Faculty Support Services
July 24, 2020
I'm writing to introduce you to a new, streamlined means of requesting support for your technological, pedagogical, and research/library questions related to online teaching, followed by information about how to request new academic software technology products.
One of the many lessons learned from our rapid pivot to remote instruction in March involved coordinating faculty support. While various departments across the university and many well-intentioned and capable individuals across campus were involved in supporting faculty, we realize that we need to better organize our support structures and workflows so that we can be more timely and effective.
The Library, CTL, and ITS have collaborated to develop a streamlined set of intake support emails, differentiating between the primary types of support needed:
- technology (email@example.com),
- pedagogy (CTL@brandeis.edu), and
- research/online technology strategies/library services (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Faculty Support Services document outlines the types of support provided by each of these areas.
Our groups are committed to providing timely and effective support to faculty, staff, and teaching assistants, and we are collaborating to ensure that we forward requests that are best addressed by another group in a timely way. We kindly ask that you direct your questions and requests regarding online teaching support through one of these intake emails. While we may have relationships with individuals across these three departments who have been helpful in the past, placing the requests in the queues will help to ensure that the entire support teams have access to your questions, reducing the burden on specific individuals, and streamlining the process to enable faster response times. Note that consults with the Rabb Instructional Design (ID) team will be coordinated through the Library's intake process.
On another note, efforts have been underway to compile faculty technology needs for the fall, and there has been some confusion around how best to submit these requests.
Requests for new academic software technology products to be evaluated or purchased should be directed to the Academic Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC), a Committee which I chair and whose members consist of the four Arts & Sciences Division Heads and well as faculty representatives from all Schools and from relevant support departments, including ITS and CTL. We have developed the Academic Technology Request Form for this purpose. We are reaching out to all who submit requests to be sure we understand the needs and to initiate the process for the ATAC to make decisions on requests. More information on the ATAC may be found on the IT Governance website.
For equipment needs (computers, iPads, stylus, etc.) and for licenses to existing software applications, schools are moving forward with their own approaches to compiling these needs. Arts & Sciences faculty, for example, were asked to use the Teaching Technology Requests for Fall 2020 form, with requests compiled by July 17. As part of the COVID implementation projects that are underway, staff will be reaching out to representatives from all schools within the next week to coordinate these request processes.
Note that the ATAC serves as the governing body for decisions related to the LATTE environment and its peripheral tools. The LATTE environment as it exists today will remain constant throughout the fall 2020 semester. Faculty can be assured that no LATTE function or tool will be phased out without going through the ATAC processes. Any changes proposed and approved by ATAC for spring 2021 and beyond will be communicated to faculty well in advance of the spring 2021 semester.
Finally, work is underway to coordinate several concurrent efforts that have been initiated to connect faculty with support from digital assistants and graduate assistants during July and August in building their courses, and to streamline tutorials available for recommended tools. Related communications will be distributed over the upcoming days.
Thank you for your patience as we organize our efforts to provide clear pathways for faculty support requests.