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Campus update for July 10, 2020; academic calendar

July 10, 2020

From the Provost:

We’re busy planning to get back to classes in the fall in a way that provides the flexibility that will be needed.

Class calendar 

Faculty have decided to optimize the academic calendar with an aim to protect the health and safety of our campus community. The changes to the calendar will give students the option to not return after Thanksgiving. Those changes are:

  • Classes will be held on Labor Day (Sept. 7).
     
  • Classes will be held on the day previously scheduled for fall break (Oct. 19).
     
  • Symposium Day will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17.
     
  • The college will hold classes the day before Thanksgiving (Nov. 25).
     
  • For students enrolled in semester-long courses, the week following Thanksgiving will be a study week (Nov. 30-Dec. 4).
     
  • Second seven-week courses will meet virtually the week after Thanksgiving.
     
  • Finals (Dec. 7-11) can be completed from a distance.

See the updated calendar

Student-centered, agile design 

Augustana prioritizes small class sizes and the supportive relationships that develop between students and their professors. The primary modality will continue to be in-person classes, but our faculty are planning for a wider variety of fully online and blended classes.

For those who are unable to return to campus, more information about special accommodations is forthcoming. Students impacted by COVID-19, whether for medical, wellness, financial or other reasons, will also be able to continue their Augustana education, and will work closely with their advisor to ensure they can continue their coursework. These measures affirm our commitment to all students and ensure that students from vulnerable populations and international students will remain on track for their degree. 

Plans to pivot 

Given the still unpredictable course of COVID-19, Augustana faculty are designing their courses with flexibility in mind. There is a Pivot Pedagogy Team working to build skills and prepare for a strong, successful fall semester. This means a smooth pivot to remote instruction if the need arises. Any such pivot will be accompanied by flexibility and support should students need to relocate while completing their courses. 

Support services 

Whether students are on campus or temporarily working on their Augustana education from a distance, they’ll continue to benefit from our holistic student-support network, including their faculty advisor, Reading/Writing Center, student success services, disability services, the counseling office, Dean of Students Office, and career services. Athletic coaches, music ensemble directors, and staff in the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity and Office of International Student and Scholar Services will continue to round out the support team for many of our students.

Technology

The Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) is upgrading systems to enhance the learning experience for both on campus and remote learners, including improved Moodle functionality, enhanced options for synchronous class interactions, and additional technology in our classrooms. This financial investment will provide faculty the tools to deliver a high-quality learning environment for all of our students.

Classrooms and labs

Following guidelines from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), in-person instruction will require physical distancing and face coverings. Classrooms and other spaces are being carefully evaluated to determine how to maximize teaching spaces on campus while adhering to safety guidelines. Augustana’s small class sizes are a real advantage in this area. In instances in which physical distancing guidelines prevent an entire class from meeting in person simultaneously, faculty will employ a hybrid teaching model that combines the flexibility of in-person and online learning.

Choirs 

Our plan is to have choirs singing at Augustana this fall. We are currently waiting for a large scientific study to be completed at the end of July to determine the specific details of how our ensembles will function safely. However, our current plan is to have our large choirs rehearsing in small chamber-sized groups for shorter periods of time. These smaller groups will be led by our conducting faculty and rehearse in large spaces such as our rehearsal halls, Centennial Hall or even outdoors, weather permitting. 

Performances likely will be pre-recorded and posted rather than live. We are planning to shoot live video and audio recordings of the groups that can be combined into a performance that will be widely distributed to our audiences. The choral area is looking forward to finding creative ways to continue to sing in choir even in these difficult times.

Instrumental ensembles  

We intend for instrumental ensembles at Augustana to meet this fall. Based on the safety recommendations of the CDC, the state of Illinois, other health officials, and major scientific studies related to the performing arts and COVID-19, we will organize our spaces so we can rehearse in the safest possible manner. We will meet in groups up to 50 individuals, per state of Illinois current limits, in the various rehearsal rooms, providing spaces for jazz bands, concert bands, orchestras and chamber groups. 

The ensembles may be configured in creative ways to meet guidelines, but we will effectively give our students a rich and excellent musical experience that is a hallmark of an Augustana education. Performances in the fall may include live performances for very small, select and socially distanced audiences in Centennial Hall, or we will perform streamed, recorded or shared concerts.


 

Supporting international students

President Steve Bahls welcomes back our international students and explains why he has such a personal interest in international students.

Responding to COVID-19

Students, if you are in a higher risk category for COVID-19 and want to request an accommodation, here’s the form to let us know.

Help us keep track of how COVID-19 is impacting the campus community. Students, faculty and staff on campus who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to call Public Safety at 309-794-7000. This will enable the college to keep a record of cases, understand trends and provide support.

Augustana ready with isolation/quarantine housing

As part of its COVID-ready Return to Campus plan, Augustana has isolation and quarantine housing plans ready to go. Dr. Wes Brooks explains the difference and how they will work. He encourages all COVID-related questions.

Students, tell us what you think

Tell us about your distance learning experience by completing this survey. We want to know what went well and what could have been better. Thank you!