Fall 2020 and J-Term 2021

What are the changes to the academic calendar for the coming year?

The 2020-21 academic year will consist of four terms. The fall and spring semesters are each 15 weeks long, including courses designated 10 or 13 weeks and a final exam period. In-person learning for the fall will conclude by Friday, November 20; students will not return to campus after the November vacation break. Thirteen-week courses will continue remotely through December, with exams for all students concluding by Monday, December 21.

There will be also be a 5-week optional January Term (J-Term), offered remotely, as well as a 5-week optional summer term on campus, conditions permitting. As part of regular tuition, students will be able to take up to 11.5 credits across all four terms, subject to the minimum credit requirements outlined below.

How will the advance registration process work this summer?

During the advance registration period, you will register for fall semester courses and, if you choose to do so, courses during the 5-week J-Term. To maintain full-time student status and remain in good standing at the college, you must enroll in at least 4 credits in the fall and J-Term combined. For increased flexibility, including reducing any anticipated stress in the fall semester, you can take up to 2 credits in the J-Term; this year many departments are offering 1-credit courses during the J-Term. To this end, we would like for you to think of the fall and J-Term together as you plan your course selections and schedules. You may take a maximum of 5.75 credits during these two terms combined.

Advance Registration dates will be as follows:

  • July 13-20 (beginning 7/13, 10 am): Advance Registration for Senior Class
  • July 15-20 (beginning 7/15, 10 am): Advance Registration for Junior Class
  • July 17-20 (beginning 7/17, 10 am): Advance Registration for Sophomore Class
  • July 20-24: First-Year Student Registration (incoming students will receive special instructions)
  • Graduate Students: Advising week begins on July 6 and course registration on July 13.

We have extended the registration time for each class to two days to compensate for any unexpected challenges related to a remote registration process.

For IDP Students: The date of your appointment is determined by the number of credits you currently have earned and are enrolled in this term.  For students who have 28 or more credits, your appointment begins on July 13th; if you have 19-27 credits, your appointment begins on July 15; and if you have fewer than 19 credits, your appointment begins on July 17.

Is it true that there will be advising holds?

Yes, due to the many changes being made for the coming academic year, all returning students will have their advising holds placed back onto their student accounts. To best support you during your course selection, July advising week will take place from Monday, July 6 to Friday, July 10. Your advisor must review your course selections and release the registration hold that has been placed on your record.

What are the changes to the structure of classes in 2020-21?

You will notice that, to maintain both social distancing for in-person learning and the highest quality remote instruction, class sizes will generally be smaller in the fall. We believe that these smaller classes, combined with flexible course offerings, will provide for an outstanding liberal arts experience.  

Courses in the fall semester will be either 10- or 13-weeks long, depending on the topic, and they will fall into one of three modes of instruction, according to the updated academic calendar:

  • In-Person: In these courses, the professor will be in the classroom with the students.
  • Remote: For these courses, both the students and the instructors will work remotely.
  • Hybrid: While the professor will be in the classroom, these courses will enroll both in-person and remote students. Hybrid courses will appear as two cross-listed sections in the schedule of classes, one labeled ‘in-person’ and the other labeled ‘remote’.
When will the course schedules be available for review?

The course schedule, with updated fall and J-Term courses, is available here. The course schedule includes information on the instructor, the length of the course (10 or 13 weeks for the fall semester), and the mode of teaching (in-person or remote).

What will remote learning be like?

Faculty members are working hard to strengthen the remote learning experience for students. All courses taught remotely next year will be expected to meet during the assigned time, and we will do our best to accommodate students across time zones. Faculty this summer are being trained in the best practices of remote instruction, and they are participating in hands-on course-design studios led by national experts. We are enhancing technology in our classrooms (including adding more cameras, microphones, and other equipment) to ensure excellence for both the in-person and the remote learning experience.

If I enroll in the fall semester remotely, can I switch to in-person enrollment for the spring?

Yes!  We know that everyone’s situation is different, and your situation may change in response to the changing conditions at the college and in the world. We will welcome you back in-person when you are prepared to return. Information on how to request a return to campus will be provided in the fall.

Are there any major changes to academic policies for the 2020-21 academic year?

For the 2020-21 academic year only, students may take as few as two courses in each of the four terms. This FAQ will be updated regularly to reflect any further changes to the academic policies.

What is the minimum number of courses in which I must enroll during the fall and J-Term semesters?

To be considered ‘full time’, students must enroll in a minimum of 4 credits in the fall semester and J-term session combined. The 2021 J-Term is optional for all students.

Are there any recommendations for an appropriate course load?

Due to the challenges associated with COVID-19 that students may encounter this fall, 4 courses would be an appropriate load. Students should consult with their academic advisor and the Center for Academic Advising for individualized advice. Some majors may have specific requirements, which should be completed to progress through the major.

Examples of potential ‘directed’ course loads include:

  • First-Year Students: In addition to the first-year seminar, satisfy a distribution requirement and explore a major by taking an entry-level course.
  • Sophomores: Satisfy distribution requirements, and take an entry-level course or core course for a major.
  • Juniors: Take additional courses in the major; opt for a globally engaged course for those who would have studied abroad; and complete distribution requirements.
  • Seniors: Complete advanced work in the major and all degree requirements to ensure timely graduation.
Will science labs and art studios be open on campus this fall?

Access to academic facilities is crucial to students’ engagement with the community, including their professors and peers, as well as research and projects. While we know that some activities may be limited as we work to maintain physical distancing to protect the health and safety of our community, our faculty are excited to restart student research in their labs and to have students creating art in our studios.

Will internships and community engagement courses be running?

Professors are planning and excited to support internships, community engagement, and fieldwork in and around Hartford, according to the health and safety protocols in place at the start of the semester.

What provisions are being made for International Students who may not be able to return to campus for the start of the fall semester?

Departments and programs are offering a robust set of remote offerings, scheduled throughout the day, to allow for synchronous engagement across geographic locations.

If I am unable, or it is inadvisable, to return home for the winter break, will I be able to remain on campus in-between semesters?

Yes. Students will be able to petition to remain on campus over the winter break and through the J-Term.