Message to Penn Undergraduates
Welcome to the fall semester! We are excited to start working with you, and we promise to do everything we can, in the months ahead, to advance your education and ease your concerns. All of our professors, advisors, and TAs will continue to be widely available both in and out of the classroom, through office hours and virtual appointments. We will also survey students throughout the term so that we can respond and adapt to any new issues that may arise. As the semester begins:
- You have the option to take any or all of your courses pass/fail this semester. This includes courses taken to satisfy major or general education requirements, and the courses will not count against the total number of pass/fail courses allowed in your School. You will need to opt in by October 30.
- We are finalizing a virtual shopping period so that students can “visit” courses on Canvas.
- We are working on the best ways to provide safe research experiences for students with graduation requirements.
We want to make sure that you can continue to connect with each other, form virtual communities, and stay engaged in your campus activities. As a start, we are now providing free full-function Zoom Pro accounts for all students, which you can create at: https://upenn.zoom.us. Next week, we will launch a new Penn Clubs platform that will allow you to connect virtually with Penn Clubs and participate in our annual Student Activities Fair with hundreds of campus organizations. In the weeks ahead, our Class Boards, Undergraduate Assembly, and Social Planning and Events Committee are all actively planning events to bring you together online.
We also understand that the transition from in-person to online learning can be challenging. We are offering extensive resources to help you in many different situations. The Weingarten Learning Resources Center provides a wide range of resources and strategies for remote learning, including structuring and managing time proactively, creating daily and weekly goals, forming online study groups, and preparing for open-book exams. The Online Learning Initiative offers detailed guidance for virtual learning, including creating a dedicated space for learning, finding ways to connect with other people, and developing a plan to build structure and goals into your daily routine. The Provost’s Office website brings together online resources and academic information across every School and program, along with updated FAQs for students and instructors.
There will be numerous ways, across both semesters, to participate in our Year of Civic Engagement, which will begin in New Student Orientation for first-year students. We hope that this year will give us all opportunities to engage with each other and begin to engage the post-pandemic future, which will encompass not only our campus but also our neighborhood and our city.
We will continue to keep you updated, and we look forward to getting started on the semester!
Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Beth Winkelstein, Deputy Provost
Steven Fluharty, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Erika James, Dean, Wharton School
Vijay Kumar, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Antonia Villarruel, Dean, School of Nursing