Dead Hour Comes to Life as Activity Hour

In the fall of 2009, USF made big changes to class scheduling: more classes would be offered on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday timetable in addition to the regular Tuesday-Thursday format. This change called for more subtle adjustments; what students formerly knew as “Dead Hour,” a one-hour time block in which most students didn’t have class, has been renamed to “Activity Hour.” Dead Hour originally reserved 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a student break in between classes, but the time has been shifted to 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this semester.

As with Dead Hour, the purpose of Activity Hour is also intended for students to participate in various activities on campus; hence the name change. Although Activity Hour designates a break time for students, the goal is more so to encourage student participation.

BJ Johnson, vice provost and dean of academic and enrollment services, said, “I believe that the change in Activity Hour has contributed to the general success of the new class meetings schedule.”

However, this hasn’t happened on its own; it was with the collaboration of the new class schedule that Activity Hour has become more promising.
“The change in time allowed the university to create a schedule that increases the number of course sections,” Johnson said, and “still have a block of time set aside for student activities, which has definitely contributed to a more successful use of time.”

Some students still have not heard of Activity Hour on campus. Junior and international studies major Tara Peitham said, “I was not even aware that we have an Activity Hour on campus, or even what time it [is.]”

The decision to change the previous class schedule format came from a long stream of negotiations and meeting with various deans, USFFA Policy Board Members, the ASUSF Student Senate, Registrar Archie Porter and academic faculty members. The revised format addressed all of the inadequacies of the old schedule.

Johnson said the changes will be monitored over time to ensure its success. The overall changes are proposed for a long term adoption, but will be adjusted when necessary.

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