BACK TO CAMPUS TOWN HALL MEETING – LEGISLATIVE EDITION – AUGUST 25, 2020

Q&A

Q: How are our enrollment declines comparing to other TBR institutions?

A: Currently, preliminary data show that all TBR institutions, with the exception of one, have enrollment declines for Fall 2020. The variance differs from institution to institution. As of today’s report of 3 days prior to start of the semester, Southwest is 19 percent in headcount, and 17 percent in FTE.  

Q: No open libraries and no in-person tutoring, correct? We direct students to online tutoring through the library and PAWS links?

A: This is correct. Tutoring will be available through the Academic Support Center, and can be scheduled through PAWS or the EAB Navigate App. SmarThinking also provides online tutoring 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week, and can also be accessed through PAWS.

Q: Can we educate our students that TN Reconnect only pays for Tuition?  It does not include online fees, access codes and other fees.  It is hard to tell student they have to pay the amount that TN Reconnect does not pay saying that they were never told they would have a balance at the end of the term.  Especially if staff in other areas knows in other departments (i.e. advising) so students know what their responsibilities are with the classes that they register.  

A: It is widely known and communicated that TN Promise and TN Reconnect don’t pay for online fees. This is communicated through the State of Tennessee and through various mediums at Southwest, including advising. Due to students needing specific classes, often they still request these courses, if unavailable through a campus-based course. We will continue to share this information widely, and ensure transparent communication relative to state programs not being completely free.

Q: What are the plans to make dealing with Admissions, Advising, and Financial Aid easier? Feedback from students say this is one of the big issues they have with the school.

A: We continually assess and address concerns that students have with navigating the student experience. This was a primary focus of our Achieving the Dreams preliminary work. However, we recognize that there is always a need for continuous improvement, and we are doing just that. Navigating all of these services through a completely online format, as the pandemic has dictated, has been challenging for many of our students. We are currently engaging an on-campus registration event to assist students who might have encountered difficulty this summer with registration. Any specific feedback that can be given about the student experience is welcomed. In that, it makes us better as a college.

Q: Since we now have two winter sessions, can students use financial aid to pay for them? Students usually have to be enrolled by the 14th day of the regular semester. Winter terms may be a revenue source.

A: The financial aid requirements remain the same relative to needing to be registered by 14th Day. The Winter Sessions will be accessed to the appropriate semester to ensure financial aid is appropriately applied. For the first Winter Session, it will be treated as a footer to the Fall and will be treated as a part of the Fall 2020 schedule. The second Winter Session which begins in January, will be treated as a header to Spring 2021 and will be treated as a part of the Spring 2021 schedule for fee payment and financial aid purposes.

Q: Does increasing enrollment involve a reliable and positive image transformation of Southwest that students can actually experience when they attend Southwest? 

A: We continually assess and address concerns that students have with navigating the student experience. This was a primary focus of our Achieving the Dream’s preliminary work. However, we recognize that there is always a need for continuous improvement and we are doing just that. Navigating all of these services through a completely online format as the pandemic has dictated, has been challenging for many of our students. We are currently engaging an on-campus registration event to assist students who might have encountered difficulty this summer with registration. Any specific feedback that can be given about the student experience is welcomed. In that, it makes us better as a college.

Q: Was enrollment affected by eliminating ACT scores which allowed students to go into college-level courses with a 2.8 GPA?  Did THE UNIVERSITY of MEMPHIs' enrollment increase as a result?

A: The multiple measures pilot is a state-wide program that was approved by Tennessee Board of Regents. The pilot was approved and implemented to actually assist students attending community colleges who might have experienced difficulty with testing to be placed by their high school GPA. The pilot was evidence-supported based upon statewide course completion data in prior years. There are no initial beliefs that this pilot adversely impacted enrollment. One thing to note, many four-year institutions were granted similar exceptions, therefore, options for attendance widened for many students. Most institutions don’t release enrollment data until after the start of the year and specifically after 14th Day, therefore, we will likely not know if any of our 4 year partners experienced increases in enrollment until after census date.

Q: What training is available to help ensure faculty have a base level of technical computer competency as they deliver courses in the digital environment? This is critical for faculty to be able to successfully implement what they have learned in the Online Teaching certification training.  

A: Training throughout the year will be provided by the Teaching Academy.  See the below training schedule.

Microsoft Teams training tutorials are available:

The IT Team has offered more detailed sessions:

  • Microsoft Introduction to TEAMS Training (May 18, 2020)

https://youtu.be/pNlTPcubRFI

  • Microsoft Training on Channels or Breakout sessions within TEAMS (May 18, 2020)

https://youtu.be/0HHhSMswQ0E

  • Microsoft Training on Channels or Breakout sessions within TEAMS (May 29, 2020)

https://youtu.be/4sz7r3P5kd4

Q: Can faculty go to their offices before or after their classes?

A: This opportunity exists if the building is open. Please coordinate this with your chair/dean as this needs to be captured the list of spaces that have been accessed

Q: How is Southwest marketing those Swift semesters? Isn't this an opportunity to close the gap in enrollment?

A: Southwest markets its Swift terms, also known as FLEX, as Late Start. We use email marketing, social media (including YouTube), internet ads and digital billboards.

Q: What training or assurance can be done for students who are technology insecure/afraid? Both as a faculty member and advisor, I've had a number of students tell me that they are too scared to take classes online.

A: Students have been sent numerous resources to help them transition into the online environment. Please refer students to the Achieve Your Dreams Online Guide. Also, please refer your students to the instructional videos on the PAWS homepage that demonstrate how to use the tools within PAWS.

Q: How will the budget cuts affect promotion and tenure?

A: At this time, the process will continue.

Q: Are we saying that there may be layoffs THIS semester after the 14th day census?

A: There will be no layoffs this semester.

Q: I know students can get laptops but how about the Internet access? Do they get that too and if not can we not give them access to a computer lab by appointment?

A: We are opening labs by appointment for students. It will begin in September. We will work with Communications and Marketing to send the information to the students.

Q: For faculty teaching on-ground courses, will they be able to go into their office spaces (i.e. before or after their on-ground class)?

A: This opportunity exists if the building is open. Please coordinate this with your chair/dean as this needs to be captured the list of spaces that have been accessed

Q: For faculty teaching on-ground courses, will they have access to the copiers and printers?

A: This does exist. Please work with your chairs/deans.

Q: For faculty teaching on-ground courses, are there any restrictions in terms of handing out paper documents (i.e. handouts, etc.) or students submitting paper documents (i.e. homework)?

A: No, but please use your best judgment.

Q: Do faculty teaching on-ground courses have to wear a mask while lecturing and do students have to keep a mask on even if socially distant in the classroom?

A: Yes

Southwest Back to Campus Operational Levels