Spring 2021 Academic Calendar Update

December 11, 2020

Dear Students and Faculty,

In response to student concerns about the reduced number of no teaching or “no university exercises” days in the Spring 2021 calendar, the Deans and I consulted with the Faculty Senate Council and the Committee on Academic Standards and Policy and all were unanimous in supporting the addition in the spring calendar of a no teaching “Wellness Day” on Tuesday April 20. This will supplement the four no teaching days already in the spring calendar and provide students and faculty alike time during the semester to address family and personal concerns and to recharge. Please see the following link for the revised spring 2021 semester https://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/calendar/spring-2021.html.

Students and faculty have also raised questions and concerns about the increased classroom block time from one hour and twenty minutes to one hour and thirty minutes that was introduced in the fall semester in response to COVID. This longer block time was not meant to increase required teaching time, but rather to provide faculty and students alike in remote Zoom classes a ten-minute break to get up and move away from the screen. This has been shown to improve learning and help overall physical well-being. For in-person classes these additional ten minutes should be used by faculty and students to connect with each other outside the specific course content. Building community during this pandemic is tougher to do with all the physical distancing requirements we have had to put in place. Since this community connection is such an important part of the Brandeis experience please use part of the class time to do this. Each of the school deans will be following up directly with their faculty to reinforce this message.

As I step down as Provost at the end of this month, I wish you all a restful and restorative intersession break. I look forward to rejoining the Brandeis faculty and seeing some of you in my Heller classes in the fall of 2021!

Warm regards,

Lisa

Lisa M. Lynch, Provost