Dear UNC Charlotte Community,
As we announced on May 4, the University has made the decision to delay the start of the fall semester. Over the past several weeks, we have engaged in conversations with faculty, students, the UNC System office and local public health officials to finalize our academic schedule. While there are many views on the optimal plan for the fall semester, one thing remains consistent: the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority.
The fall academic calendar has now been posted on the registrar’s office website. Classes will begin on September 7 and end on December 15, with exams beginning December 17 and continuing through December 23. To ensure exams are completed before the winter break, it will be necessary to eliminate fall break and reduce Thanksgiving break by one day. Winter commencement ceremonies are scheduled to take place on January 8 and 9. The new schedule extends our traditional winter break until the spring semester classes resume on January 20, and provides students a total of three additional days of break (27 days) as compared to the 2019 fall semester (24 days).
Like other universities all around the world, we are having to make difficult decisions, informed by local circumstances. We must use the best information we have to make decisions that continue to prioritize the health and safety of Niner Nation, knowing that adaptability remains critical in responding to the ongoing pandemic.
We also know how important in-person instruction, hands-on learning, interaction with faculty, and activities with friends and peers are essential to the UNC Charlotte experience, and we are committed to preserving a rich learning environment in the fall even in, or perhaps especially in, this uncertain time. The Office of Academic Affairs is working with faculty to incorporate digital learning elements into all courses to deliver high quality instruction, but also provide flexibility to shift to exclusive online/remote delivery should a resurgence in the virus warrant such a change.
We are also exploring a final exam schedule that respects the desire of students and employees to spend time with friends and family over the winter holidays while meeting the required number of class days. For example, we are working with faculty to move exams that must be taken in person to the beginning of the exam period and deliver other exams online, giving individuals the flexibility to leave campus for the winter break earlier than December 23.
Finalizing the academic calendar is a significant step forward in our planning efforts toward bringing students, faculty and staff back to campus safely for the fall. There are many details still being worked out by our campus reentry task force teams, the Incident Management Team (IMT), the Chancellor’s Cabinet and the many dedicated professionals committed to helping ensure the health and safety of the campus community. Additional details about the fall semester will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead.
As we move forward, I want to thank you again – our students, faculty and staff – for your hard work, commitment and dedication. The last three months have been very challenging for our entire community and COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives. But as Niners, you stepped up, overcame those obstacles and pushed not only yourselves but our entire community forward.
We know there is a lot on your minds, and are committed to providing answers to the many questions you may have over the next few months. During this time, we must all prepare for some inconveniences and adopt the community standards and behaviors that will help ensure a safe campus. We are confident that, although fall 2020 may be different, it will be a successful and meaningful semester for Niner Nation.
Chancellor Philip L. Dubois
Joan F. Lorden, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs