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Setting academic calendar a complex undertaking
April 1, 2015Tweet
President Harvey Stenger has charged a broad-based committee, chaired by Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Donald Nieman, to develop guidelines and principles for creating the University’s academic calendar and to prepare and recommend academic year calendars, beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year.
The task is very complex, Nieman said.
“The overall goal of the committee is two-fold,” he said. “In broad terms, we want to make sure we have a process for determining a calendar that works for the campus community, for faculty and students, and that fulfills our responsibility to our accrediting bodies, the state and the U.S. Department of Education. Second is to make sure that there is broad input into determining these things.”
“As you look at the committee, there are representatives of all the stakeholder groups, plus people who can help with the technical aspects of putting a calendar together.”
The members and the constituencies they represent:
• Sarah Glose – Graduate Student Organization
• JP Faucette – Student Association
• Erik Colon – Professional Employees Council
• Elizabeth DiGangi and Candace Mulcahy – Faculty Senate Executive Committee
• Ed Scott – Athletics
• Terry Webb – Student Affairs
• Lisa Gilroy – Research
• Suzi Howell – Residential Life
• Pam Mischen – President’s Office
• Don Loewen – Provost’s Office
• Michelle Ponczek – Scheduling
• Mike Kukawa – Facilities
The first hurdle, Nieman said, is making sure that the University offers the requisite amount of time in classes to satisfy the requirements for credit hours conferred. “The federal government is interested because it pays billions of dollars a year in Pell aid and federally subsidized student loans,” he said. “So is this University providing the amount of instruction that constitutes a credit hour?”
“And what constitutes a credit hour defined in terms of seat time is really being turned on its head with online education, which doesn’t measure anything by seat time,” he added. “Accrediting agencies such as Middle States and New York’s State Education Department have specific definitions of what constitutes a credit hour.”
The committee will look at best practices from other universities, including issues such as when to start the fall and spring semesters, as well as the length of our January and summer terms.
This process will help educate the campus about the parameters of a calendar said Nieman. “We work with definite constraints.”
Stenger has asked the committee to make its recommendations by the end of the semester.