Jul 132021

Academic Matters 2021/22 from the Interim Dean

Dear Friends,

We are making the first steps toward a return to normal—whatever that means. COVID-19 vaccines have begun to transform our lives, even though physical distancing, masks, and handwashing still order our days. We are also acutely aware of the work that remains in order to reach sufficient vaccine coverage that can protect the broader population from the disease.

In our ongoing efforts to deliver a stellar educational experience, we return to our four-fold modality for the 2021-22 Academic Year. Courses will be delivered: face-to-face (in-person at CTS with some Canvas support); online (synchronous and asynchronous sessions employing Canvas and Zoom); hybrid (online with required face-to- face sessions); and flex (online with some face-to-face sessions and an online alternative for those who cannot participate in the specified face-to-face sessions). See the course schedule, Campus Café or the Registrar for specifics.

On-campus coursework and meetings are designed to be low-density, with vaccination requirements and continuing attention to COVID-19 safety protocols to protect our students, staff, and faculty. If you are coming to campus, you will need to use your keycard for access; please do not hold the door open for anyone else, even if you recognize them. Please see the most recent COVID Policy for details. Our COVID-19 Response Team and Leadership Team will continue to monitor the recommendations of local, state, and federal government officials—prepared to revise policies to advance public safety as necessary.

Fall 2021 semester opens on September 7th. The class add/drop period runs from September 8 through September 18. Hybrid courses (Bayan Chicago) will meet in-person at CTS on October 10-15 and October 17-22. J-Term 2022 commences January 3; these intensive courses are scheduled to be face-to- face. Here is a link to the  2021-22 Academic Calendar.

Many in our CTS community contracted COVID-19 and/or lost loved ones to this deadly virus. We have lost so much. We have also demonstrated great resilience, lifting each other up to continue our sacred work together. Please know that your well-being is important to us. We hear you. We see you. Take care of yourself. May we show compassion and take care of each other.

Shefa b’rachot—an abundance of blessing,

Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Ph.D.

Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean



Most questions related to the pandemic are addressed in the July 12, 2021 COVID policy memo. Here are some additional queries that may arise as you try to remember how to do things around here😊.


When do I register for Fall 2021 classes?

Registration is open now for Fall 2021; please register as soon as you are able so we may plan appropriately. (Registration remains open until the first day of classes on September 7, but we ask that you do not delay.) Refer to the CTS website for the  academic calendar and list of courses.

Students should generally consult with their assigned faculty advisor about course selection, but many faculty are not available during the summer. If you don’t know who your advisor is or have general questions about registration, contact the Registrar, Tina Shelton, at [email protected]. Tina can also assist with issues related to Campus Café.


What about PhD exams and courses?

Our accreditors waived the residency requirement for Ph.D. courses during the 2020-2021 academic year, but that waiver is ending. Thus at least 50% of Ph.D. courses need to be based on-campus. (If you are completing your second year of coursework, you will have 50% this year, a 25% total.)  Remember that you can inquire if faculty are willing to adapt a Master’s level course for doctoral-level credit. If you have questions, you can contact your advisor or Associate Dean/PhD Center Director, Emily Vogt, at [email protected].


What if I owe a balance? Can I still register for Fall 2021 classes?

Students will need to clear balances from the spring semester in order to register for Fall 2021 courses. You will not be allowed to register if your account shows a balance. Please connect with the CTS Controller, Michele Carr, [email protected], for balance inquiries. Also reach out to Roberto Mendez, [email protected], if you have questions about financial aid.


What if I need assistance with Canvas?

The Director of Online Learning, Alex Jean-Charles, can assist with Canvas issues. His email address is [email protected].


What should I do about email?

Issues with email accounts should be forwarded to [email protected]. Darnell Payne is our IT Director. He can be reached at [email protected]. Darnell can also assist with email troubleshooting and other related inquiries.


What’s the scoop with field education and CPE?

Kate Lassiter at [email protected] and Shawn Casselberry at [email protected] can assist with your questions about theological field education and clinical pastoral education. They can also respond to your questions regarding the LM 400: Leadership and Ministry course.


What if I need disabilities accommodations for courses?

The forms to  request accommodations are located on the CTS website, each Canvas course shell, and included in the  Student Handbook. Inform your class professor, the Registrar, and the Asst. Director of Student Formation and Community Engagement, Amy Aschliman, [email protected], about specific needs.


What about campus events?

Beginning in the fall there may be some low-density, small on-campus events that meet local, state, and federal public safety guidelines. Larger events such as the Annual C. Shelby Rooks Lecture will take place online. We are hopeful about the spring, making plans for events—including Commencement—to be held in-person.

CTS Commencement is scheduled for May 13, 2022 at 2p.m. Central Time at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Prospective 2022 graduates should be in touch with their advisors and Tina Shelton in the Registrar’s Office,  [email protected]. Persons who participated in virtual commencement in 2020 and 2021 are invited to walk in the 2022 ceremony.


What if I need to talk to someone with academic concerns?

If you have questions about your current courses, please go directly to the professor. If you do not receive a timely answer, you can reach out to your advisor or to the interim Academic Dean, Rachel Mikva, [email protected]


What if I have a complaint?

You may complete the  anonymous complaint form found on the website. Faculty advisors as well as the Student Government Association are also student advocates. Additionally, there is an academic grievance process outlined in the Student Handbook.


What if I have pastoral or spiritual concerns?

If you have pastoral or spiritual concerns, connect with Asst. Director of Spiritual Formation and Community Engagement, Amy Aschliman, [email protected]. We have a team of pastoral caregivers, peer mentors, and others who are here to support your journey.

There is a saying in Jewish tradition:

All the world is a very narrow bridge. The key is not to be afraid.

We can help each other face the challenges in our lives and in our world. May grace, mercy, peace, and patience guide and guard us!