Chancellor Subbaswamy announces spring planning groups; will receive report by Oct. 21

Seven working groups echo planning strategy from this summer


Photo by Nina Walat

By Will Katcher, Assistant News Editor

Echoing his planning strategy for the fall semester, University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced Thursday morning that the school would prepare for multiple different contingencies for the spring.

In a Thursday morning email to the school community, Subbaswamy said administrators would plan for a partially remote spring semester, akin to the current model, but would put the structures in place to “gradually repopulate campus and resume in-person operations as much as the public health situation permits.”

Just as he did this summer, Subbaswamy is tasking a group of administrators, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students divided into roughly a half-dozen working groups with preparing different areas of campus. An overarching “Strategy Group” will report the findings of the subgroups by Oct. 21, he said.

Most of the working groups are holdovers from the fall planning process. The “Teaching, Learning, Technology and Student Success” group will plan for in-person classes, virtual classes or a combination of the two, while the “Research and Libraries” group will look at how to reopen facilities from the W.E.B. DuBois Library to individual laboratories. Both groups faced similar tasks this summer.

A “Residence Life, Off-Campus Life, Dining and Student Engagement” group will continue its role from the summer planning period, but will take on additional preparations for off-campus student life. Planning for sporting events fell under this group’s scope during the summer, but “Athletics” will receive its own working group under the leadership of Athletic Director Ryan Bamford.

A new group, labeled “Communication” will work to effectively spread information about the planning process and the spring semester to the campus community.

The final two groups, “Facilities, Finances and Human Resources” and “Public Health and Safety,” both met during the summer planning sessions, albeit in different forms. The former will examine the massive budget deficit the school is dealing with, while the latter will look at the school’s COVID-19 current safeguards and how they can be continued or adapted to the spring semester.

Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @will_katcher.