Key takeaways from the past two faculty meetings

Last Wednesday and today at two extraordinary faculty meetings held on Zoom, President Maud S. Mandel and Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom gave updates on next year’s academic calendar and faculty voted on changes to the class schedule and Pass/Fail policy, as the College figures out what next academic year will look like amidst the pandemic.

Here are the main takeaways from the meetings.

Admission yield remains normal despite pandemic

Despite uncertainty surrounding the next academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the yield of students admitted to the class of 2024 was 46 percent, similar to previous years. The matriculating class’ demographics, the admissions office’s use of the waitlist and the preliminary number of students requesting a gap year have also all remained similar to previous years. These figures, however, are still subject to change, as students have until a week after President Maud S. Mandel announces whether classes will resume on-campus in the fall to decide whether or not to take a gap year before matriculating.

Four Years through the Headlines: Capturing the Class of 2020’s experience

Members of the Class of 2020 have seen two United States presidents, three College presidents and two different forms of student government during their four years at the College. They’ve celebrated two homecoming wins, danced to Shaggy live at Spring Fling and witnessed Papa Smurf win a write-in nomination for College Council (CC) –– which later got abolished. They’ve seen the fall of Vine and the rise of TikTok. And most recently, they’ve become the first class to complete their Williams education remotely amidst a pandemic.

In our senior issue celebrating the members of the Class of 2020, we went through the Record archives from the past four years to capture their time at the College through the headlines.

A closer look into the reasoning and reactions to the recently-announced 2020-2021 academic calendar changes

In an all-community email sent yesterday, President Maud S. Mandel announced that the College would maintain a two-semester model for the upcoming academic year while lowering the minimum required number of courses per semester from four to three and eliminating Winter Study. These changes will take effect whether or not the College resumes in-person classes in the fall; Mandel has set a deadline of July 1 to determine whether or not classes will be held on campus.

Mandel announces reduction of required courses from four to three, elimination of Winter Study for 2020-2021 academic year

In an all-campus email sent today, President Maud S. Mandel announced plans to adopt a revised version of the regular two-semester academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. Regardless of whether classes are in-person or remote, students will be required to take a minimum of three courses each semester rather than four. Winter Study will not take place in January 2021.

Spencer Art Show, online

The end of each semester typically brings members of the College community to Spencer Studio Art Building to see work produced by students in studio art classes. This semester’s move to remote learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak bars the art show from occurring as usual, but the pandemic has not stopped student-artists from producing a wealth of work and a desire to share it. We put out a call to studio art students asking them to submit some of their work, and received over 60 pieces from a variety of different courses.

College staff keep campus running in person, behind the scenes

For Julie Fairchild, communications supervisor for Campus Safety and Security (CSS), these past few months have been the quietest she has seen in a while. “It used to be [that] the phone was ringing all the time or there’d be something going on, someone walking in or whatever,” she said. But ever since campus closure, Fairchild hasn’t seen much action.