June 12, 2020 (Updated July 29, 2020)
As the 2020-21 academic year draws nearer amid public health concerns, Albion College is moving forward with its plan for face-to-face classes this fall through the introduction of two seven-week modules.
The Fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on August 24 and will be divided into Module A and Module B, with students taking up to two courses in each module. All on-campus instruction will end prior to the November 26 Thanksgiving holiday.
The Spring 2021 semester will begin January 25 and is currently planned to feature a shorter than normal schedule. A specific date for the end of spring instruction is still being determined and cannot be announced until approved by the Higher Learning Commission.
Albion College President-Elect Dr. Mathew Johnson announced the plan in coordination with the College’s Academic Contingency Planning Team.
“I want to thank the Academic Contingency Planning Team for their excellent work,” Dr. Johnson said. “I know they considered many issues, with a focus on the academic quality we are known to provide our students.”
Details of the module system include:
Learning communities: In Module A, first-year students will have their First-Year Seminar paired with another course to form a learning community. All students in a particular FYS will also be registered for the same second discipline-specific course (history, economics, biology, music, theater, etc.). This approach can significantly enhance educational benefits and will limit the number of regular contacts for students. The College will work hard to create other paired-course learning communities for all students in both modules.
Additional opportunities: Additional remote learning opportunities will be provided for students to take a half-credit (0.5-unit) “Pre-Fall” course beginning in July and finishing prior to the start of Module A. They will also have the option to take a half-credit (0.5-unit) “Intersession” course beginning right after the end of Module B and continuing up to the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester. No additional tuition will be charged for these courses if they are taken in place of a fall or spring semester course. There may be limited offerings, to be shared with first-year students primarily and opened up to returning students as more options become available. Students who opt for units in Pre-Fall or Intersession may choose to lighten their course load accordingly in Module A or B. (Albion College operates on a unit system of academic credit; 32 units are required for graduation.)
With this schedule, examples of student course loads could include:
While classes during Fall 2020’s two modules are scheduled to be in person, the College recognizes that a new COVID-19 outbreak could force a return to online instruction at any time. Albion's plan accounts for that contingency.
“We understand that there are many other decisions that need to be made regarding a safe and productive semester at Albion College,” Johnson said, noting that policies around campus life outside the classroom—pertaining to residence halls, dining facilities, student activities, etc.—are actively being planned. “But we felt it was important for all involved to show that we are committed to a strong academic template and, like every other school in this challenging time, some decisions will be reached more quickly than others. We thank everyone for their patience.”