Greetings as we come to Finals Week and near the conclusion of our Fall Semester. I am writing to you today with information about the Undergraduate Academic Calendar for Spring 2021. (Law and Graduate students should confer with their respective School/Program Director for information about the Spring 2021 academic calendar.)
First, I wish to acknowledge the real mental and emotional impact COVID-19 has had on the Gonzaga community. As we all know, this year has been particularly challenging, and I am so proud of the way we, the Gonzaga University community, have responded to these unprecedented circumstances. The faculty have spent a great deal of time assisting students through additional office hours, advising and in directed study to complete assignments; our staff have been engaged in working to assist and support our students in many significant ways. I wish to thank you for your kind and ongoing attention in helping students complete the fall semester, following on the heels, as it did, of challenging spring and summer sessions.
After the announcement made on October 9, 2020 about modifications to the Spring 2021 calendar, the Gonzaga Student Body Association (GSBA) sent a Senate bill to myself and President McCulloh requesting that two (2) additional Reading Days be added to the Spring 2021 calendar to support the students’ mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
The students’ thoughtful request for additional class-free days in the coming Spring Semester was received and considered with utmost respect and commitment to listening to their concerns. To inform my decision, I asked the Policy and Planning Committee of the Academic Council (a committee with faculty and student representation) and the Faculty Senate for their recommendations. Deans were invited to comment about the proposed changes. Following much discussion on how to best accommodate the students’ request and also respecting our obligation to provide due instructional time, it became clear there is no one best answer or solution which would satisfy everyone’s needs and preferences. So, having considered our students’ needs and the faculty’s input, plus the need to balance Spring 2021 instruction time between Tuesday/Thursday vs. Monday/Wednesday/Friday class days, one (1) additional Reading Day with no classes is being added to the Spring 2021 calendar on Thursday, March 11, 2021. This allows a four-day weekend to fall at approximately the middle of the semester.
Because faculty know the needs of their own students, including when their particular class may be in need of a pause, I encourage the faculty to use their best judgment in determining if or when another break may be warranted; this may include a personal day off, a pause day, or a day to access library resources, studio or lab spaces, either in person, with safe distancing or remotely.
The revisions charted below are based on our current situation and should we need to be flexible again in our return to campus based on state or federal mandates, we may once again be required to reconsider our calendar. Changes include:
- Adds an additional Reading Day on Thursday, March 11, 2021. No classes will be held.
- Adds Learning Assessment Day (LeAD) on January 15th, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. (Applicable only to faculty)
(*Note: Gonzaga Law School will communicate via its Dean's Office the Gonzaga Law School Spring 2021 Academic Calendar.)
I wish you all the best as the Fall semester concludes. May you celebrate the holidays safely and have a break that allows rest and relaxation.
Deena J. González, Ph.D.,
Provost and Senior Vice President