3/27 Update from Julia Sapin, Chair

Julia Sapin and two happy doggies

Dear Students,

I hope you have been able to enjoy your spring break, despite the shutdown of so many places due to the coronavirus crisis (and for those of you still in Washington State, the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order from Governor Jay Inslee, which has temporarily shut down all non-essential businesses). We have been busy preparing for your return.

While the actual start of classes has been delayed until April 6 because of the crisis, the university has asked us to use next week (March 31-April 3) to communicate with classes in order to lay the groundwork for this term given our current teaching reality (100% online). As promised last week, with this note, I want to give you an overview of our plans in the Department of Art and Art History (Art Studio, Art Education, and Art History classes). I also want you to know that you can contact me any time with any questions you may have: sapinj@wwu.edu   Of course, your faculty advisors and our beloved Allen Frost, BA/BFA Program Coordinator, are also happy to hear from you.

Here are some trends in planning that I can report with regard to whether classes will be offered as:  

  • asynchronous (students work independently within set timeframes toward project or other deadlines),
  • synchronous (students gathering virtually for class at the time listed in Classfinder), or
  • asynchronous with a synchronous option (which means that there will be virtual meeting times, but they are not mandatory and they will be recorded for those who cannot attend)

While faculty are still fine-tuning their approaches to your classes, they have already recognized the creative possibilities of new technological platforms to help expand your learning. This is going to be an exciting, innovative time in many ways! One important tool many of us will be using is Zoom for virtual meetings, both synchronous and recorded for asynchronous use. You do not need to have accounts in order to participate, but you might want to check out Zoom Basic for your own use (which is free). It might be useful for collaborative work. You can go to https://zoom.us/ and set up a free account.

Here are some specific details regarding some classes and how they will be offered:

Art Education

  • Art 380: Synchronous
  • Art 381: Asynchronous

Art History

  • 200-level classes: asynchronous (with the exception of A/HI 241)
  • 300-level classes: asynchronous
  • 400-level classes: variety of approaches: your instructors will let you know

Art Studio

  • Art 109: asynchronous

*All other classes will be asynchronous with a synchronous option except Art 140, 370, 372, 397Z, 495, and 496B, which will have synchronous instruction for the first hour of instruction.

Office Hours

Most instructors plan to have posted synchronous office hours to communicate with students one-on-one, with flexibility to make appointments outside of that time, if the posted times are not convenient for you.

Grading Policy

Because of these unusual circumstances, the University has created a special Pass/No Pass Grading Policy for this term (although if you need a grade for accreditation or other purposes, those grades can be provided-please make that clear to your instructor if that is the case). What this means is that a “P” grade can be accepted toward your major this spring term.

Keep Learning

This is a checklist from ATUS to help you prepare for taking courses online.

Technology Needs

ATUS has purchased additional laptops that will be available to students who do not have them. Please keep an eye out for the online request form, coming soon, and you may want to alert ATUS of your need so you can “get in line,” so to speak. I am not sure if they will have enough to cover the need. (ATUS.HelpDesk@wwu.edu) Also, I hope you have heard by now that Adobe has made the Creative Cloud Suite available for free to all students to access on your computer.


All of us, including Allen, are available to advise you throughout this crisis. Please contact us through our WWU email. If you are planning to graduate, all of that paperwork can be done online now. Please coordinate with Allen Frost.

Faculty will be reaching out; some already have! We are thinking about you and looking forward to “seeing” you soon!

All my best to you and your families and friends, Julia

Authored on

Mar 27, 2020 12:46pm