Changing class schedule gets little traction

October 15, 2010
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UCCS students may just have to try harder to get to classes on time.

Faculty Assembly members concluded that timeliness is a student responsibility after discussion of extending the passing time between classes at the Oct. 8 meeting. The group addressed a proposal made by David Moon, senior associate vice chancellor, Academic Affairs, to lengthen time between classes in response to concerns from students, professors and instructors.

Discussion in departments and with students will continue but early reports indicate that more problems would be created by lengthening the ten-minute break between classes to fifteen minutes.

Several faculty brought up the challenge of working students and those with families who must juggle schedules to accommodate jobs, classes, and family responsibilities. They noted that hours for child care services at the Family Development Center would need to be extended and that Austin Bluffs Parkway traffic is an issue for students who need to drop off children, get across the parkway and park their vehicles before class.

Others noted that student nurses, and some others, often work a night shift immediately before attending an 8 a.m. class. Beginning classes earlier is not an option. Some suggested that changing Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday class blocks could affect the personal preferences of students and faculty alike.

Robert Durham, psychology, said that evening classes work reasonably well, as is. Extending time between classes would push the 4:30 p.m. start-time for evening classes to 5 p.m., creating more issues for the night students.

“The situation is certainly problematic,” Durham said later in a telephone interview. “Perhaps we need to look at rescheduling the campus shuttles.” he added, noting the distance between University Hall and the Science & Engineering Building. He said that many factors deserve careful study before making changes that could have a more negative impact.

Durham also noted that all the campus governance groups and administration must communicate fully and share their findings before the campus makes any final decisions.

The assembly finished the discussion with the conclusion that students and faculty need to communicate. For example, faculty need to be aware that some students must leave at the scheduled end of the session. Students should let faculty know if their next class is across campus and they must leave promptly. If students will be frequently late because of class scheduling, they owe the professor an explanation. Conversely, faculty should not penalize students for tardiness.

Recalling the meeting, Durham said, “I don’t remember anyone overtly making the statement, but the members certainly implied that communication, respect and understanding between student and professor is key.”

If the instructor cannot remain after class for questions, students should make appointments. If a student is going to miss the first few minutes of a lecture, the student is responsible for getting the missed information. In some cases, the group concluded, it is simply a matter of a student recognizing the travel challenge, walking faster, and avoiding distractions. In others, the student and professor each must recognize and respect the other’s position and work toward a mutual solution.

The university established class schedules and time between classes before the campus grew to its present size and increased its student population. Faculty at the meeting agreed growth will continue to present challenge and that alternatives need to be considered and discussed.

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