Fall quarter update: Academics

Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

Provost Michelle DenBeste, who on Wednesday provided details on fall quarter academic functions.

Details on how many aspects of student life are expected to function during the upcoming fall quarter were given at the July 15 Wildcat Wednesday meeting held online by CWU’s orientation team. 

Fall quarter will begin earlier than originally planned this year, now starting on Sept. 9. According to Dean of Student Success Gregory Heinselman, the university will be giving students a 30 day break between fall and winter quarter to accommodate what it feels is good health and safety practice.

In the event that classes go fully online again, there will not be a change in tuition, though fees may change, according to the Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Life Michelle DenBeste.

“Tuition is set for the modality that we have now. Many of our classes are already online. Potentially, there might be a change in some fees, you know, if you’re not parking there wouldn’t be a parking fee. So those might change, but tuition won’t change,” DenBeste said.

DenBeste said the university will continue to work closely with the county health department, and will try to give students as much notice as possible should the modality of classes need to change.

“With all the measures that [the university] tries to provide from a safety standpoint, it will still come down to each of us as individuals, and our individual responsibilities,” Heinselman said. “The more we all work together to follow safety protocols, the safer we’ll all be.”

Several university administrators spoke on how COVID-19 would impact fall quarter and answered questions sent in a live chat on the changes. Over 320 questions were asked in the hour long meeting, with many questions, such as how the university would handle potential outbreaks or whether a COVID-19 vaccine will be required when made available, were unanswered during that time.

The current plan is for fall classes to be taught using a number of different modalities, such as in-person, online and a hybrid between the two. According to DenBeste, the university is also working to try and have certain academics, like lab courses, be entirely in person. 

CWU’s overall goals for the year ahead must be flexible, due to the uncertain nature of reopening during a pandemic. However, DenBeste said the academic experience is made up of more than just classes, and the university will be working to ensure students can still have the kind of college experience they were hoping for. 

“We’re making plans and contingency plans and extra special contingency plans based on what happens with public health and with the return to campus,” DenBeste said. “We really want to make sure that it’s a robust experience that you would have had without the virus.”

DenBeste said student leadership has been planning the year’s events, with some events planned to be in person, though the majority will remain virtual. Club events will be offered, with potential to be held outdoors or in bigger spaces.

“All of us are going to have to engage in as much creativity as possible in the year ahead to ensure that whether we are on campus, at a center, in person, hybrid or online, we are still connecting as a community,” DenBeste said.