COVID-19 Resources for WPAs

CWPA Labor Resource Center COVID-19 Resources

[At the request of the CWPA Executive Committee, the Labor Committee has been compiling resources that should help WPAs address labor concerns that arise from (or get amplified by) the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite--request, beg--anyone who has additional resources to share them with us so we can post them here. Also, much of what's here is not WPA-specific, and we invite feedback as to how we can make the materials more directly user-friendly. Finally, we're working quickly and apologize in advance for layout/aesthetic hiccups.]

Template Language for Department Chairs/Program Directors

  • To put in evaluation files for instructors whose evaluations are disrupted or at risk of low ratings

[Note: This language is taken from a joint statement issued by the PA State System of Higher Education and the state system faculty's union, APSCUF, in March 2020 as the pandemic was forcing our institutions online. The rest of the statement also has some helpful language in it regarding service and lost research opportunities.]

It is important that during this time of flux, we ensure any steps we take to provide continuity of service to our students enhance our faculty’s professional development and encourage exploration of new teaching modalities. Below are items for your consideration:


Where faculty move from face-to-face to another modality, they will use their best efforts to adapt to and engage in the new modality. At the same time, it will remain within the discretion of the faculty member whether or not to include student evaluations in performance reviews so as not to discourage innovation; nor should faculty be penalized for not submitting these evaluations. Peer evaluations should be completed to the greatest degree possible. Should it not be possible to complete a peer evaluation, department chairs and evaluation committees must provide the faculty member with a letter stating this fact.


For scholarship and service opportunities, below is an example notation to be included in evaluation documents:


“Due to the COVID-19 virus in the Spring of 2020, faculty member X moved a face-to-face class to fully online instruction on short-notice for the last N weeks of the semester. Additionally, the faculty member was unable to travel to conferences to present already accepted paper(s) and was not able to meet with certain committees/service groups due to meeting cancellations. Reviewers are reminded to include consideration of these exceptional circumstances in the review of faculty member X’s work.”



  • To send contingent faculty in support of unemployment benefit claims


[Note: This language is taken from a Tenure for the Common Good blog post dated 6/24/2020.]

Dear [faculty member]:

I write to let you know that due to COVID-19, at this point in time, we are not able to guarantee any faculty member off the tenure-track reasonable assurance of continued employment in the fall.

I encourage you to look into your eligibility for unemployment. You can find a link to information about the process in our state by going to the Department of Labor, finding our state, and clicking the link for “Apply for Unemployment Benefits.”

I will have more information for you about the fall as enrollments become clearer. In the meantime, if you can get unemployment benefits, I hope that helps. 


Position Statements on COVID-19 and Labor

CWPA and CCCC Joint Statement in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tenure for the Common Good Statement on Equity and Teaching During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI)


Data/Research on Pandemic Labor Impacts

Chronicle of Higher Ed Furlough Tracker

Schools Giving Instructors a Remote Option, Without Requiring Documentation

Combating White Supremacy in a Pandemic: Antiracist, Anticapitalist, and Socially Just Policy Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 (Deliberation, Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, July 1 2020)

Open Letter to Managers Who Expect Contingent Faculty to Prepare for Courses But Won’t Compensate Them When Those Courses Are Yanked (Blog post that predates COVID-19's large-scale outbreak, but lists institutions that pay for course development and offers some arguments for doing it.)


Resources for Organizing/Mutual Support

AFT resources on the COVID-19 coronavirus | American Federation of Teachers

AAUP Coronavirus Resources

Template Documents for Establishing Contingent Faculty Emergency Relief Fund [If you have questions about these documents, contact Seth Kahn, who co-facilitates this fund at his institution.]


Online Teaching Resources

There are so many of these that committed online writing instructors and researchers have put together that we'll direct you to some of those instead of reinventing them. If you especially like a page/resource we don't have listed here, let us know.

Online Writing Instructors Community

Resources for Teaching First-Year Writing Online Compiled by Megan McIntyre, Sonoma State University