Additional questions and answers from Conversation with the Chancellor
With limited time during the Family Weekend event with Chancellor Diermeier and other university leadership, we weren’t able to address all submitted questions. For those we weren’t able to answer live, please view additional questions and answers below. If you have any more questions or concerns about your student’s life at Vanderbilt, contact the Parents and Family office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-887-2736.
When does the university expect to be able to move all sophomores through seniors to residential colleges?
We are in the process of building our third new residential college, known for now as Residential College C, or RC-C. Our ultimate goal is to house all sophomores, juniors and seniors in our new residential colleges, but we do not have a set date for when this will happen. For up-to-date information on the building progress, you can subscribe to the West End Neighborhood e-newsletter.
Bravo on the outstanding vaccination rates. Do you allow unvaccinated students? Why? And how do you justify that versus the responsibility to protect the health of all, especially the ones who have been vaccinated?
We allow only students with approved accommodations to be unvaccinated. Students may have approved accommodations based on medical or religious grounds. Students with accommodations are required to mask, physically distance and test weekly. Less than 2 percent of our students have accommodations from the vaccination requirement.
Morbidity and mortality data are for specific groups, including undergrad students, grad students, faculty and staff. What has been the real effect of COVID disease on the university community with all the mitigation? Have there been deaths? Hospitalizations?
Because of applicable privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and because members of our campus community are not required to report COVID-related hospitalizations to the university, specific data regarding hospitalization is not available. However, through our contact tracing program we have general information. The university is aware of very few hospitalizations and no deaths.
Given Owen’s strength and popularity as a graduate business program, are there plans to establish an undergraduate Business major? If so, what is the expected timeline?
There are no plans for this as of now. However, we continue to be proud of our Undergraduate Business Minor. The program is an opportunity for students to pursue a program that is “Uniquely Vanderbilt.” This trans-institutional program, with elective course options from each of the four undergraduate schools and fundamentals courses taught by the Owen Graduate School of Management, is designed to complement a strong liberal arts education. Our majors, in fact, can be interdisciplinary and student-designed, allowing them the flexibility to pursue a course of study that best interests and benefits them.
How does the university’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies play out for freshmen and sophomores? Do professors invite peers from other disciplines into their classes to give lectures or lead seminars? Are texts from other disciplines included in their syllabi?
Vanderbilt’s undergraduate experience incorporates Vanderbilt’s commitment to trans-institutional and cross-disciplinary scholarship. Students are able to take classes across the university’s four undergraduate schools and colleges, which include many majors, programs and courses based in interdisciplinary approaches. Additionally, the university encourages faculty to approach their own research, scholarship and teaching with an interdisciplinary lens, with professional development and funding focused on trans–institutional collaboration.
Last year was very difficult, especially for the transfer students that came and were asked to live off campus. While understandable, they are still feeling disconnected and a bit envious of the new sophomore transfer program. Why isn’t there a similar program to help them meet new people and feel connected to their new community? As parents this is a great concern to us after our daughter has been here for over a year and still feeling alone.
The university empathizes with the unique experience of transfer students, who often report feelings of disconnection that align with national trends. We know that the transition to Vanderbilt may have been particularly challenging for fall 2020 transfer students, who were asked to live off-campus in their first year at the university. The division of Academic Affairs has worked closely with Transfer Connect—the student organization that supports the transfer student experience—over the past 18 months to offer programs and resources that enable fall 2020 transfer students to develop a sense of belonging to the university.
Support structures for fall 2020 transfer students have included: Coffee with a Commodore, an ongoing opt-in program in which each transfer student is paired with a non-transfer student in their major area of study to expand their peer network; Connecting to VU, a six-week extended orientation program in which campus departments share strategies and resources that empower transfer students to make the most of their Vanderbilt experience; and a fall 2020 transfer reunion, a one-time social event featuring Nashville food vendors and traditional orientation activities.
If your student has not yet taken advantage of these opportunities, it is not too late for them to do so. The Coffee with a Commodore program is designed to support transfer students whenever they need it. Transfer students who enrolled at Vanderbilt for the first time in fall 2020 or fall 2021 may contact Transfer Connect Adviser Marissa McGillis (email@example.com) to be enrolled in the program. More information on transfer student programs is available at vanderbilt.edu/transfer.
Why are exams for freshman chemistry and calculus given at 7 p.m. when a student is tired from a busy day of course work and studying? This would appear to be adding an additional layer of stress that is counterproductive to allowing a student to perform at his or her best.
The general chemistry and calculus exams are given at 7 p.m. because all students, regardless of the section in which they are enrolled, take the same examination. To avoid the temptation to academic dishonesty, everyone must take the exam at the same time. It is at 7 p.m. to avoid conflicts with student class schedules and because there is no other time when enough rooms are available to accommodate all students.