Academics

Academic Schedules – July 31 Update

Academic schedules will be viewable on the portal and mobile app on the afternoon of Monday, August 3. All students will receive an email from the Registrar, Amy Gutow, on that day with important information about student schedules and Fall 2020 courses. According to the Academic Calendar, add/drop begins August 24, but the Registrar’s Office is prepared to help you with schedule questions as of Monday. It is our hope that you will contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions or concerns about your Fall 2020 schedule. The Registrar asks for your patience and understanding as she and her staff work to assist students during these next few weeks.

Fall 2020 Semester Academic Calendar

We have determined that our best course of action is to announce the calendar for the fall semester at this time while continuing to plan the spring semester calendar. Please see the calendar below for important dates and the start date for the spring term.

19-20 AugustFirst Year Regimental Students Report for RPT
24 AugustBegin Add/Drop Period
Student arrival and check-in times will be staggered over several days – also see reporting dates
28 AugustFaculty Orientation/Welcome remote
31 AugustCommence Fall Semester Classes & Convocation for First-Year Students
4 SeptemberEnd Add/Drop Period
18 September1st Half Semester Course Withdrawal Deadline
9 OctoberFreshman & PFD Student Mid-Semester Grades Published
9 October1st Half Semester Courses End
12 October2nd Half Semester Courses Begin
12 OctoberIndigenous Peoples’ Day – Full class schedule
16 OctoberFull Semester Course Withdrawal Deadline / Change of Major Deadline
1-13 NovemberRegistration for Spring 2021 Courses
11 NovemberVeterans Day – Full class schedule
16-20 NovemberRegistration for Summer 2021 Courses
20 NovemberUndergraduate Courses End
21-24 NovemberFinal Exams
25 NovemberFinal Exam make-up
26 NovemberThanksgiving – Winter break begins
18 DecemberGraduate Courses End
28 DecemberBegin Add/Drop Period
31 DecemberRemote faculty orientation/welcome
3 JanuaryLast day of Winter break
4 JanuaryFirst day of Spring semester classes
8 JanuaryEnd Add/Drop Period

Important notes: the above dates are highlights from the academic calendar only. The 12-week semester plan necessitates that every week is a full academic week with no disruptions or observed holidays. Classes may meet on some Saturdays. As we are shortening the amount of time residential students will live and eat on campus, the business office will apply a credit for a pro-rated room and board refund for the two weeks in December that students will not be in residence.

Fall Courses
The Academic Department Chairs worked with their faculty to review and adapt all fall courses to reflect the planning principles described below. They were both deliberate and thorough in planning for the return to campus while creating the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, and staff.

We expect fall courses to fit into one of these categories:

  1. The course meets in a traditional face-to-face mode, with extensive safety protocols to include distancing, PPE, sanitation, etc.
  2. The course operates as a “hybrid” class, where components such as labs that must be done in person, are conducted face-to-face, while other parts of the class will be completed via remote instruction. There will be many variations of this model to best meet the demands of the course.
  3. The course is completed fully via remote instruction.

Given the various modes of instruction as well as public health and safety guidelines for classrooms, the Registrar is now reviewing the master schedule for the Fall 2020 semester and making adjustments where needed to comply with these new mandates. During this time, student schedules will not be viewable on the MMA portal. We expect to have viewable schedules by July 31. Even while the Registrar conducts this work, all student course registrations for the Fall 2020 semester will remain intact.

Spring Semester 2020 Planning
The Spring Semester will commence on January 4, 2021. Prior to the end of 2020, plans for training cruises, cadet shipping, field experiences, and co-ops will be released. The intent is to catch everyone up by the end of 2021 calendar year.

Academic Planning & Principles
As MMA faculty and staff worked together in May and June to plan for delivering fall courses, the four working groups considered all of the following as they made their recommendations:

  • the impact and scheduling of summer programs, including annual training cruises and internships/co-ops
  • how to teach and operate classes and laboratories in the COVID-19 environment, including enhancing the ability to conduct remote instruction
  • changes in infrastructure to support education, including library services and tutoring, and
  • campus spaces and overall safety programs as we repopulate the campus

While the working groups reported their recommendations to the Academy’s Leadership Team on June 29, the work to implement these changes will continue through the summer.

The working groups adopted the following guiding principles as they conducted planning for fall courses:

  1. Schedule classes and activities in a way that will reduce the density of people in campus spaces to minimize the opportunity for the virus to spread.
  2. Conduct face-to-face components of classes in a safe manner, following the best practices that have been developed for colleges. This will require physical distancing, protective gear, and sanitation protocols (see below for more detail).
  3. Reduce numbers of people moving about campus by teaching classes that can effectively be delivered remotely via online instruction.
  4. Teach the majority of first-year courses in person, due to the critical nature of the first college experience and the challenges of adapting to a college workload.
  5. Accelerate the fall schedule in order to complete all work, including finals, before the Thanksgiving holiday in order to minimize the opportunity for the disease to be brought back to campus after holiday travel. Note: this schedule may require some evening sessions and even weekend classes or labs to accomplish this timeline.
  6. Finally, each instructor will be asked to prepare for the case where the campus may be required to close and classes moved to remote instruction at any point in the semester. The intention will be to schedule as much critical, hands-on activity as early in the term as possible.

Summer 2020 Progress
Although these are challenging times, we have adapted and moved forward. Some key actions include:

1. All Seniors have completed their labs and assessments from the spring term and have graduated.
2. We are in the process of completing a Fast Cruise and a Commercial Cruise on the Massachusetts Maritime Training Ship “Kennedy” which will allow our “Super Seniors” to qualify for their license exams and completion of their degrees.
3. We are working with the U.S. Coast Guard to determine details that will allow MMA to host the License Examinations for our “Super Seniors” in Castine in August so that they can complete their degrees.
4. We are planning to bring back additional students in August to allow completion of their labs and assessments from the spring term.

We expect to continue to implement new models for the way we operate and educate and will provide additional updates through the summer and fall.