Kenyon recognizes the challenges posed for students by the COVID-19 epidemic and by the College’s plan to protect student health by conducting classes remotely for juniors and seniors in fall 2020. Since settling on this plan, the College has sought ways to mitigate the impact that remote instruction may have on Kenyon students.  

On July 14, President Decatur announced that Kenyon would be flexible with the requirement that students remain at Kenyon for eight semesters to graduate: “Eight semesters of full-time undergraduate enrollment (1.50 units or more) are required. A minimum of four of these semesters, including the senior year, must be completed at Kenyon College, on the Gambier campus.” More information was provided in the section Teaching & Learning section of the Returning to Kenyon guidelines: “Students enrolled in 2020-21 who meet all other collegiate and departmental graduation requirements in seven semesters may petition for an exception to this rule.”

When considering petitions to waive a semester of residency for students who take leaves during the 2020-2021 academic year, the College will be guided by the following considerations:

  1. Petitions of the residency requirement require a plan for successfully completing all other requirements as well as the support by the student's academic advisor and the chair of the student's major department. Because they typically lack a major and because course schedules for future years remain unknown, first-years and sophomores will not be able to submit petitions to waive the residency requirement during the 2020-2021 academic year. These students, however, will be eligible to submit a petition to waive a semester of residency during their junior or senior year with the support of their chair and with a specific plan to meet all other requirements for the degree.

  2. Departments create their curricula based on learning goals specific to each discipline, and there is no expectation that departments will revise their class schedule around the assumption that majors can be completed in seven semesters. The structure of a major may mean that required courses are only available in a certain semester, and majors will need to be enrolled in that semester to take the required courses. Senior capstones may also require multiple semesters of enrollment or a particular sequence of courses. These academic exercises will not be revised to accommodate the residency plans of students who choose to take a personal leave from the College. 

  3. Kenyon's maximum enrollment for a semester is 2.5 units. In the experience of many at the College, students who enroll above 2 units in a semester are at greater risk of facing academic challenges, which can lead to a lower GPA or to failure to complete classes successfully. Students who fail to maintain academic standards may be placed on conditional enrollment, which caps a student's enrollment at 2.0 units. Students planning to complete the degree in seven semesters should not plan to enroll above Kenyon’s maximum enrollment, and should maintain close contact with their faculty advisors and faculty to make sure their academic performance doesn’t suffer as a result of over-enrollment. 

Thomas Hawks
Dean for Academic Advising and Support

Noah Aydin
Professor of Mathematics
Chair of the Committee on Academic Standards