A message from Dean Donald Leo

Dear College of Engineering Students,

In a little over two weeks we will begin the semester and I wanted to take this opportunity to communicate a number of important items you should be aware of before we start the Fall term.  Your health and safety are always a priority for us.  As you will see this semester, we have taken significant steps towards modifying our instructional model, infrastructure, and operations to maximize the health and safety of our campus environment.

Important Announcements & University Communications

In preparation for the Fall term, I would first ask you to read all communications that come to you from the university leadership and ensure that you are incorporating this information in your plans to return to classes.  Information regarding housing, dining, university student services, and many other topics of importance to you will be sent to your university email account.  The university will host a webinar to overview the Fall term tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4, from 2:00-3:00p.m. (zoom link sent today via ArchNews) and I strongly encourage you and your supporters to attend if possible.  In addition to important information about the start of the Fall semester, these communications will include information on who to contact if you have questions.    

Communications regarding College of Engineering-specific topics will be communicated to you from our college, and I ask that you review the information as well and incorporate it into your plans.  Beginning this week, we will release a series of videos on our website and social media channels informing you of key aspects of our health and safety measures, modifications we have made to our infrastructure, and important events to help you transition into the Fall semester.  Please be on the lookout for these communications and contact us at engr-success@uga.edu if there are any questions about College of Engineering plans.  

Hybrid Instructional Model

One of the most important aspects of preparing for the Fall semester is to understand the teaching modality in our classes will be modified to maximize the health and safety of our instructional program.  While a small number of our courses will be taught fully online, the vast majority of our classes will be taught this semester with a ‘hybrid’ teaching model. Under this model, the faculty member teaching your course will teach a cohort of students in class and a cohort of students remotely at the same time.  The in-person and remote cohorts will be rotated so all students receive face-to-face instruction throughout the semester.  This system means you will attend your classes at the scheduled time and in the scheduled location when you are part of the face-to-face cohort of instruction. For the remaining sessions you will be attending the class remotely at the scheduled time.  For a majority of our courses, you will be face-to-face with the instructor every second or third class period.  

Our faculty have worked throughout the summer to prepare for the hybrid teaching modality, and faculty members will upload their syllabi to the course websites no later than August 13, one week before classes begin.  I encourage you to download the syllabi for your courses and review them closely by August 17.  You will also need to know whether or not you are in the face-to-face or remote cohort for the first day of class. Please be on the lookout for communications from your faculty members indicating which cohort you are participating in on the first day.  Many of our faculty will also schedule virtual sessions prior to the start of the semester to answer questions.  These sessions are not mandatory, but they will be an opportunity for you to ask questions as you prepare to start classes on August 20.  

College of Engineering Welcome Week

Our College of Engineering is proud of the community of students, faculty, and staff that we have created at the University of Georgia.  Even though this semester will be different than those you have experienced in your educational journey to date, we are committed to continuing this tradition of a strong community in our college and giving you opportunities to enrich your education through experiential programs and engagement activities.  Starting August 20 and into the first full week of the term, we will begin “Welcome Week” to highlight programs in our college that will help you transition into the new semester and learn ways that you can connect with our college programs.  We will give you details on our upcoming virtual career fair, ways to get involved with student organizations, employer and alumni engagement opportunities throughout the semester, and support programs including academic advising and tutoring.  These programs will be constructed in a variety of ways to maximize health and safety, and I encourage you to participate so that you can have a great start to the Fall term.

Ensuring Health & Safety

This semester will be a challenging time and first and foremost I ask you to take care of your physical and mental health as you transition back to campus and throughout the Fall semester.  The university provides many resources through Student Care and Outreach to assist you, and I encourage you to take advantage of these programs at any time.  Our college will also host activities throughout the semester. Please keep an eye out for announcements and events designed to help you navigate what will most likely be a very different experience than you have had in the past.  

Being part of a campus and engineering community means we all have to work together to ensure the health and safety of everyone during this very difficult time.  Please be mindful of your peers and if you see a fellow student struggling reach out to help or help them get the assistance they need.   I am confident students in our college will be role models by following the critical health and safety measures on-campus and off-campus.  I have faith you will work to keep our classrooms, laboratories, and study spaces safe.  Lastly, I have the utmost confidence that if we work together as a community we will have an excellent Fall semester and you will have the educational experience that you wanted when you decided to be part of the University of Georgia College of Engineering.  

We look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

Donald J. Leo

Dean and UGA Foundation Professor in Engineering