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Dean's Update on Summer and Fall

Friday, May 15, 2020

The message below was sent to Columbia College students on May 15, 2020.

Recently, Columbia University announced plans to expand next year’s academic calendar to take advantage of three terms of equal length (fall, spring and summer), in order to offer flexible opportunities for students to attain their educational goals and to increase the likelihood of in-person classes. Current updates from Columbia College include:

  • The University’s five task forces will continue their comprehensive assessment of factors that affect when classes and residential life can take place again on campus, guided by public health requirements and with the highest priority being the health and safety of our students.

  • The revised format of the next academic year is an opportunity to provide more choice to students, allowing them to achieve their educational goals during three terms versus two, regardless of how the year evolves from a public health perspective.

  • Faculty have already begun to imagine creative approaches for delivering courses in new and different ways, regardless of whether we are online or in-person. They are also designing new courses relevant for this time.

  • The Core Curriculum itself was born in a historic moment, marked by a world war and the 1918 flu pandemic. Its original intent in 1919 was to encourage College students to grapple with the enduring questions plaguing society and civilization, particularly in times of disruption and chaos. The experience of the Core is therefore more important than ever, and our faculty are looking forward to a very special year in these courses that form the foundation of your Columbia College experience.

  • We are conceiving new approaches to building student connections and community.

  • We are developing new programs and experiences that connect to our educational values, including an exciting program to foster global awareness during this historic time. Stay tuned.

The College, which is 266 years old, has survived countless challenges throughout our history; we will continue to uphold our mission to cultivate critical and flexible thinkers and active citizens who marry their classroom learning with real world challenges. We look forward to sharing more details about the year ahead in early July.