Starting the semester strong in spite of some limits

Starting the semester strong in spite of some limits


Since even before last semester ended, the University has been developing a Return-to-Rowan plan flexible enough to adapt to any stage of the state’s reopening strategy. Our faculty have worked to transfer and refine their curricula to provide students a robust academic experience delivered within all public health guidelines. While we had planned for a full return to campus this fall, it is apparent that New Jersey will remain in Stage 2 of its reopening plan for the foreseeable future, so we will begin the fall semester accordingly.

  • Courses that require labs, technical and clinical rotations, and hands-on instruction will be offered in person. Classes that involve higher-risk activities (likely transmitting more aerosolized droplets), such as theater, music, dance and physical education, will begin in a remote format and will transition to in-person instruction when authorized by the state. All other classes, including lectures and seminars, also will begin remotely with many courses designed to transition to in-person instruction when authorized by the state and others remaining online. 
  • Once we are allowed to offer more in-person instruction, students may choose to continue in remote learning or a HyFlex combination. 
  • We welcome students to live and study in Rowan housing from the start of the semester, all with enhanced health and safety measures in place. 
  • We will refine safety protocols from one stage to another to transition quickly and smoothly at any point during the semester as the state provides guidance in response to changing circumstances. 
  • We will support students who need medical accommodations to continue their studies, at all stages and for all classes.

Course schedules will be finalized by August 7 and students will receive instructions on how to determine the mode of delivery for each. Academic Advising will hold information sessions to help students better understand how the semester will start. 

Please visit our Return to Rowan website for more information and updates, plus an extensive Q&A section and links to many resources. The site also links to a schedule for our “What to expect when you return” virtual information sessions, which are being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m., through August 27. Tomorrow’s session will focus on academics.    

Committed to quality and connecting 
Rowan is better prepared than ever to provide students a rich remote learning environment. Our faculty and students have found creative ways to translate and recreate the dynamics of in-person instruction, encouraging online interaction and discussion. While, for now, we can’t replace the experience of being physically together to learn for most courses, Rowan’s fall semester will offer high-quality education and foster vibrant connections through flexible and strong support when students need it. And we will be ready to bring additional courses rapidly to in-person instruction as soon as we are permitted to do so, even mid-semester.

For students planning to live on campus
Much of the summer work at Rowan focused on adjusting residence halls and apartments to comply with distancing and cleaning requirements so we could welcome students back to the campus community safely. Because course delivery format is not a factor in determining eligibility for a housing assignment — students can live on campus even if all of their classes meet remotely — we will remain flexible with deadlines for those who would like to reconsider their housing commitments, and we will accept students back into housing even after the semester begins, if space is available. 

An extended move-in schedule will start the week of August 20 to allow us to observe distancing protocols. University Housing will notify students of their assigned move-in date and time — please anticipate more information to come. Dining services will be available according to restrictions (outlined in the state’s plan) which allow outdoor dining and pick-up for now. 

A sense of belonging and purpose
Rowan’s community is vibrant especially because it encourages relationships that help students expand their understanding and participation in the world, starting with clubs and groups. We will still provide opportunities for students to interact with each other and attend in-person and virtual activities of all sorts — academic, social, cultural, recreational and more. Rowan Thrive will be integral to creating and building these connections.

Starting the fall semester with more limits than we hoped for is unfortunate, but the good news is we are ready to shift immediately to fewer restrictions as the state makes progress. Until then, Rowan University will be the best model of an academic community that we can: dedicated to rigorous study and research, supportive of every member of the Rowan family, and resilient, creative and agile in the face of uncertainty and challenge. Wherever we are, we will make the most of our opportunities and make a difference in our world. 


Ali A. Houshmand, Ph.D.

Tony Lowman, Ph.D.