Academic calendar could change in fall 2014

Changes suggested last spring for the academic calendar may become a reality for students beginning in fall 2014.

The new calendar, introduced and passed by the Academic Senate last spring, would shorten the fall semester by one week, starting classes after Labor Day weekend. In a news release sent on Tuesday, Faculty Association President Laura Frey and Executive Director of Faculty Personnel Services Matt Serra announced the Faculty Association and CMU have committed to changing the academic calendar beginning in the fall 2014 semester.

Serra will meet with Student Government Association president Justin Gawronski, a Macomb junior, on Friday to discuss the role students play in the changed calendar.

"SGA doesn’t have an official position yet because the changes are so new. Students will have the opportunity to present in affirmation or opposition at SGA meetings, and hopefully that’ll inspire some intelligent debate on the topic," Gawronski said. "This directly affects the students, and this is a place where legislation can definitely have a pull on the university."

Academic Senate created a committee last year that was in charge of revamping the calendar to accommodate the changes and address concerns with the calendar.

According to a March Central Michigan Life article, concerns included a need to adjust master course syllabi, a shorter time span to cover the same amount of material, maintaining the Thursday and Friday before exams as a study break and overlapping eight-week terms for off-campus students.

Serra said the main focus now is to address concerns from departments and organizations across campus.

"We want people to speak up. We need to figure out what the major hurdles are. We have so many programs on campus that have different timelines, but right now, people are still trying to formulate how this will impact their area on campus," he said. "The next step is to accumulate the responses from around campus and meet again with the FA to bargain over the calendar. We’ll be taking people’s issues and seeing how to manage those problems."

Gawronski said it's important to present both positive and negative aspects of the calendar change before opinions are formed.

"The administration and staff will respect the students decision, but once we have SGA meetings, there will be plenty of opportunities to communicate the entire plan and people can form opinions rather than having knee-jerk reactions," he said. "When it comes down to it, if students don’t want it, we can go far enough to make it not happen."

Although students cannot be part of the actual bargaining of the calendar, Serra said their opinions will be taken into consideration when final bargaining begins.

"Students definitely have an opportunity for feedback. They were involved in the development of the calendar itself through the academic senate’s work on the calendar and we were sure to send updates to all students at CMU," he said. "Students can’t be at the actual bargaining table, but we are taking feedback from all areas of campus."

Other universities, including Western Michigan University and Michigan State University, begin classes after Labor Day.


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