UW-Madison will evaluate dealing with of on-line educating requests from susceptible instructors | Increased training

The faculty at UW-Madison wants answers to distance learning requests for faculty at risk

UW-Madison denies having a blanket policy that denies all requests, but three faculty with an illness or disability said they were told the university would deny almost all requests.

The chairman of the committee, Eric Sandgren, asked Scholz to explain how several trainers speaking to various disability representatives came to the conclusion that there was some kind of blanket policy of denial.

“When there’s that much smoke, it burns somewhere,” said Sandgren.

John Karl Scholz



Scholz attributed it to misunderstandings and compared it to a phone game where his enthusiasm for returning to primarily face-to-face teaching may have been misinterpreted by others.

Of the 31 online teaching applications that UW-Madison received, around half were approved or the university offered other accommodation, for example a colleague who takes on the classroom course. Blank said she was not considering providing N95 masks as accommodation, which would classify the request as “approved”.

The data likely excludes trainers who withdrew from the process before formally submitting their applications. Teaching Assistant Sara Trogonone declined to pursue her case after a “discouraging” interview in which she said her disability officer had told her that all requests would be denied.

Rebecca Blank



Blank denied allegations that employees who withdrew prematurely had “discouraging” discussions with their disability officers. These conversations, she said, could also be viewed as an “information exchange” where individuals realize they don’t have a case covered by the ADA and can instead be directed to a non-medical or non-disabled accommodation process.

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