In response to the threats posed by COVID-19, Conway’s trustees, faculty, and staff have made a unanimous decision about our program for next year: The Conway School will postpone the core in-person instruction of its graduate degree program by one year. In making this decision, we were guided by concern for the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the need to maintain the integrity of Conway’s Master of Science in Ecological Design (MSED) program.
Why did we make this decision? Education at the Conway School has always been grounded in communities and in places, with students working on real projects. The realities and the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it clear to us that it will not be possible to offer our normal, grounded, in-person Conway educational experience in the coming year. It also became clear, through conversations with students who had enrolled for the coming year, that our incoming class chose Conway because of its emphasis on a collaborative studio culture and site-specific project work.
What will happen next year? The majority of students who have applied for next year are still committed to completing the program—they’ll just be in the Class of 2022 instead of 2021. We will also allow these incoming students to take an elective, online, graduate-level course over the course of the coming year to help them prepare for the core degree work to come in 2021-2022.
In addition, next year we plan to: 1) offer non-degree educational programming (such as certificate programs and other courses); 2) establish actionable plans and concrete steps to increase our diversity at Conway and our focus on racial and environmental justice; 3) further develop relationships with communities who could benefit from Conway student design projects; 4) conduct research into the impact of past student projects; and 5) prepare for teaching and learning in a new era of education (both in-person and distance learning, given possible health constraints).
How will this affect the admissions process? If you are interested in joining the Class of 2022, we will begin reviewing applications in October. You may download the application and submit application materials at any time. We have offered seats to 18 students originally accepted into the Class of 2021—though most have let us know that they intend to enroll, we expect some won’t be able to. We will maintain a waitlist and offer places in the class as they become available. We’ll keep you informed of course offerings and other ways to get involved over the coming year—if you haven’t already, join our mailing list to stay updated.
We have begun to set our course for the next year, but are keenly aware that we will need to be flexible and continue to inventory, analyze, assess, and evaluate at every stage of the process. There is much more to learn, discuss, and accomplish as we move forward—our education is never finished. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
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