Task Force to Create New Calendar

The University has created a task force in October that may be enforcing a new schedule this upcoming fall which will change both the academic calendar as well as time frames. Speaking to a room of 18 students and professors this past Monday, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department Joe Patten addressed what he, along with 14 other University professors and students hope to pass. “The problem is simple in that Labor Day causes these issues. If you cannot start earlier and you want to end earlier, there is nothing you can do but change,” Patten said.

The schedule was created due to our unusual regional predicament. Because of the University’s location, students and faculty cannot start the academic year until Labor Day due to summer rentals. With this late start and the required 15 weeks in accordance with federal policy, the University’s fall semester tends to end around December 23 which is highly unfavorable to most attached to the University.

One of the most popular aspects discussed at the meeting was the new schedule’s addition of Wednesday to Thanksgiving Break. Along with this change, the task force believes the school should have off on a Monday and Tuesday in October for fall break annually. According to Patten, the University has had some fall breaks that were only one day while other years’ calendars included no fall breaks. If approved, the two permanent breaks in fall will perfectly coincide with the spring semester’s spring break. Furthermore, the alternate calendar will have the University’s 2013-2014 school year begin on a Wednesday rather than a Tuesday. Patten made sure it was well known that “the framing system in the spring will also be changed for consistency issues.”

The time frames, as mentioned previously, will also be greatly affected by the changed academic calendar. “We currently go until 10:05 at night,” Patten said. “Graduate programs like to have a 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm option, but the problem is we offer 4:30 pm – 7:15 pm or 7:25 pm – 10:05 pm.”

The new schedule includes class times of 6:30 pm – 7:50 pm, 8:00 pm – 9:20 pm, or a three-hour option of 6:30 pm – 9:20 pm. This change will assist many graduate students who may hold jobs during the day but also many undergraduate students who have internships during the day.

The tentative approach shows all classes gaining five minutes but in exchange, the calendar will be shortened from fifteen weeks to fourteen weeks. Therefore, if your class begins at 8:30 am, the class will not end until 9:50 am and the following class will not begin until 10:10 am. In this new system, there will be 18 different 75 minute classes which will meet twice a week. Another modified feature this new calendar entails is a 20 minute break between each class rather than the current 15 minute break. This change will potentially help students, especially the commuters who must deal with the chaotic parking lot. The meeting times on Wednesday will also be moved to either a 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm or 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm time slot.

In order to gain approval, the academic alternate will have to be processed and approved by both the faculty of the University as well as the Union. This would not be for quite some time seeing as the faculty in the meeting had multiple concerns. “It’s still a working process,” Patten continued. “The thought was to have a product to describe what it is we are trying to do, we kind of have something but it’s not official yet. It’s not a done deal by a long shot.”