Information Regarding Fall 2021 Course Registration
Updated March 17, 2021
To the Members of the University Community:
I am writing about Fall 2021 priority registration, which begins on Monday, April 5, 2021.
I am pleased to announce that the University is scheduling a vast majority of all courses for on ground delivery in the Fall 2021 semester, and that all on-ground courses are planned to be in classrooms without social distancing restrictions in place. The decision to return to campus in this way has not been made lightly and without a great deal of planning. I received detailed feedback and support from our Provost, Deans, Faculty Senate President as well as many senior staff members on campus. I am grateful for this collaboration. This feedback, along with guidance from state and national health experts, has led us to this decision. As I have been stating all along, we must make important decisions in ambiguous times. We thrive in uncertainty by being well-informed, decisive, and extremely well-prepared.
While we prepare for mostly on ground courses to resume in the fall, we have detailed contingency plans in place. If for any reason the University needs to revert back to classrooms with social distancing capacity, we will be ready to execute our plan in a quick and organized manner that will reduce class sizes and add more hybrid options to the course schedule without disrupting the day and time of the classes that will be available when priority registration goes live. In other words, every day and class time in the priority registration system will remain the same even if we must adjust for social distancing.
We are at an important inflection point in our University’s history, as is all of higher education. We know that we have incredible students and faculty who are inspired by the unique exchange of knowledge and ideas that take place through face-to-face classroom contact. We are also aware that there are certain courses that can be taught very well in an online or hybrid format. We know we have students and faculty who appreciate these important new ways to collaborate and learn. I am confident that the Fall 2021 schedule will allow for more of these well-organized and innovative types of courses to be made available while still maximizing in person learning as we have done for the last century.
Students will receive specific details and reminders from the Registrar’s Office in the coming days regarding important dates and steps to take to help you register for classes. If you have any questions about the information that is coming out regarding Priority Registration, please contact Enrollment Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-796-2080 Monday – Friday from 8:30 – 4:30.
I very much look forward to being together on campus next fall. I want to emphasize that University faculty and staff will be fully prepared to deal with whatever our situation may bring this fall, as has been the case all along. I am both cautious and optimistic in all that we are planning for you. Most important, thank you in advance for your continued commitment and faith in our University.
A little over a year after the pandemic started, it is hard to imagine that we now are at a point where we can consider making plans to welcome our community back to campus in a manner that will fully maximize on our on-campus classroom capacity at pre-pandemic levels. I am also cognizant of the dichotomies of planning for a brighter fall when a significant portion of our campus will have been vaccinated, while also being immersed now in the serious task of making sure everyone knows that the pandemic is not over. We still have a lot of sacrifices we need to make this semester in order to remain on-ground together. This is challenging for all of us. I know we can do this together.
Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.