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GSAPP Plans for the Coming Academic Year

July 7, 2020

Dear Students,

GSAPP is happy to share additional information on the School’s intended format of instruction and plan for a safe return to campus following President Bollinger’s earlier communication regarding the coming academic year.

GSAPP’s Fall 2020 semester, which will run from September 8 – December 23, 2020, will embrace a hybrid model for teaching and learning, blending in-person and remote instruction to enable our highest aspirations for the next academic year while providing the safest possible environment adhering to strict public health guidelines – such as reduced density, physical distancing, and personal protective equipment – and with the flexibility to adapt as those guidelines change. The remaining academic calendar, as published on the School’s website, will continue with Spring semester from January 11 to April 26, 2021 and Summer semester from June 1 to August 13, 2021.

Following Columbia University and New York State health and safety guidelines relating to academic instruction, we intend to start the Fall semester with in-person instruction for studios and technology labs based on a rotating time-schedule. Crucial lectures and colloquia are also planned to be offered at reduced density, as well as “flipped classes” in which students view lectures remotely and meet faculty in smaller groups on campus. Public programming will remain online.

To support the best possible remote instruction, faculty and staff have collaborated to develop exciting new approaches to digital pedagogy across all of our programs. These GSAPP-specific methods of online learning and teaching explore new methods, tools, and platforms that build on the experience of this past Spring. This exploration is ongoing, and you are invited to join the skills building workshops and lectures we are hosting throughout the summer. Event details can be found on the School calendar, and we hope you will use these opportunities to already connect with us and fellow students.

As per recent Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidelines, international students who are already SEVIS users will be expected to take advantage of the hybrid model and attend in-person instruction when offered. For those international students who are impacted by COVID-19 challenges such as travel restrictions and delays in obtaining visas, GSAPP remains committed to offering flexibility, and you will be able to start remotely. Please reach out to the Student Affairs office at studentaffairs@arch.columbia.edu if you have any questions.

Our next newsletters will share more information on what a safe return to campus will look like in the Fall, with ongoing updates available on GSAPP’s website. In the meantime, I invite you to join me at a Town Hall on July 14 at 10:00am EDT to discuss these plans and our next steps in more detail. (Additional information regarding registration will follow.) The University’s and GSAPP’s plans remain contingent on New York State moving into Phase 4 of its reopening plan, and we will continue to determine if it is necessary to make any changes throughout the coming weeks.

I look forward to welcoming all of you in September to begin an exceptional academic year that presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to work together in new ways as we critically engage and shape the pressing issues facing architecture and the built environment today and in the future.


Amale Andraos