The University of New Hampshire (UNH) plans to continue to provide a hybrid college experience to students this upcoming Spring.
Provost Wayne Jones sent a letter regarding spring semester planning this past Monday, Oct. 26. In the letter, Provost Jones provided the official semester calendar, details about common exam time, course delivery modalities, engagement, and flexible work arrangements.
“The final calendar includes delaying the start of spring semester classes by one week, and replacing spring break with two Fridays, one in March, and one in April,” said Provost Jones in his letter. Classes will begin on Feb. 1, and there will be no classes on Friday, Mar. 19, and Friday, April 16. Like many universities, UNH is canceling spring break to prevent students from contracting and potentially spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19) when they return from vacation.
Course delivery assignments are currently underway with the deans and departments of different colleges within the university. The provost wants to have class modalities submitted by the first week of November to avoid last-minute class structure changes, because, “last-minute changes in modalities result the lowest student satisfaction.” Provost Jones hopes students will know the modality of their classes long before they come to campus so they can plan accordingly. The university is considering creating cross-listed courses with an in-person and remote option to predict the in-person to remote ratio better.
UNH plans to increase student engagement this upcoming spring. “We’ve also learned students are feeling less engaged with each other in both academic and co-curricular environments. We are working creatively to enhance engagement for students outside of the classroom,” said Provost Jones. The university plans to gather best practices for class engagements and develop processes for supporting face-to-face student club activities to help more students in and outside of the classroom when they return to campus.
The university hopes to provide more in-person programs in the spring semester. Provost Jones said, “In the spring, we want to maintain the percentage of face-to-face courses at least and increase in-person activities when safely possible.” Faculty and staff who received temporary medical ADA accommodations will receive the same arrangements in the spring. Faculty and staff who are at risk because of age or an at-risk family member are directed to work with their dean or department chair regarding accommodations and course modalities.
Provost Jones ended the letter by thanking the university and ensured that the university “will continue to take strong action to maintain our vigilance in the battle against COVID.”
Photo courtesy of the University of New Hampshire