Guidelines for Fellows and Humesters for small synchronous meetings

Guidelines for Fellows and Humesters for small synchronous meetings.
Updated 4 September 2020

The current situation in the pandemic in North Carolina has led us in the Humanities program to move all faculty instruction in our course to online. We may be able to hold some section meetings with faculty on campus later this semester or in the spring, but for now, faculty will be teaching all plenaries and sections and meetings online only.

Nevertheless, it may be possible for some students to be proximate for some synchronous meetings. If that is to be the case, we all need to abide by the principles we’ve built our course on.


Everything we do in Humes needs to be

  • equitable
  • accessible
  • transparent
  • scheduled ahead of time
  • safe and responsible, as guided by the values we hold, together, at Davidson College.

With these values in mind, let’s think about how you might choose to have synchronous meetings for (1) sections and for (2) AT meetings and for (3) one-on-one writing consultations, three kinds of meetings that happen beyond our large-group plenary sessions.

Synchronous meetings are by default online, but some of you may choose to meet in proximate safe spaces for section meetings or AT meetings or Humes Coffees.

Fellows may host voluntary Humes Coffees. These are open, low-key social meetings with fellow Humesters just to hang out, to take part in building our learning community, and to learn from each other by getting to know each other better in a space that is not a required class event.

One-on-one tutoring sessions between fellows and Humesters and one-on-one meetings between Humesters and faculty always happen online, at least for now and until further notice.

Section meetings

  • Faculty convene these in their own zoom rooms. Links will be in the section slack channel. Faculty are online. Everyone always participates via computer, tablet, or phone.
  • Humesters and fellows may choose to meet some of these synchronous sections face-to-face in a common space on campus in smaller groups—two or three groups of up to 6 people in a distanced circle on the lawn, for example. These groups may never exceed 6: so, 5 Humesters and 1 fellow). If you organize these face-to-face groups, you must be in contact with everyone in your section beforehand, and everyone needs to know what the plans are. While everyone always needs to be on zoom on their own device with full section, some students may be in a common space if that space is safe and conforms to the campus guidelines in effect at that time. For Humesters not on campus but meeting in section, at least one person is responsible for making sure that each Humester is in the group on zoom. Our Faraway Humesters (aka the Night Owls) and our local-timezone but not-on-campus Humesters always have priority in the common, synchronous meeting space. No one may begin any meeting without confirming that Faraway Humesters and off-campus Humesters are present in the zoom meeting. Because much of section work requires breakouts and synchronous participation in slack or, everyone always needs to be on their own device, even in common spaces or in a shared dorm room.
  • We always try to record to the zoom cloud. (With a few exceptions that will be announced.) Always make that recording available to the section members. Some folks have will have accessibility needs, some folks might have bad internet connections, some folks will be sick or absent for some other personal reason, so we need to have recordings available (always captioned). Zoom cloud captions the videos automatically and generates a link. Faculty send that to their section group in their section slack channel. (This usually takes a while; we expect those recordings to be available within 24 hours.)
  • Fellows or another faculty member may sometimes need to convene the section meeting if the regular professor is unable to do that for any reason. We’ve also designed some section meetings to be led by fellows without faculty. If fellows lead, then whoever convenes the zoom meeting records and distributes the link afterwards.

AT meetings

  • AT is the term used at Davidson to describe student-led small group teaching and discussion sections. Fellows organize and hold AT meetings. These are normally on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, with various options throughout the day. The signup for when these will be up soon. We plan to hold first AT meetings during the week of August 24.
  • AT groups will be 3 or 4 students and a fellow. They stay together all semester.
  • Some fellows may choose to offer AT meetings face to face, if everyone in that group is proximate. AT groups with Humesters online must always meet online, though some of the members may choose to be proximate for the meeting, as long as everyone follows the guidelines above: online Humesters have priority, everyone has to have access to the conversation, everyone has to be safe and follow campus protocols.

One-on-one review and advising and assessment meetings

  • There are several required one-on-one meetings in our course. Fellows meet one-on-one with students to review paper drafts at least four times per semester; faculty meet one-on-one with students four times per semester (twice for each paper); the course director meets with each student independent of paper sessions at least twice per semester.

Humes Coffees

As always, any face-to-face meetings must follow the college’s guidelines for in-person indoor or outdoor meetings.

The following rules are specific to Humes-sponsored or Humes-initiated gatherings:

  • To manage the size of any Fellow-initiated gathering, a formal rsvp via a google survey is required; fellows will send those out via #courseannouncements or via the private fellows and humesters channel.
    The maximum size of any outdoor group is 12, any indoor group is 6.
    The ratio of Fellows to Humesters is 1 Fellow and 5 Humesters. 
  • To be safe by limiting aerosols and droplets, masks are of course required, but also
    No communal food; bring or purchase your own food or drink.
    No sharing food.
    Maintain mask guidelines for eating and drinking.
  • Six feet of distance must be maintained when together in the same space.

I hope these guidelines will help reduce anxiety and allow everyone to be clear about the rules. Because Fellows are compensated for organizing these gatherings, I need to be clear about the role of the Humanities Program in requiring a level of safe practices that supersedes those of the state and the college. 

Direct any questions to me. Thank you!

Scott Denham, course director