You are here: American University Provost Communications November 2, 2020

American University Office of the Provost

Memorandum November 2, 2020

AU Students
Peter Starr, Acting Provost
Monica C. Jackson, Interim Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty
Wendy Boland, Dean of Graduate Studies
Jessica Waters, Dean of Undergraduate Education and Vice Provost for Academic Student Services
Spring 2021 Course Modalities and Guidance

Dear AU Students,

With Spring 2021 registration beginning today, Monday, November 2, we are writing to share some important details and recommendations. 

Teaching modalities for Spring 2021 courses are now available on the Schedule of Classes. Although most Spring courses will be delivered fully online, you can search for the following in-person options in the “Course Type” dropdown menu:

  • Live Online and Periodic In-Person
  • Live Online and In-Person Arts
  • Live Online and In-Person Lab

International students seeking to enter the U.S. and needing an in-person course should work with their advisors to identify options. If you are in the International Accelerator Program or the Master’s Accelerator Program, your courses will remain entirely online.

As noted in the university’s recent Spring 2021 announcement, we will be offering a variety of co-curricular, on-campus opportunities throughout the semester, especially in the warmer months.

In light of the public health risks associated with travel and of DC’s current quarantine requirements, we are delaying the start of the traditional residential semester and canceling spring break. Updated academic calendars are now available on the Office of the University Registrar website. Start dates at the Washington College of Law, of four-term calendar programs, and of other graduate programs following special calendars are not affected by this change. Please check with your program’s advisors if you are unsure of your start date. 

We understand the concerns that students, faculty, and staff have raised following cancelation of spring break and appreciate the need for opportunities to decompress and recharge. Although plans are not yet finalized, we are exploring the possibility of building wellness days into the semester and will provide more information as soon as it is available.

As you plan your course schedule, please consider the following tips from our Academic Coaching team:

  1. Know what time of day you work/learn best—when are you most likely to be alert and engaged.
  2. Keep in mind your habits and commitments outside of school and build a schedule that will further your overall wellness.
  3. Allow for screen breaks and strategically place a gap between your classes, if possible. This will allow you to eat, stretch, and engage in other wellness activities, which will increase your ability to engage while in class. 
  4. Try to limit block classes to one per day or design your schedule with breaks between block classes. Block classes can be screen intensive. 
  5. Translate your class times into your time zone before registering. Then consider whether you will be able to fully engage if classes are too early or too late.
  6. Work with your advisor to plan out your schedule and talk through any challenges that may arise.
  7. Aim for a schedule that offers variety, mixing discussion-based and lecture-based courses, balancing heavy reading with light reading. This will help you find equilibrium in your overall engagement.

During the remaining weeks of the Fall 2020 semester, we encourage you to focus on your personal wellness, and rely on campus resources for support. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your advisors for guidance as you plan for the Spring semester ahead. We will be updating and expanding our Spring Plan FAQs and welcome your input on questions that should be incorporated moving forward.

All the best,

Peter Starr
Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Monica C. Jackson
Interim Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty

Wendy Boland
Dean of Graduate Studies

Jessica Waters
Dean of Undergraduate Education and Vice Provost for Academic Student Services