Written by: John Stephen
VSU’s academic schedule has been at the center of intense debate recently, capturing the attention of faculty and students alike. Now, the dust has settled, and a final decision has been made.
On Monday, the Academic Scheduling and Procedures Committee approved a new schedule that includes a two-day fall break, a three-day Thanksgiving break, the removal of Dead Day and a four-day finals week, according to Said Fares, VSU professor and chairman of the ASPC.
Now, the proposed schedule will be voted on by the faculty senate; if approved there, President William McKinney must also give his consent for the proposal to be implemented at VSU.
“I think (the approved schedule) is the best of all the proposals that we have received and discussed,” Fares said. “It is a good compromise.”
The new schedule meets all federal and state requirements and addresses most of the SGA’s concerns, according to Fares.
Discussion about the schedule has been occurring for a while, with many saying the current schedule is not the best option available; Fares said the new schedule is more conducive to students.
“(The approved schedule) provides an extra day for final exams to minimize the chance of a student taking three finals on the same day,” Fares said. “It provides a fall break in the middle of the semester to give students time to rest after midterms.”
Even with fall break and the extra finals day, the new schedule will not lengthen the school year.
“It does not extend the semester by a single day,” Fares said. “Students on campus won’t have to pay any extra money for housing and dining.
“Also, it gives working students extra time to work between semesters to pay for their tuition and living expenses. Not to mention that it gives enough time for students to co-op, intern, visit families, travel and rest,” Fares said.
The SGA passed a resolution Monday night voicing members’ disapproval of the proposed schedule, saying that its placement of Spring Break is disadvantageous to students. The new schedule pushes Spring Break to the end of March and beginning of April.
According to the SGA resolution, having a later Spring Break is unwise because students would be subject to 11 consecutive weeks of class and because VSU’s Spring Break would be misaligned with the Spring Breaks of most other USG institutions.
The new schedule, if approved by the faculty senate and President McKinney, will
be implemented during the 2015-16 school year because the USG’s Board of Regents requires VSU to vote on the schedule more than a year in advance, and the schedule for the 2014-15 year was approved last year.
After the 2015-16 year, each succeeding year will require a new scheduling vote, but Fares wants to alter the way VSU decides the schedule.
“It is obvious that this approach is not efficient and should be changed,” Fares said. “We should have a multi-year academic scheduling plan. The ASPC has recognized this problem and is working on a five-year academic scheduling plan that would be based on the 2015-16 schedule.”