Winter and May terms 2020 to be taught remotely
I know this is a challenging time adjusting to the new realities the COVID-19 public health situation has imposed. I want to start by thanking everyone for their thoughtfulness and cooperation during this time. Working as a community is what we do best at Transylvania University.
That is why we have made the decision, in the best interests of the community we hold dear, to take additional steps to protect the health and safety of our Transylvania students, faculty and staff. Simply stated, you are our highest priority.
After extensive conversations with campus leadership, we have decided to move to remote instruction for the remainder of the academic year and provide May term instruction remotely only for seniors who require credits to graduate in May. Here is what that means:
- Classes will resume on Monday, March 23, and will be delivered by remote instruction through the last scheduled day of regular classes on Friday, April 17.
- Final exams will take place remotely from Tuesday, April 21, to Friday, April 24.
- May term classes for seniors who need them will begin online starting Monday, April 27, and conclude Tuesday, May 19.
- We are considering options for commencement, including postponement from Saturday, May 23, to a later date. Candidates who have completed all degree requirements, however, will receive their degree posted as of May 23, 2020, so they might progress to graduate or professional school or employment.
- Most on-campus events through the end of the academic year will be canceled or rescheduled. For a list of specific events, visit our website.
- At this time, Transylvania Athletics has suspended its spring sports activities.
May Term: Because May term classes are unique and provide highly interactive learning, offering them online is challenging. We have made the decision to prioritize graduating seniors this May term and offer online instruction only to those seniors who require credits to graduate in May 2020. Our Pioneer Pledge guarantees graduation in four years, and we will honor this pledge to our students. As a result, all current first-year students, sophomores and juniors are approved for a waiver for a one course unit overload in the future at no additional cost. Additional information on May term courses available for seniors requiring credits will be provided directly to those students in the near future.
Campus Move Out: At this time, we are requiring all students to return to their permanent residences by Tuesday, March 24, unless they receive approval to remain on campus. All residential students — including those previously approved for on-campus housing through April 6 — must complete this form regarding their plans. Requests to remain in campus housing will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Information for athletes and off-campus students who need to retrieve items such as musical instruments or other academic materials will be provided shortly.
Financial Considerations: It is Transylvania’s intent to deliver the full instructional content for the 2020 winter term to all of our students and the May 2020 term for seniors in need of credits for graduation. Accordingly, at this time, there is no need to provide tuition refunds for the current term. The impact of the change to remote learning on student fees for housing, food service and financial aid is under review, and we will have additional details in the near future. (There are no fees associated with May term, per the university catalog.)
As a university, we are working diligently to provide you with answers to your questions as quickly as possible. We are weighing information from the federal and state agencies and accrediting organizations, along with the thoughtful consideration of our leadership, to make informed and careful decisions.
This quickly shifting public health situation requires all of us to be flexible and adaptable in ways that are uncomfortable. As the situation develops, we will continue to communicate updates directly to our students, families, faculty and staff, and publicly online at our Transylvania response website.
For 240 years, Transylvania has withstood what at times may have seemed insurmountable challenges. I am certain that our community will come together to serve our students, support our faculty and care for our staff as we face the current challenge in which we, our community and the world find ourselves.
Dr. John N. Williams ’74, Interim President