Tuck's COVID-19 Response

Update to T’21s on Fall Term 2020 Plans

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June 29, 2020

Dear Members of the Tuck Class of 2021,

In May, Dean Slaughter shared with you Tuck’s initial decisions for the fall 2020 term as well as the five principles guiding our planning during this unprecedented time. 

We announced then that for the Class of 2022, all three of the initial stages of the first-year experience – the Pre-Enrollment Program, Tuck Launch and Fall A Classes – will be online. Study groups will be allowed to gather, consistent with public health guidance, for assignments and meetings. And all co-curricular offerings will also be online through Fall A. For you rising second-year students, the Class of 2021, we confirmed that fall term classes will start on-time, on September 8. 

Adhering to our guiding principles and in particular, our commitment to information-sharing and transparency, we write today to provide an update on current thinking and preparations for second year fall-term instruction and programming.

It is likely that pandemic conditions and public health challenges will continue this fall. At this time, we expect that the fall term for second-year students will be a blend of online and in-person experiences. We will endeavor to offer as many in-person engagements as we can, consistent with public health guidance, but we do anticipate that a significant portion of fall instruction will have to be delivered exclusively online, especially at the outset. Hybrid classes and events will be an inevitable step in our phased and gradual return to our distinct in-person learning community, as will COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

We are currently making the necessary investments in technology and alterations to our Tuck classrooms to support hybrid instruction. Across business schools and throughout higher education, “hybrid” is being used to describe many different arrangements. For our purposes, hybrid instruction at Tuck refers to synchronous learning in which some participants are in the classroom and some are remote. To facilitate hybrid teaching, we’ve already begun to install advanced sound technology in classrooms and to do mock classes with faculty and a group of T’21 student volunteers. 

Hybrid classrooms do pose new challenges, including public health and distancing considerations that limit room capacity, the difficulties of teaching to two audiences and doing so masked, and more intricate sanitization planning. We will continue to work this summer to find ways to effectively apply this teaching format so that it meets our academic mission and high educational standards, while also prioritizing the health and safety of our community.

Regardless of the structure we arrive at for the beginning of the fall term for second year students, please know that all fall academic offerings will be made available to you online as needed. Tuck will honor and support the health decisions of each individual community member—student, faculty, or staff. While Tuck and the College will do everything possible to mitigate COVID-19 risks and exposure on campus, it will fall upon us each individually to exercise great care, respect, and understanding toward one another’s personal health decisions and risk profiles. Our community is uniquely positioned to exercise this empathetic leadership.

We will be further developing our plans and preparations in the coming weeks, centered on preserving cherished Tuck interactions and the delivery of our renowned MBA experience. We will continue to update you and welcome your input in this process. By mid-August we will have more information about the delivery format of specific classes to share. We are certain that, once again, the Tuck Class of 2021 will create and live a new but distinct and special Tuck experience together.

Be well and keep in touch,  

Joe, Sally, and Brian 
 

Joe Hall, Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning
Sally Jaeger, Associate Dean, MBA Program
Brian Tomlin, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research 
 

Guiding Principles

  1.  Our commitment to pursuing our academic mission while also supporting the health and well-being of all members of the Tuck community – students, faculty, and staff.
     
  2.  Our recognition and consideration of the diversity of the individual experiences, needs, and concerns of all our community members.
     
  3.  Our pledge to the quality of the Tuck educational experience regardless of where and how it is delivered.
     
  4.  Our responsibility to share as much relevant information as possible, to exercise transparency and trust, and to support community members in making informed decisions.
     
  5.  Our intention to transition back to our distinct in-person learning community as soon as safely possible.
     

 

May 14, 2020

Dear Members of the Tuck Class of 2021,

Last week we provided a brief update to you regarding plans for the fall term.  As mentioned then, the Deans’ Office, along with a faculty advisory committee and in consultation with current students, has been actively planning for next academic year.  We have undertaken this work cognizant of the difficulties posed by the pandemic – and yet optimistic in our collective ability to meet the challenges of this moment.

Today I write to update you on this important work: to update you on our thinking for the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year for you second-year students, to inform you of the plan we have decided on for the beginning of next year for first-year students, and to share with you the principles that are guiding this work.

Let me start with the guiding principles.

Guiding Principles
As we move forward towards the new academic year, it is imperative that all of us in the Tuck community understand the principles guiding our work at this unprecedented time.  Here they are.

  1.  Our commitment to pursuing our academic mission while also supporting the health and well-being of all members of the Tuck community – students, faculty, and staff.
     
  2.  Our recognition and consideration of the diversity of the individual experiences, needs, and concerns of all our community members.
     
  3.  Our pledge to the quality of the Tuck educational experience regardless of where and how it is delivered.
     
  4.  Our responsibility to share as much relevant information as possible, to exercise transparency and trust, and to support community members in making informed decisions.
     
  5.  Our intention to transition back to our distinct in-person learning community as soon as safely possible.

Since February, all Tuck decisions have been based on the twin priorities of the first principle: our community’s health and well-being, and the integrity of our academic mission. The next four principles reflect both our School’s core values and the uncertain complexity with which the pandemic has unfolded in recent months.

Embracing these principles, let me turn to our plans for the beginning of the 2020–2021 academic year.

An On-Time Start for T’21s

Second-year students are scheduled to start fall classes on September 8.  Our plan is to commence fall-term instruction and programming on time.

Because September 8 is still nearly four months away, however, we still have the value of time before needing to decide on a particular plan for how we will structure fall-term instruction and programming for second-year students.  We have time to see how public-health considerations play out, and time to engage further with students, faculty, and staff for how we might best create a fall term that accords with the five principles above and with our overall academic mission.

We expect to decide on a plan for how we run fall term by sometime in late June, no later than June 29.  This target balances the value of waiting with the value of certainty against which each of you can be given flexibility to craft well-informed personal choices.

As stated above, we intend to transition back to our distinct in-person learning community as soon as safely possible.  At the same time, we anticipate that the transition back will be phased and gradual, with our community’s health and well-being foremost in mind.  Prudence dictates that between now and late June we evaluate seriously the prospect of continued online instruction and of some blend of online and in-person engagement.  When it is safe for us to congregate in classrooms and travel constraints are no longer, we do expect everyone to join us in person.

An On-Time Start for T’22s

Fall-term programming and instruction for T’22s will start on time, as previously scheduled.

Let me here remind you of the key dates for the first part of the fall term.

•    Tuck Pre-Enrollment Program: August 3 – 7
•    Tuck Launch (first-year orientation): August 8 – 21
•    Fall A Classes (seven-week core term): August 24 – October 9

An Online Start for T’22s

All three of these initial stages of the first-year experience – the Pre-Enrollment Program, Tuck Launch, and Fall A Classes – will be online. So, too, will be the Fall A co-curricular offerings.

We are committing early and proactively to online instruction and programming through the end of Fall A to focus our energies on harnessing the School’s power and ingenuity of recent times to create a start to the Class of 2022 experience that meets multiple goals: including the entire class, building the collaborative and connected community for which Tuck is known, and delivering a world-class education – all regardless of where a student may choose or may need to be based.

A decision about how we will structure the first-year Fall B term, which starts on October 19, will be made in September.

Residential Life

We cherish the vibrancy of our location, the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont, and we appreciate that for the large majority of you, for two years at Tuck you intend for the Upper Valley to be your primary home.  At the same time, amidst this historic pandemic we want you to join us in the Upper Valley only when you feel you are in the position to safely be here.  So, although we look forward to the time when all of you will be present with us in the Upper Valley, we encourage each of you to be here only when it is best for you personally to do so.

For T’22s, Tuck’s on-campus residence halls will be ready for student move-in as regularly scheduled, starting August 1.  First-year and second-year students intending to live in Sachem Village will be able to take residence in accordance with individual lease terms.  The same is true for those of you who will be living off-campus in private residences.

When you do choose to come (back) to the Upper Valley, you will need to observe all federal, state, and local public-health regulations in force at that time. In addition, you will also need to comply with all Dartmouth College health guidance and COVID-19 policies.

Looking Ahead

For first-year and second-year students alike, in the fall term of 2020 the School is fully committed to providing a personal, connected, and transformative Tuck MBA experience for each of you – regardless of exactly how we are able to deliver our programming and of where you may be based.

This end to your first year amidst a global pandemic is almost surely not what you imagined when sitting in Cook Auditorium last August at the kick-off of Tuck Launch.  But what I am sure of is two things.  One is the remarkable creativity and resolve that you students have summoned to craft an online experience this spring quarter that is deeply rooted in our distinct Tuck community.  The trust, the teamwork, the risk-taking, and the joy that are hallmarks of our community are still running through our classes, our guest-speaker panels, our TuckTails.  The second thing I am sure of is the commitment of our faculty and staff to not have the world’s tragedy dim the power of our School to help develop every one of you into wise, decisive leaders who will better the world through business.

To help meet this commitment, our School is creating two committees that will work closely with each other and with the Deans’ Office.  One committee, headed by Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Joe Hall, will focus on classroom learning.  The other committee, headed by Associate Dean for the MBA Program Sally Jaeger, will focus on an array of co-curricular and extra-curricular offerings – from career services to the social experience.  Current Student Board President Caroline Wells T’20 and rising Student Board President Teo Gonzalez Collazo T’21 will continue partnering with us deans, in part by identifying fellow students to help with both of these workstreams.

In Closing

We are excited to share with you these plans for the beginning of the 2020–2021 academic year. We know that you may have some questions about how these plans relate to your particular circumstances.  As always, the MBA Program Office stands ready to work through these questions with you.

Our historic spring term is almost complete. At the onset, we knew we would be creating and living an unprecedented Tuck experience.  Class of 2021: I am proud beyond words of your creativity, your resolve, and your commitment to Tuck and one another.  I remain confident that no matter what the months ahead may bring, our community will thrive in our distinctly Tuck way.  Thank you for what you have done this term, and for what we will do together in the year ahead.

Forward we go!

 


Dartmouth has formed a high-level task force to plan for and manage possible disruptions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, monitor federal and state recommendations, implement guidance, and communicate with our community.

More information on COVID-19