As universities around the nation address challenges presented by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), University of the Cumberlands is moving in-seat undergraduate students from a traditional semester schedule to the use of 8-week course terms.

The innovative approach divides the fall and spring semesters into two 8-week terms. Students will continue to enroll in 4 or 5 courses each semester, but those courses will now be divided into two or three classes for each bi-term. Cumberlands already offers 8-week courses to online students throughout the year. 

University President, Dr. Larry Cockrum, also announced that Cumberlands intends to re-open its Williamsburg and Florence, Kentucky campuses to students this fall.

“While it is impossible to predict the future, we have every intention of re-opening our campus locations to students this fall,” said Cockrum. “We are monitoring developments related to the coronavirus and are working diligently to put protocols in place to protect the health and safety of our entire campus community.”

Dr. Emily Coleman, the Provost at Cumberlands, notes that the move to 8-week terms provides flexibility at a time when there is much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Coleman, “One of the benefits of an 8-week academic calendar is that students and faculty can more easily transition from in-seat to online classes or from online to in-seat classes should the need arise. The 8-week format also allows students to focus on fewer classes at once. At the same time, faculty are able to work with a smaller group of students each term.”

With the adjusted schedule, the vast majority of in-seat undergraduate classes will take place Monday through Thursday. Students will receive the same amount of in-seat instructional time as they did under the semester schedule. However, coursework will be delivered over a shorter period. Faculty and students will have Friday’s available to work on assignments, prepare for the week ahead, or log internship or observation hours.