.

  • Research, Science & Technology

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