Correction on June 24: this story has been updated to reflect that University of Oregon professor Melissa Graboyes conducted her survey independently from the UO administration.
University of Oregon professor Melissa Graboyes released the results from her independent survey regarding UO's response to COVID-19 on Monday. The survey provides input from nearly 2,300 UO community members, including students, staff and faculty. Graboyes conducted the survey independently from the UO administration, with support from the United Academics faculty union and two other unions on campus.
The survey allowed for feedback on UO’s coronavirus response, including remote learning experiences, employment concerns, in-person classes in the fall and confidence in current plans to open the campus. Survey results are broken into four categories: undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff.
According to the survey, confidence in UO’s fall plans vary by demographics. 65% of undergraduate students feel returning to in-person instruction in the fall is wise, whereas only 34% of faculty and 22% of graduate students feel it is wise. All agreed that their confidence would be higher if UO included students, faculty and staff more in the university’s decision-making processes.
Faculty and staff held little trust in UO to make decisions that were best for its individual employees and the surrounding community, with 32% of staff and 25% of faculty reporting trust in the university’s decisions.
Survey comments emphasized the importance of listening to Black community members. One participant said, “include students of color, and the little staff of color you have in these conversations and actually listen to them. They are being faced with a number of things at the moment that go beyond Covid-19.”
71% of faculty and staff reported that they were worried about losing their jobs, significant reductions to full-time equivalent — or the number of hours faculty members and staff work in a week — and recent reductions to FTE made regarding Non-Tenure Track Faculty.
75% of surveyed employees indicated that faculty and staff should be able to individually decide if they feel safe working on-campus in the fall. One participant wrote, “it’s our health and livelihoods and the administration shouldn’t get to decide how we risk it with so little input from us.”
Students and faculty both reported difficulty with remote learning. 83% of surveyed faculty reported challenges in teaching online during spring term. 76% of students in the survey considered remote learning more difficult and 77% said that they learned less.
“This wasn’t teaching online,” one instructor said. “At least, not really. This was teaching during a pandemic. As someone who has taught online before this experience was completely different.”
Although faculty reported increased difficulty with online courses, 57% said they prefer to teach remotely in the fall. However, undergraduate students reportedly prefer to return to in-person instruction.