Our values and commitments
The current pandemic highlights the importance of values we hold deeply at Sewanee: community, relationships, and care. As we prepare for the coming academic year, we remain steadfast in our commitments:
- We will safeguard the health and safety of the entire Sewanee community.
- We will offer an exceptional and accessible educational experience for all students.
- We will maintain the high academic standards that you expect of your Sewanee education.
- We will build the close relationships among faculty, staff, and students that truly define the Sewanee experience.
How all of your Sewanee courses will live up to our commitments
- Classes are divided into three categories: primarily in-person, a mix between in-person and remote, and fully online. We think you’ll find that each of these approaches has challenges and advantages, and each allows greater flexibility and possibilities than one might first imagine. Watch these videos from your favorite professors to see a few examples!
- Indeed, in keeping with our educational commitments, even “primarily in-person” courses will utilize technology so students who are quarantined or learning from home can access them. And all of your courses, including those termed “fully online,” will include synchronous (real time, live) interactions among students and faculty that are a defining strength of a Sewanee education. This is a commitment we have made, and it sets us apart from many institutions that offer fully online courses in which you never interact with a human being. You will interact with your professors and classmates, whether it’s through a screen or through a mask, or outside under a tree.
- Faculty will likely offer more frequent and more flexible office hours. In fact, some who are teaching their classes fully online still plan to come to campus for small tutorials and one-on-one meetings. And those who can’t be on campus will use Zoom and other applications that allow real-time conversation and interaction.
- A silver lining of teaching in the COVID era is that our classes will be more accessible than ever. Brightspace, our new learning management system (replacing Blackboard), is easier to use and serves as a single, central platform for content across all courses. Many faculty will post screen-captioned videos of their lectures so you can re-watch and rewind as much as you need. In a “flipped” classroom model that many faculty will employ, time previously spent conveying such content can now be utilized for discussion, practice problems, group work, and other activities that make the most of shared time together.
We are convinced that the personal and compassionate approach and one-on-one support from your faculty and staff that Sewanee is known for cannot be replicated elsewhere. While courses may look and feel different this year, the commitment of our faculty is unwavering. Regardless of the particular mode of instruction, all of the courses will be Sewanee courses. We are devoted to each student we teach and committed to equitable access to all of our courses.