In an e-mail sent Monday (April 6) to Harvard students, faculty, and staff, Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds and Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith announced that Harvard College will be closed during the 2009-2010 mid-year break, between the end of exams in December and the first day of classes in January.
“The implementation next year of coordinated calendars among the College and Harvard’s other Schools will create a longer window of time between semesters,” Hammonds and Smith wrote.
Over the holidays, from Dec. 22, 2009 through Jan. 9, 2010, Harvard College will be closed. Thereafter, from Jan. 10 through Jan. 22, only students with a recognized and pre-approved need to be on campus — potentially including varsity athletes, international students, thesis writers, and students conducting lab-based research — will be permitted to return to College housing.
Freshman dorms and upper-class Houses will be open to all students beginning Jan. 23, and the first day of classes for the second semester will be Jan. 25.
“Implicit in the arrangements described above is our decision not to create a separate, structured ‘January experience’ with programming offered by the College,” Hammonds and Smith explained. In the midst of the global economic crisis, they expressed concern that “mounting a new, compressed, short-term set of offerings in January — particularly at a time when resources are highly constrained — would in fact distract from the College’s focus on other more central aspects of the undergraduate experience.”
However, the University will continue to focus on major curricular and other improvements including the new General Education program, the Freshman Seminar Program, the highly successful PRISE program, and the House Renewal Program.
Recognizing that the extended winter break represents an opportunity for students to pursue a range of educational or personal off-campus activities, Hammonds and Smith also indicated that, as it does for the summer break, “the College will work with students to identify interesting opportunities and help them make the connections to pursue them.”