Academics & Classrooms
In collaboration with Columbia University, Barnard is shifting to a three-semester academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year — Fall, Spring, and Summer — and introducing new, flexible learning and research models to give students the opportunity to take classes in person, as well as remotely.
Many classes across the curriculum will focus on the current moment, asking students to use different disciplinary lenses to interrogate and learn from this time in history, building on similar classes in economics, environmental science, anthropology, and other departments and programs.
Teaching & Learning
New, immersive courses will be offered in seven-week A or B parts of each semester to complement the College’s traditional calendar. This format will:
- Double the number of scheduled course hours during the immersive seven-week period.
- Allow students to interact with remote pedagogy in more effective ways and to focus more deeply on one or two topics over a shorter period of time.
Big Problems: Making Sense of 2020
A unique First-Year Experience course required for the Class of 2024, “Big Problems: Making Sense of 2020,” will:
- Foster community among first-year students and connect first-year students to the broader Barnard community.
- Encourage dialogue through small discussion sections to help students make sense of and think critically about major issues that we face in 2020.
- Address via critical analyses and broader perspectives how the COVID-19 pandemic has generated social, economic, political, and ecological upheavals.
- Feature a diverse slate of thought leaders who will contextualize our current moment via multiple intellectual lenses.
- Facilitate collaborative projects that will be preserved in Barnard’s Digital Archives.
A “Big Problems: Making Sense of 2020” lecture series will be open to the entire Barnard community, and faculty and students will be encouraged to incorporate these lectures in other curricular work.
Led by the Athena Center for Leadership, the Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Center for Engaged Pedagogy, ThirdSpace@ is a virtual co-curricular program that will challenge students to ask themselves:
- In this moment, in which the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have illuminated the need for deep change, what is the leadership we need?
- How do we tackle critical issues through the lenses of equity and inclusion?
- How do we connect theory to practice and reflection to people’s lived experiences?
This new program:
- Explores solutions to three interconnected challenges — community safety, economic security, and the access gaps in education — through the work of change-makers leading the way.
- Examines how students can best participate in addressing our current social fissures — and how they can do so in collaboration with each other and their local communities.
- Connects student learning experiences to local community and civic engagement projects.
- Builds committed, interest-driven relationships with peers through community engagement circles.
Visit ThirdSpace@ for more detailed information.
2020-21 Academic Calendar
Classes begin Tuesday, September 8, kicking off a three-semester schedule.
The 2020-21 three-semester academic calendar — Fall, Spring, and Summer — allows for maximum flexibility to accommodate both those students living on campus and those living elsewhere. The semesters are broken into two blocks each, allowing for Barnard’s new immersive courses. Adjustments have been made to winter and spring breaks around these blocks.
- Fall 2020 semester: September 8 - December 23
- Spring 2021 semester: January 11 - April 26
- Summer 2021 semester: May 3 - August 6
- All classes will be offered remotely, with many classes offered in a “high-flex” modality that allows for simultaneous in-person and remote instruction. All large lecture classes will be offered remotely.
- Each semester will be broken out into two parts — Part A and Part B. Students can enroll in immersive seven-week classes, in addition to semester-long classes. These intensive classes will allow students to reduce their class load while participating in a depth of engagement and learning in a shorter time period.
- The additional Summer semester permits students to spread their full-time coursework over a longer duration.
- The Summer semester is designed so that students can take classes and also pursue an internship or summer employment opportunities.
- Commencement will be held in the last week of April, after the Spring semester concludes. Specific dates for both the Barnard and University Commencements will be forthcoming, as well as a date for the in-person Commencement for the Barnard Class of 2020 that was postponed from this past spring.
Advising, Registration & Enrollment
Department Chairs and their faculty will host Launch Week from July 20 to July 24. Launch Week will include departmental open houses as well as group and individualized advising meetings in order to help orient students for the upcoming re-registration period in late July.
During Launch Week, students will:
- Participate in a kickoff webinar hosted by President Beilock and Provost Bell.
- Reconnect with faculty and meet new faculty.
- Learn about innovations in the curriculum, including semester-long and recently introduced immersive courses.
- Explore Summer course options and the flexibility offered by the three semesters.
- Gather with several aligned academic interest groups in specific curricular areas such as sustainability, 4 +1 programs, pre-health / pre-law programs, as well other Beyond Barnard-supported, student-facing activity groups.
Launch Week Schedule:
July 20-22 - Departmental and Program meetings
July 23-24 - Individual and small interest group advising meetings
By the close of Launch Week, students will develop an understanding of the varied changes to our curriculum and modes of teaching introduced this upcoming academic year. Our overarching goal is to ensure that students experience a curriculum that is adaptive to their needs at this unique time, as well as responsive to the most pressing problems and challenges of life and society in 2020.
Advising and Registration: Procedures and Policies
- Beginning July 15, students will be able to visit Student Planning to see how the new schedule affects their current registration. There may be shifting in course schedules.
- During the months of July and August, Barnard faculty advisors will be available for online appointments to answer students’ questions and help students plan their programs of study.
- Class Deans will hold group advising sessions to address questions related to registration, course selection, requirements, degree audits, and similar academic matters on Wednesday, July 15 at 2-3 p.m. ET and Thursday, July 16 at 8:30-9:30 a.m. ET, and will be also available for remote appointments throughout the summer.
- Academic Advising Deans will be also available for remote appointments throughout the summer.
- Registration will take place for:
- Returning upperclass students: August 3-14 (Note date changes due to Columbia University registration postponement. Delayed from July 27-August 7)
- First-year students: August 11-14
- Entering transfer students: August 25-27
- As part of registration, all students will be asked their preferences and intentions to take each of their classes in person or online. This information will be critical in helping the College assess which classes we will be able to prioritize for in-person hybrid instruction given limited space on campus. This information will be collected for both Barnard and Columbia classes.
- It is recommended that all students register for a minimum of 12 credits for Fall 2020, as usual.
- Students must be enrolled in a total of 24 credits over the course of AY 2020-21 in order to maintain full-time status. In a given semester, the maximum number of credits a student may take is 19 credits; over the course of the year, students may take no more than 45 credits overall.
- Students who live on campus will be required to maintain a minimum of 12 credits.
- We are mindful of the current unique circumstances, and we will work with students to accommodate those who wish to take fewer credits in the Fall, providing their academic plan includes additional courses in Spring 2021 and/or Summer 2021. Students who would like to take fewer than 12 credits will be required to meet with both their faculty advisor and their class dean to ensure that they are making sufficient academic progress towards their degree.
- Students will be required to take the standard minimum of 12 credits for the Spring 2021 semester. However, students who may have special circumstances that impact their ability to take 12 or more credits in the Spring can seek an exception and should be in contact with their class dean.
- Students with F-1 visas must be enrolled as full-time students (12 credits/semester for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021). According to the latest SEVP guidance, continuing students in the US or abroad may take a fully-remote course of study and maintain their immigration status. New first-year students in the US for the fall semester who are on F-1 visas should plan to take at least one in-person course. First-year students that remain abroad for the fall semester may take a fully-remote course of study, however, may not be able to remain in active status in SEVIS; we are awaiting further guidance regarding the latter and will communicate this to students once available.
New and continuing international students should reach out to International Student Services (ISS) for advice, as needed.
- Leave of Absence policies for students across the Academic Year 2020-21 have been updated.
Supporting in-person instruction in a healthy and safe environment
The College will be:
- Assigning classrooms in a manner that adheres with strict protocols of physical distancing.
- Upgrading many classrooms to accommodate distance learning.
- Retrofitting event spaces to serve teaching needs.
- Making all courses remotely accessible for added flexibility over the academic year. Many courses will also be taught in person.
- Moving some large lectures and other courses to remote-only format.
- Hand sanitizer will be made available to assist in fostering a culture of health and wellness.
- Community members will be asked to sanitize their place at a table when sitting down and before leaving and to wipe down all shared equipment — keyboards, copy machines, etc. — they use around campus and in classrooms. The College will provide these sanitizing supplies.
- Facilities will clean public spaces and bathrooms with increased frequency.
- Barnard is making improvements to air filtration and increasing outside airflow through building systems where possible.
- All efforts will be implemented in accordance with CDC and campus guidelines.
Phase-In of Research Labs:
Barnard began phasing in a gradual reopening of laboratory research for faculty on June 22.
- The College is strictly adhering to New York State guidance and Columbia University Environment, Health, and Safety advice on social distancing.
- All lab spaces will follow specific guidelines on protective clothing, cleaning, and best practices with shared equipment.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided.
- New health and safety protocols include self-screening procedures.
- The initial return-to-research on campus will be for faculty only, though the College hopes to integrate students’ return to in-person laboratory research soon, following health and safety considerations.
Center for Accessibility Resources & Disability Services (CARDS)
Individualized services will continue to be provided for registered students.
- Individual student consultations, academic coachings, drop-in hours, and student programming will continue to take place virtually until further notice.
- Anticipated services provided by CARDS during Fall 2020 include:
- individual academic coaching
- peer note-taking
- assistive technology licenses and support
- requests for academic and housing accommodations
- peer mentoring for first-year students
- virtual meetings with writing and speaking fellows
- consultation about individual accommodation plans with faculty members as needed
- CARDS will also continue to provide group and individual guidance to students and faculty regarding reasonable accommodations for both in-person and remote learning environments (such as asynchronous learning practices, class participation requirements, etc.).
Center for Engaged Pedagogy
Supporting and striving toward inclusive and innovative pedagogical practices
- The CEP is active in curriculum development on campus, running faculty workshops and student-oriented programming in support of the 2020-2021 academic year planning.
- Leading several summer initiatives:
- A virtual Curricular Design Institute (CDI) for faculty in support of curriculum development.
- A virtual Summer Pedagogy Symposium for Barnard faculty and staff around pedagogical exploration, collaboration, and innovation, with a focus on adapting to a variety of teaching scenarios for 2020-2021. Covering topics such as online student engagement, addressing racism in the classroom, creating inclusive and accessible learning experiences, utilizing digital tools and more.
- Student syllabus assessment with the CEP Student Advisory.
- Consultations. The CEP continues to offer 1:1 consultations for faculty on course design, student engagement, and more.
Visit the CEP website for more information.
All students should attend Launch Week programming and reevaluate their course schedules during the re-registration period, as there will be some shifting in the course schedule. Academic Advising Deans will be available for remote appointments throughout the summer.
- Registration for returning students will take place August 3-14 (Note date changes due to Columbia University registration postponement. Delayed from July 27-August 7)
- Registration for first-year students will take place August 11-14.
- Registration for incoming transfers will take place August 25-27.
- Registration for students returning from leave of absence will take place August 25-27.
We recommend that students register for a minimum of 12 credits for the Fall 2020 semester. However, we are mindful of the current unique circumstances, and we will work with students to accommodate those who wish to take fewer credits in the Fall, providing their academic plan includes additional courses in Spring 2021 and/or Summer 2021. Students who would like to take fewer than 12 credits will be required to meet with both their faculty advisor and their class dean to ensure that they are making sufficient academic progress towards their degree. Students will be required to take the standard minimum of 12 credits for the Spring 2021 semester. However, students who may have special circumstances that impact their ability to take 12 or more credits in the Spring can seek an exception and should be in contact with their class dean. Students will be able to take a maximum of 19 credits per semester with a maximum of 45 credits for the three-semester academic year.
The minimum number of credits a student will need to take over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year to be considered a full-time student is 24 credits. Students with F-1 visas must be enrolled as full-time students (12 credits/semester for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021).
According to the latest SEVP guidance, continuing students in the US or abroad may take a fully-remote course of study and maintain their immigration status.
New first-year students in the US for the fall semester who are on F-1 visas should plan to take at least one in-person course. First-year students that remain abroad for the fall semester may take a fully-remote course of study, however, may not be able to remain in active status in SEVIS; their attendance would likely need to be deferred so that their SEVIS record stays in Initial status. We are awaiting further guidance regarding the latter and will communicate this to students once available.
New and continuing international students should reach out to International Student Services (ISS) for advice, as needed
All courses will be offered remotely. we will not be able to indicate which courses will also be taught simultaneously in-person in a hyflex mode until we have more information about students intentions from re-registration. Once the College receives updated enrollment information, we will determine those classes that will be offered in hyflex mode. It is important to understand that in a de-densified campus there will be constraints on holding classes in person.
The new academic year has been adapted for maximum course flexibility, with all courses now available online for any student who wishes to take advantage of our new “high-flex” modality. Please note that students with F-1 visas who enter the U.S. to study must be enrolled as full-time students (12 credits/semester for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021) and, to maintain their immigration status, are not permitted to take an entirely online course load. New and continuing international students should reach out to International Student Services (ISS) for further information and guidance.
Standard grading policies will be restored for Fall 2020. The Pass/D/Fail option will follow normal procedures, except that P/D/F courses will not count towards the four-year total of 23 P/D/F credits allowed.
Fall A concludes after the October degree conferral date. February conferral is possible in this situation.
Students with no more than eight outstanding credits will be permitted to walk at the April 2021 Commencement. Students who do not meet this criteria may contact the Senior Class Dean for exceptions. Students who complete their credits in either Summer A or Summer B will have degrees officially conferred in October 2021.
All seniors are permitted to take classes in Summer A and Summer B. These classes will count officially toward the student’s GPA and honors calculations. October 2021 is the official degree conferral date for students who have enough credits to graduate in April but who choose to take additional Summer classes. Seniors taking courses in Summer A or B will be allowed to walk in the April Commencement ceremonies.
Students are allowed to take a leave of absence and the decision to take a leave is very individual. The following policies are effective as of July for the 2020-2021 academic year:
- Students may opt for a Fall 2020 leave of absence, but given potential enrollment constraints down the line, the College cannot guarantee an approval to return in Spring or Summer 2021, except for documented and approved medical leave or required academic leave.
- Students who take a leave for Spring 2021 cannot be guaranteed enrollment in Summer 2021 or Fall 2021, except for documented and approved medical leave or required academic leave.
- Students who are considering taking a leave of absence should work with the Dean of Studies Office regarding procedures and timeline.
- Housing cannot be guaranteed upon a student’s return, and the College may be unable to guarantee housing at any point thereafter, as per usual policy.
- Students cannot apply for study abroad for the semester immediately following the semester of their leave, as per usual policy.
- Students may not transfer in credits while on a leave of absence unless required due to academic leave requirements (that is, as directed by the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing).