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 phase in the opportunity for students 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 connected crises of antiblack violence and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated 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. 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.
- 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
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 held group advising sessions to address questions related to registration, course selection, requirements, degree audits, and similar academic matters in mid-July and are 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
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- The Leave of Absence policies for students across the Academic Year 2020-21 have been updated.
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.
- Research on campus will be for faculty only.
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 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 remote learning environments (such as asynchronous learning practices, class participation requirements, etc.).
Center for Engaged Pedagogy
The Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) provides support as the College strives towards 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.
The CEP is leading several summer initiatives:
- A virtual Curricular Design Institute (CDI) for faculty in support of curricular innovations for remote learning.
- 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.
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).
Pre-pandemic grading policies will be restored for Fall 2020. The Pass/Fail option will follow normal procedures.
Barnard’s standard grading policies for this Fall have been restored with one exception: 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. We encourage you to discuss whether to P/D/F a course or courses with your advisor.
Fall A concludes after the October degree conferral date. February conferral is possible in this situation.
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. Seniors taking courses in Summer A or B will be allowed to walk in the April Commencement ceremonies, but 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.
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.
Any continuing student may take a leave of absence and the decision to take a leave is very individual. As detailed on the Leaves of Absence and Returns webpage, 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.
- While we hope to welcome students back in the semester they wish to return, we may experience housing and enrollment constraints if a large number of students take a leave. Our communication about a non-guarantee intends to make students and families aware of potential constraints down the line so they can make a fully informed decision.
- Students who are considering taking a leave of absence should make an appointment with Dean Rebecca Grabiner, the College’s Case Manager, and 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).