Editorial

EDITORIAL: No reason to shorten academic calendar

On the surface, beginning the fall semester after Labor Day sounds like a great idea.

Shortening the semester by a week would give students an extra week to earn money working their summer jobs, or at least give them an extra week to relax before heading back to school.

But the rumblings that there could be a change to the academic schedule, which could begin in the fall of 2014, would ultimately do more harm than good to the student body.

One of CMU’s signature programs, the Leadership Safari orientation program, could find itself on the chopping block. Leadership Safari gives incoming freshmen who participate a head start on everyone else as they learn the campus and meet new friends and university leaders. Cutting back the fall semester to after Labor Day might mean the end of this one-of-a-kind program, thus eliminating a potentially powerful recruiting tool.

Furthermore, it also eliminates, in essence, a good break for students.

It’s fair to assess that the fall semester is tougher than the spring semester, because of the lack of breaks.

But having Labor Day off quietly means a lot, giving new students time to figure out what they are missing in their rooms or what items they need as many traditionally head home for the extended weekend.

In addition, it’s not fair to professors to force them to teach the same amount of material in a shortened amount of time. It could be argued that students would be missing out on vital lessons and experiences, and therefore the student’s education would suffer.

That’s not saying there are not positives to a potential 14-week schedule.

But is it really worth feeling rushed for 14 weeks in order to just have an extra couple of weeks of break time?

If CMU is going to institute beginning classes after Labor Day, it also needs to consider the possibility of instituting a fall break for students.

The curriculum needs to be looked at to ensure students have the same opportunities to get as much as they can out of classes and CMU needs to figure out a way to keep influential programs like Leadership Safari around.

9 Comments

  1. Keep Leadership Safari, a tremendous program that keeps growing and improving year after year.

  2. Shortening the calendar will not cut Leadership Safari… it will simply be moved forward a week. Duh.

  3. Another thing that would end up being cut is “No Zebras, No Excuses,” an amazing program run by CMU’S Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates. I think we tend to take it for granted because we’ve had it here for so long, but cutting it would be a major loss. It is such an effective program that the cast of No Zebras performed it at United States naval bases around the world this summer (Guantanamo, Hawaii, Japan, etc.). If the semester is going to be shortened by a week, I would at least like to see some effort from the administration to preserve important programs such as No Zebras and Leadership Safari.

  4. They can’t get rid of Leadership Safari! Especially after that awesome video they put together this year: https://housing.cmich.edu/Safari2012/CMUSafariTWENTY12.mov

  5. Daniel Breitenbach says:

    At the last SGA meeting, faculty who supported this measure told us that “there are no plans to eliminate the orientations that CMU offers”, so leadership safari isn’t going anywhere.
    However, the orientations are being left to adapt to the change without the universities assistance, which could mean some big changes in those programs.
    So the academic calender is basically creating a mess for CMUs orientation that those organizations will have to clean up by themselves. what a mess!

    • Technically, you are right Daniel. The problem that the faculty don’t seem to get or fathom is that this simple shift (which benefits them, and only them), isn’t really that simple. And it affects more than just Safari or No Zebras. It shifts how CMU does everything, and jeopardizes how those programs look and if we can’t even do the same things with the added costs of holiday travel and availability of resources to put on our orientation events. The faculty say that students come first…well, this idea is completely opposite of that. A fall break is far more beneficial to us than to start later and to make our spring break align with the local schools so that none of the faculty have to take vacation time when their kids are on spring break. Who is paying tuition again?

  6. Remember that the FA was the driving force behind suggesting the modification to the calendar. The new break coincides with the Mt. Pleasant Public Schools spring break. The FA is not concerned about the CMU students, they want to have a spring break trip with their kids.

  7. So, if the calendar is shortened, students will have less instruction, and will pay less in tuition, right? The tuition rate right now is for a 16-week semester. A 15-week semester would decrease the amount of time on campus and instruction, leading to less costs and (should) require less tuition.

    • No change in tuition rate. You still get the same number of credits. First time i hear people complaining because they’ll be going to class less.

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