News & Events

Return to Campus: Vanderbilt Owen’s Plan for Fall 2020

Jun 16, 2020
Key elements include eliminating the undergraduate fall break and not returning for on-campus instruction after Thanksgiving

The following is a note from Dean M. Eric Johnson concerning Owen’s return to campus plan.

Owen Faculty, Staff and Students,

Earlier today, Vanderbilt published its plan for the fall semester. Key elements include eliminating fall break for students and ending on-campus instruction for the semester before Thanksgiving. You can review the message sent by Incoming Chancellor Diermeier and Provost Wente here.

Professional schools across campus traditionally operate with elements of their own unique schedule while maintaining the University cadence. That will be true again this year.

Here is Owen’s plan for the fall:

  • We will begin on-campus instruction for Mod 1 (day programs) on August 17, as originally planned. Individual programs will have various orientation events and pre-mod course instruction before August 17 – these will largely be held on-line. Please watch for program-specific scheduling for new and returning students that will be published closer to the Mod 1 start date.
  • We will compress the Mod 1 final exam period and the transition between Mods 1 and 2; there will be no fall break. Students should not plan to leave the Nashville area during that transition.
  • Like the university, we will not return to on-campus instruction after Thanksgiving. Depending on the course, classes may be held on-campus through Tuesday, November 24. After Thanksgiving, courses will hold on-line instruction, review, and finals based on their respective syllabi. Mod 2 finals will be completed by December 12.
  • The current plan is to return to on-campus instruction with the start of Mod 3 in January.

As we look forward, every one of us will need to fully commit to protecting our collective health and wellbeing as much as possible and play our individual parts in managing the spread of the virus. At the core of our efforts is prevention of infection. Public health protocols – including symptom monitoring and temperature checks, mandatory face masks/coverings, public hand sanitizer stations, and physical distancing – will be in place. We will ask all students who return to campus to sign an acknowledgment of such protocols.

We are all excited to get back to campus this fall. Owen’s personal-scale approach thrives on in-person experiences. Those experiences will be very different this year – both for course work and co-curricular activities such as recruiting, special speakers, and more.  All Owen courses will offer remote delivery for students who need it. In-person experiences will consider the safety of students, faculty, and staff and be subject to University protocols.

Owen faculty are working hard to design courses that leverage technology to deliver elements of the material while offering in-person interaction in places where it enhances the overall experience. The balance of this flexible learning approach will vary from class to class according to the material and pedagogy. Our promise is to deliver the best educational experience while keeping everyone’s safety in mind. As we have additional information to share, we will pass it along to the community. Please contact the Dean’s Office with any questions at

I look forward to welcoming everyone back to Owen in August!