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As the COVID-19 crisis has forced faculty and coaches to shift their work online, APSCUF’s membership committee has shared stories of how solidarity is keeping our union strong.

Mansfield University Professor Rebecca Parks held a mock driver’s-license test for her daughter’s 16th birthday, as they practice physical distancing. Photo/Submitted

APSCUF faculty, who believe in the tested, tried-and-true practice of in-person education, discussed how they refreshed or learned new skills to transfer coursework online. With the widely practiced change in pedagogy, faculty have scheduled courses with videoconferencing, and coaches are exploring conversations around mental health that inspire student-athletes who are trained to integrate their sport with academic goals, yet not without questions regarding future expectations. Faculty and coaches, even with the NCAA’s ruling to suspend on- and off-campus recruitment, have found an avenue to continue supporting students through this uncertain time.

Here are 16 things APSCUF faculty and coaches are doing to brave a 21st century global pandemic:

  • Bloomsburg University’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Center and IT hosted online learning trainings for a week. Faculty also served as peer-to-peer mentors.
  • Bloomsburg University and West Chester University faculty are using drop-in Zoom sessions to allow students to ask questions to reduce stress related to the coronavirus and their studies.
  • Cheyney University faculty worked together to welcome students back from spring break and to train for an efficient transition to distance learning.
  • Clarion University faculty are doing their part to support the local hospitals. The respiratory-care department loaned ventilators; the nursing department, in partnership with the biology and geosciences department, donated gloves and surgical masks; and the Department of Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics loaned their 3D printer and filament to local hospitals to make disposable parts for needed equipment.
  • East Stroudsburg University’s 3D lab, led by Darlene Farris-Labar, is designing and printing face shields.
  • Dr. Tom White, nursing department chair at Edinboro University, is working at Saint Vincent Health Center as a nurse practitioner.
  • Edinboro APSCUF’s executive council decided to provide gift cards to students remaining on campus in partnership with the Office of Student Affairs.
  • Edinboro University’s communication, journalism, and media department held online training sessions. Viki Hedderick, Edinboro APSCUF’s interim chapter president, asked faculty members who were familiar with teaching online to help faculty who were not.
  • Mansfield University is lending all seven on-campus hospital beds from its nursing lab in Elliot Hall to UPMC Wellsboro as reserve beds, in case the hospital should experience a patient surge due to COVID-19.
  • Mansfield’s Campus Technologies held training sessions on how to use Zoom and move courses online.
  • Professor Rebecca Parks at Mansfield University held a mock driver’s-license test for her daughter’s 16th birthday, as they practice physical distancing.
  • Shippensburg University coaches are working on mental-health checkpoints with student-athletes. This goodwill deed was featured on FOX43.
  • Professor Constance Case at West Chester University is sewing PPE masks. She is working with Professor Victoria Tischio at WCU, Dr. Christine Meyer, and Janiene Pitt from Tandigm Health. She submitted three different prototypes of medical masks.
  • Professor Victoria Tischio at WCU is tracking students who need internet hotspots to complete course assignments.
  • Faculty at West Chester University are interfacing with one another through email and Facebook to share ideas on distance learning and how to convert courses to an online format.
  • West Chester University is offering daily webinars about Zoom, functionality in D2L, and Kaltura. A survey is being circulated for faculty to share the types of additional support needed for students.

Since self-care is essential, APSCUF members are driving back roads to clear their minds on the way to getting groceries, doing jigsaw puzzles, starting online book groups, and sometimes concluding their workday with their favorite apéritif. APSCUF staff are making facemasks, homemade soap, and starting a vegetable garden for sustainable wellness.

The resilience of our community shines through tremendously in students, too. At Clarion and Kutztown universities, students are helping to make masks for local hospitals, and a student from Mansfield is active in the out-of-school early learning and preschool community in the area using a video-sharing platform for interactive storytelling.

To share a story of how you are lending your expertise and talents during this time of change, please send Chabria Thomas, director of organizing, a short description of the activity you are involved in as a faculty, coach, or APSCUF ally. Please email Tell us who you are and what you are doing to positively impact your university and the community around you. Please include a photo and caption information, too. You also can tag APSCUF on Twitter and Facebook and use #APSCUFproud.

Chabria Thomas,
director of organizing

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Updates: More stories from around our campuses

After The New York Times published The Coronavirus Class Divide: Space and Privacy, featuring the story of a Kutztown University student, APSCUF’s Kutztown Chapter President Thomas Stewart reached out to KU administration to get the ball rolling on supporting that student. Administrators report that they communicated with the student and affirmed KU’s support. KU Foundation’s Bears Band Together fund also supports students in need due to COVID-19. KU members who are aware of a student in need are asked to contact Kutztown’s Dean of Students office, the academic dean’s office liaisons, or CASA.

Calida Barboza, digital-innovation librarian and APSCUF member at Millersville University, was the project coordinator for the Student Confessions project. Librarians and library staff at Millersville University uploaded the 1889–94 volume of Student Confessions into their digital repository to provide remote access to students using the materials for their coursework. The collection, which was previously digitized and transcribed with the help of student employees, contains archival student confessions of transgressions thought to be handwritten by school administrators and signed by students after they read them aloud.

Janet Walker, mathematics professor and APSCUF member, in her 24th year of teaching at IUP, made 220 cloth masks and shipped them to hospitals in Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and New York. Janet has been making 5-10 masks a day since teaching remotely due to the pandemic, and sends them to area businesses, colleagues, and friends.