Provost's Messages

June 5, 2020  |  Flexibility in Fall 2020 Course Scheduling

Sent to all faculty on behalf of Dr. Winebrake

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As we prepare for the Fall 2020 semester, academic departments, schools, and colleges are reviewing their academic course schedules to determine appropriate adjustments necessary to reduce health risks within our campus community. Based on feedback from the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force (and informed by guidelines from public health authorities), UNCW has adopted the following health and safety guidelines related to course delivery for fall:

  • Face-to-face (F2F) instruction will be limited to no more than 50 students in a designated location. Courses larger than 50 must be delivered fully online, in a hybrid format, or split into multiple F2F sections to reduce class size.
  • The use of hybrid instruction will be expanded to both reduce classroom density and provide students and faculty the ability to respond to shifting conditions that arise during the academic year. I know that many of you have been thinking creatively about hybrid modes of instruction. Please know that Diana Ashe (CTE), Jeremy Dickerson (DEeL), and their support staff are available to help you think about ideas on this front.
  • Classroom occupancy will be adjusted and reduced to address social distancing guidelines. For example, a classroom that could previously accommodate 50 students and an instructor may be reduced to accommodating 30 or fewer people depending on the configuration of the classroom.
  • Face coverings will be required for members of the campus community (faculty, staff, students, and visitors) for campus movement and when participating in classes, meetings, events, research with others present, etc.).
  • Fall Break will be canceled and all course instruction will be completed prior to the Thanksgiving Break to minimize travel away from the UNCW campus. Note: Final exams may either be delivered prior to Thanksgiving Break (assuming additional instructional time is included in the course to make up for lost minutes after Thanksgiving Break); or final exams may occur online after Thanksgiving Break. Guidance from Academic Affairs regarding making up instructional minutes will be forthcoming.
  • All F2F courses for fall must be prepared to move to an online format if external drivers necessitate a change in delivery modality.

Although the academic course schedule will be adjusted, UNCW seeks to maintain F2F learning experiences that are the cornerstone to the high-impact, residential experience that defines the UNCW community for many of our students.  With that in mind, we are also aware that faculty may have individual circumstances that may factor into planning for the Fall 2020 course schedule. 

To that end, this email invites you to evaluate your potential need for flexibility in your Fall 2020 organized course teaching assignments. Please complete the questionnaire found here to help inform the university’s work in planning the Fall 2020 course schedule.  While this form will remain open, responses received on or before 8:00 PM on Tuesday, 9 June 2020 will be most helpful as we engage in this review process.  The university will then use a collaborative process among Department Chairs/School Directors, Academic Deans, Academic Affairs, and Human Resources to review these requests with flexibility, health and safety, and student success in mind. We are committed to evaluate each request for flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions regarding this request process, please contact your Department Chair/School Director.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and please enjoy the weekend!

Sincerely yours,


James J. Winebrake, Ph.D.
Incoming Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
UNC Wilmington