May 14, 2020
Dear Members of the Tuck Class of 2022,
In approximately 12 weeks, your transformative journey as a Tuck MBA student will begin with our first-year orientation program, Tuck Launch. Reflection is an important component of Tuck Launch and of our entire MBA program. I mention this to you now because your class begins its studies at a historic moment. The opportunities ahead of you – to understand the challenges of today’s world, to develop into the kind of leader you aspire to be, and to reflect on how you want to serve organizations and society in the future – are as unprecedented as the times.
Yours is a global class comprised of forward-looking, intentional, rising leaders. We at Tuck are energized and inspired to welcome each and every one of you to the Tuck community.
The Deans’ Office, along with a faculty advisory committee and in consultation with current students, has been actively planning for the start of your Tuck experience. 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 inform you of the plan we have decided on for the beginning of the 2020–2021 academic year for you first-year students, and to share with you the principles that have guided this decision.
We are taking decisive steps now regarding the early fall to give our community the advantages of certainty and predictability. At the same time, by providing as much information as possible now, we aim to give everyone the flexibility to craft well-informed personal plans in the weeks ahead.
Before I share with you our plan for the start of the upcoming academic year, I first want to share with you the five principles that have guided this plan and that will guide all subsequent plans we decide on for the rest of the upcoming year.
As we move forward towards the new academic year, it is imperative that all of us in the Tuck community understand the guiding principles that we have relied upon for the plan announced today – and that we will continue to rely upon in this unprecedented time. Here they are.
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 plan for the beginning of the 2020–2021 academic year. This plan has three parts: when we will start, how we will start, and where we encourage you to be as we get started.
An On-Time Start
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
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.
We cherish the vibrancy of our location, which is known as the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont, and we appreciate that for the large majority of you, for the next two years 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 move here only when it is best for you personally to do so.
Tuck’s on-campus residence halls will be ready for student move-in as regularly scheduled, starting August 1. As many of you know, the results of our on-campus residence-hall lottery were released earlier this week. 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 move 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.
Our on-time, online start to your first-year fall term will build on the learnings and successes of our highly-interactive online environment – both curricular and co-curricular – this spring term. The School is fully committed to providing a personal, connected, and transformative Tuck MBA experience for each of you regardless of where you may be based.
This start to your fall term amidst a global pandemic is almost surely not what you imagined when you applied to the Tuck School. But what I am sure of is two things. One is the remarkable creativity and resolve that our current students, faculty, and staff 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 determination of our community 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. We have gotten to know every one of you through your application; we are excited at the ways we envision every one of you thriving in our immersive community.
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.
Looking ahead beyond Fall A, a decision about how we will structure your first-year Fall B term, which starts on October 19, will be made in September. Tuck second-year students are not scheduled to start their fall classes until September 8. We expect to make a decision about the beginning of the fall term for T’21s sometime in late June, no later than June 29. All these decisions, like the plan we have announced today, will be guided by our five principles stated above.
With all these decisions, it is our intention to resume our distinct in-person, on-campus learning and engagement as soon as we are safely able to do so. 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. 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.
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. Our MBA Program Office stands ready to work through these questions with you. As needed, you can reach out directly to the MBA Program Office.
In the weeks ahead, we will continue to provide updates and share resources as you prepare to join the world’s most supportive MBA learning community. An extraordinary network of faculty, staff, second-year students, and alumni will be here and invested in your Tuck journey, from your historic start in August to your celebratory graduation in June of 2022 – and the decades beyond. We know you will thrive on this journey, and we look forward to partnering with you all along the way.
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.