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Oct. 7, 2020 – Our Plan for the Spring Semester (Graduate and Professional Students)

Posted by on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 in Community Messages.

Dear Vanderbilt students,

At the beginning of the academic year, we asked all students—whether studying on campus or remotely—to work diligently to protect one another’s safety, to uphold Vanderbilt’s mission, and to keep the long-term view in mind. We asked you to Anchor Down, Step Up, and put the Vanderbilt community first. And you have done so. You have shown that Vanderbilt students can handle difficult challenges and find new ways to thrive amid limitations.

Because of your efforts and those of our entire community, we are off to a promising start, but this pandemic is not over. We are writing today to share Vanderbilt’s plans for the spring semester, wherein we will continue to offer in-person, on-campus classes—governed by our current safety protocols. Some programs also may have remote study options through virtual/alternative platforms.

Our spring academic calendars are designed to sustain the momentum our community has worked so hard to establish, while also taking into account the most recent data and guidance from our colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the School of Nursing and that of public health officials. As always, our success hinges entirely on the dedication and accountability of our entire community in the weeks and months to come.

For our graduate and professional students, the specific dates and parameters of the academic calendar for this spring will depend on your school/college/program’s needs and priorities. You will be hearing directly from your school/college leadership with specific information.

Additional information, including responses to frequently asked questions, can be found on the Vanderbilt Return to Campus website, and that is where we also will continue to share additional details as soon as they are finalized.

In the meantime, we want to share with you some key dates and considerations:

  • Some individual schools, colleges and programs will have their own calendars, whereas others will follow the general university academic spring calendar, for which the first day of classes will be Monday, January 25, with instruction concluding on Friday, April 30.
  • There will be no spring break this year, in a continued effort to limit travel-associated disease transmission. In addition, we ask that students stay in the Nashville area and not travel away from campus for weekend trips through the end of in-person classes and finals.
  • Commencement ceremonies for students graduating in 2021 are planned for May 14.

While at no point has this semester been easy or familiar, the opportunity for many of us to return to campus this fall has positioned Vanderbilt well for the future. Whether you have learned and engaged on campus or remotely, your efforts have been instrumental to our success. And each of us is responsible for continuing to sustain it.

We have been incredibly heartened by and proud of how our community has come together for one another and in support of our academic mission, a mission of education and discovery that is more important than ever to our world. Together, we can keep this progress going and further establish Vanderbilt as a place in which we can all take pride for many years to come.

Daniel Diermeier, Chancellor
Susan R. Wente, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs