College Archived Updates

2021 Autumn Quarter Instruction for the College

A message from John W. Boyer, dean of the College

Dear College Faculty, Instructors, and Students:

In the Autumn Quarter of 2021, the College plans to return to on-campus instruction as the primary mode of operation for undergraduate courses. Our yearlong experience in remote instruction due to COVID-19 has demonstrated a number of promising possibilities for online instruction, but it has also demonstrated powerfully the overwhelming importance of meeting with our students in person whenever possible.

For this reason, barring unforeseen circumstances related to the pandemic, College instructors will teach their students on campus. To accommodate international students who are not able to return to campus, the College will adopt a two-pronged approach in the Autumn Quarter. For large classes with multiple sections, it will plan to mount separate sections dedicated to enrolled students who cannot attend class in person. In the case of smaller classes or of large classes that do not have multiple sections, efforts will be made to accommodate students who must attend class remotely, with specific provisions made for alternate ways to satisfy participation requirements. In addition, remote teaching in the Autumn Quarter 2021 that is required because of classroom capacity constraints or to accommodate international students unable to travel to Hyde Park will not require a petition process. These determinations should be made, however, in consultation with the cognizant Collegiate Division Master.

Beyond the Autumn Quarter 2021, given that almost all of our students will be in residence in Hyde Park or in one of our international study centers, in-person teaching will be the norm for most instruction in the College. However, the College will draw on the experience of remote instruction to explore the possibility of expanding the curriculum to include a small number of online offerings, especially where technology can create new opportunities for collaboration and innovative teaching and in cases where such a format might increase access and provide more equitable instruction.  

Beginning with Winter Quarter 2022, all proposals for online courses on the undergraduate level, excepting those required by classroom capacity, will be subject to an approval process organized by the Office of the Dean of the College, working in close cooperation with the Masters of the Collegiate Divisions and the Deans of the Divisions and, where relevant, the Deans of the Schools, in order determine their necessity and feasibility. Future online instruction must not be designed to replace in-person teaching, but to enhance and expand the College curriculum.

Because student residence on campus is not the norm during the Summer Session and the new September term, instruction during those terms will call for a variety of modalities, including offering some courses entirely online in addition to courses that will continue to be offered on an in-person basis.

We will provide additional information about the next academic year in the coming weeks, including the FY22 calendar and a timeline for the Autumn Quarter registration process.

Best wishes for a safe conclusion to the academic year.


John W. Boyer
Dean of the College
The University of Chicago