Dear Chicago Booth Community,
I write to follow up on the message you received today from President Zimmer and Provost Lee regarding the university’s plans for autumn quarter.
We at Chicago Booth are excited to return to our campuses for the autumn quarter with a combination of remote and in-person learning across all of our programs. As much as we had hoped to return to a full campus experience in the fall, we must prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff amid the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I recognize that many of you will have questions about how today’s news will affect our learning, teaching, and working environment. While more details will be forthcoming via emails and town halls, I want to share some of what we do know about autumn quarter at Booth:
Dual-modality teaching. To protect our community and to allow the most flexibility given air travel and commuting challenges and the uncertainty about future virus outbreaks, Booth is planning for dual-modality teaching for the autumn quarter. With dual modality, faculty have the option to be remote or in class, and students have the option to be remote or in class. Our Booth IT team is working with Zoom engineers to ensure faculty and students can be connected, visible, and audible. We will adapt schedules as needed to ensure we can follow class-size limits in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Some classes will be offered in a hybrid format, with some students in class and some remote, while some classes will be offered remotely only. We will all work to ensure community is sustained and students will have the opportunity to connect.
School calendar. The Full-Time, Evening MBA, Weekend MBA, and PhD Programs will begin on September 21, with in-person instruction ending by Thanksgiving, and exams being held remotely from November 30 to December 5. Executive MBA students will receive detailed calendars from their program.
Travel. Currently, the university has suspended all official university travel. We will follow government and CDC guidelines related to travel, and will have more specific guidance as we get closer to the start of the autumn quarter. For the Full-Time MBA Program, we will not be conducting Random Walks or taking incoming exchange students in the fall. For the Full-Time, Evening, and Weekend MBA Programs, study abroad will not occur in the fall. For the Executive MBA Program, campus-specific arrangements will be communicated separately.
International students in the Full-Time Program. Remote learning and virtual career recruiting will allow international students not currently in the US to begin the quarter in their home country until visas become available. The flexible classroom will allow students to switch to in-person learning for most classes once they are able to travel to campus.
Health and safety. We continue to follow university and local public health guidelines and advice from the experts at UChicago Medicine as we plan to reopen campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong in a thoughtful and deliberate way. Because we are a global school, I urge you to check to see if local or university guidance is to be followed, especially for travel and events, and before arriving on campus. As we phase in our return to Booth facilities, we will adhere to the public health protocols outlined on goforward.uchicago.edu. We know that social distancing, facial coverings, frequent hand washing, and sanitizing work areas prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will have requirements in these areas, and we ask each of you to follow the UChicago health requirements.
Chicago Booth’s core values of rigorous inquiry, a data-driven approach, respect for the individual, and a supportive community have remained at the forefront throughout the pandemic. These values continue to drive us to deliver on our mission to provide knowledge with enduring impact, and to influence and educate future leaders.
Over the past several months, the Booth community has come together and worked incredibly hard to continue to support that mission with amazing enthusiasm, creativity, and flexibility. Our faculty have adapted to remote teaching with great results, and demonstrated the strength of Booth thought leadership to a global audience. Our students have been flexible and positive, working with us to improve the Booth experience and to help our community. Our staff have kept the school operating at the highest level possible while working remotely; our teams also have provided impactful online programming for students and alumni, including global Economic Outlook events featuring our faculty experts, and a Distinguished Speaker Series with some of our most successful alumni. And our alumni have shown their strength and support by donating time and resources to fight COVID-19, giving to the student support fund, and helping our students by participating on panels, offering advice, and working with our Career Services team to help them land jobs.
Going forward, I call on each of you to continue to be active participants as we carry this momentum into the fall. Please stay informed by following university updates at goforward.uchicago.edu, and Booth updates on the Chicago Booth Intranet. Additionally, you may send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am confident that our shared commitment to our core values, combined with the lessons we have learned over these months, will ensure that we maintain our distinctive academic environment and operate at the highest caliber while protecting the health of our community. I thank you for your dedication to the school’s continued success and to one another’s well-being as we navigate this next phase together.