A letter from our director

I have exciting news to share with you regarding the Fall semester at Iowa State University!

Our campus will be open this fall for an on-campus experience. Further, we have made the decision to move up the start of the fall semester by one week. The first day of the Fall 2020 semester will be Monday, August 17, with the semester ending by Thanksgiving....

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With the possibility of another wave of COVID, we feel changing the academic calendar is the best way to accomplish our highest priority of keeping our campus community healthy, while ensuring students can keep on track toward their planned degrees.

We are still developing the details for how this new schedule will affect course syllabi, residence hall move in, and other key campus activities. We will continue to provide additional information as we move forward.

Important dates as we know them now:
June 17 Housing assignments begin to be available in AccessPlus
August 13-15Destination Iowa State
August 17Start of the Fall 2020 semester
November 21-25Final Exams
November 25End of the Fall 2020 semester

When you join Iowa State, you are joining a community of learners and doers. We are innovators. Iowa Staters seek out challenges. They revel in the opportunity to solve problems and make improvements. Your first-year experience will definitely be different than previous classes, but the entire campus community is excited to rise to the challenge of providing you the outstanding academic and student experiences for which Iowa State is known.

You surely have other questions about what your Iowa State Adventure will be like when you arrive on campus. We will be observing physical distancing, which means class sizes will be smaller. You will likely have some hybrid courses; you will receive some content online and participate in in-person classroom experiences, as well. Large lectures will be shared remotely. You may see plexiglass sneeze guards in more places than the dining hall salad bars. Appointments will be necessary in most offices, instead of walking in. Standard-issue cloth face coverings will round out your new school wardrobe.

What won’t change? Faculty and staff will still support, guide and care for you. The carillon will still play every day at noon. You’ll still avoid walking over the Zodiac when entering the Memorial Union. You will still make life-long friends on campus, with whom you’ll one day look back and marvel at the adventure you had together.

Together, we are embarking on a great adventure. In some ways, this fall semester will be like none other in the history of Iowa State. Yet, the beautiful campus, exciting academic opportunities and second-to-none student experience are all still here. You will play an important role in how we define this fall semester. Everything won’t be perfect. There will be bumps in this road, but Iowa State is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and resourcefulness. Together, we will figure this out.

This hybrid style of learning isn’t new at Iowa State. Did you know we’ve been incorporating online learning into our classroom experiences — and vice versa — for over 25 years? We have a Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching that’s been helping faculty up their game in delivering online classes. We even have an Online Learning Faculty Fellow in Dr. Susan Wohlsdorf Arendt, whose role is to bring collaborative leadership to the development of a shared vision for online learning at Iowa State. And, of course, our faculty are anxious to meet you in our physical classrooms and labs, as well. You will bring ideas, experiences, and your own expectations of excellence. Together, we will adapt, learn, and grow.

We will come together in August to start this Cyclone Adventure. In the meantime, you can follow along with updates from our President. Please know, I’m just as excited as you to be on campus. So, start preparing, it’s almost time to begin your adventure!

Forever True,

Katharine Johnson Suski

Katharine Johnson Suski


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