TO: All NC State Instructors of Record, Spring 2021
FROM: Warwick A. Arden, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
SUBJECT: Spring 2021 Course Scheduling
DATE: September 25, 2020
Chancellor Woodson sent a message to the NC State community on Sept. 23 about plans for the spring 2021 semester. In his message, he shared the lessons we have learned over the past six months of the pandemic and how we will be applying those lessons in the spring. Please review his message carefully, as it contains important information about how COVID-19 infections appeared to spread within our community in the fall, noting that no community spread was traced to classrooms, office space, libraries or student centers. It also overviews our plans to welcome a limited number of students back into the residence halls, better support students in quarantine and isolation housing, and strengthen enforcement of our community standards to keep students, faculty, and staff as safe and healthy as possible.
Faculty and departments have inquired about their ability to teach certain courses on-campus in the spring and, in doing so, have expressed frustration with the need to quickly switch from on-campus to online instruction last spring and this fall. I realize how difficult and disruptive that transition can be for you and your students. While there are few guarantees in a pandemic, it is important to know we expect that students who return to campus will be allowed to remain on-campus throughout the spring semester, and that courses that begin in a face-to-face or hybrid mode will be allowed to continue with that delivery method throughout the semester. You and your departments should determine the delivery mode (face-to-face, hybrid, remote/online) for spring semester courses based on which mode is best academically for you and your students. Chancellor Woodson and I also want you to make those decisions knowing that we expect your courses will be able to continue in the delivery mode in which they start.
While I have asked faculty to accommodate short-term absences of students affected by the pandemic, whether that be illness or other hardships, there is no expectation that a faculty member teaching a face-to-face section must also simultaneously make that same section fully available online. We will continue to do our best to ensure that students who cannot take courses on-campus will be able to continue making progress toward degree completion.
I continue to be extremely grateful for and respectful of the hard work you have done and the care you have put into your teaching during the many changes associated with the pandemic. I also know you are understandably tired as a result of this work and these unrelenting circumstances. My hope is that the increased stability we expect in the spring semester will be helpful to our entire community, including you.
One of the things that I appreciate most about NC State, and something that I know many of you and our students enjoy as well, is the rich curricular and co-curricular environment that normally exists on our campus. Our community is at its best when we engage with each other in face-to-face classrooms, laboratories, studios, and other learning spaces, as well as interacting via technology. The chancellor and I are optimistic that, by using the lessons we’ve learned since March, our plans for the spring semester will help us return to a more diverse mix of these opportunities even as we continue to adhere to and enforce our campus and community standards for health and safety.
Find a PDF version of this memo here.