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Fall 2020 Plan to Reopen

University of Mount Union Fall 2020 Plan to Reopen

The University of Mount Union is making plans to resume face-to-face instruction and residential operations this fall. Our plans for welcoming our community back to campus for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year are summarized below.

We recognize that important modifications regarding living and learning, particularly in terms of creating safe distancing in classrooms, campus housing, and dining and group meeting venues, are needed. The University will adapt its operations to comply with the decisions of federal, state, and local authorities and public health officials.

 

A Focus on Health and Safety

The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors are at the forefront of our planning. We are fortunate to enjoy close proximity and a robust partnership with Aultman Alliance Community Hospital, which is across the street from the University’s campus. Our campus health center is located in the professional office building on the hospital’s campus, allowing our students and staff to access a full range of needed medical treatments and services. Staff from Aultman Alliance Community Hospital, representatives from the City of Alliance’s Health Department, faculty members from the University’s health sciences programs, and staff from across the University are serving on a Health and Safety Committee that is planning for a safe restart of face-to-face teaching and residential operation in August.

 

Ongoing Planning

Throughout the summer, members of campus planning groups will be focused on academic instruction, monitoring and responding to health and safety issues, and evaluation of classrooms, residences, dining facilities, meeting venues, and workplaces to ensure the safety of our students and our faculty and staff. As these groups continue their efforts, additional details will be communicated.

A Return to Face-to-Face Instruction

A return to face-to-face instruction is the goal of the University for the 2020-2021 academic year. Doing so will require a number of modifications for the fall semester. Thus, beginning August 24, 2020 and continuing through December 12, 2020, Mount Union will utilize the Social Distancing Learning Model of education, which combines face-to-face and remote instruction. 

The goal of this model is to maximize personal interaction between faculty and students, and between students in a course, while reducing attendance density in classrooms, thus permitting proper social distancing. During each week of instruction, a portion of students in a given course will meet face-to-face in one class session, while the other portion participates and learns remotely. The next session meeting would have those two student groups switching places. Faculty members will be available to meet with students during office hours that will be held in-person and by phone or videoconference.

As a student-centered institution that offers a highly personalized-education, the University understands the importance of face-to-face learning and its impact on our students. This blended model will best position Mount Union to maintain social distancing guidelines and recommendations while preserving the integrity of the exceptional learning experiences students have come to expect. 

The implementation of the Social Distancing Learning Model will be strengthened by a significant investment in faculty training and innovation. The faculty and administration of Mount Union have been planning for two years for the inauguration this summer of a new Faculty Development Center. Led by a respected member of the faculty and augmented by the recent hiring of a specialist in instructional design, the center will provide vital preparation for the Social Distancing Learning Model. A summer institute for faculty will present best practices for blending in-person and remote instruction to maximize learning, student engagement, and student success. These practices represent the most up-to-date teaching strategies in higher education that place students at the center of learning.

Previous Communications

Read the communication provided to members of the Mount Union community in regards to reopening plans in the fall.