October 27, 2020
With Election Day only a week away, we wanted to reach out to all instructors and let you know about some resources the university is providing to assist you during this time.
As we all know, this year’s election season is producing strong feelings for many people, though the stakes involved and potential impacts for people vary. These differences matter, as noted in President Schill’s message that was sent to the community earlier today. The leadership of the University Senate posted a similar message on its website earlier this week.
For some students and instructors alike, the election has heightened attention to their social identities and positioned them even more prominently as targets of negative representations, threats, and violence. We encourage you to be attentive to your own feelings and to have empathy for the different stakes involved for others.
Explicit expressions of care for one another may be more welcome than ever in the days ahead. If you are not linked to mental health services but are interested in talking with a professional, GEs can contact Counseling Services; faculty and staff can contact Cascade Centers.
Students are likely to appreciate schedule flexibility where possible during the week, given that some students may be involved in Election Day activities or feeling anxiety about the pending results.
Resources for faculty and GEs are available to help you guide your classes through this election season. The Teaching Engagement Program (TEP) and Provost’s Teaching Academy offer concrete ideas for the days and weeks ahead in its “Teaching and the Election” resource blog. Also, TEP will host a “Teaching and the Election” forum Thursday, November 5, from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. The event is open to all faculty and GEs, and you can sign up here.
TEP and the Teaching Academy are sharing strategies for navigating your own reactions to the election as you teach; expressing and enacting care for students; building in needed opportunities for students to connect with one another; creating occasions for students to reflect on their hopes, fears, well-being, and support networks; and conveying ways students might connect to outlets for action and creativity. They also offer specific, broadly applicable tips for bringing discussions about the election into academic work of the class.
We appreciate all that you are doing for the University of Oregon and its students. If you have any questions or concerns about teaching during the electoral season, please send an email to email@example.com.
Provost and Senior Vice President
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs