Dear TCU Faculty and Staff,
This week, Texas Christian University welcomed a small group of Phase I employees back to campus, joining those who have been working on-site, serving students and planning for the phased return to campus. We are pleased to safely widen our circle and continue planning for Phases II and III.
I have some big news to share today about TCU’s fall start and end dates. We have decided to begin the semester a week earlier, on August 17 and end the on-campus portion of the semester before Thanksgiving on November 24. December 10 is the final deadline for grade submissions, graduate student defenses and other project work. We will end classes, final exams and other on-campus activities by November 24, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Reducing non-essential travel over holidays, and minimizing time on campus during peak flu and cold season are two of the many ways we are planning to help keep our community safe and healthy this semester. This is in line with our Return to Campus guidance, which is centered on TCU’s commitment to health, safety and the TCU experience; community cooperation and flexibility; enhanced cleaning protocols and prevention; and adherence to public health guidance. In the final analysis each member of the TCU community is first and foremost personally responsible for their health and well- being. As such they should always use good judgment in any and every activity they undertake. This is a personal responsibility which is assumed of everyone in this community.
As you might imagine, this is cause for celebration for some, and will require additional adjustments to our calendar. To achieve this compressed schedule, and stay within accreditation guidelines, we will forgo Labor Day and fall break and add two days of lectures, either on Saturdays or online. In addition, we will honor and celebrate our December graduates at the Spring 2021 commencement. I realize these changes may affect our personal plans and a compressed schedule leaves little time for breaks. We must all remain flexible so that we can successfully complete the Fall 2020 semester.
I am grateful to the team who has invested significant time into mapping this new schedule. Dr. Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg has met with the deans and faculty senate leaders about this decision and will follow in the coming weeks with additional details. Staff Assembly and the Student Government Association have also been consulted for feedback.
We will also announce to students and families today, with the launch of a microsite that provides information outlining TCU’s proactive plans to address safety, continuity and connectivity during the pandemic. This site goes well beyond our crisis response and is intended to feature the exceptional planning in which our colleagues have engaged, and to instill confidence in both our people and our processes.
Finally, I want to invite you to a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, June 11 from 3 – 4 p.m. Mark your calendars and submit your questions here.
I look forward to seeing you “in person” to discuss the necessary adjustments we are making to protect TCU’s mission for the future. I know we are taxed by the long hours, and the never-ending newness of protocols, procedures and practices that we believe will help keep us safe and operating. Despite the challenges, I remain heartened by the notes I’ve received from you, and from our students and parents who continue to show maturity and dedication to TCU.
As an organization that employs and cares for so many, we must plan responsibly, deliberate with transparency, and make the best decisions for our future. As we do this, thank you again for helping to lead the way ahead. Next week, you will receive additional details about Phase II of our Return to Campus plan, as well as updates on other efforts to sustain our connected campus.
I remain grateful for your hard work and continued focus on our students. We must each create and adjust to a new way forward, with our students safely returning to campus to join us. While far from normal, we must continue to deliver the TCU experience to those students and families who have chosen Texas Christian University as one of the most important decisions of their lives. I have confidence that we have the people, the intellect, and the compassion to do just that.
Victor J. Boschini, Jr.