- Have undergrads, grad students, and faculty had the opportunity to express their opinions about the calendar? Are they in favor of calendar reform?
All faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students were surveyed in March 2016 (response rates were 44%, 48%, and 31%, respectively), regarding their opinions on the potential benefits and trade-offs of moving fall-term finals to December and adding a 13th week of formal teaching time. On balance, 63% of faculty respondents, 72% of undergraduate respondents, and 76% of graduate student respondents supported moving finals before winter break. On balance, 70% of faculty respondents, 49% of undergraduate respondents, and 34% of graduate respondents were opposed to lengthening the formal teaching portion of the semester to 13 weeks.
Any change to the academic calendar must be approved by a formal vote of the faculty. Based on the feedback gathered through campus conversations conducted from October 2017 to January 2018, the Ad Hoc Committee on Calendar Reform will draft a specific calendar proposal that it believes will best serve the University’s teaching and learning goals. It will survey faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students on this proposal in late January/early February 2018. If the survey results indicate broad support for the proposed calendar, then the Ad Hoc Committee will advance its recommendations to the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy (FACP). If the FACP supports the recommended changes to the academic calendar, then it will bring forward a proposal to the full faculty for a vote.
The Ad Hoc Committee would recommend that the University continue to operate on the current calendar for two academic years before putting the changes into effect. So, for example, if the faculty approved changes to the academic calendar in May 2018, the first year under the new calendar would be AY 2020-2021.
- How does the current conversation about calendar reform differ from previous efforts to reform the calendar?
In 2006 and 2007, the Committee on the Course of Study explored calendar reform options that would add a thirteenth week of teaching time to each semester, create a full week for Thanksgiving break, and have overlapping reading and examination periods. The committee additionally considered the following variations: with and without fall break; with and without a dedicated week for midterm examinations; a fall term starting before or after Labor Day; and a fall term ending in December or January. The committee narrowed its work down to four options on which it surveyed faculty in April 2007. No one option garnered strong faculty support, and the calendar reform effort was tabled.
The current Ad Hoc Committee on Calendar Reform has focused on formulating a proposal that would conclude the fall term before the winter break. Over the course of its deliberations, the committee has considered many of the same variables from the previous effort. Based on the feedback gathered through extensive campus conversations, it recommends preserving the current shape and duration of summer, teaching time, and breaks, while adjusting the term start and end dates in both fall and spring, shortening the reading and final exam periods, and creating a two-week, non-credit-bearing Wintersession in January.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to the committee chair or secretary with your questions and concerns. Professor Aarti Gupta (chair) can be reached at [email protected] or 609-258-8017. Dean Liz Colagiuri (secretary) can be reached at [email protected] or 609-258-3040.
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