1.15.21: Spring Syllabi Planning and Wellness Week

A message to faculty and instructional staff

Dear Faculty and Instructional Staff,

We are writing regarding the loss of spring break in the upcoming semester, and how we might manage some implications to this semester’s academic schedule.

We recognize that the loss of fall and spring break can compound the stress of a challenging academic year. While Lehigh will not have spring break, we endorse using the class meetings of the week of Monday, March 22 (the eighth week of class) in creative ways that promote student wellness and minimize stress. This might include having in-class activities that address student and faculty wellness, and might include minimizing or eliminating required work outside the classroom during that week (e.g., homework) and avoiding, if possible, high-stakes exams. These ideas are suggestions, and changes in classroom activities would be at the discretion of the faculty member.

We encourage faculty to remember that particular difficulties of this year and consider ways to support the wellness of our students—as well as faculty and staff—without creating situations that would encourage travel away from campus. We recognize the benefits of acting collectively to do this during the week of March 22, even while we acknowledge that this might be implemented in different ways for different courses, and might not be practical at all for half-term courses that begin during this week. We are not trying to create a de facto spring break, and we do not encourage the cancellation of classes and the travel that might come with this, but we encourage you to consider how to create some space in your syllabus to relieve some of the stress of the term.

Nathan Urban

Kathy Iovine
Faculty Senate Chair

Frank Gunter
Faculty Senate Vice-Chair