Dear Friedman School Students,
We’re more than halfway through the Fall 2020 semester. I know that for some of you remote education works well, while for others remote participation can be challenging and fatiguing. I would like to congratulate all of you on your resilience and academic progress thus far, and to recognize your incredible scholarship despite these troubling times. I now write to you to announce our plans for the Spring 2021 semester.
I know that some students returned to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, and many of you would ideally want to return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. I also know that many students won’t be able to travel to campus or may be uncomfortable being on campus. In order to meet the needs of all students and maximize accessibility, this spring the Friedman School will continue to offer courses and other activities using a flexible, hybrid approach that allows students the option to participate online, on campus, or a combination of both.
We have learned a lot since COVID-19 forced us to modify our operations last spring. We’ve learned a tremendous amount from our Fall 2020 delivery of courses and other activities, including what has worked well and what hasn’t. Your feedback has been an incredible source of information to guide our plans for the coming semester. The faculty are now hard at work integrating the lessons learned from the past two semesters into plans for Spring 2021 courses and activities.
The School is almost ready to announce details about its Spring 2021 courses. We anticipated that Spring 2021 course details and logistics will be announced very soon and that pre-registration for the Spring semester will begin in mid-November.
I can give you a broad outline of what “flexible and hybrid” means in practice:
- All courses will be accessible online.
- In some courses, lectures will be pre-recorded and can be viewed asynchronously so that students can view these at times convenient to them.
- In some courses lectures will be delivered in real-time (synchronously) and recorded for viewing by students who are in distant time zones or unable to attend in person.
- A small number of courses will be delivered completely synchronously due to the nature of the course.
- In many courses, activities beyond lectures such as discussions, debates, and reviews will be delivered both synchronously and asynchronously.
- Some courses will also include in-classroom components, with participation by students who are not in the classroom facilitated by livestreaming and recording. In-classroom activities will be offered for some courses if there is student demand and if this can be conducted safely.
- All of our usual other activities, such as seminars, advising, and career events will be provided online, with livestreaming and recording as possible.
As always, all students will have academic advisors to help chart their plan for the fall and beyond. Online advising sessions with faculty advisors and Division Chairs will be scheduled for the weeks to come. Our Academic Dean, Ed Saltzman, will be holding Q&A events this week for all students. Please watch your email for invitations to these Zoom events.
Whether learning from near or far, I applaud your commitment to acquiring the knowledge and skills required to change our broken food system. On behalf of the Friedman School’s faculty and staff, we look forward to helping you prepare to make the important contributions that are desperately needed.