Shifts in faculty and facilities’ role

Lan Anh (Rosie) Ong

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty members and staff in the facilities department have changed the way they approach their work to adapt to the hybrid learning model.
Most faculty members have redesigned their classes to accommodate both in-person and online students. Facilities staff have increased the amount of cleaning efforts throughout the campus. 
Augustana College modified all classes to hybrid models to accommodate the outbreak of the coronavirus. Most lectures, labs, music ensembles and health/physical education (HEPE) classes were offered in-person and through virtual platforms to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. 
For the last several months, faculty members and facility staff have been working to ensure the quality and safety of teaching and learning for on-campus students and to create the best learning conditions for distance learners. 
“One thing I think students might not have heard about is that a lot of the faculty were in lots of meetings over the summer. The administration sent us a lot of emails, asking us for feedback about how to make it work and make everything safe,” Dr. Lucy Burgchardt,assistant professor of communication studies, said. 
Dr. David Snowball, a professor and chair of communication studies, said that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected pretty much everything and changed his role as an instructor in two ways. 
“First, it requires ongoing innovation in teaching because week to week, conditions can change dramatically. The strategies we use the week before might no longer be applicable in this week.
“Second, it also required me to change the balance in my professional life,” Snowball said. “I spend more and more of my time reaching out to [my students] trying to help them solve their [technological and personal] problems.”
In addition to the increasing workload, many faculty members who have younger children have to take the responsibility of parenting at home. Dr. Margaret Kunde, assistant professor of communication studies, is teaching classes exclusively online this fall and has a young daughter.
My daughter’s only two and a half, so my teaching consists of, you know, singing songs with her, doing yoga and watching Pete the Cat. But some faculty members have children they have to help teach while they are doing virtual education. So I think that’s a really big challenge for faculty members as well,” Kunde said. 
Beside the changes in teaching and learning, the COVID-19 pandemic requires the campus to stay safe and clean for everyone, which leaves an increasing amount of work for the staff in the facility department. 
“At six o’clock in the morning, we go to all campus locations and do what is called ‘Deep Cleaning.’ We are following the CDC and OSHA guidelines, which entails soap and water, scrubbing, a disinfectant and then air dry. This has been a big change throughout the entire campus,” Robert Lanzerotti, director of facilities services, said.
Burgchardt expressed her tiredness overtaken by following the rules such as spraying the classes, taking temperatures and using the CampusClear app. 
“The hardest part for me is trying to have a nice relationship with students while also trying to be a good leader in terms of following the rules,” Burgchardt said. “I tried to correct the behavior of the students in the classroom because I don’t think they know they are doing stuff that is wrong.”