Message to Luther Students Regarding Further Details on the 2020-21 Academic Calendar

To: Luther College Students
From: Kevin Kraus, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and Richard Bernatz, Registrar
Re: Further details on the revised 2020-21 academic calendar
Date: May 20, 2020

Dear Students,

As a follow-up to the letter you received from President Ward on May 13, we are writing today to provide details on the transition from the 4-1-4 academic calendar to the revised 1-2-2-4-1 calendar that was adopted for the 2020-21 academic year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details regarding September Term, the revised start and stop dates for the 2020-21 academic year, meeting periods for the Fall Quarters, and the process to adjust course registrations for the Fall Quarters are provided below.

September Term

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are not required to enroll in September Term. Like January Term, September Term provides sophomores, juniors, and seniors an opportunity to take a course (courses will be offered online), participate in an internship or directed reading, or work at home. With the exception of study away courses, we expect to have as many courses available for sophomores, juniors, and seniors in September Term as in a normal January Term. The meeting times for these online courses will conform to the typical January Term schedule, and courses will use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities.

As indicated in the message from President Ward on May 13, only sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are Resident Assistants or fall athletes (pending affirmation of the fall athletic schedule by the American Rivers Conference), will take online courses while residing on campus during September Term. All other students enrolled in online courses during September Term will reside off campus. Students who are not enrolled in September Term will not be able to reside on campus during the month of September unless they meet other criteria, such as those identified above.

If you planned to complete the J2 requirement in January Term 2021, please consult with your academic advisor. We are committed to enabling students to graduate on time, and we will work with each of you individually on graduation requirements, like the J2 requirement, that may be difficult to fulfill with the revised academic calendar.

Start and Stop Dates for the 2020-21 Academic Year

Please note that changes to this academic calendar may occur in response to the ongoing pandemic, if required by governmental directives or for the protection of individual or community health.


September Term
September Term Starts Wednesday, September 2
September Term Ends Friday, September 25
Fall Quarter 1
Fall Quarter 1 Begins Thursday, October 1
Fall Quarter 1 Ends Friday, November 20
Term Break Saturday, November 21 through Sunday, November 29
Fall Quarter 2
Fall Quarter 2 Begins Monday, November 30
Holiday Break Wednesday, December 23 through Sunday, January 3
Fall Quarter 2 Ends Thursday, January 28
Term Break Friday, January 29 through Wednesday, February 3
Spring Semester
Spring Semester Begins Thursday, February 4
Spring Break Saturday, March 20 through Sunday, March 28
Easter Break Friday, April 2 through Monday, April 5
Spring Semester Ends Thursday, May 20
Term Break Friday, May 21 through Monday, May 31
Commencement Sunday, May 23
June Term
June Term Begins Monday, June 1
June Term Ends Friday, June 25

Meeting Periods for the Fall Quarters

The meeting periods for Fall Quarter 1 and Fall Quarter 2 are shown in the table below. The periods are based on the usual semester MWF and TR schedules. Period lengths are doubled (including the breaks between periods, with the exceptions of Period 6 and Period 7) in response to moving a course from a 15-week format to a 7.5-week schedule.


Course Meeting Schedule for Fall Quarters 1 and 2
Period Number Days Start Time End Time
1 MWF 8:00 AM 10:15 AM
2 MWF 11:00 AM 1:15 PM
3 MWF 1:30 PM 3:45 PM
4 TR 8:00 AM 11:15 AM
5 TR 12:45 PM 4:00 PM
6 MW 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
7 TR 6:00 PM 9:00 PM

Process to Adjust Course Registrations for the Fall Quarters

Your registration for courses made earlier this spring, including both standard and special registrations, will be initially preserved in the transition to the two Fall Quarters. All courses originally offered for Fall 2020 will be offered in one of the two new Fall Quarters, with the exception of a few courses that will be dropped due to low enrollments or moved to the September Term to broaden its offerings. Academic department and program leaders are presently working with the Registrar’s Office to finalize course offerings for the two Fall Quarters. Once this process is complete, the Registrar’s Office will automatically shift your course registrations to the new course schedules.

Preserving your fall course registrations will potentially create some scheduling issues when they are adjusted to fit the quarter schedule. The table below provides a tentative timeline of the process that we will use to adjust course registrations and resolve conflicts for the Fall Quarters.

The types of scheduling issues that may arise include course conflicts, such as multiple courses meeting at the same time, and course credits not being equally distributed between the two Fall Quarters. Ideally, you should have no more than 10 credits assigned to either quarter. All of these conflicts will be resolved during the times outlined below. Please be advised that in preparation for rescheduling course offerings and resolving potential conflicts, internal processes specific to our databases require that certain Norse Hub and My.luther features will be unavailable during the transition period. Consequently, you will not be able to view the course offerings for the Fall Quarters or your original fall course schedule from May 20 through May 31.


Anticipated Date(s) Action
May 20 View of fall courses made unavailable on Norse Hub and My.luther.
June 1 September Term, Fall Quarter 1 and Fall Quarter 2 course schedules released.
June 1-4 In consultation with academic advisors, students drop courses from their schedules to alleviate conflicts and balance credit hours between the quarters. The target credit range is 6 - 10 credit hours per quarter.
June 5-9 Students in the first registration group may add courses to their schedule.
June 10-12 Students in the second registration group may add courses to their schedule.
June 15-17 Students in the third registration group may add courses to their schedule.

When the new course schedule is released on June 1, you will be able to view when courses are scheduled* to meet and your new course schedule. Our analyses indicate that a fair number of students will have no need to make schedule adjustments.

From June 1 through June 4 you will have the opportunity to drop, but not add, courses from your registration. You may need to resolve conflicts or make “room” for adding courses to achieve a (nearly) balanced credit-hour distribution between the two quarters. A balanced registration would be 6-10 credits per quarter. Please consult with your academic advisor before deciding to drop a course.

Registration “add” periods will be opened in phases from June 5 through June 15 during which you may add or drop courses. You will be assigned a time in one of three registration groups based on your cumulative number of earned credits, similar to our past registration practices. Once you enter this phase, you will be able to add or drop courses until the last day to drop or add arrives for a given term; this mimics the process in a “usual” registration period.

Our intention is that this process will enable you to keep most, if not all, of the courses in your original fall registration. Academic department and program leaders have worked diligently to avoid scheduling conflicts for a wide range of course combinations, yet given the complexities inherent in this process we cannot guarantee that every student will be able to retain each and every one of their original courses. We ask for your patience and understanding during this process. We are committed to enabling students to graduate on time and we will work with each of you individually on resolving conflicts, especially those related to graduation requirements that may be difficult to fulfill with the revised academic calendar.

A Note on Financial Aid: You must register for 12 or more credits prior to the start of the semester (the beginning of the September Term) to be eligible for financial aid as a full-time student. You do not need to be registered for a course in September Term in order to be considered a full-time student. If you withdraw from a class prior to the start of the class and drop below 12 credits, it will cause a recalculation of your financial aid, which may subsequently cause a reduction or elimination of eligibility for part or all of your assistance.

If you have questions about the academic calendar or course registrations, please contact the Registrar’s Office ([email protected]; 563-387-1167). For questions regarding financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office ([email protected]; 563-387-1018). For questions about billing and payment schedules, please contact the Financial Services Office ([email protected]; 563-387-1015).

Kevin Kraus
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

Richard Bernatz

*Classroom assignments will not have been made by course release time. Room assignments will be made in accordance to social distancing guidelines.