Academic Affairs Update

June 5, 2020


Engaging the Whittier Campus

Understandably, many of you are eager to learn about Whittier College’s plans for the 2020-2021 academic year. As President Oubré has already shared with the community, we have been hard at work taking steps to offer an engaging, on-campus experience in the fall. While we are still working through some of the details for instruction and other on-campus programming, the overall structure of the academic year has been determined and we are ready to share this information with the College community.
Over the last few weeks, faculty and administration have been planning how to safely welcome back students to campus. As part of this process, we have consulted with medical professionals and looked to guidance from public health agencies, understanding that resuming on-campus instruction and student life will necessitate significant reorganization to accommodate physical distancing and the need for some faculty and students to have remote instruction options as well.
As you read through this information, know that our work is not done and that we will continue to innovate as we build resilient, flexible structures to deliver the individualized and interactive education that is the essence of the Whittier College experience.
The biggest change we are making is that the fall and spring semesters will be divided into two seven-week modules, and Jan Term will be expanded to a seven-week session. For students who choose not to be on campus, we are prepared to accommodate them with remote engaged instruction. The semester will begin as planned on September 9.

Introducing Whittier Modules

In order to offer highly engaging, individualized, and interactive instruction that is flexible enough to allow for in-person and remote learning Whittier College is rebuilding its schedule from the ground up. This new system also takes into account concerns related to health and physical distancing as well as valuable student feedback from Spring 2020.

The Module system:

  • Begins Wednesday, September 9 
  • Consists of five (5) blocks—two in the fall, one in winter (Jan Term), and two in spring
  • Each block is seven (7) weeks long
  • Students will usually just take two (2) main courses per block (e.g. two 3- or 4-unit courses, plus 1 and 2 unit courses)
  • The maximum number of units for the year will continue to be 36 units

The modular schedule is asking for quick and major changes from departments and academic programs, but we believe it will optimize the student experience for next year. 
We ask that you be patient as we roll out the specifics related to your individual course loads or situations. We are committed to working with all students to meet their educational goals and graduate on time. In the meantime, we are trying to make the process as transparent and as easy as possible. Note that registration and the course schedule will go off-line starting June 8 while we work on migrating courses to the new schedule. 
Please check your Poets email regularly over the coming weeks. More details will be sent to students on how current courses will be transferred over to the Module system. In addition, we plan to provide information on how Campus Life will look in the fall early next week. 

sal johnston, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty