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About Your Fall Schedule

From: 
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Sent: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 2:10 p.m.
To: 
All KU Lawrence and Edwards Students

This message is also available in video.

 

Dear Students,

Some of you have been checking the enrollment system over the past few days, and have expressed concerns about seeing predominantly online classes listed on your schedules. There are several important things you need to know now:

  • We are currently in the middle of re-setting course formats and schedules. The most up-to-date version of your schedules will be available August 3.
  • As of this writing, we estimate that about one-third of classes will be HyFlex courses with blended in-person and online instruction, one-third will be fully on-campus, and one-third of classes will be fully online.
  • After you see your course schedules on August 3, you will have the opportunity to change your schedule, or to ask for adaptations to your courses. Adaptations will be provided when a course is scheduled to be on-campus, and a student needs to take the course online.
  • We have spent the summer re-designing our instructional approach to provide high-quality educational experiences that involve and engage students, while reconfiguring classroom place and time, and virtual space to create a safer and the most interactive learning communities possible for each course.
  • Our course designs and course adaptations will make it possible for students to be in class when able, or continue online if quarantined and then rejoin the class in-person when appropriate. Our efforts will allow students who are on campus to connect with students who cannot be on campus to work on projects together and to develop community no matter where classmates are located.
  • Our staff and administrators have also been working throughout the summer to re-design and restructure co-curricular experiences to make sure students have opportunities to be involved and to establish new relationships, regardless of whether the student is on campus or online. Co-curricular activities are also a significant aspect of the university experience, where students apply lessons from the classroom, develop leadership skills, forge life-long relationships, and develop interests and find futures. As you plan for the fall semester, please plan to engage in the university beyond your class schedule.

We are excited to have you join us, and we are committed to our vision to be an exceptional learning community that lifts each other and advances society. We are doing our best to make learning as personalized and engaging as possible. We are keenly aware that now, more than ever, the world needs people who are critical thinkers and community leaders, needs research and new discoveries to solve our most pressing problems, and needs the spirit of service and stewardship.

We are living through extraordinary times, and we want to ensure you are able to progress in your studies, and that our most vulnerable students are well-served. Our faculty, staff and administrators have been working tirelessly over the past several months to re-craft most everything about our university:

  • Creating unprecedented plans for virus testing, contact tracing and health monitoring,
  • Procuring personal protective equipment,
  • Preparing housing plans,
  • Developing co-curricular activities,
  • Restructuring our advising and enrollment systems,
  • Reorganizing all of our spaces to change seating plans and student traffic patterns,
  • Re-creating work plans for staff who support students,
  • Redesigning every course so that it will be as participatory and engaging as it can be for all our students,
  • Building a Jayhawk Cloud community to connect people who will be distributed across the globe while in the same classes this fall, and putting in new protocols that provide a level of personalization that has never before been possible.

All of this is to ensure that each of our students will have the opportunity to progress through their academic program and not let the coronavirus stop them from advancing toward the future to which they aspire.

While I can’t predict the spread of the virus, one thing about the fall semester I know will be true is that what happens on campus this fall, and the experiences of our students, staff and faculty, will look different than any other semester has ever looked in the history of KU. This will be true at every university in this country and across the globe.

Knowing that everything will be different, we have been, and continue to be, guided by a few key principles:

  • Work to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty while providing an on-campus experience.
  • Provide people as much flexibility and choice as possible to pursue studies and progress toward desired futures - recognizing that some Jayhawks absolutely need to be on campus to take advantage of our programs and services, while some Jayhawks who want and need to be part of our community simply cannot be here for a variety of reasons (health, family responsibilities, financial challenges, inability to travel).
  • Create a new Jayhawk community that is vibrant and connected and engaging, that begins in the nest that is Mount Oread and at the same time emanates beyond the Hill to reach people wherever they are.

Regardless of how your fall schedule looks, the experience of being a KU student, irrespective of your location or course format, delivers distinct advantages:

  • You are continuing in a degree program without losing time toward achieving goals.
  • You are continuing at a top tier research university.
  • You are continuing at an institution that is investing in helping faculty and instructors not simply improve, but excel at, HyFlex and online instruction.
  • You have access to a wide variety of resources – original research experiences, career services, alumni network, exceptional Information Technology services, a world-class research library (with online access as well as rapid delivery of hard copy materials).
  • You are learning from some of the best, most highly regarded faculty in the region and world.
  • We are investing in Jayhawk Cloud, a branded Microsoft Teams platform that can connect up to 10,000 Jayhawks on a single team and allow up to 500,000 different teams. Teams offers video meetings, calls, chat, instant messaging, and live events. It can be used for the academic as well as the social needs of Jayhawks.

All of these, and more, will keep you connected, engaged and progressing toward graduation as we wait for the moment we can more fully restore the campus environment. We are continuing to work on ways to make the campus environment safer so we are all together again sooner rather than later.

By definition, an unprecedented time is one in which precedents no longer work. I have been amazed and inspired by the care for our students, the spirit of stewardship, the tireless effort, and the sense of community and teamwork that I have seen and experienced from students, staff and faculty over the summer, as we have worked together prepare for this fall. Being in an unprecedented time also means that we’ve never lived through this before, we’ve never done this before, and we can’t predict how it will all turn out. So if you have questions or concerns about your enrollment, please reach out to someone at KU – your advisor or the advising team, the Student Affairs team, a faculty member, Department Chair or Dean, or the Provost Office – to let us know what you need. I assure you we’ll do our best to try to meet your needs. Even though there may be some situations in which we simply can’t, I bet on our spirit of ingenuity and our commitment to service, and expect in the vast majority of cases, we’ll rise to the occasion.

Though this is certainly one of the most challenging moments in our history, I continue to be so very grateful and proud to be a Jayhawk.

Rock Chalk!

Barb

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Office of the Provost
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