Looking forward to the fall


From: McFadden, David F. <DFMcFadden@manchester.edu>
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2020 8:52 AM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: Looking forward to the fall


Dear colleagues,

As we wind down this exceptional spring semester, we are working on contingencies to resume in-person teaching on both of our campuses. We are developing a number of alternatives, which will help prepare us for a range of scenarios as we approach the fall. Our top priority remains the health of our community and the choices we make will reflect that priority.

Our first preference, by far, is to return for face-to-face instruction in the fall. If conditions allow, we will begin the fall semester as planned. That said, we all recognize that returning to campus won’t be returning to “normal,” and we are planning for the myriad adjustments that will need to be made when we return.

We are also exploring and building out other options if the fall is disrupted:

  • On the undergraduate side, we might start fall semester in October and use January to finish the semester. This might mean canceling January session or offering some of those classes in May 2021. We are also looking at options for delaying the start of graduate and professional classes if that means we can teach the full semester face-to-face. Some student teaching, internship and clinical rotation schedules may need to be adjusted as well.
  • We might also teach some or all classes remotely. We might start the fall teaching remotely and then return to campus or, if there is a resurgence of the virus at some point, we might start on campus and then move to remote teaching during the semester.
  • We will develop our capacity to offer hybrid delivery options so that students and faculty who are in high risk categories can remotely join face to face classes.

One thing we’ve learned from this crisis is that we need to expand our capacity to teach remotely across programs. It will be part of how we teach in the future regardless of whether or not we are forced to by external events. It will be a great tool to have in our teaching tool kit. A team from across the University is working on a plan to strengthen our competence in this area and we are investing restricted funds from a Lilly Endowment grant to support that work.

We are also developing some new options for incoming undergraduate students who prefer to start their Manchester experience online and at home this fall. They or family members might have health vulnerabilities or they may simply feel more comfortable starting college from home this year.

We will survey current students in June about their preferences for fall and are talking with faculty to get their input. This will help us in our planning for the start of the school year.

There is so much that is unknown and unknowable about what we may face this fall. I want you to know that we are exploring many options and preparing contingency plans for a variety of circumstances. If you have suggestions that we should consider, please share them directly or email them to president@manchester.edu and we will direct them to the right people.

Thanks for all the good work you do every day.


Dave McFadden
Manchester University