Battle of the Classes: Pro
by Taylor Synclair Goethe | published Nov. 3rd, 2017
I get why you’re pissed. The class schedules end at awkward times, your finals got pushed up a week and no one even really knows what that "October break" was. This semester's scheduling is pretty different, so many of us upperclassmen are feeling disoriented by this unexpected change. Trust me though, the new format for the semester may take time to adjust to but it’s all for the best.
President of Student Government, Farid Barquet will tell you that the decision to change from a 15-week to a 14-week calendar may seem sudden but it was debated for over three years. You know what’s worse than having a class that starts five minutes past the hour? Not being to able to go on summer internships or co-ops because our semesters end too late. That’s right! This is all about career opportunity.
“This was all done in hopes that ending classes earlier in the spring will facilitate students getting co-ops more easily. Other colleges would get out before us so our students really couldn’t get jobs because they were still in school,” Barquet said.
RIT’s summer courses are unusually compacted and our spring semester ends later than other schools. Consequently, some students miss internship opportunities just because their schedules were inconvenient for employers. The new calendar got rid of winter intersession and created a 12-week summer break, thus allowing for more class options in the summer and a more competitive atmosphere for RIT students.
Now for the weird class times: federal law mandates a certain amount of semester credit hours be met. To receive credit for classes there needs to be a minimum amount of minutes that professors are in direct contact with their students. The usual three-credit classes require 2,250 minutes of contact. This is all fine and dandy with the 15-week model, but not in the new schedule that provides students with opportunities for co-ops.
“This is why class times had to be adjusted for the 14-week semester. Adding five minutes to each class is to meet the minimum number of contact minutes required by the federal government,” Barquet said. “If we didn’t extend credit hours we wouldn’t have met federal regulations."
The decision for the October break wasn’t random either. We actually voted on it. SG calculated that students often feel burned out between week six and seven but we didn’t receive our first breather until Thanksgiving break in week 11. A survey was released asking students what they'd prefer: a break in the middle of October or an extended Thanksgiving. For the students who filled out the survey there was a clear winner. Go figure, those surveys SG keeps emailing us actually make a difference.