Compressed calendar continues to raise concerns


United Faculty President Donna Wapner addresses faculty concerns over the switch to a compressed calendar during a Sept. 12, 2017 academic senate meeting.

Professors continued to voice concerns over changes to the 2017-2018 academic calendar while speaking to United Faculty union representatives during a faculty senate meeting on Sept. 12.

Part of the distress comes from the need to fit the academic calendar into a compressed timeline, which will begin in fall 2018.

For chemistry professor Wayne Larson, longer hours in a lab would make an already difficult subject more grueling to learn for students.

“Six and a half hours in a lab would be like a shift waiting tables,” said Larson.

Essentially the compressed calendar means each semester will be shortened to from 17.5 weeks to 16.6 weeks while the number of units taught will be the same. This means classes will be extended from anywhere between five to 10 minutes each session.

A survey issued by United Faculty regarding the possibility of not having a spring break spurred many faculty members to attend the meeting.

“we don’t want to jump the gun, the survey was a wake-up call,” said sociology professor Lisa Ratchford.

One topic of conversation focused on a proposed four week intersession, which would allow certain classes like public speaking or introductory biology to be taught in between fall and spring semesters.

Most questions revolved around how proposed changes to the schedule would affect students and their ability to learn. However one of the questions regarding the intersession was if it was meant to help students or just be a revenue generator.

Another question raised was whether the extra cost of keeping the school open during intersession would outweigh the revenue generated by the classes.

Donna Wapner, the United Faculty President and a health science professor at DVC, wrote via email, all parties involved are still examining the possibility of creating both an intersession and longer length summer offerings to fit within the space created by the compressed calendar.

According to academic senate president, Beth McBrien, the complexities of figuring out how the new schedule will fit into a compressed calendar comes from not knowing how the many different pieces will fit together.

However, she noted despite the uncertainty and complications the process is coming together.

Writing via email, Professor Wapner felt the meeting produced a good discussion of the limits required in determining the actual dates of the academic calendar and the pros and cons of different choices.

She also noted although there are many opinions and viewpoints for what would be the best changes to the calendar she was confident they would find a solution that meets most of the interests of faculty, staff, administrators and students.

A follow up United Faculty meeting will be held on Sept. 14 at 2:15 p.m. in room L-151 where different calendar proposals will be reviewed.