Jul 232020

Fall 2020 Academic Matters

Out of concern for the health and safety of students, staff and faculty during this COVID-19 pandemic and in our efforts to deliver a stellar educational experience,

CTS will employ a hybrid course modality for Fall 2020. This will be a very low-density reopening where at times some faculty and students will be in a physical classroom, and some will not. Thus, there will be opportunities for in-person and online course engagement. Professors teaching in-person courses will have the option to teach online and will communicate preference before August 31—the day Canvas course modules open and a week prior to the beginning of the semester on September 8. Of note the class add/drop period runs from September 8 through September 18.

Students enrolled in in-person courses who are uncomfortable returning to campus will have the option to subscribe to online classes. A few courses will present as a flex model constituting online work with an optional in-person component. Specific scheduling for in-person opportunities will vary and be determined in respective courses. Particular details for all courses will be based upon the academic degree program and course content as well as faculty, staff and student concerns regarding underlying conditions or COVID-19 transmission. Our curriculum is such that students will be able to meet all given criteria in this hybrid format.

CTS will continue to monitor the recommendations of state and local government officials and will be prepared to adhere to any call to shift its hybrid modality for the sake of public safety. As of today, J-term 2021 courses will be in-person, and Spring 2021 courses will be offered online and in-person. However, the virus and a vaccine determine the timeline.

Thank you to all students, faculty and staff who completed surveys to assist in this decision-making process. Please know your safety and well-being are important to us. We hear you. We see you. Take care of yourself.


What should I do about Fall 2020 registration?
Although registration for Fall 2020 occurred in April, current and new students still have the opportunity to register until the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 8. Refer to the CTS website for the academic calendar and list of courses. Students should contact their assigned faculty advisor about classes and next academic steps. There have been several faculty changes, so be sure check Campus Café.  If you don’t know who your advisor is or have general questions about registration, contact the Registrar, Tina Shelton, at [email protected].

What if I owe a balance? Will I still be able to register Fall 2020?
In April CTS deferred until September 8, 2020 the payment of balances that would have precluded a student from being able to register. Therefore, students who still have a balance from Spring 2020 and/or Summer 2020 must pay in full or outline some repayment process with CTS no later than September 8, 2020. Please connect with the Financial Aid Coordinator, Josh Larson, at [email protected]. Additionally check with the CTS Controller, Michele Carr, [email protected], for balance inquiries and questions about payment plans.

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 problems?
Issues with email accounts should be forwarded to [email protected]. Send inquiries related to Canvas and Campus Café to [email protected].

What about my Bayan@CTS course?
Bayan courses would normally meet in-person at CTS in October before and during Reading Week. Due to the pandemic this in-person component will not take place at CTS during Fall 2020. For additional information about Bayan classes, contact Munir Shaikh at [email protected] or the Registrar, Tina Shelton, [email protected].

What am I to do about PhD exams and courses?
The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) has granted all of its member schools the leverage to offer masters and doctoral-level courses online for Fall 2020. For questions regarding your exams or any dissertation defense, contact Associate Dean and PhD Center Director, Emily Vogt, at [email protected].  Also check with your PhD advisor.

Do I still need to complete field education? What about 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. Either can respond to your questions regarding the LM 400: Leadership and Ministry course.

What about Fall Commencement?
CTS had anticipated an in-person Fall Commencement on Wednesday, September 16. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety and well-being of our community, a modified celebration will take place virtually via Zoom. We will gather for 2020-21 Opening Convocation where we will also confer degrees. President Ray will be the speaker. More details are forthcoming. For now save the date: Wednesday, September 16 at 12p.m.CDT.

How can I access resources in the Learning Commons?
The Lapp Learning Commons is now open. Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday 9:30a.m. to 2:30p.m.CDT. Access outside of these hours can be prearranged. If you are needing to visit the Learning Commons, you must adhere to all protocols related to wearing a face mask, sanitizing areas, and disinfecting your hands. Curbside pickup is available, and all study rooms are for individual use only. The Learning Commons can do limited scans of reading materials that are not available in digital format and can provide virtual reference services via email and Zoom. Please email [email protected] or the Director of the Learning Commons, Yasmine Abou-El-Kheir, [email protected],  if you require assistance.

What if I need disabilities accommodations for my courses?
Inform both your class professor and the Asst. Director of Student Formation and Community Engagement, Amy Aschliman, [email protected], about specific needs. Currently forms to complete the disabilities accommodation process are available from either Amy or Tina Shelton in the Registrar’s Office. The forms will be uploaded to the website and included in the student handbook soon.

What about campus events?
All CTS named lectures and special events will occur virtually during Fall 2020.

Am I able to come to campus to meet with staff, faculty or another student?
In our efforts to maintain physical distancing and limit the number of persons in the CTS building, some staff are working remotely. There are some in the office only on certain days. Check with faculty about their in-person availability. Information on building re-entry was emailed on July 13. Here are the guidelines:

  • All staff, faculty and students must use their keycard for entry as the doors will remain locked.
  • We ask that you do not hold doors open for other people as we will be using the keycard swipe as a contract tracing measure.
  • The CTS building is not open to guests and external visitors.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in common spaces.
  • Anyone in the building must maintain physical distancing and stay 6 ft apart.
  • Sanitize offices and study rooms before you begin your work. Disinfectant sprays and wipes are available at the South reception desk and in the Learning Commons.
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the building; we encourage you to use it frequently.
  • Only one person is allowed in a restroom at a time, and we ask that you do not use hand dryers.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • Only one person is allowed in an elevator at a time.
  • Water fountains are not available.
  • CTS designated the main stairs as “up stairs,” and the South stairwell as “down stairs,” which helps ease traffic patterns. Follow signs posted throughout the building.
  • The 4thfloor and student lounge area will remain closed during this phase.

What if I need assistance with food, housing, medicine or other personal needs?
CTS will continue to offer its emergency fund for both students and staff. Please contact the Financial Aid Coordinator, Josh Larson,  [email protected],  for application.

What if I need to talk to someone?
If you have questions about your classes, please go directly to the respective professor. If no answer, feel free to contact the Academic Dean, Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, [email protected]. If you have pastoral or spiritual concerns, connect with Asst. Director of Spiritual Formation and Community Engagement, Amy Aschliman, [email protected].