Semesters extended one week
Posted Feb. 20, 2009

Victoria Farlow
Staff Writer


Starting in the 2009-2010 academic year, many University of La Verne students will go to school for two additional weeks, with fall classes starting one week earlier and spring classes ending one week later than they did under the previous traditional semester schedule.

The new semester calendar will put all University undergraduate and graduate programs on the same calendar – replacing the current five calendars for various semester and term programs.

“The board wanted a calendar where everyone started at the same time,” said Adeline Cardenas-Clague, associate vice president for academic support and retention.

Under the new calendar, all students will start fall classes on Aug 31.

Winter and spring breaks will be aligned for all students rather than the multiple breaks in the previous calendars.

Cardenas-Clague said that the new calendar will be more convenient for professors who previously taught both term and semester classes.

Cardenas-Clague said the the board of trustees had requested the so-called “unified calendar,” though under the calendar changes, there will still be some variation among programs.

“It took a task force of a year- and-a-half, and we couldn’t create just one calendar,” Cardenas-Clague said.

The task force prepared several options for the Faculty Assembly, which ultimately approved “Proposal C” in December.

Among the changes, “Proposal C” preserved the January interterm session.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Alden Reimonenq called “Proposal C” the best fit for the University.

“It will provide for greater flexibility in scheduling, expand classroom availability, provide for a 90 minute ‘black out’ time block on Tuesdays and Thursdays for what Student Affairs calls ‘community time’ for students to participate in both non-academic and academic activities,” Reimonenq said in an e-mailed statement.

Though not everyone sees the new calendar in this light.

“I think there are some really big problems with (it),” said Kimberly Martin, professor of anthropology.

Martin believes that the community time block provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays does not allow for enough time for students and faculty members to do what they need to.

Other faculty members are concerned that the early start-date and late end-date put ULV students at a disadvantage in the summer job market.

“The new calendar cuts a week of work off in the fall and leaves a student a week behind in the job hunt in summer,” said English Department Chairman David Werner.

“Students are really struggling (financially) in this time,” Martin said.

The change is very sudden, and it means adjunct faculty may have to either drastically re-arrange their teaching lives or stop teaching here or at other schools, said Hector Delgado, professor of sociology, in an e-mail.

“Did we think hard enough about the impact this would have on adjuncts, students especially commuters and students who work?” Delgado added.

Although the “contact hours” will remain the same, with the length of class sessions slightly shortened, Reimonenq said, “salary issues are being studied in preparation for the new calendar implementation.”

Reimonenq added that there will be an “implementation phase,” when the University will need to carefully monitor effectiveness of the new calendars.

Reimonenq believes the new calendar is the best option because ULV will have efficiencies of scale – including creating needed classroom space – that will save money and lessen administrative time and labor.

Victoria Farlow can be reached at victoria.farlow@laverne.edu.

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