July 11, 2020
You should have received the Preliminary Fall 2020 Guide from the College. As we continue through this pandemic, we are committed to prioritizing the health and safety of all members of our community. We recognize that the virus affects different people in different ways and that pandemic conditions continue to change both in our local communities and nationally. We are setting up a structure that is as flexible as possible and seeks to accommodate those who choose to return to campus and those who do not.
As you consider your decision about whether to return to campus this semester or to learn remotely, I would like to provide you with additional information about classes and about the academic program generally, to help you make an informed decision.
Our commitment is that all students, whether on campus or not, will have access to courses that will allow them to continue in their major and explore new areas of the curriculum, as well as to academic resources (libraries, academic services, tutoring and writing support) that will facilitate deeper learning and academic success.
Revised Course Schedules and Course Formats
The Fall 2020 schedule of classes has been modified to create more time between classes in order to facilitate physical distancing as we move between classes. The revised class schedule has been posted in STAR.
If you are a member of the class of 2021, 2022 or 2023 and have already enrolled in classes, you can log into STAR to see your new schedule. You will see that class start times have shifted later in the day as a result of providing more time between classes. This process should not have affected the courses in which you are enrolled. It only changed the times. Please note that we have worked with the athletic department and coaches have agreed to work around the extended class schedule, which we expect will have student athletes now completing their courses by 4:30 pm.
Courses will be offered in a variety of formats. The format of your course is listed in your class schedule and is visible if you search for a class in STAR. The majority of courses will be offered fully online. A significant number will be offered in a hybrid format that includes both in-person and virtual components to allow participation by people who are physically present and those who are remote. A smaller number of courses will be in-person. (We have not yet assigned classrooms so they will be noted on your schedule as “Location: TBA.”) Please note that if circumstances change with regard to the virus in general or a faculty member’s individual situation, a course that is initially offered in person or in a hybrid format may need to move fully online.
If you are an international student, please know that we are continuing to monitor the new rule issued by the federal government to prohibit fully online education for F-1 visa students. We will work with you to accommodate that ruling. Please contact Dean Chen if you have any questions.
In addition to the numerous courses that exist across the curriculum, there are also opportunities for students to earn course credit through an academic internship experience, which could be an attractive option for students who may be hoping to do something a little different this semester. Some students may be feeling inspired by the challenges of the pandemic, or by the recent protests against racial injustice, to want to become more civically engaged or to apply their liberal arts education beyond the classroom. Some students may wish they could extend their summer internship or applied research experience into the fall. If so, we encourage you to contact the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World for information about how to apply to the Academic Internship Program (AIP), which enables students to earn one course credit for completing the combination of an 8-10 hour per week approved internship and an AIP seminar, selected from several options.
We are planning to expand the New York Semester Program to include students who may wish to complete a full-time internship from home this semester. Students in this program earn a full semester of course credit for the combination of a 32+ hours per week internship, a course on leadership and organizational structure, and the completion of a major capstone paper. The required course will be delivered fully online this semester, and internships can be completed either in-person (if health and safety considerations permit) or remotely. We are currently reviewing health and safety protocols for both the New York and DC semester programs. We will provide further information about these programs and how to apply for any new opportunities after July 15.
If you have questions or would like more information about the application process for any of these options, please contact Chris Ricciardi, email@example.com.
Class of 2024
If you are a member of the class of 2024, you have already received information about the courses recommended for first-year students and you will have the opportunity to meet with a faculty advisor from July 13 through July 22 to discuss course selections. You should then complete your First Year Questionnaire and submit it by July 24. Based on that information we will enroll you in a Montserrat seminar and one other course. You can consult the Incoming Student webpage for more information.
For returning students, as you review the revised course schedule and consider your academic options, we encourage you to consult with your academic advisor if you have any questions.
The Registrar’s Office and the Class Deans are also available to answer questions and will be sending you additional information regarding opportunities to modify and complete your schedule.
Finally, Dean Cass and I will be available to answer your questions at the webinars this Monday and Wednesday evening.
A Final Note
Your professors have been working hard to restructure their courses for the fall semester. The requirement that we maintain six feet separation between students in the classroom means that many of our classrooms are too small to use. In addition, as faculty members consider how best to facilitate discussions in class, they are balancing the requirements that we wear masks in class and maintain separation against the flexibility of using online features such as breakout rooms in ZOOM. As a result of these considerations, many professors have decided that they will be able to more creatively engage students in an online or hybrid format.
While course formats may have changed, what has not changed is your professors’ deep commitment to your intellectual development—that is, to creating challenging and innovative courses, developing your academic skills, and providing the support and structure that will allow you to be successful. Personalized attention and mentoring from faculty has always been a signature aspect of a Holy Cross education, and this priority remains the case, whether students are learning in person or online. Furthermore, we know that the academic experience at Holy Cross is about more than your courses, and we will continue to create new opportunities for intellectual engagement (e.g., speakers, panels, discussions, study groups) for students, wherever they are learning.
Whether you choose to be on campus or not, all of us, faculty, staff and administration, look forward to working closely with you this year as you continue, or begin, your Holy Cross education.
Margaret N. Freije
Provost and Dean of the College