Catholic University Gradually Begins to Transition Some Upperclassmen Courses to In-person/Hybrid Learning


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By Jessica Fetrow

While members of The Catholic University of America community are awaiting a finalized plan for the spring semester, several upperclassmen will be able to attend classes on campus for the remainder of the fall semester. 

According to the Office of the Provost, the decision to return additional students to campus was made in close proximity to the midterm point of the fall semester, after it was deemed safe to transition more students to campus for in-person instruction with some additional safety precautions put into effect. 

An analysis of all classes offered for the fall semester was done to determine which courses had a higher percentage of seniors, and after this assessment, the office reached out to the individual departments to determine whether or not faculty would be interested in transitioning some of these classes to in-person instruction. Based on faculty and student responses, the Office of Enrollment Services determined whether class sizes could be accommodated in on-campus classrooms.

A few in-person classes have been offered to juniors and sophomores in addition to the recent senior courses.

“The Provost’s Office contacted us a few weeks ago to see which faculty would be interested in completing courses with seniors in person, and we had several of our faculty request to do this,” said Dean of the Busch School of Business Dr. Andrew Abela. “Subsequently, we have extended this to some sophomore and junior classes as well.” 

Currently, the Busch School of Business, School of Philosophy, and School of Theology and Religious Studies are offering upperclassmen the opportunity for limited in-person instruction this semester. Courses in the Busch School include MGT 321, MGT 475, MGT 490, and MKT 349, with potential additional courses ACCT 442 and MGT 301-01. Senior capstone courses are available for the School of Philosophy and School of Theology and Religious Studies.

While the opportunity to transition to in-person instruction was offered to all university departments, as stated by the Office of the Provost, some schools – such as the School of Engineering, School of Architecture, School of Arts and Sciences, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art, and the Conway School of Nursing – have declined to bring students back to campus for in-person instruction for the remainder of this semester, and instead are focusing their attention on potential in-person instruction next semester. Students in these schools have been updated regarding their ability to use on-campus resources and space this semester. 

“We tried to be thoughtful in terms of what the students’ needs would be,” said Vice Provost for Teaching and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Lynn Mayer. 

According to Mayer, the Office of the Provost is going through course schedules for the spring semester to update the modality of course instructions based on the previous requisites.

“We’re really looking forward to being able to welcome more students back to campus in the spring,” said Mayer. “We’re really hopeful that we can have sophomores, juniors, and seniors [back on campus].”

Since August, the Catholic University of America has reported 212 coronavirus positive members of the community as of October 29, significantly more than the neighboring universities of Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, American, Marymount, Howard, and Gallaudet according to The New York Times.

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