Dear Freeman School Graduate Students,
I hope this message finds you safe and in good health. I am excited to announce the latest details on the Freeman School’s plan to return to in-person learning and instruction in the fall. As you are aware, graduate business classes will begin on Wednesday, August 19 and the Freeman School will follow the University’s academic calendar. Classes will end on Tuesday, November 24 and most final exams will be given online after the Thanksgiving break.
This plan was made while maintaining fidelity to our top priority – assuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Please know that we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide a top-quality learning experience for every student. And, of course, we will adapt as circumstances evolve. With the foregoing in mind, below is information about what we are planning for your Freeman School experience this fall.
Consistent with Tulane University and in response to protocols and recommendations by public health and U.S. government officials, you should expect changes in our on-campus learning environment. For example, we are adjusting classroom seating to accommodate social distancing. We are also developing measures related to the use of smaller spaces such as breakout rooms and high-touch spaces such as computer labs. In addition, you can also expect regular cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout our facilities, requisite use of personal protective equipment in certain environments, and extensive hand sanitizer stations. Precautions such as temperature checks and rapid testing are also being planned as well.
The need for social distancing will require the format of many classes to be modified to include some virtual components. However, we plan for all our on-campus students to be in the classroom with their instructor for significant portions of time. We will also develop options for students who may need to participate from their homes for brief periods. In all circumstances, students who are not physically in the classroom with their instructor will still “attend” class alongside their peers, receiving the critical academic content, participating in discussions, and interacting synchronously (and asynchronously) with the rest of the class via various technological platforms. All students will have meaningful and engaging experiences whether they are physically in class with their instructor that day or not.
We also are planning for our uptown Goldring Woldenberg Business Complex (GWBC) classrooms, as well as our downtown Stewart Center classrooms, to be equipped with leading-edge technologies needed to support both in-class and virtual teaching and learning. To facilitate this, 26 of our classrooms (22 in the GWBC and 4 in the Stewart Center) will be updated with state-of-the-art audio and video equipment. This multi-million-dollar project will give our faculty the flexibility to structure classes in a variety of ways to ensure an engaging, interactive experience for all Freeman students.
To de-densify GWBC, classes for the incoming cohorts of the Master of Business Analytics, Master of Finance, and Professional Master of Business Administration programs will be held at our downtown Stewart Center facility. Classes for most returning students and incoming students in all other programs will be held primarily in GWBC.
In addition to our on-campus graduate students, we also plan to serve those who are unable to attend in-person classes. As with our graduate students who are not in the classroom with their instructor on any given day, our graduate students who cannot be in New Orleans and are approved for online only instruction will be fully enrolled Freeman School graduate students. These students will attend classes and have synchronous (and asynchronous) online experiences with their instructors and peers. They will also have full access to our outstanding Freeman School facilities such as the Turchin Library, Career Management Center, and Writing Center. We are very enthusiastic about this new opportunity to provide off-campus students with access to a Freeman School graduate education.
The Freeman School is committed to providing a world-class business education, while keeping the health and safety of our community at the forefront of all that we do. I look forward to welcoming you back to the Freeman community this August.
Ira Solomon, Dean