File Photo/Nevada Sagebrush
Sarah Blithe, a communication studies professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, mentors students on salary negotiations at the Start Smart workshop in the William J. Raggio Building on Nov. 7, 2015. The various colleges at the University of Nevada, Reno prepare plans for fall 2020.

The University of Nevada, Reno announced plans to reopen campus for the 2020 fall semester on Thursday, July 16. However, classes will be instructed in several different modalities.

To ensure university students are informed, the Nevada Sagebrush collected information about each college’s operations for the upcoming semester. 

College of Agriculture, Biochemistry and Natural Resources 

The Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture, Biochemistry and Natural Resources Claus Tittiger said CABNR’s delivery of lecture and lab classes was set by upper administration and they are working within that framework to deliver course content as effectively and safely as possible.

“About two-thirds of our class sections have some component of face-to-face delivery,” Tittiger said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush. “Faculty, especially lab instructors, have shown a lot of flexibility and innovation. For example, several lab instructors were proactive about rearranging their labs, putting in extra equipment to minimize sharing, making extra sections, etc. so that students can have a meaningful hands-on experience.”

Tittiger said labs will be offered in a HyFlex format, with the hands-on portions done face-to-face and the lecture portions mostly online.  

“We have added extra sections and bought extra equipment to accommodate the change,” Tittiger said. “There are some labs that we, unfortunately, will not be able to offer face-to-face due to travel restrictions, and they have been restructured to be delivered online.”

He also announced CABNR will be reaching out with reminders throughout the semester to make sure students know where and how to connect with CABNR Student Center Advisors and other resources. 

CABNR plans to have advising completed virtually this upcoming fall semester. Tittiger said students will still be able to sign up for virtual walk-in advising the first two weeks of school. There will be no face-to-face advising in the CABNR Student Center.

“All appointments can be scheduled by emailing an advisor, logging into Navigate/SSC or calling the CABNR Student Center Google voice number or 775-784-1634,” Tittiger said. “The CABNR Student Center will have a virtual front desk to address questions/concerns students would normally walk into our office for. Those who are advised by faculty will reach out and make arrangements directly to their faculty advisors.”

College of Business

The College of Business’ Director of Advising, Recruitment and Retention Jeremy Tiedt said COB students are still able to schedule individual meetings with COB Advisors just like they have in the past semester through the Student Success Collaborative, but they will be remote. 

Tiedt said the COB created the Advising Request form in March.

“This form replaced our in-person walk-in hours and students have seemed to really like it,” Tiedt said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush. “The student simply answers a few questions regarding their advising request and then an advisor from the COB office will respond to them within 1-2 business days. A [typical] response comes within one business day.”

COB’s Director of Career and Corporate Outreach Jim McClenahan said the college will offer  weeklong study abroad Nevada Global Business programs.

“Once travel has been cleared and the risks managed, we hope to relaunch with Singapore and Sydney during spring break 2021 and our full slate of cities in summer 2021,” McClenahan said.  “The opportunities allow students to interact with business leaders in a global context and are vital experiential pieces to their degree.”

McClenahan also said they are conducting technology solutions to help automate first-level resume critiques and mock interviews.

“There are Zoom appointments to help with career advising questions and challenges,” McClenahan said. “Finally, staff will be available to meet face to face with students if the situation requires it.”

McClenahan also announced the COB will host a virtual career fair Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The COB also has a podcast, the Jim and Jeremy Show, aimed to discuss student, career and life issues hosted by himself and Tiedt.

School of Community Health Science 

The Dean of the School of Community Health Science Trudy Larson said most of the CHS courses with class sizes over 35 will be taught as remote classes. The classes will be taught in real-time during the class times listed in the catalog and will feature interaction with instructors and other students via Zoom. Classes under 34 students will be taught in the HyFlex model.

“We also have some fully online courses that we try to have every semester and some in-person classes, primarily kinesiology, where lectures will be remotely delivered but lab work will be done in person. This requires having appointments and ensuring that students are able to distance and safely use equipment,” Larson said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush.

Larson said all faculty will be prepared to move to remote only if our current COVID-19 case numbers increase and the governor directs further mitigation measures. 

“Our college, as a college dedicated to health, will promote the safety of students, faculty and staff in this unprecedented pandemic by using evidence and best practices,” Larson said.

Larson also said SCHS are scheduling regular virtual meetings with students to listen and provide information. They are also scheduling special virtual sessions for students to get to know their professors and to hear from professionals in fields where they are most likely to find jobs.

“We have a special group of health advisors for our college undergraduates who are doing virtual sessions for groups and one-on-one with students,” Larson said. “They are also creating a safe space in their office in Orvis for limited in-person meetings. Since our school provides courses for those seeking careers in nursing, public health and kinesiology, the advising group is very knowledgeable in all of these areas. “

Larson said SCHS plans to improve and enhance its inclusiveness and diversity with a special emphasis on addressing systemic racism in their general and specific work. She said the plan will result in action steps for changes in curriculum, student services, school culture and teaching.

“As a school dedicated to the health of populations, we are particularly involved with COVID-19 responses and have added new classes to prepare future contact tracers and disease investigators,” Larson said. “In addition, our researchers are working to address COVID related questions and provide important public health capacity. There will be opportunities for students to have more involvement in COVID-19 related activities through our school.” 

College of Education

Marketing Communications Specialist for the College of Education Will McDonald said the College of Education will be following the HyFlex model.

“Our Student Success Center has been advising students all summer via [Z]oom,” McDonald said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush. “Since NevadaFit was canceled this year due to COVID concerns, we have decided to augment the student onboarding process with a highly customized and interactive Welcome Week through Canvas. We feature introductions to faculty, student to student connection, research highlights, and much more all through a digital experience.”

McDonald said the College of Education saw roughly the same number of freshmen through virtual meetings and an uptick in upperclassman, transfer and prospective advising sessions as a result of COVID-19. He said this has caused a doubling in the normal appointments they would have had post-COVID.

“That being said, we have provided additional advising sessions through Virtual Advising Open Hours and we have developed a COVID-19 web page specifically targeted towards the College of Education students,” McDonald said. “We will continue to provide the same high level of student support through digital communications and Zoom meetings to help fight COVID-19 and keep everyone safe.”

Regarding the College of Education students’ practicums and internships, McDonald said these specific courses are using teaching video libraries, simulation and remote observation when possible to study and simulate instructional techniques and planning. He added how students teaching internships leading to the qualification for teacher licensure are taking place in K-12 classrooms.

McDonald also said if the plan for in-classroom instruction changes to a remote situation in any of our partner districts, their student teachers will adapt with their lead teachers and participate in remote instruction as well.

“Throughout history, educators have shown themselves to be resilient,” McDonald said. “Nevada is resilient. COVID-19 has presented many tough challenges, but we are confident that we will emerge through all of this much stronger than before! We will adapt and move on to doing what we do best, which is providing Nevada and the world with the best educators possible.”

College of Engineering

Marketing Specialist for the College of Engineering Curtis Vickers said the plan for teaching and instruction is consistent with the university’s plans by offering courses online, using the HyFlex model and in-person based on enrollment and class capacity.

“Most of the labs that require live experiments will be offered in small groups to maintain social distancing,” Vickers said. “Students unable to take in-person classes due to underlying health conditions … will be accommodated by the instructor. Tutoring and course discussions with the instructor and teaching assistants will be offered either online or live, depending on the student’s needs.”

The COE and its various departments will host town hall forums to engage students and to hear their voices regarding various challenges and opportunities during the semester, according to Vickers. COE students can reach out to instructors, department and college leaders through online and in-person meetings, with proper social distancing and safety precautions.

Vickers said labs that require live experiments will be conducted in person in small groups and instructors are encouraged to record lab sessions conducted by teaching assistants and make those videos and data available to students prior to in-person lab sessions.

“To facilitate learning while maintaining social distance, the College of Engineering has been able to retain all student services and has even expanded some services, like labs, software access and remote computer lab access.”

Vickers said the COE academic advising will continue serving students remotely. Students may call (775) 682-7721 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or email CoENAdvising@unr.edu with questions. 

With the opening of the new William N. Pennington Engineering Building, Vickers said there will be more space for teaching and research. COE Undergraduates are encouraged to pursue research with faculty in these labs. 

Vickers also said programs such as E-FIT and National Merit Scholars/Presidential Scholars Reception are being conducted online due to the size of the gatherings. 

College of Liberal Arts

The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Debra Moddelmog said over the summer the college has carefully thought through how to combine best pedagogical practices with safety measures that follow state, NSHE, university, and professional guidelines for keeping students, faculty and staff, their families and our community as safe as possible during the pandemic.

Moddelmog said CLA transferred many classes to alternative remote options for both pedagogical and safety reasons. Studios and labs will be stocked with hand sanitizer and other disinfecting material. As of the University’s Reopening Plans, students will have to wear facemasks and socially distance at least 6 feet.

“We have bought bell covers for some of our wind instruments, which are like face coverings for musical instruments so that students who play these instruments and their instructors will have a safer practice and performing environment,” Moddelmog said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush.

She also said CLA will move some of our music practice sessions and performances outdoors. Each lab and studio will also have a detailed plan for those who teach and learn in these spaces that occupants must follow for keeping themselves and their fellow classmates as safe as possible.

“…[W]e have equipped our concert spaces with equipment that will enable us to live-stream performances, and our Department of Political Science is setting up some fall public community events on current political topics that will be held via webinars,” Moddelmog said.

CLA Students will still be advised through Zoom, telephone appointments, email and text, according to Moddelmog. Students will also be able to keep up to date with events through the CLA website, a bi-monthly e-newsletter and the college’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

She also said CLA Students are able to schedule appointments by contacting our College of Liberal Arts Student Center at (775)-682-8745 Monday through Friday from 8-5 p.m or schedule appointments through Navigate at https://www.unr.edu/ssc-campus/student-use

“Typically, we only offer Express Advising the first few weeks of class. However, this semester we will offer Express Advising each day to address quick questions for students – no appointment is necessary for Express Advising

Moddelmog said CLA will conduct mandatory “second and third semester” advising in virtual group sessions in Oct. and Nov.

“We will notify students well in advance of the dates for group advising,” Moddelmog said. “Students may also request individual appointments if they prefer. Students may also contact their faculty advisor in their major area of study for specific major or minor related questions https://www.unr.edu/liberal-arts/student-resources/academic-advising/advisor-contact-list.”

Moddelmog said CLA conducted virtual opportunities for new students to explore due to the cancellation of LiberalArtsFIT.

“Virtual events have been taking place on our Instagram page @liberalartsfit including tips and tricks for student success, Wolf Pack Howl – Freedom of Speech and Deliberate Dialogue, virtual meet and greets with current students, Ask Me Anything series, campus tours, and information sessions about introductory major-specific courses,” Moddelmog said.

Moddelmog also said the Lilley Museum has its own reopening plan, which will limit the number of people who can occupy the museum and require social distancing and face masks at all times.

CLA is currently looking for students to serve on its Student Advisory Board and urges students to contact the Director of Advising, Recruitment and Retention Kristi Van Gorde. 

College of Science

The Associate Dean of the College of Science Melanie Duckworth said the college is committed to implementing all COVID-19 precautions and look forward to the time that the threat of COVID-19 has been effectively managed and such precautions are no longer required.

This summer, COS placed a “significant emphasis” on providing advice to incoming students regarding their degree plans, according to Duckworth.

“Orientation was restructured to ensure that information and advisors are readily available to students,” Duckworth said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush. “The COS Advising Team redesigned Orientation to provide pre-advising information to students through WebCampus, with informative, accessible videos and a set of learning modules to help students understand their degree requirements and the process of advising in the College of Science.  

Duckworth also said every student also participates in a “live” discussion with their advisor through Zoom. 

She said she urges for any students with questions to attend the virtual drop-in advising via Zoom between 9 am and 1 pm from Aug. 19 to 28, and between 10 am and noon from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

Duckworth said COS will continue to require advising for all first-year students in both the fall and spring semesters, but the form that student advising takes for the spring 2021 semester will depend on the COVID-19 precautions that are in place at that time.

Duckworth said the COS lab offerings are being modified to protect the health of students, to comply with all COVID-19 precautions and to ensure that lab experiences satisfy both the academic needs of students and the requirements of the professional training programs.

“Laboratory classes offered through the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are among those with the highest number of enrolled students,” Duckworth said. “Currently, the mode of instruction for labs through the Departments of Biology, Chemistry and Physics is Alternative In-Person. The AP instructional mode ensures that students can complete hands-on lab experiments while adhering to all COVID-19 safety precautions.”

The university defines AP instructional mode as: “course conducted with in-person instruction required, but with alternating attendance. Some portions of instruction delivered online. Fully remote participation by students cannot be accommodated.” 

Duckworth also announced how the COS is hiring approximately 100 undergraduate students to work as pack mentors with their first-year students.

“Pack Mentors have traditionally been an important part of ScienceFIT, providing support and resource information to small groups of students,” Duckworth said. “Since the cancelation of NevadaFIT, the College of Science has been seeking ways to provide first-year students with some of the critical experiences of the ScienceFIT program during the fall semester.”

Duckworth said COS Pack Mentors will be available to help students adjust to college life and identify virtual resources across the campus.

She also said the COS plans to organize a virtual Discover Science Lecture Series.

“Efforts are also underway to use virtual platforms to hold other College of Science events, including the Westfall Scholars Luncheon and the Student Video Competition,” Duckworth said. “The Student Video Competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Science, with monetary awards distributed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place videos.”

In previous years, the College of Science organized an overnight retreat at Grizzly Creek Ranch as a welcome event for the Women in Science and Engineering and the College of Science  Living and Learning Communities.

“This year, we determined that current safety requirements related to COVID-19 will not permit use of the facility by large groups,” Duckworth said. “Although we are disappointed about having to forego this particular welcoming event, the College of Science is hard at work planning other events that support LLC student academic success, establish LLC participants as important members of the STEM disciplines they represent and propel them towards lives of discovery.”  

Reynolds School of Journalism

Dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism Al Stavitsky said the Reynolds Schools’ faculty and staff have been discussing how to apply the lessons learned from our remote teaching and operations during the pandemic to the future of the Reynolds School. He said they will continue to innovate as the RSJ moves through and beyond COVID-19.

Stavitsky said equipment will be available to students for their production classes. 

“We are developing plans to distribute equipment to our students, in keeping with the university’s safety and distancing guidelines,” Stavitsky said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush.

 

Taylor Johnson can be reached at tkjohnson@nevada.unr.edu or on Twitter @taylorkendyll.