A message from the president of UAH.

Over the last ten to fifteen years, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has undergone a transformation into a more traditional, residential campus. Prospective and current students greatly value the face-to-face opportunities that were provided by the UAH residential campus before the pandemic of 2020-2021. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused UAH to pivot into a mode of operation that prevented the campus community from enjoying all the benefits of the many face-to-face opportunities associated with the fall 2019 semester and the previous semesters. Given the progress that the nation and the state have made addressing the pandemic, UAH is excited to return to our traditional residential campus experience during the 2021-2022 academic year. The Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, and the UAH administration are committed to this on-campus model.

After reviewing the fall 2021 academic course scheduling data, I now believe that we have too many online undergraduate courses with no face-to-face alternatives. Indeed, for the fall 2021 semester, we currently have approximately 100 undergraduate courses scheduled with no face-to-face option. In contrast, in the fall 2019 semester, the university had approximately 25 undergraduate courses scheduled with no face-to-face option. To remedy this situation, we must continue to develop and implement methods that maximize face-to-face access for our undergraduate students during the fall 2021 semester. For the spring 2022 semester, we must develop and execute a plan that ensures that our undergraduate programs have fully returned to a mode of instruction that meets or exceeds pre-pandemic operations (e.g., the pre-pandemic course schedules associated with the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters), while still meeting the needs of students better served by online instruction.

To ensure that UAH achieves the goal of returning back to a pre-pandemic mode of instruction, I am requesting the Deans, in collaboration with the Provost and the associated college personnel, develop spring 2022 course scheduling plans that ensure that the mode of instruction for each college closely replicates pre-pandemic operations for our undergraduate programs. These plans should be submitted for approval to the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President by August 16, 2021. Over the next two months, we will work with the Deans to develop the plan format and structure, but, in general, the plans should delineate how each college will meet this important goal for the spring 2022 semester.

Our own website proudly states that “The University of Alabama in Huntsville is one of the nation's premier research universities, offering a challenging hands-on curriculum that ensures our graduates are prepared to become tomorrow's leaders.” By executing the plans set out above, we will ensure that the University will continue to move forward to achieve its vision as a vibrant living learning and working community. Please accept my sincere thanks and appreciation for your efforts and support during the many challenges of the last year. I am deeply grateful for your service to UAH.

Darren Dawson