University announces plans for 2020-21 academic year

May 20, 2020

Detroit Mercy announces that all three of its campuses will remain fully in session throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

The University’s main priority is the health and well-being of the University community. Throughout a coordinated planning process, the institution’s decisions, policies and procedures will follow guidance and recommendations issued by public health and medical experts and in compliance with local, state and federal regulations.

For the fall term on the McNichols Campus, the University will adopt a flexible hybrid learning environment for courses with face-to-face instruction. This model, which combines in-person and virtual learning, offers several key advantages. Most importantly, it will ensure continuous high-quality, student-centered instruction if students cannot be physically present in class due to illness, self-isolation, immigration delays or other factors. In addition, this model affords instructors the flexibility to maintain social distancing within classroom environments by, for example, dividing a class into smaller groups for face-to-face meetings concurrently with on-demand virtual instruction. Finally, a flexible hybrid model will ensure that high-quality instruction can continue with minimal disruption if there is a resurgence of the virus and the need to shift to a virtual learning environment.

In addition to courses taught on a flexible hybrid model, some courses that are currently scheduled for face-to-face instruction will be converted to virtual instruction for the safety of students and their instructors. We will continue to seek feedback from students and faculty as we make these important decisions.

The University has also adjusted the McNichols campus fall academic calendar to allow students to return home before the forecasted increase in flu and COVID-19 activity in December. Fall semester classes for undergraduate programs and the majority of graduate programs will begin Aug. 24. The traditional fall break is cancelled and classes will be held on those days. Courses will then transition to virtual instruction after the Thanksgiving break and to allow students to complete the final week of fall coursework and final exams at home. The semester will conclude on Dec. 12.

The School of Dentistry and School of Law will also remain in full session this fall. Both campuses are currently evaluating the educational delivery models each will use. Additional information about these instructional methods will be available in the near future.

“As we plan for the fall 2020 semester, we remain focused on our mission of providing excellent undergraduate and graduate education that fosters the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and ethical development of our students,” said Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of the University. “This model will allow Detroit Mercy to continue providing transformative, student-centered education in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions. Because of our size and institutional mission, we believe we are uniquely able to address this situation and the individual needs of our students with flexibility, empathy and adaptability,” he added.

During the summer term, all courses are available online. Summer Session II begins June 22 and concludes on Aug. 6.  Students can still apply for summer financial aid and the majority of students who enroll in summer coursework will receive an additional $500 Detroit Mercy CARES Act grant.

The University plans to release comprehensive details about how fall courses will be taught by late June.

For more information and updates, please visit the COVID-19 webpage