News Regarding Fall Term, Convention, & Scholars

What Will The Fall Term Look Like?

There are so many questions about what the fall term will look like for academia in the United States: Are colleges going online for fall 2020? Will classes resume fall 2020? How long will the fall semester last?

The information below is gathered from several resources and represents all sections of the country. However, the best guide for your fall semester will be coming from your college or university and the health department for that location.

The University of Texas at Austin, in a June 29 update from the office of the university president, announced that the fall semester will begin on campus August 26 with several new regulations, including that a classroom can’t be more than 40% full. After that, all courses will be conducted remotely. An accompanying article dated July 3 in The Austin Chronicle can be found here.

As of July 21, Caltech reported a total of 11 COVID-19 cases among the campus community and has a phased reopening plan. Major updates will be posted to this coronavirus.caltech.edu site and sent to the Caltech community via email and the Ion Caltech newsletter. On their COVID-19 updates page, are two pdfs to describe what must be done daily before reporting to campus and prevention tips.

The University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel emailed a video to the campus community on June 22 announcing the fall semester will include in-person and remote coursework with measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as wearing face masks and social distancing. An additional video on their hybrid semester was released July 24. The university also launched a website dedicated to fall reopening plans. 

According to the university website, Carnegie Mellon’s fall semester will include a combination of in-person and remote coursework, and will begin August 31 as scheduled. 

Read more about Carnegie Mellon University’s coronavirus response here

National Public Radio recently produced a short segment on returning to college in the fall.

For the NPR segment, click here

According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, several prominent campuses announced on Monday, July 20, reversals of prior fall reopening plans as COVID-19 case counts surge across the country. Coming after months of expressed optimism about the possibility of in-person operations, the announcements signal a retreat from those projections that may grow to a wave.

The University of California, Berkeley’s chancellor, Carol T. Christ, announced at a Chronicle event on Monday, July 20, that Berkeley — which had planned to have some students on campus and to hold some classes in-person — will begin its fall semester online. The news came alongside actions by Morehouse, Grinnell, and Spelman Colleges, in addition to Clark Atlanta University.

The coronavirus pandemic has left higher-education leaders facing difficult decisions about when to reopen campuses and how to go about it. The Chronicle is currently tracking more than 1,235 college plans, and most say they are planning for an in-person fall semester. 


Update on the 115th Annual Convention

Because of the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as they pertain to planning a large event, a survey was sent to all potential Convention delegates in early June to determine interest in attending an in person or virtual Convention. The Executive Council reviewed the results and determined that an in person event was not in the best interest of the Association and our members. Therefore, there will be NO IN PERSON CONVENTION. Plans are underway to host a virtual format. We will communicate all instructions for registration in August, as well as posting information on the Convention pages of the website.

Many members throughout the Association provided input to the Executive Council prior to the meeting and their contributions were invaluable in assisting the EC in making this difficult decision.


The 2020-21 Scholars are Named

Tau Beta Pi Awards $550,000 to 282 Scholars
The Fellowship Board of Tau Beta Pi announced the selection of 282 engineering students from 510 applicants for undergraduate study during the 2020-21 academic year. Most recipients will receive a cash award of $2,000 for their senior year of engineering study and a few will receive $1,000 for one semester. All TBP Scholarships are awarded on the competitive criteria of high scholarship, campus leadership and service, and promise of future contributions to the engineering profession. All scholars are members of the Association. These awards bring the total to 3,369 scholarships granted since the program began in 1999.

This year’s recipients have chosen the following engineering curricula:

71 Mechanical6 Aero2 Electrical & Computer1 Engineering Education
52 Chemical6 Materials Science 2 Engineering Science1 Engineering Mechanics
43 Biomedical5 Environmental2 Mechanical & Aero1 Geological
25 Electrical5 Industrial & Systems2 Petroleum1 Industrial
18 Civil4 Engineering Physics2 Software1 Industrial & Management
9 Computer3 Chemical & Biomolecular1 Acoustical1 Photonics
7 Bio-engineering3 Computer Science1 Architectural1 Renewable Energy
2 Biological Engineering1 Civil & Environmental1 Robotics
1 Engineering1 Systems

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