Fall 2021 Outlook and Academic Planning
January 28, 2021
Dear Members of the Rutgers–New Brunswick Community:
We are writing as a follow-up to President Holloway’s recent correspondence regarding Fall 2021 to outline our academic planning efforts at Rutgers–New Brunswick. While it may be difficult to contemplate a return to in-person teaching, learning, and research at this time, the developments around vaccines make the reality of returning to the Banks promising. Our university community's health and safety remain paramount in our planning processes, so we appreciate your ongoing engagement and flexibility as we continue to navigate the pandemic. To that end, we have been working closely with Academic and Administrative leaders to develop a return plan that prioritizes safety, sound pedagogical practices, and innovative teaching and learning support.
Following President Holloway’s institutional goal (“welcoming everyone back to have an in-person experience”) for Fall 2021, our current vision for academic programming includes in-person experiences for all courses that were fully face-to-face before the onset of the pandemic. To strive for this goal while still being responsive to anticipated public health guidelines, we have implemented a planning framework that includes:
- Capping In-person Student Enrollments: De-densifying standards will be applied to reduce classroom seating capacities.
- Modified Modes of Instruction: Our academic programs will offer courses with diverse instructional delivery modes that will include some degree of in-person/face-to-face instruction.
- Modified Class Period Grid: Standard class periods will be modified to reduce building occupancy between classes, allow for less crowded conditions when transitioning between classes and accommodate new cleaning protocols.
We have established a Planning and Logistics Group, which has been working closely with Institutional Planning & Operations (IP&O) to ensure that our facilities are able to safely meet the needs of a repopulated campus based on the aforementioned vision.
Rutgers–New Brunswick, like all great residential universities, is built on inquiry-based research, teaching, and service, which thrive through face-to-face interactions. Restoring these in-person experiences will require our shared commitment and a phased repopulation strategy guided by the availability and roll-out of vaccines, as summarized in the video below.
Three semesters of remote/online learning have transformed our work culture, and instructional delivery in ways we could not have imagined—due primarily to our community's resilience, innovation, and new pedagogical approaches to learning.
In terms of the next steps, we will continue to work closely with academic deans and administrative leaders, who will consult with and provide logistical updates to faculty and staff as details become available. We will soon be updating our campus status webpage to reflect updated information for Fall 2021. We will also continue to listen to and welcome our students' and community members' feedback and share information broadly when possible.
We are confident that together we will be successful in implementing the President's vision for the university, both now and in the future.
Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D. (PHARM '77, GSNB '87)
Chancellor, Rutgers–New Brunswick
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs