Resources for Discussion Difficult Topics

(Email: January 14, 2021)

As a follow up to recent discussions about addressing difficult topics and current events in your classroom, I’m sharing a short list of additional resources. This is by no means complete, and not all may apply to your classroom, but it shares what some major universities are doing to provide guidance for faculty on dealing with discussions centered on difficult issues such as racism, politics, and tragedy.  I also encourage you to take advantage of workshops offered on these topics in our own Faculty Commons.

“This page provides helpful classroom ideas for dealing with tragedies and crises.” 

Contains a lot of links to subcategories on topics such as hate speech, politics, tragedies, etc. 

Responding to major events. 

“This guide seeks to help teachers feel more confident leading difficult dialogues by encouraging reflection on how such discussions connect with larger learning goals, and by providing specific strategies and resources that teachers can use to create more productive conversations in their classrooms.” 

While not a university and aimed more at K-12 teachers, this site has a lot of discussion about addressing specific events. 

Hope this helps! Please feel free to share others! 

Storm Outages

(Email: January 14, 2021)

Hope you are well! I urge you to be understanding and flexible with students and colleagues over this week, as many have been “disconnected” as a result of the recent storms.  Not only have people lot power and internet services, cell services are overwhelmed, slow, and spotty, computer work is limited by one’s battery power, and the historic solution of using a library/coffee shop/friend’s house are limited by COVID restrictions. This flexibility is true for faculty and staff without power, as well as students.

Welcome Back – Winter Quarter Reminders

(Email: January 5, 2021)

Welcome back and Happy 2021!

I hope you had a relaxing and rejuvenating winter break. With vaccines surfacing there is some hope for being on campus again by sometime in 2021!  Below is a potpourri of information to start us off this quarter.

A few important dates to remember (details on #1 and #2 will come separately):

  1. Adjunct Faculty –Annual contract requests for Lecture I and Lecture II faculty are due to your dean by January 15th
  2. Full-time faculty sabbatical requests are due February 1st to the office of Academic Affairs. (Details sent separately.) 
  3. Full-time faculty – Now is the time to compile your documentation if you are up for your post tenure review(every three years) and submit that to your Dean.  They will be working on those in spring and into the summer. In addition, full time promotion applications are due the 6th day of spring quarter (April 15th). 
  4. One Correction to yesterday’s email of Academic Affairs Resources: I forgot to list that February 11 (College Issues Day) is also a non-instructional day in Winter Quarter. 
  5. In the event of a closure of campus resulting from inclement weather conditions, the default expectation is that remote instruction will continue.  However, please remain flexible, as some faculty and students may have no power, not be able to travel to their internet access point, or be dealing with other weather-related issues. Please try to make your expectations for “snow days” clear to your students early in the quarter. 
  6. Remember that students can enroll in courses with open seats through Wednesday. Faculty will have to approve late enrollments on Thursday and Friday, and any changes starting next week will require your Dean’s approval. 

I welcome your feedback and suggestions as to how we can better support all faculty.  Wishing you a healthy and productive Winter Quarter!

Annual contract applications for Lecturer Faculty

(Email: January 5, 2021)

First, I want to congratulate those who recently gained Lecturer promotions. Thank you for your service to our students. Your hard work and efforts, and that of all adjunct faculty, are greatly appreciated.

One of the benefits of Lecturer status is that you may apply for an annual or multi-annual (up to 2-year) contract. It’s a quick form — I’ve attached one to this email, but you can also find it online here: Application for Annual Contract. To apply for an annual or multi-annual contract, you must turn in your request form to your dean by the 10th day of Winter quarter. This year that is by Friday, January 15, 2021. [Edit: Deadline extended to January 18] I will be working with the deans to help provide support and consistency with how annual contracts are awarded.

If you want to refresh your memory about the fine details on annual or multi-annual contracts, I’ve included section 14.3 of the faculty contract below. You can also see the full contact at this link: BCAHE Negotiated Contract.

Thank you for the work you do every day to support our students and for choosing Bellevue College as the place to share your expertise, knowledge, and passion. Please let me know if there are other ways I can help support you as adjunct faculty.  I hope you have a great start to Winter Quarter.

Information on Annual Contracts from section 14.3 of the faculty contract.

14.3. Annual and Multi-Annual Contracts

14.3.1. Eligibility and Criteria. Lecturer I’s and Lecturer II’s may request annual or multi-annual contracts of up to two (2) years in duration. Application for the following Academic year will be due by the 10th day of Winter quarter. The decision to award an annual or multi-annual contract will be made by the dean, following consideration of the recommendation of the faculty member’s program chair/director, including his/her evaluation of the program’s enrollment needs and resources and ongoing need for the faculty member’s demonstrated expertise over the recommended term of the contract. The dean’s decision to approve or deny a request for an annual or multi-annual contract, including the rationale for any denial, will be provided to the faculty member in writing.

14.3.2. Expiration and Termination of Annual or Multi-Annual Agreement Terms.

a. Annual or multi-annual contracts expire at the end of their term. Faculty members may request an additional contract – as provided in Section 14.3.1 but annual and multi-annual contracts contain no promise of renewal or employment beyond their term.

b. An annual or multi-annual contract may be terminated by the College during its term where there is sufficient cause. Such contracts may also be terminated where there is insufficient student demand or insufficient funding; provided that prior to terminating an annual or multi-annual contract in such circumstances, the College will provide the affected faculty member and the Association a minimum of thirty (30) days’ notice during which the parties will meet to discuss the circumstances and reasonable alternatives.

Winter Equipment Request Form

(Email: November 24, 2020)

As fall quarter winds down, we want to again make sure that you have the basic technology needed to effectively teach online during COVID. We put together a simple form for you to use for requesting technology – namely computer equipment or assistance with internet connectivity. 

Click here to make your basic equipment requests via this link

Megan Kimball, in Academic Affairs, will compile this list every Thursday and work with ITS to help meet your needs. There may be delays in obtaining some items, so the sooner we can get started the better.

For discipline-specific technology, or any regular office supplies that you need to complete your work such as paper, pens, etc., please contact your Division Dean or Division Operations Director. 

Interim IBIT Dean

(Email: December 17, 2020 and January 5, 2021)

Jody Laflen, the Dean of IBIT, has recently shared that she will be leaving BC to take on other pursuits as of December 18th.  I want to thank Jody for her seven years of service as the IBIT Dean, and for all of the many projects that she has led and contributed to over the years! 

Jody’s departure means that we will need to take the next steps to hire a new dean of IBIT. That process follows the academic dean selection procedures defined in the letter of agreement within the BCAHE collective bargaining agreement (attached) and will be led by HR over the coming months.  In the meantime, IBIT needs an interim dean to provide leadership and support. 

I am soliciting interest from faculty who would like to be considered for the interim IBIT dean position.  The appointment will start mid-January and run for 3 to 6 months. While I will review and update the final version of the job description and qualifications for the permanent hire, the most recent job “functions and duties” on file for the IBIT Dean are attached. 

If you are interested in this interim position, please send me a brief statement of interest and a current resume by noon on Monday, January 11, 2021.  I will schedule an interview with everyone who expresses interest with the intention of making a selection by mid-January. I will act as interim (or delegate specific duties) until such time the interim academic dean is filled.

Thank You!

(Email: December 11, 2020)

As finals draw to a close, I just wanted to send out a short note to wish you all a restful and peaceful break. May your holidays, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or just much-needed time away, bring you some joy and (at least virtual) time with family and friends. 

I recognize that the many challenges of 2020 have been difficult and draining for everyone, and that you are all working hard to keep the college going strong and our students moving towards their goals. Thanks for all you do and be sure to let me know if there are ways I can support you. 

Stay safe and I’ll see you all in the new year! I look forward to the new opportunities that 2021 brings to us all.



Sabbatical Leave applications due February 1, 2021

(Email: December 8, 2020)

As you contemplate the new decade and the eventual end of COVID-quarantine …. I wanted to send a quick reminder that Sabbatical Leave applications for academic year 2021-22 are due on February 1, 2021. I’ve attached a copy of the application form to this email, but you may also find it in the Forms Library on SharePoint filed under Employees (Human Resources) – Faculty. 

The Sabbatical Leave Committee will review all applications and submit recommendations to the President, who in turn will send the committee’s recommendations along with his own approval or alternate recommendations to the Board of Trustees for approval. The BOT will have a “first read” of these recommendations in March or April and vote on these recommendations at their next meeting. 

As you know, the purpose of a Sabbatical Leave is to improve the professional skills of the faculty member through study, research, and creative work. The College also receives direct benefits through the increasing effectiveness of faculty who participate in this professional leave opportunity. Remember that each leave recipient is required to submit a written report to the President within one month of their return from Sabbatical Leave. If you want to refresh your memory about the details on sabbaticals, please read Article 22 of the faculty contract: BCAHE Negotiated Contract. 

If you are interested in applying for sabbatical, submit your application to the Academic Affairs Office in A202 on or before Monday, February 1, 2021. Feel free to contact me or David López-Kopp, faculty chair of the Sabbatical Review Committee, if you have any questions. 


Student Mental Health Faculty Resources

(Email: 18 November)

Based on recent faculty feedback, I asked our counseling faculty if they could put together some mental health resources for their colleagues to use when working with students during these difficult times.  The attached document – which includes mental health resources, advice for working with students, and sample messages to students – is the result of that work. 

Document: Responding to Student Mental Health

A huge thank you to all of our counselors – not just for creating this resource, but for all the work they are doing to help our students through these difficult times.  And a thank you to all of you on the front lines who are working to help our students everyday. I know that it is a struggle to just to help ourselves some days, let alone help our students navigate through the world today. I hope this resource helps you with that work. 

Revamping Course Evaluations – Your Input Needed

(Email: 18 November 23)

Hope you are doing well! 

During the summer, a team got together to start the process of reexamining our student evaluations – with a focus on redesigning a system that works to eliminate known bias, inappropriate use of course evaluation data and adverse impacts on faculty. The Office of Academic Affairs fully supports this work and the creation of new system for gathering meaningful data.  

I’d like to ask that you help the team gather data for this work by taking a few minutes to read their message below and complete this survey with your feedback about student course evaluations by Wednesday, November 25

Class Evaluations Revision Survey 

My thanks to the team – including Ariane (Ann) Hayes, Caroline Leffall, Ellen Nichols, Jennie Mayer, Lindsay Haney, Tonya Estes, and Aron Segal – for their initiative on this project.  Please do not hesitate to contact them if you would like further information. 

Thanks for your help in this important endeavor! 


Class Evaluation Revision Survey 

The American Sociological Association released a statement last fall that said class evaluation processes, as they are typically employed, are flawed.  They amplify student biases and are harmful to the retention and growth of faculty.  Receiving constructive feedback from students is important nonetheless.   

In concert with the College’s efforts to address anti-Blackness, a mixed group of faculty and an exempt employee began meeting over the summer to brainstorm how the institution might respond to the litany of issues that exist with our current evaluation process.  Concerns were raised regarding not only anti-Black, misogynistic, and other biases, but also other aspects of the evaluation process itself.  Concerns regarding how the evaluations are used, whether alternative mechanisms might be better used to gain certain types of information, and whether it is appropriate for faculty to be responsible for soliciting the feedback all arose.   

Recognizing that evaluations completed by students are but one part of the instructor evaluation structure that also includes peer evaluations and a self-evaluation, the team has been exploring alternative processes advocated by researchers and those that other institutions have begun using.  To guide us in the first phase of a process of reviewing current practices and developing suggestions for alternatives, we would appreciate your responses to the questions in the linked survey regarding student class evaluations. 

We know that the current system is critically flawed.  Please help us to build one that will better serve faculty, administrators, and our students by responding to this survey by Wednesday November 25th, 2020.