June 12, 2020

Update on Academic Course Format for Fall 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We continue to solidify our plans for our Fall 2020 re-opening. We will send a comprehensive message to our entire community by the end of next week. In the meantime, we wanted to give your student an update about academic course formats and changes in our registration process for the fall.

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about our fall academic program.


Jefferson Singer
Dean of the College

Dear Students,

As we have said in previous messages, our entire community has been focused on how to prepare for a healthy fall semester. Groups of faculty, staff and students have been meeting daily to determine the best way for you to live and learn when you return to campus in late August. There is still much to do but we wanted to write today to tell you about one new development: the flexible format the faculty has chosen for organizing the fall semester.

The fall will be divided into two quarters of 7½ weeks each. You can take two courses in the first 7½-week block and this will enable you to focus on two courses at a time instead of four. Meeting in only two courses will also reduce the amount of casual contact you might have during course transition periods and set some limits on the number of different classroom contacts you have.

Certain classes, of course, may need longer periods of study—for example, classes with labs, those involving language learning and those involving performance. And so some of your courses will be offered over the regular 15-week period.

This flexible format is guided by two principles: maximizing the health and safety of everyone in our community; and offering a signature residential educational experience. Flexibility in the course calendar and class schedule will allow you to maintain appropriate social distancing in person and at the same time provide the best version of virtual learning to protect you, our faculty and staff. With some students and faculty needing to participate remotely, there will inevitably be a mix of in-person and virtual teaching this fall.

During the month of July, we will be setting the new class schedule and will identify which courses will run for 7½ weeks, which for 15 weeks, as well as whether they will be in-person or virtual. This means you will have to re-register for your classes sometime in August. Your advisers and class deans will help you to design schedules that will best advance your academic goals.

We know there is much more you want to hear about your living situation in the fall and we have been hard at work on that as well. You will receive a longer message about those plans by the end of next week.

Through the summer we will send regular updates on courses, registration and other important details, so check your Conn email regularly.

We look forward to seeing you back on campus!


Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students

John McKnight
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Jefferson Singer
Dean of the College