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USG discusses potential academic calendar updates, USG Labs

The Undergraduate Student Government met with Deputy Dean of the College Elizabeth Colagiuri to discuss potential changes to the academic calendar and required coursework in their meeting on Sunday.


Colagiuri is a member of the Task Force on General Education, which recently released a report outlining various recommendations that the report describes as being designed to provide students an education that “reflects both breadth and depth of study.”

Among the recommended changes to current coursework are identifying tags that will exist in conjunction with current distribution areas. The tags will be attached to certain courses that are oriented around international study; culture, identity, and power; and service. The task force recommended that both A.B. and B.S.E. students should take at least one course tagged “International Content,” and another tagged “Intersections of Cultural Identity and Power.” Colagiuri indicated that taking a tagged course could be used to satisfy both tag and distribution requirements.

“You might take a course that fulfills your Social Analysis requirement, but it’s also tagged for Intersections of Cultural Identity and Power. Then you’ve actually accomplished both requirements with one course.”

Colagiuri also explained that additional recommendations in the task force report were intended to allow A.B. students a greater degree of flexibility in completing their general education requirements.

“There has always been an emphasis in increasing flexibility in gen-eds, so that students find ways to fulfill the requirements.”

Currently, A.B. students are required to take at least one course in each of the seven distribution areas, as well as one additional course in the Literature and the Arts, Social Analysis, and Science and Technology areas. Colagiuri explained that the proposed changes would allow A.B. students to fulfill the additional distribution requirements in any three areas of their choice. She also stated that the task force believed that the current quantity of distribution requirements was acceptable. “We didn’t want to propose anything that would incrementally increase the number of requirements,” said Colagiuri.


The task force report’s recommendations also focused on updating the academic calendar. The changes would move the start of the fall term earlier in order to place fall semester finals before winter break. Additionally, the calendar would add a three week January term during which students would have an opportunity to participate in a broad range of activities, including study abroad and civic engagement. Colagiuri explained that the motivations behind the changes were to align Princeton’s academic calendar with those of other colleges as well as to reduce the amount of stress experienced by students preparing for their finals during winter break.

Colagiuri also clarified that while the report includes an updated version of next year’s academic calendar with the proposed changes, that calendar is only for comparison purposes. “It would have to take at least one full academic year. Likely, it would take two or even three years before we would see the changes,” she said.

The report is available on the Strategic Planning Task Force’s website. Colagiuri indicated that the public is free to submit feedback on the proposed changes via email or comments until Dec. 15, at which point executive administrators will make final decisions on the recommendations. Any questions can also be submitted to the task force through a form on their website.

In addition, USG IT Chief Developers Maxim Zaslavsky ’17 and Ben Parks ’17 presented USG Labs, a new program from the TigerApps committee designed to help students build apps on campus. USG Labs will provide increasing levels of funding for projects that generate requisite support and publicity.

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The TigerApps committee also sponsored two awards this weekend at HackPrinceton. The honorable mention was awarded to PrincetonVision, a Chrome extension which puts one’s photo, class year, and major directly into a Gmail window when writing an email to someone at the University. The grand prize was awarded to Princeton Clubs, a directory that allows students to learn detailed information about each of the student groups on campus.