Faculty senate discusses eliminating fall and spring breaks

The fate of Weber State University’s current calendar might be up in the air when the faculty senate meets on Oct. 20.

Currently, both faculty and students have brought up some concerns about the structure of the tri-semester calendar. Among the many proposed ideas, there are some measures that would be taken to curtail or eliminate Fall Break and Spring Break as they currently are.

Bruce Bowen, a member of WSU’s faculty senate, explained that there were several ideas floating around the staff’s legislative body.

“The proposed changes right now are stemming from faculty members who want to tweak the calendar to fix some of the things that are a little bit more problematic,” Bowen said.

Four options are amongst the proposed changes. Option A would entail a 15-week semester. In total, it would be one or two days shorter than the current fall and spring semesters. There would be the same number of teaching days per semester with 55-minute classes. There would be a minimum of two weeks between semesters. There would also be no spring or fall breaks.

Option B is similar to Option A, except there would be break days during the semester, meaning that fall and spring breaks would be retained in some form. Option C is also similar to Option A, except that it would include one week of Spring Break and no Fall Break. This option would also give only a week and a half between spring and summer instead of two weeks. The fourth option is that there will be no changes made at all, and the calendar will stay as it currently is.

Bowen said that the reasoning behind all the proposed changes involves the needs of WSU faculty to have a consistent tri-semester calendar.

“Some things that we have heard from faculty members is that they would like to standardize the number of weeks in between semesters so that they can be as close as possible,” he said.

The proposed measures were also taken up and debated in the student senate last year. Students at WSU had a variety of responses to the various proposals. Chris Stuehser, a junior majoring in nursing at WSU, said that he didn’t have an opinion on the proposed changes because none of them could have an effect on his personal schedule.

“I don’t take summer classes, and I don’t really intend to as far as I know at this time,” Stuehser said. “And as far as the breaks go, I work full-time anyway. So even when I have Spring Break or Fall Break, I’m working anyway.”

WSU freshman Andrew Decker said he felt that the needs of the professors should be the priority in this situation.

“I think it’s a good idea because it helps them (the professors) out,” Decker said.

Decker, a major in mechanical engineering, said that he wouldn’t mind sacrificing his fall and spring breaks if the changes came to that.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind it at all,” he said.

WSU freshman Shae Citte, who is majoring in Spanish, said she didn’t feel like any changes in the calendar were warranted, although she did acknowledge the needs of other students.

“If I was taking summer classes, I might feel differently,” Citte said. “But right now, I like the break schedule as it is. I like the Spring Break.”

Whatever changes are made or not made, Bowen said there will likely be a divergence of opinion.

“When you implement something such as the academic calendar, that affects everyone,” Bowen said. “There are some people that are happy, and there are some people that are not happy.”