Education

Academic calendar set for UNC System includes in person classes

Photograph by Ivan Aleksic

Asheville – The university system of UNC has set its academic calendar.  Much to the joy of many, students will be allowed to have in-person classes this fall at campuses throughout the state. A step to normalcy will be taking place.   A student will be able to have a normal course load. The courses it should be noted will be offered in a hybrid format.  All content will be delivered with methods of active learning for student engagement in mind.  A small percentage of classes will be offered entirely online,  and a small percentage may be entirely in person.  Students and parents are anxious to begin a new semester; and the faculty and staff want to start back to work. Starting August 10th classes will begin.

Here in Asheville, at the University of North Carolina campus the health, safety and well-being of faculty, staff, students and greater community are seen as the top priority.   Plans are being carefully made for the start of the fall semester on August 10, with classes ending Nov. 17th— for that semester, which will be broken into two 7 1/2 week blocks. Exams will run from November 18th through November 24th.   The spring 2021 classes will begin January 6th.   Further specific calendar information can be found at https://catalog.unc.edu/academic-calendar/academic-calendar.pdf.  

The intention is to resume in-person instruction with the highest-quality health and virus mitigation protocols in place. Best practices in space utilization to reduce population density and to ensure there will be no gatherings in numbers greater than those outlined by Governor Cooper’s restrictions when we resumption of in-person instruction is being implemented.  This includes every physical space on campus, including areas such as Brown Hall, Highsmith Student Union, Ramsey Library, the Wilma M. Sherrill Center, and all classrooms. Possible contingency plans that align with the regulations dictated by state and local health departments are being made. 

Nancy J. Cable, the Chancellor of UNCA, points out that UNCA is an important driver in the western North Carolina economy.  As she said,  “We’re excited.  We’re intentional about it.  And we will only open if we can ensure those best protocols health-wise.”  On virtual meetings, Cable outlined how the university will provide high-quality masks for students, faculty and staff, how it is prepared to offer more single rooms, and even how UNC Asheville doesn’t have large, gang-style bathrooms. She discussed how the university is prepared to provide online instruction and food delivery for students who require quarantine or isolation, and how it has made arrangements with the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and Mission Hospital if they need medical attention. 

Peter Hans ’91 elected UNC System President

Peter Hans was elected the next president of the UNC System on June 19 of this year.  He will start work on August 1, as head of the system that governs the state’s 17 public campuses.  Hans, who grew up in Hendersonville and Southport, was chairman of the Board of Governors from 2012 to 2014. He holds a political science degree from Carolina and a master’s of liberal arts in extension studies from Harvard. Hans is taking a sharp salary reduction—initiated by him to bring it in line with the pay range of the system’s chancellors.  Where Roper earned the same as former President Margaret Spellings, $775,000 annually, Hans will start at $400,000; two years from now, he will be eligible for incentive compensation of up to $600,000.  Hans is credited with starting talks about performance-based compensation in the system.  

The athletic programs at the University of North Carolina-CH

Carolina football players began returning to campus this summer, returning in four separate groups though July 1.  Athletes in several sports are scheduled to return over the summer.  Athletics director Bubba Cunningham mentioned that as of yet, they do not know how many fans “we may be able to welcome to competitions.”  “We are planning for our sports teams to compete—with several safety precautions in place.”  All athletes, coaches and staff members will be tested for COVID 19 at least twice—once when they arrive and again seven to eight days later.  Team members will be housed together, on and off-campus.  Athletes have been told to self-quarantine or wear a mask in public and social distance for at least a week prior to returning to campus.