Have changes been made to the academic calendar and course schedule?
Yes, the revised academic calendar includes a number of changes:
The course schedule for fall 2020 has been modified to encourage social distancing, to allow time for cleaning and disinfection of classrooms, and to make more time available for instruction. Questions about the academic calendar or course schedule should be directed to email@example.com.
Do I have to re-register for fall courses?
Yes. Changes to the academic calendar and course schedule will require all students to re-register for fall 2020. Courses that are currently on students’ fall schedules will be removed in the coming days. The catalog is available, but please keep in mind that there will continue to be updates as we work to accommodate the changes to classroom availability and timing requirements in light of the need to de-densify spaces and to manage traffic flow in and out of buildings and classrooms.
When and how will re-registration take place?
Re-registration for fall will follow a similar pattern as pre-registration. Re-registration will begin with advising week (July 16–24). Students and their advisors should connect as soon as possible to schedule an advising appointment.
How will students know if a class will be offered remotely or in person?
Our faculty are working hard to make Amherst courses available to all students, whether they are on campus or online. The course catalog has been updated for fall 2020 and the new January term, and can be viewed using the Course Scheduler.
A new course keyword, Online Only, has been added to the catalog to make it easier to find courses that will be offered through remote teaching technologies. Online courses will also indicate that their location is “online” on students’ schedules.
I see that some classes are labeled “HyFlex.” What does this mean?
Almost all courses, even those that will be taught in person, will be accessible to students online; this hybrid teaching strategy is referred to as “HyFlex.” With HyFlex classes, students can expect that some or all of the class will be delivered in person; however, even if the class is taught primarily in person, students studying remotely will still be able to take the class.
Please note that, even if a class is taught primarily in person, students should understand that circumstances may lead to some of the class taking place remotely. At this time, for example, the Amherst regional school systems are not expected to be fully open and some faculty may need to teach from home at times in order to be with their children.
I’m not able to be on campus this fall and I live in a time zone very different from Amherst’s. Will classes be held synchronously and, if so, how will that work for me?
Almost all classes will be held in a HyFlex mode, so most of the Amherst curriculum will be available to students studying remotely (see above). Some classes will be held in a remote format only, and those classes will likely have a mix of asynchronous and synchronous teaching. The College is reserving one 8 p.m. slot twice per week exclusively for remote teaching to accommodate students in Asia, the West Coast and Hawaii.
Will I be able to take classes at other Five College schools and, if so, what will the format of instruction be?
Courses taken at the other schools must be taken remotely, and students will not be permitted to travel to the other campuses. All schools in the Five College Consortium are currently planning to start classes between August 24 and September 1. Please note that Mount Holyoke College has adopted a different semester format composed of two 7.5-week modules, which may affect students’ ability to enroll in those classes.
What is the new January term?
In recognition of the unique challenges and opportunities of the upcoming year, we have added a four-week January term, which provides the opportunity for all students to take one course for credit at no additional cost.
Do I have to take a course in January?
Students are not required to take a course in January. They are encouraged, however, to distribute their academic work over the year by using the January term, and especially to use this term to more fully explore the curriculum.
Will there be additional costs associated with the January term?
No, as long as students are enrolled in either the fall or spring semester, they will be able to receive credit for a course taken in January at no additional charge.
To whom should I speak if I want to consider a Voluntary Leave?
You are encouraged to consult with your faculty advisor and your class dean so that they can help you reach the best decision regarding your academic goals and address any concerns you may have. All students requesting a Voluntary Leave due to safety concerns will have that request approved.
If I am confident that I want to take a Voluntary Leave, what is required?
As mentioned above, it is recommended that you consult with your faculty advisor and class dean as you make this decision. It is important to note the following:
What is the deadline to take a Voluntary Leave?
On July 6th, you will receive information about how to inform the college of your intent for the fall semester, including the form to request a voluntary leave.
May I study away in the fall instead of taking courses at Amherst?
No. The College has made the difficult decision to cancel study away for the fall 2020 semester. Students are not able to receive credit (or financial aid) to participate in any study-away programs for the fall, including both study-abroad programs as well as domestic study-away (studying at another institution in the U.S.). No decision has been made about study away in spring 2021. Students should meet remotely with a Global Education Office (GEO) adviser to learn about programs and deadlines, and for more information.
I know that the College is encouraging students to take three courses each semester instead of four. What if I prefer to take four courses? Will I be permitted to do so?
Yes. While taking three courses will be permitted and encouraged, students are welcome to take four courses each semester after discussing the matter with their advisor. In addition, students have the option of taking an additional course during January term. This means that students will be able to take six, seven, eight or even nine courses over the next academic year.
What is the grading policy for 2020-2021 academic year?
In her July 15 message, Provost Catherine Epstein outlines the grading policy for 2020-2021.
Will the Library be open this fall?
We are still determining if Amherst will be able to make study spaces available in libraries on campus. Given that Frost Library houses a few classrooms, it is likely that some access will be necessary for that purpose. Regardless of whether we are able to open the entire library, we will make print collections available for borrowing. Many other library services will be offered virtually, including research help, electronic course reserves and our online collections of books, journals and primary sources.
Will I be able to check out textbooks on reserve for four-hour loans?
Unfortunately, due to safety precautions related to the length of time materials must be quarantined before re-entering circulation, there is no way to provide short-term loans. The library’s reserves team is working closely with faculty to make as much required reading as possible available electronically. Textbooks for science, math, economics and languages are largely not available for libraries to purchase electronically. Students may need to utilize their financial aid book allowance to rent access to these, either in print or online.
Will I be able to receive support in quantitative courses from the Moss Quantitative Center and teaching assistants?
Yes. Students will be able to meet remotely with Q Center staff and teaching assistants until it is safe to meet in person.
Will I be able to work with the Writing Center?
Yes. The Writing Center will hold student appointment hours Sunday through Friday with evening hours Monday through Thursday. All appointments will take place remotely. In addition, email consultations will be available for those seeking an asynchronous option. Both options may be scheduled through WCOnline. Students will find the Writing Center’s FAQ helpful and, if they have additional questions, they can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I pick up materials at Frost Library?
Members of the community who have pre-ordered items from Frost Library may enter the library’s vestibule (the area just inside the outer set of doors at the main entrance on the quad) to access the lockers holding the materials. COVID-19 tests are not required to enter the vestibule, but those who pick up items must wear a face mask or covering and practice physical distancing at all times. Only one person is allowed in the vestibule at a time.