(Sioux City, Iowa – June 26, 2020) Briar Cliff University announces the fall start date will continue as planned for the 2020-2021 academic year. The University will be moving to a block schedule with mixed modalities (in-classroom, a combination of in-classroom and online, and completely online), to allow for flexibility throughout the academic year.
“Our goal is to provide a safe yet flexible learning environment for our students,” says Dr. Rachelle Karstens, Briar Cliff University President. “Faculty and Administration came together to determine how to best keep campus safe while also providing exceptional educational opportunities for our students.”
The new block scheduling will have Monday through Thursday class days and Friday as a non-class day. Most classes will be taught in four-week blocks, although some courses will be eight or 16 weeks in length. The mixed modality learning model allows for some classes to be taught in-person, online, or a mixture of the two, dependent upon the course content, the classroom, and course population.
“Block scheduling is not a new concept to higher education. However, this is new to Briar Cliff University. Data demonstrates students learn more and retain more with this type of schedule. It will also allow our students more flexibility for other time commitments,” adds Dr. Todd Knealing, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “Many students participate in activities and campus organizations, have jobs and internships, volunteer, and more.”
Dr. Knealing also shares this class structure will allow for a smoother transition to online learning if necessary. Block scheduling also provides the option for smaller class sizes resulting in less exposure for students and faculty at any given time, providing a safer environment overall.
Physical distancing and health safety precautions will be utilized, including required face masks and hand sanitizer, which will be provided to all students and employees. The University is prepared to adjust campus protocols, depending on guidance provided by local, state, and national officials.