On Nov. 3, James Wiser, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, sent out an email to the heads of the departments at USF, explaining there would be a schedule change that would be put in place for Fall 2010. The email was leaked to media students and news spread fast around campus. Since then, there have been a protest and a petition by students and faculty against the schedule change.
In the initial email, Wiser stated the schedule change would be taking place for the following reasons: 1) Difficulty in finding space for current classes. 2) Insufficient classroom size. 3) Because of lack of space, lounges and conference rooms were converted into classrooms. 4) Lack of classrooms makes it difficult to offer new classes for students. 5) Classes are overlapping too often creating scheduling conflicts. 6) USF wants to add more two-credit classes and with the lack of space it makes it difficult.
For these reasons, the administration is implementing a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule and will in effect shorten Monday, Wednesday classes to 50 minutes instead of the current 75 minute length. This equals to about the same amount of class time, but the classes would take place three times a week rather than two. This change will free up more classrooms and allow more sections of classes and more two-credit classes to be added.
Some students and faculty members take issue with this inevitable change for the fall semester for a variety of reasons.
Many Students do not want Friday classes because it would ruin their three-day weekends that they have become accustomed to. Let’s face it, for students Thursdays are the new Fridays. Students have adjusted to having Thursday as their designated party night, and with the new schedule, might show up to class “under the weather” or not at all. There is also the more legitimate argument that Friday classes conflicts with students’ jobs or internships. Many students need to work to make money for tuition and rent, or even just spending cash. Whether their job is on or off campus, having Fridays free to work a long shift is very important. Likewise, with internships, which students need to gain valuable work experience, they almost always need to come in on Fridays to work a full shift.
Professors do not want their class time on Mondays and Wednesdays to be cut from two long classes to three short classes because shorter classes will make it harder for them to include their entire lesson plans. Media studies students, for example, watch a lot of media content in their classes. Having a shorter period would make it less likely for them to see the content and also have a quality discussion about it, which is imperative for their major. Science majors require longer classes for lab work, and visual or performing arts disciplines would find shorter periods unsatisfactory for their studio/workshop needs. Professors who commute from outside the city also find issue with Friday classes because it makes them have to come to campus an extra day.
The Foghorn staff believes the schedule change needs a some adjustment and would take some getting used to, but there are more positives than negatives from the change. Ultimately it seems necessary for USF student education to be improved. We come to college with the intent to get the best possible education we can. Without sufficient classroom space it is impossible for the learning environment to thrive. Having more choices and opportunities to explore also facilitates student learning. With the new schedule it makes this possible for students to have more classes and varied learning opportunities.