Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Education 

The University is eager to welcome our community back to campus for Autumn Quarter. The pandemic and public health protocols will change the way academic instruction takes place this year. However, the University is fully committed to providing you its distinct, transformative education – one that will continue to challenge you to question common assumptions; explore how, not what, to think; and provide access to field defining faculty experts.

An Academic Setting Unlike Any Other

As you join us in Hyde Park, it will be a different experience this year. The campus itself remains as beautiful as ever with the Quads and Botany Pond providing picturesque settings. New buildings will further define the University’s renowned architecture and landscaping. What is different this year is how we, as the UChicago community, work together to create a healthy environment for each other.

The University has been collaborating with UChicago Medicine to design a campus experience that makes your personal health and well-being the top priority. These plans have been informed by state and local guidelines and include several important steps:

  • Augmenting our classroom settings to provide each person space for physical distancing.
  • Ventilation specifications and cleaning protocols will be compliant with guidance from the University’s epidemiology team and relevant governmental agencies.
  • Restructuring the academic calendar to decrease student travel demands and simultaneously limit the spread of the virus.
  • Providing options for students to join classes in-person or remotely.
  • Allowing schools and instructors to inform the delivery modes for their classes.

Here is important information related to the Autumn Quarter academic experience:

Academic Calendar

The Autumn Quarter calendar has been altered in an effort to protect the health of you, your families, and the UChicago community.

  • Classes for most parts of the University will begin as scheduled on September 29.
    • The Pritzker School of Medicine, the Law School, and the Booth School of Business will start classes earlier than September 29 as originally scheduled and will communicate details to their students soon.
  • In-person instruction will end at Thanksgiving.
  • Those traveling to Chicago for Autumn Quarter may need to arrive earlier than usual. We encourage flexibility in travel arrangements and timing to account for the potential for quarantine requirements. We will provide updates if quarantine requirements change between now and the start of the quarter.
  • The final week of Autumn Quarter instruction as well as reading period and finals period – from November 30 through December 12 – will take place fully remotely.

While the evolving situation with the pandemic means that there are inherent uncertainties, concluding in-person instruction before Thanksgiving is intended to help decrease the chance of an increase in COVID-19 cases between the Thanksgiving break and the end of the quarter.

Autumn Quarter Shopping Period

The College is requesting that all Autumn Quarter 2020 instructors teaching College courses publish their Canvas courses and post their syllabus on their Canvas Syllabus page during the first week of classes (September 29 – October 2, 2020). All students will be able to access these syllabi (though only registered students will have access to the other parts of the Canvas course site) and may add classes until 11:59pm October 2, 2020. Please note that instructors continue to have discretion about whether to participate in the add/drop period and the information they post on their syllabi for students. Registration guidelines for graduate and professional students may differ by Division or School. Please contact your Department Chair, Program Director, or Dean’s Office with any additional questions about add/drop periods in your program.

All students who would like to shop a course, whether in person or remote, will need to obtain the instructor’s permission before attending a class, either remotely or in person. Remote students must email the instructor to obtain a Zoom link. Students interested in attending an in-person class will need to obtain the permission of the instructor by email prior to visiting the class, and upon approval, will need to follow any additional directions or protocols provided by the instructor. Any student who shows up to an in-person course without prior permission of the instructor will not be allowed access to the classroom.

Instruction

It is our intent to safely welcome as many students as possible in Hyde Park for the new academic year. To do so, the University plans to hold in-person and remote classes this Autumn Quarter.

  • We have worked to create a safe classroom environment by establishing spatial configuration guidelines that will provide adequate physical distancing in classrooms and other spaces across campus.
  • New classroom configurations that reduce the density of students will also reduce the University’s overall in-person learning capacity thus limiting the number of in-person classes.
  • To maximize in-person learning opportunities, we are exploring the use of non-classroom space for instruction.
  • We anticipate a limited number of classes will be held in-person. Many classes will include a combination of in-person and remote instruction and discussion. Others will be conducted fully remotely.
  • Each academic area and its instructors will determine the delivery mode for its courses, to serve curricular and pedagogical needs and align with public health guidance.

We recognize that travel restrictions, particularly for our international students, and health risks mean a portion of our community may not be able to return to campus this fall. We are planning carefully for how these members of our campus community will be connected and supported. The College, schools, and divisions will provide a range of remote course options for students who are not able to return to campus in the upcoming quarter.

For more academic information and resources for the 2020-21 school year, instructors should visit Teaching Remotely, and students can go to Learning Remotely.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of the Education planning group?

The Education planning group is charged with exploring options to deliver the optimal academic experience that meets curricular and degree requirements under a variety of potential scenarios. This includes gathering input from faculty, other academic appointees, students, and staff to analyze in-person and remote learning options. Considerations are also to be given to adjusted classroom formats and alternative class schedules.

Who is in the Curricular subgroup?
Name Unit
Ashley Johnson Office of the Provost/Communications
Christopher J. Wild College/Humanities Division
Dana Levinson UChicago MedicalCenter
Daniel Abebe Office of the Provost
Elizabeth Shanin Office of Legal Counsel
Eric Slauter Humanities Division
J. Curtis McMillen School of Social Service Administration
James T. Sparrow College/Social Sciences Division
Jason Merchant (group chair) Office of the Provost
Jocelyn Malamy College/Biological Sciences Division
Kara Kuligowski Office of the Provost
Katie Hrinyak President's Office/Global
Kevin Boyd  IT Services
Lisa Messaglia Booth School of Business
Mark Philip Bradley Social Sciences Division
Melina Hale Office of the Provost
Michael D. Hopkins Office of the Provost
Michael Foote Physical Sciences Division
Paul Nealey Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Richard H. McAdams Law School
Ryan Coyne Divinity School
Ryan Kellogg Harris School of Public Policy
Stuart Kurtz College/Physical Sciences Division
Victoria E. Prince Biological Sciences Division
Waldo Johnson School of Social Service Administration
Zoe Eisenman Graham School

Note: Italics signify faculty members.

Who is in the Logistics subgroup?
Name Unit
Blair Archambeau Office of the Provost
Elise Covic College
Elizabeth Shanin Office of Legal Counsel
Jason Merchant (group chair) Office of the Provost
Jim McConnell Facilities Services
Katie Hrinyak President's Office/Global
Kevin Boyd  IT Services
Michael D. Hopkins (subgroup chair) Office of the Provost
Scott Campbell University Registrar

Note: Italics signify faculty members.

Who is in the Remote Learning subgroup?
Name Unit
Bill Rando (subgroup chair) Chicago Center for Teaching
Cheryl Richardson Chicago Center for Teaching
Jason Merchant (group chair) Office of the Provost
Joseph Lampert Chicago Center for Teaching

Note: Italics signify faculty members.

Who is in the Student Advisory Group?

The Student Advisory Group is composed of leadership from undergraduate and graduate student government. The collective perspectives of these elected representatives will inform institutional decision-making related to the impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of university operations.

2020-21 College Council
Name Position
Raven Rainey (email) President, 4th year
Myles Hudson (email) VP of Student Life, 4th year
Alex Levi (email) VP of Administration, 4th year
Itzel Velázquez (email) Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees, 4th year
2020-21 Graduate Council Co-Chairs
Name Position
Rohail Premjee (email) Co-President, MPP Harris & MBA Booth
Kim Liu (email) Co-President, PhD Math
Steven Wendeborn (email) Grad Liaison to the Board of Trustees, MBA Booth
What is the University doing to help new students better orient themselves with classmates and instructors?

To help new students acclimate to the University, priority for in-person classes will be given to courses that serve new students.

What efforts are underway to build engagement among students within this new campus environment?

We are identifying new and innovative ways to facilitate connections for all students, regardless of whether they are located on campus or elsewhere, as well as developing and sharing best practices for teaching remotely. 

How will students who are unable to return to campus continue their academic work?

The College and our schools and divisions will provide a range of remote course options for students who are not able to return to campus in the upcoming quarter.

We welcome suggestions and ideas about academic planning for the academic year 2020-21 at academicplanning2020@uchicago.edu.