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Tuesday, Oct 09, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Exclusive: University Senate Proposes Academic Calendar Changes

By Taylor Lang – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – The University Senate is voting on changes to the academic calendar without any student input. These changes include the possible addition of mandatory Friday classes to student’s schedules.

CitrusTV obtained an email sent to faculty members that detailed the changes the group is recommending.

  • The academic week will be “optimized” using Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday classes.
  • The 15th week in the semester will serve as another week of class meetings when there is no final exam.
  • Major university events will not take place on major religious dates.
  • A free period will be set aside on Wednesdays for campus events and meetings.
  • The university will conduct a survey “looking at student and faculty needs and perspectives.”
  • The deadline for faculty grades will be extended.
  • Thanksgiving break will stay one week long as it currently is.

These changes could be put into effect as soon as the fall 2019 semester, but the senate will vote without any student input on the proposed changes put forward by the Academic Calendar and Schedule Brainstorming Group.

Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Jeff Stanton created the group in the fall of 2017. Its goal was to research how to take full advantage of the academic week, make finals period better, accommodate religious holidays as a university, and see if there could be a campus-wide free period.

The group says having Wednesdays without classes means faculty can use them for office hours, review sessions and field trips. The day can also be used to reduce scheduling conflicts for organization meetings, according to the email.

The email says the mid-week break could improve schoolwork and allow students to dedicate more time to studying and research. The group’s changes propose a free period every Wednesday because of the use of Friday as a “fully functioning academic day.” Wednesday could function as a day for faculty meetings, office hours, group study sessions, university events, and field trips.

Adding classes on Fridays will “promote a healthier social environment,” according to the Academic Calendar and Schedule Brainstorming Group.

The proposed change to finals week is to allow for alternatives to final exams. This comes as a response to professors who prefer to have a final project, paper, or proctor the exam during the final week of classes.

CitrusTV has reached out to members of the Academic Calendar and Schedule Brainstorming Group, but has not yet received a response.

CitrusTV will be at the University Senate meeting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10th and will have the latest information on News Live at 6 at citrustv.com/live.