2020-21 academic year to feature module-based calendar

Transylvania University

Transylvania University will move to a module-based academic calendar for 2020-21 to remain nimble and adaptive while sustaining the quality and accessibility of its academic programs and student support services. The university also identified three scenarios for reopening in August. 

“Transylvania, as with all organizations across our state and nation, is planning for a reopening of our educational and cocurricular programs using the best evidence and thoughtful consideration to protect the health and safety of all members of the Transylvania community,” Interim President John Williams said in a message to campus.  

The 2020-21 academic year will be structured in six modules. First-year students will participate in Module 1, a one-week First Engagements seminar. In Modules 2-5, most students will take two courses over seven weeks. Transylvania’s traditional four-week May term is Module 6. First Engagements will begin Aug. 24, and Module 2 will begin Aug. 31. There will be breaks at the conclusion of Modules 2-5 before the next courses begin. Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 29, 2021. The full academic calendar will be released prior to course registration. 

Over the next three weeks, six university Reopening Working Teams will identify critical questions and possible responses to three reopening scenarios for the coming academic year. These teams are focusing on key areas, including: Academics, Athletics, Facilities, Human Resources, Student Life and Health and Safety. 

The three reopening scenarios, adhering to strict public health protocols, include: 

  • A fall 2020 opening on campus with students in classrooms and in residence halls employing preventive health measures.
  • A hybrid fall term conducting instruction for all modules beginning on campus and converting to remote instruction if pandemic conditions necessitate (or vice versa).
  • Remote module instruction until health circumstances allow for a return to campus. 

“In each scenario we will be following the direction of state leadership, but it is our sincere intention to deliver our traditional, on-campus experience this fall and resume the individualized, personal instruction for which Transylvania has been known for 240 years,” Williams said. “Ultimately, we will structure educational activities to ensure the healthiest environment that we can provide, and this could involve a combination of both remote and on-campus options.”. 

All Response Working Teams will submit a preliminary report by May 27. An announcement of more specific plans for the 2020-21 academic year is expected in early June.