Opinion

Wish fall break lasted longer?

As a senior, one thing I’ve learned at my time at Mac is that effective and long-lasting change is often hard to come by in our short time here. Sometimes this slow, unchanging view of progress is projected onto MCSG. While many students benefit from additional allocations, the chartering of student organizations, the community chest or the textbook reserve program, these systems don’t necessarily touch the lives of every student on this campus. But what if we did do something that affected every student for years to come?

Well, we are. The Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) of MCSG has been advocating for an increase in the number of study days for years. Both the AAC chair and a student selected through campus committee applications (keep an eye out for those this spring!) serve as student voting members on the Educational Policy and Governance Committee (EPAG), which is made up of faculty and staff and is ultimately the group that recommends any change to the academic calendar. This year, June Ban ’14 and I have pushed for a change to the academic calendar since the first meeting of the year. EPAG has been very receptive and responsive to this issue. This is the most progress that has been made in recent years.

To provide a little bit of background, the initial impetus for EPAG taking up the calendar issue this year has been a combination of a few factors. Students and their families have advocated for an increase in instructional days, keeping in line with accreditation guidelines and the noticeably fewer instructional days compared to peer institutions. Another issue is the discrepancy in class time between evening, MWF and TR courses. Embedded in the conversation about the number of instructional days is the consideration of more study days before finals and a week-long fall break. These three points have been the main focus of the calendar considerations thus far.

June and I have organized a student town hall on Tuesday, November 5th at 6 p.m. in the Weyerhauser Boardroom. The calendar issue has been on EPAG’s agenda for many years, before any of us were at Mac. With all the progress EPAG has made in discussions where future calendars were envisioned and cost-benefit analyses heavily investigated and debated, this is the one event you should make an extra effort to fit into your schedule.

There will be a brief introduction and example of the proposed calendar but the true purpose of the town hall is for us to gauge student opinion and for you to ask questions. Jayne Niemi, will also be there to listen to you and help field your questions. If the academic calendar does change (which would have to be decided by November 28th), it will affect the whole campus and will likely be long term, allowing the calendar to be set for five to ten years into the future. Even if you have not yet formulated an opinion, you may use this town hall as an opportunity to inform yourself on what changes may be coming your way.

A few examples of the impact of more instructional days and study days/break time potentially include: a shorter J-term, more consistency for night classes that border breaks, athletes being able to fully participate in orientation, proximity of commencement to Memorial day, etc.

Please join us this Tuesday! If you’ve ever hoped your student government or administration were more transparent, there is no better opportunity than now to realize that wish. Voice your concerns, show your support, bring your questions and let’s make a change that benefits everyone on campus!

November 1, 2013

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