Teaching and Learning
Instructional Delivery: In-Person Instruction
Current planning is that all classes normally taught in-person will return to that mode of instructional delivery. All faculty, staff, and students should plan to return to campus in-person this fall. We will continue to monitor public health guidelines for in-person instruction and will continue public health practices, such as wearing masks in classrooms, if recommended.
We will continue to monitor public health guidance and if restrictions are placed on in-person instruction (for instance, limited classroom capacity), we plan to use remote and/or alternative instruction for the duration of such a restriction. Our instructors have significant experience with the necessary technologies and pedagogies, and thus such a switch – while highly undesirable – could be implemented. Any workload adjustments and/or compensation warranted for such a shift will be in accordance with collective bargaining requirements.
Faculty and graduate student instructors who have health conditions that do not allow them to teach in-person can request accommodations through the accommodation process provided by the Office of Accessible Workplace in the Department of Human Resources (faculty members) or through Disability Services (graduate student instructors).
Attendance and Classroom Technology to Reach Absent Students
Because courses will be offered in-person, students are expected to attend these courses in-person. The university’s “University Policy on Class Absence” explains what absences need to be accommodated by an instructor. To help instructors meet such accommodations, Echo360 technology (for recording and asynchronous playback by students) and in-classroom video conferencing technology (for synchronous instruction to remote students) are available in numerous classrooms.
Academic Calendar for 2021-22
The Academic Calendar for fall 2021 will begin September 1, with Labor Day, the second Monday in October, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving recess holidays all observed. This schedule allows for a 26-class-day winter session, which provides many advantages to faculty teaching over the winter session and more course opportunities for students. The other campuses in the Five College Consortium are also planning to start the fall semester on or around September 1, which would assist students wanting to participate in the Five College exchange.
Classrooms, Labs, Studios: Public Health Protocols and Scheduling
Classroom scheduling will return to pre-pandemic levels in terms of student density and class density (assuming public health guidelines allow). Classrooms, labs, and studios will retain some of the public health measures put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. Custodial service levels will return to pre-pandemic levels.
Public health protocols for classrooms, labs, and studios should be reviewed and adapted over the summer. Public health guidance will be followed in relation to the continued use of masks in classrooms, PPE needs in labs and studios, and other public health measures we should preserve at least in the beginning of the fall semester if not throughout the whole semester.
Courses that require field trips and field work will take place while following public health guidelines for travel and the location where the field trip/work takes place. Public health guidance will be followed with approval processes put in place in advance if needed.
Advising and Student Support Services
All academic advising and student support services (Learning Resource Center, Registrar’s Office, International Programs Office, Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid, Career Services, etc.) will be performed in-person, as with normal pre-pandemic operations. We look forward to welcoming our important staff members back to campus to perform these critical student support services.
Various offices on campus have learned a great deal from the past year as they transitioned to providing remote support services to students. As such, many will also continue remote services that have proved extremely successful in accommodating students’ schedules beyond a traditional 9-5 office hour structure. For example, the virtual career fairs held this past year provided more opportunities for both employers and students to participate. Some of these virtual approaches will continue while the offices also provide critical in-person support to our students.
The International Programs Office is monitoring travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs, and vaccine requirements across the globe. For international students unable to come to campus to start the semester on September 1, we will pursue technology options in classrooms for individual student accommodations (i.e., Echo360 asynchronous recordings or synchronous laptop/microphone Zoom sessions). We will also explore fully remote options and assist international students with access to courses as much as possible, but we will not have a fully remote curriculum in place for the fall.
Mount Ida Campus and Springfield Center
Instruction and activities at the Mount Ida Campus and Springfield Center will follow the Amherst campus guidelines. In-person instruction will take place at both the Mount Ida Campus and Springfield Center. Public health guidelines will be followed at both locations as well.