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What if I have materials that are due at the library? – May 6

The library is waiving all fees for borrowed library materials until further notice. You will not be fined for late returns.

The Mortvedt Library building is currently closed but you can return books and materials to the book return locked box outside the front entrance. We are checking it weekly. If you are currently living out of the area you can mail items via the USPS Media Mail (less expensive) to:

Mortvedt Library
12180 Park Ave South
Tacoma WA 9844.

Mobile Printing from personal devices – April 23

PLU is now able to offer printing to a select group of charge-for-printing stations on campus from personal devices. Wireless printing is now available in the Anderson University Center.

Wireless printing instructions.

Sanitizing instructions
  1. Please make sure you wash your hands before and after use.
  2. Follow the instructions by the machine for wiping it down after use using the supplied alcohol wipes.
  3.  Please limit yourself to one wipe per use.
  4. If you need additional paper or supplies, please check with the employees at Old Main Market.

How to add a virtual background in Zoom meetings – April 14

Here are some PLU backgrounds to add to your Zoom meeting.

Step 1: Access the PLU backgrounds folder
– Download the image you want (remember where you saved it on your computer)

Step 2: Enter your Zoom meeting. (It is best to not have the most light behind you, the image won’t render well)

Step 3: Once in, go to the video settings option in the bottom left corner and select ‘Choose Virtual Background.’

Step 4: Select the ‘+’ button on the right of the ‘Choose Virtual Background’ section and select ‘add image’
– select your image from where you saved it on your computer and adjust the image as needed.
– uncheck ‘mirror’ in order to make sure the ‘PLU’ logo displays correctly for people you are meeting with.

Step 5: When you like your selection closed our of the ‘Choose Virtual Background’ and enjoy your meeting with a PLU background.

(You may need to update your operating system in order for this feature to work.)

Tips for a successful web meeting – April 3

How do I mitigate Zoom meeting vulnerabilities? – April 3

Many of you may be aware of a recent security vulnerability related to Zoom products which has hit the news in a significant way.  PLU, like many institutions across the world, turned to Zoom as a reliable tool helping us deliver classroom content in a remote setting.  We are still confident in that decision and want to share with you ways you can mitigate risk and feel confident in continuing to use the product.

The main concern revolves around unwanted guests accessing publicly shared meetings and disrupting the session by sending inappropriate content through video, chat, and screen sharing. The term that is being used to describe this behavior is “Zoombombing.” There are ways to prevent unwanted guests from accessing Zoom sessions and disrupting your meeting.

To secure your meeting, consider the following options:

  • Keep meeting URLs in a private location such as a Sakai Site or email directly to attendees. URLs placed on publicly facing sites are highly vulnerable.

  • Disable screen sharing for participants by default. This will prevent unwanted users from sharing their screen to display inappropriate content. Hosts can allow attendees to share their screen during the meeting.

  • Activate a waiting room to provide a holding area for people attempting to join the meeting. Users can be allowed in at the start and throughout the session.

  • Add a password to your meeting. The password must be shared with attendees and adds a step to join the meeting, but prevents trolls from randomly accessing your meeting URL.

More information regarding Zoombombing & Meeting Security can be found in the PLU Knowledgebase. If you have additional questions or need support, reach out to Instructional Technologies, itech@plu.edu.

Further Reading:

Are there any remote work guidelines? – March 31

Is the university allowing faculty and staff to bring visitors to campus? — March 31

No, as part of Gov. Inslee’s ‘stay home’ directive, only essential employees are allowed on campus.

What leave resources are available to me as a staff member? – March 16

Should on-site interviews be rescheduled or moved to virtual? – March 16

Yes, on-site interactions should be minimized. The use of video conferencing technology to conduct interviews is strongly encouraged. To ensure consistency in the interview process and avoid the perception of one candidate having an unfair advantage, ideally all interviews should be conducted in the same manner (i.e. all on-site or all virtual). For questions, contact Human Resources at (253) 535-7185 or humr@plu.edu.

What are some issues around equity and access that I should practice when transitioning my class to distance learning? – March 16

First and foremost, keep your course student centered. Like all of us, students are feeling an extraordinary amount of anxiety and uncertainty now. Provide them with opportunities to share these concerns with you, whether in a synchronous and asynchronous manner. If your class is meeting on an online platform, you might begin class by asking each student to check in with one word describing how they are feeling. You can also encourage students to share something that they are grateful for to help them balance their perspective. Holding each other’s humanity and considering the whole of our students are of the utmost importance right now. Thus, focusing on our students has humans first and the content of the course second is important for their sense of belonging and persistence.

  • Consider sending your students a survey, as we transition into distance learning for April, that asks them about their availability to continue meeting during the regularly scheduled class time, the technology resources they have available to them, their access to WiFi and data, etc. You can also survey your students about what other obligations they may be facing (such as child or elder care), what is causing them the most anxiety, and what kind of support they might need.
  • Please do not require your students to participate in synchronous class meetings. Now is not the time to hold on to the idea that students “signed up for that class time.” Our students may not have regular access to WiFi or a computer, may now be watching kids who are home from school, may soon enough may be taking care of sick loved ones or may be sick themselves, and might be trying to find work due to the loss of their or their caretakers’ job(s).
  • Keep due dates fluid. To repeat: Our students may not have regular access to WiFi or a computer, may now be watching kids who are home from school, may soon enough may be taking care of sick loved ones or may be sick themselves, and might be trying to find work due to the loss of their or their caretakers’ job(s).
  • Do not use/enforce an attendance policy. See two bullet points above.

As you move material online, refer to these minimum guidelines for online accessibility:

  • Information presented in a video format should be captioned. (If you have a student who uses media or real-time captioning, or who uses a sign language interpreter, this is critical.)
  • Information presented in an audio-only format should be accompanied by a transcript. (If you have a student who uses media or real-time captioning, or who uses a sign language interpreter, this is critical.)
  • When you are creating your own content, create well-structured documents and consider the accessibility of the content. Review guidance for making Word or PowerPoint documents accessible.
  • If you post documents as PDFs in Canvas, be prepared to share the original documents, as they will be more accessible.
  • If you must use scanned documents rather than native digital documents, they need to be of high visual quality and a resolution of at least 300dpi.
  • Text should not be highlighted or underlined, binding shadows should not be present, lines should not be clipped, and text must be readable, even when enlarged.
  • When providing timed quizzes or exams, use the Time Extension Guide for Sakai.
  • For a comprehensive guide, see this resource from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

You can also seek guidance from PLU’s Office of Accessibility and Accommodation.

Consider altering course objectives in light of the circumstances to reflect the skills students will acquire during this transition. Granted, these are not objectives that you will assess, but framing them for students as skills/habits they will acquire may help them as they engage in this new normal. These may include:

  • Adapt in the face of unforeseen and quickly changing circumstances
  • Recognize the humanity of those behind screens
  • Develop ways to maintain community
  • Practice flexibility Learn time management beyond the rigor of a set class time

Begin creating your own set of principles, use this Core-Values Framework for Deciding How to Adapt Classes for Online Learning in Light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It can also be useful in helping you to determine your priorities as an instructor during this unprecedented time.

What mental health resources and supports are available to students, faculty and staff right now? – March 16

Faculty and staff can access mental health care through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-777-4114. First Choice Health EAP also offers BetterHelp – licensed professionals who can be reached for online therapy available 24/7, via text, chat, phone, or video.

What are the implications for staff employees? — March 11

Where can faculty get guidance for teaching through online distance-learning? — March 8

Instructors teaching face-to-face courses may need to utilize online teaching strategies to ensure instructional continuity during exceptional circumstances. When students and/or faculty cannot participate in face-to-face class sessions, instructors may opt to conduct virtual class meetings, record screencast videos, or develop online lessons and activities in Sakai; below are resources to explore these three strategies.

Individual consultations are the best way to receive advice and support tailored to your specific instructional needs, technology skills, and circumstances.

To schedule a phone, in-person or virtual consultation contact the PLUTO team at pluto@plu.edu. A member from the PLUTO team will follow-up with you as soon as possible, typically within 24 hours.

Find more information

Logistical considerations for facilitating meetings in adverse conditions? — March 8

Some logistical considerations:

  • Decisions about planned meetings shall be determined and coordinated by meeting facilitators/leaders.
  • While a decision to maintain in-person meetings may present the best option for a group, facilitators and participants should be mindful that not all members experience the same level of risk. When in-campus meetings are continuing, accommodations should be available for members who choose to opt out because of their own health circumstances (or complicating factors, such as closure of schools or daycares. See guidance for supervisors on the Human Resources website.)
  • Virtual and distance meetings can be less effective as the numbers of participants grow. In these cases, it may be helpful to postpone and/or reschedule meetings or to organize into smaller groups with a structure for reporting back centrally (ex.GoogleDoc etc).

Taken together, the recommendation for campus work follows the recommendation for students and faculty regarding teaching and learning: flexibility and creativity will be key mindsets to hold. Thank you!

Suggestions for facilitating work normally achieved through in-person meetings? — March 8

Much of our work requires collaboration and meeting with one another. Here are some suggestions for facilitating work normally achieved through meetings:

  • Maintain your scheduled meetings, and wash your hands before and after.
  • Complete work via phone or conference calls, Google Hangout, Zoom, Google Docs, or email.
  • Relocate in-person meetings to larger campus spaces, providing more distance between participants. Contact Hospitality Services at 253-535-7450 or events@plu.edu if you need assistance.
  • Arrange for smaller groups of meeting participants to work on elements of a project (remotely or in person), reporting back to each other as appropriate.

What is your unit’s Continuity of Operations Planning? — March 5

Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) includes the activities of individual departments and their sub-compartments to ensure that their essential functions are performed during a disaster, which could result in the loss of one or more of the following: work or teaching facility, power, water, electricity, communications, personnel, or other resources.

It includes plans and procedures to ensure that essential functions are performed. Plans and procedures should be trained and tested to ensure a viable COOP capability. Contact thompss@plu.edu with questions or to set up a COOP consultation for your department.

Who is Essential Services Core in your office? — March 5

Every university organizational unit is expected to establish a staffing plan that supports the Business Interruption Staffing Decision Guide. Staffing plans should identify essential functions/services within each PLU organization, identify personnel, by title, to perform those functions, and include a training/communication component to ensure essential personnel know who they are and for what function they are responsible. Planners should identify and communicate internal and external dependencies when creating staffing plans. Staffing plans may include student employees when students are on campus.