University Common Hour to Begin in Fall 2021, Programming for Sept. 2, Sept. 10 Planned

Posted on 8/5/21 8:48 AM

As part of the implementation of the 2020–25 Strategic Plan, a University Common Hour has been established for the 2021–22 academic schedule.

The primary purposes of the University Common Hour are to:

  • Support IUP’s student-centered strategic goals by providing a common time during the day that will permit students to participate in meetings and activities or seek assistance across campus.
  • Improve accessibility and cooperative interactions among students, faculty, and staff.
  • Enhance the sense of community throughout the university.

As classes and curriculums are complex and differ widely, Common Hour times and suggested guidelines will not always work for every department, office, and student group. However, as possible, colleges, departments, faculty, and staff are asked to accommodate the Common Hour in their schedules by following the suggested guidelines below.

Common Hour Times

The Common Hour is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It begins on August 23 (the first day of fall semester classes). Classes that are 50 minutes long on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and classes that are 75 minutes long on Tuesdays and Thursdays will not meet during this time. Other classes, labs, and studios will not be able to accommodate the Common Hour.

Suggested Guidelines for Common Hour Activities

  • Monday and/or Tuesday: When possible, faculty/staff meetings and student group meetings will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays during the Common Hour.

  • Wednesday and/or Thursday: When possible, faculty members will hold a portion of their office hours on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays during the Common Hour. As usual, office hours can be in person or virtual, if the faculty member is not available on campus.

  • First Thursday of month: This time will be reserved for University-wide Community-Building Events. While this could result in the temporary closing of offices/office hours during the Common Hour so that employees can attend these important events, the relatively infrequent occurrence of university-wide events means that this should not be seen as being at odds with the philosophy behind the Common Hour, nor as a significant deterrent for participation. These University-wide Community-Building Events can be organized by any organization, department, or group.

  • Friday: This time will be used for community building, at the office, department, college, or university level. This time may include any department or unit events, seminars, casual gatherings, and designed community-building events that already occur on campus. Employees and students are encouraged to be creative in how best to utilize this Common Hour (and those throughout the week) to better serve their communities.

  • Designed community-building events may occur during the Common Hour any day of the week, with the understanding that certain groups may not be available, due to student group or faculty meetings, office hours, or other factors.

  • Information about Common Hour events that are open to the entire IUP community will be posted to the Central Calendar and will be included in IUP Now.

  • Where possible, it is suggested that university offices remain open during the Common Hour to enhance student accessibility and provide alternate points of contact for students to receive assistance.

  • A few long-established, large meetings will continue on their usual schedule; for example, the University Senate will continue to meet on its regular schedule.

Common Hour Programming Scheduled for Fall Semester

To date, two events have been planned for the fall Common Hour:

  • Thursday, September 2, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Gorell Recital Hall: Many Voices, One Future—an overview of IUP NextGen, 2020–25 Strategic Plan, Strategic Enrollment Plan, and University Advancement campaign planning. This in-person program (which also will be livestreamed) will feature university leadership including President Michael Driscoll; UPC Co-Chairs Scott Moore and Paula Stossel; Vice President for Enrollment Management Patricia McCarthy; Interim Provost Lara Luetkehans; and Vice President for University Advancement Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna. This session will be followed by Individual Council Sessions from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. in campus locations (more information will be announced as details are finalized).

  • Friday, September 10, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Oak Grove: 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony.

The 2020–25 Strategic Plan is designed to transform the culture at IUP to enhance the student experience by fostering exceptional student-centeredness.

In fall 2019, IUP President Michael Driscoll charged the University Planning Council to develop the priorities of the 2020–25 Strategic Plan. In delivering his charge, he instructed the UPC to keep student success as a focus, “ordering all of our resources and all of our work to ensure that each student is successful—both here and after graduation.” The resulting recommendations, including the University Common Hour, come from conversations with more than 600 faculty, staff, and students.

The Strategic Plan was endorsed by the IUP Council of Trustees in December 2020.

Questions about the Common Hour or the Strategic Plan 2020-25 should be addressed to UPC co-chairs Scott Moore at rsmoore@iup.edu or Paula Stossel at pstoss@iup.edu.