Pursuant to its charge, the Ad Hoc Committee on Calendar Reform has developed a proposed academic calendar that would conclude fall-term exams prior to the winter break and create a two-week Wintersession period in January for optional, non-credit-bearing activities. The proposed calendar accomplishes this while preserving the current shape and duration of teaching time and breaks, adjusting the term start and end dates in both fall and spring, and shortening the final exam period. We believe we have optimized the trade-offs associated with such a calendar. Based on the strong support registered for this proposed calendar in our recent survey of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates, we recommend advancing the proposed revisions to the full faculty for consideration.
If the faculty vote to adopt the proposed calendar, the committee would recommend the following implementation measures:
- the University should continue to operate on the current calendar for two academic years before putting the changes into effect; i.e., the new calendar would begin in the 2020-2021 academic year;
- the dean of the faculty should review the definition and dates of the academic year and summer with regard to faculty salaries, as well as the January work expectations for faculty;
- the dean of the graduate school should review the duration of AI appointments and restructure graduate student pay to continue to provide full-year support, inclusive of Wintersession;
- the vice president for human resources should assess the implications for administrative staff, including the additional demands around Labor Day and Memorial Day;
- the University should provide additional, subsidized child care options for University students, faculty, and staff who require care for young children during the weeks leading up to and including the start of the fall term;
- the Office of Financial Aid should assess the implications (if any) for financial aid allowances under the new calendar;
- the Department of Athletics should assess the implications for varsity practice and competition schedules under the proposed calendar;
- the registrar should take steps to finalize the fall term exam schedule by the end of the third week of the term to allow maximum time for students needing to purchase airline tickets around the December holiday period;
- the registrar should review the policies guiding the long-term postponement of final exams to determine if adjustments are needed;
- the Council on Teaching and Learning should assess the implications of a shortened final exam period for policies and practices around end-of-term work;
- the provost should form an implementation committee to establish the structure, plans, and support the programmatic expenses associated with Wintersession;
- the provost should review Wintersession three years after first implementation.
Since issuing its final report, the committee has received suggestions regarding the following implementation issues:
- Facilities should assess the implications of an earlier start in September, including the availability of air conditioning in class rooms and dorms.