Calendar reform, American Studies certificate discussed at faculty meeting| Apr 3, 2018
Faculty members addressed calendar reform proposals and changes to the American Studies program in a April 2 meeting.
The biggest proposed changes were the moving of winter exams from January to December and the inclusion of a two-week “Wintersession,” instead of the traditional Intersession.
Wintersession could be utilized by students to finish junior papers and senior theses or complete short internships. The spring term would then begin and end one week earlier, and the final exam period would be shortened to seven days in both fall and spring, with an extra two days for senior comprehensive exams in the spring.
Jaren McKinnie ’21 said that he favors the reform because it grants more freedom to students’ schedules.
“I think the reform is a great idea,” agreed Keely Toledo ’21. “However, I am concerned about how fast it will be implemented and what faculty views are regarding the reform, like whether they would have to rearrange their syllabi.”
Faculty views did vary, according to history professor Hendrik Hartog. While many supported the idea of a Wintersession or “January term,” others wanted to extend its length to three to four weeks long rather than two weeks.
Hartog said that with a more diverse student body, the University ought to revise the calendar because the traditional calendar “puts immense burdens on parents and makes it difficult for less wealthy students.”
According to Dean of the Faculty Sanjeev Kulkarni, the faculty is expected to officially vote on the proposed calendar revisions on April 23. However, Hartog will not vote for the upcoming calendar revision since he believes it is “inappropriate” for him to vote when he is scheduled to retire in 1.5 years.
One decade prior, Hartog recalled how a previous committee proposed a calendar revision that would shorten the semesters from 13 weeks to 12. The proposal failed “dramatically and unequivocally” before the committee because, according to Hartog, the revision “would place too many burdens” upon the faculty and restrict lecture time, among a variety of reasons.
In addition to the calendar reforms, the meeting also discussed a proposal for a set of certificates through the American Studies Program which would combine the current program with programs in Latino Studies and a newly created Asian American Studies program. According to Hartog, this proposal went through with discussion without any controversy.
Under the proposal, students would begin by taking AMS 101, then move out to take specialized courses, and come together in a variety of capstone seminars.
“This new program is very exciting,” said Hartog. “The success depends on faculty hiring, which is still to happen.”
The general faculty meeting took place at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Room at Nassau Hall.
Assistant News Editor Ivy Truong contributed reporting.