October 26, 2020
TO: Faculty, Staff and Students
FROM: Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Ed.D. RZC Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
RE: UAPB Spring 2021 Adjusted Calendar and Fall 2020 Commencement (Update)
As we face the current COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty that surrounds it, I hope you are safe, healthy, and taking care of yourselves. I want to again provide you with an update of changes from an Academic Affairs standpoint as it relates to the Fall 2020 commencement plan and the Spring 2021 academic semester. In light of the global pandemic, as we continue to assess and reassess the current educational climate, I appreciate your patience while we have developed and refined our commencement plan and our plan to return to campus during the Spring 2021 semester. First and foremost, your health and safety are our top priorities. We continue to monitor local, state, and national public health alerts and seek guidance from health care experts.
After the release of the previously revised academic calendar for Spring 2021, my office received a lot of feedback from both faculty and students. Upon analyzing the current educational climate, we have decided to begin the semester in January 2021 but in an online/distance format for everyone with the exception of nursing students and student teachers who will have instructional plans provided by their instructors. The changes to the Spring 2021 Academic calendar and the Fall 2020 Commencement Ceremony are as follows:
SPRING 2021 OPENING – INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT
Classes will begin January 11, 2021 and end on April 30, 2021. Final examinations for graduating students will be completed by April 23, 2021 and final examinations for non-graduating students will be completed by May 7, 2021. Commencement exercises will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021, if it is safe for us to host this event.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be face-to face, online and distance instruction in the spring semester. Most classes will be offered utilizing a hybrid, online, or approved distance education format.
We are working with faculty to enhance and create new and engaging curricula to maximize student learning and development. In anticipation of this unique fall semester, every course in the catalog has a Blackboard shell and will be ready for online delivery just in case we have to migrate back to a completely online format at any point during the semester.
FALL 2020 COMMENCEMENT
Due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases around the nation, state of Arkansas, and Jefferson County, UAPB has decided to shift from a face-to-face commencement ceremony to a VIRTUAL COMMENCEMENT ceremony out of concern for the safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff, and community. We began the process of planning a face-to-face commencement for the deserving Spring and Fall 2020 graduating classes. Unfortunately, the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise and is expected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future. We offer our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this change in plans has caused you and your loved ones. More details about the virtual commencement will be forthcoming.