For the 2020-21, soon-to-be underway academic year, the college is expecting and planning for students to return to campus for both terms. In mid-June, the college began planning in earnest for a gradual resumption of in-person activities and operations on campus.
Beloit’s traditional semesters will be divided into two modules, with students taking two full courses at a time for seven-and-a-half weeks separated by a break, instead of one 15-week semester with a typical load of four classes.
On NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report in early June, Beloit’s Provost Eric Boynton talked to host David Brancaccio about the “hinge” in the module format that allows Beloit to be nimble when the future is unknown.
“There’s a hinge in the semester, and it’s a way to maximize flexibility,” Boynton said. “If we needed to move away from campus there would be a place, a pivot point, in the semester where it would be natural to move off campus. Or if we had to start out online, it’s also a place in which only two courses would be affected.”
Modules are part of the new Beloit Action Plan. Set to debut this fall, the new plan is attracting national media attention for its forward-thinking moves at a time of radical uncertainty. The initiative draws on the college’s existing strengths and includes several features that were planned well before the pandemic. These are complemented by other components, like the modules, which were developed in response to the COVID upheaval.
In addition to the modular structure, the Plan features:
- A new Advanced Mentoring Program, an intensified, personalized program with structured mentoring over a student’s critically important first two years
- An innovative program called Career Channels, which sets students’ sights on their futures early on, making connections between their education and a broad interest in a career (such as health and healing or justice and rights) and a community of professionals working in that field
- To address affordability and the desire for many students to study closer to home right now, Beloit unveiled its Midwest Flagship Match. Beloit is matching the tuition of the flagship university for prospective students residing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
- Finally, the Beloit Promise part of the plan looks out for returning students and their new financial circumstances which may include job losses and other hardships. Beloit promises to hold tuition steady this year while offering a number of additional financial supports, such as no-interest loans and deferred payments.