Wickert discusses fall semester planning at Faculty Senate

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert shared some early planning regarding instruction and university operations for fall semester during the March 9 Faculty Senate meeting. Wickert emphasized no final decisions have been made for fall. He also said discussions continue around next year's academic calendar. 

"We need to plan for how we get back to the academic and campus experience we are known for," he said. "We need to make some assumptions about the likely scenario."

Wickert said the key assumption is COVID-19 vaccinations will be widely available this summer, which would allow the return of in-person classes, labs and studios "at pre-pandemic levels." It also includes returning to the normal classroom attendance policy.

"That is not to say we won't have online or hybrid classes," he said. 

These kinds of classes were available before the pandemic based on pedagogy and meeting students' needs, and they will be part of instruction moving forward, Wickert said.

The Cyclones Care campaign would continue in a modified form with the possibility of requiring face coverings in classrooms and other safety protocols, Wickert said.

Wickert said plans are forming for Iowa State, as well as the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa, to hold winter sessions during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Drop limit

Senators will vote at the next meeting on changes to the drop limit policy. Students -- regardless of what grade they enter the university -- would be able to drop a maximum of five classes. Currently, students who begin above freshman classification or enroll as an undergraduate after receiving a bachelor's degree are allowed four drops. Lecture and laboratory courses that must be taken concurrently would be considered one course drop.


Jamie Beyer (apparel, events and hospitality management) was elected a Faculty Senate representative to the athletics council.

Other business

Senators also will vote next month on:

  • A master of arts in teaching for mathematics education major in the College of Human Sciences. The 12-month program is recognized as an initial teacher preparation program at the graduate level, and aids students with a bachelor's degree seeking a license to teach secondary education. Currently, the program is offered as a graduate specialization in a master of education and is not specific to math.
  • A master of arts in teaching for secondary education major in the College of Human Sciences. The program supports students who have a bachelor's degree but need to complete additional requirements, like student teaching, in a master's program.
  • A secondary major in education in conjunction with a major offering a teacher preparation program. It recognizes the work done by students who plan to become educators. Numerous programs do not note educator preparation on transcripts leading to disadvantages for some students in their job search.
  • A bachelor of business administration in the Ivy College of Business. The online, 48-credit degree program targets working professionals with at least 45 college credits who want to complete a four-year degree in business while maintaining a full-time job. It focuses on skill building in negotiation and conflict resolution, international management, human resource management, entrepreneurship and other areas. 
  • A major in human resource management (HRM) in the Ivy College of Business. It would move HRM from a track in the management major to its own major, and provide greater expertise and training for students to be immediately employable. ISU would be the first Board of Regents university to offer it.
  • A minor in cyber-physical systems in the mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and aerospace engineering departments. It would be the first minor of its kind in Iowa. Three required three-credit courses would be developed for this 15-credit minor.