University alters academic calendar

Barbara Bell, Contributing Writer

The Office of the Provost announced that the University is making minor changes to the Academic Calendar for the 2015-16 school year. After considering multiple potential calendar divisions through consultations with various offices and University governances, along with student input, Provost Robert Midkiff helped implement a series of changes that will “accommodate travel plans, allow faculty and staff to engage with students in beneficial ways, and allow for better use of campus facilities.”

Most notable is the two-day advance in the start of classes for the academic school year next fall, unlike this semester when classes began on Wednesday, Aug. 27. As a result of this two-day push, University students will receive a full week off for Thanksgiving break in the future instead of the five-day break scheduled for this November.

Hopefully, this earlier start will help “engage students in their academic endeavors sooner after their arrival on campus” while also allowing break time sufficient enough “to accommodate students whose homes are far from campus and for whom travel considerations are important,” Midkiff said.

While a two-day difference may not seem like a significant change, the earlier start may pose some slight inconveniences for students traveling from afar, who will no longer have the added benefit of the weekend (as well as Monday and Tuesday) to get settled.

“[The new calendar] does not change when I would come, but it’s definitely nice to be able to have a full week at Thanksgiving,” Melody Sonnemann ’18, a California native, said. “I didn’t know if I was going to go home for this Thanksgiving because it’s not a lot of time. A full week off makes it much easier for me to see family and friends. Starting classes on a Monday rather than a Wednesday does not change anything for me,” Sonnemann said.

For East coasters, the change “wouldn’t make a huge difference,” Jeong Woo Seo ’18 said.

He believes students will be completely capable of handling a full first week of school when they arrive on campus. He still acknowledges that for students who live on the West Coast, being home for a full week is a huge plus.

“Some people skip out on going home because airfare is so expensive and five days does not seem like enough,” Seo said.

Regardless of travel plans, students should not put too much emphasis on the changesthe length of the semester will remain the same. The University is simply trying to adapt to a changing, more diverse school year.

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