By Shawn Gakhal
Roosevelt University plans to change the start date for fall 2014 from Friday to Saturday, according to the university registrar in conjunction with the provost office.
The move is scheduled to take place once the spring 2014 semester concludes.
The Torch reached out to Sheila Coffin, the associate provost of Academic Services and Student Affairs, for the early scoop on the upcoming academic changes.
Coffin discussed the move, as well as working alongside assistant registrar Dustin Levell [who oversees scheduling] who helped in ascertaining and obtaining information about how the decision was reached.
“The decision came about after several discussions between faculty and the administration who had received feedback from students,” Coffin said. “It became clear it was in the best interest of our students to change the start date back to a standard calendar. Prior to fall 2012, the academic calendar didn’t use the ‘First Monday Class on Friday’ model.”
As the debate on the decision raged on, the issue of comfortability for students became a top priority for the institution.
“We looked into what worked best from an academic standpoint as well as serving the student,” Coffin said. “The first week of school is very busy for students, faculty and staff. We looked at what would be the best option both in the classroom as well as moving into dorms, handling last minute registration and financial aid needs, and what would be the least confusing to our new Rooseveltians.”
Coffin expanded on just how the new schedule with help alleviate the students of Roosevelt.
“Technically the start of the semester is Saturday, Aug. 23,” Coffin said. “Saturday classes meet that day with the rest of the full semester classes starting the following week. One issue that kept coming up with holding the first Monday class on a Friday is it caused problems for some students with jobs, family, religious or other obligations on Fridays. Rather than put them in a situation where they had to plan around their schooling, Roosevelt decided to move to a calendar that could more easily fit with a student’s week to week schedule.”
With new freshman and transfers coming in every year, the start date of Fridays can be a bit odd and irregular–even for the faculty.
Academic advisor Chloe Robinson, who constantly works with new students to help them with their coursework, supported the change by the university and said that it would also be extremely beneficial to students, as well.
“Personally, I think it works a lot better for students,” Robinson said. “Because it’s really hard to articulate the semester really starting on Friday, rather than a Monday, so it works a lot better for students, especially the newer ones.”
This new rule doesn’t just work for students, it also helps out the faculty in more ways than one.
“I think it’s more continuity, especially for the faculty,” Robinson said. “It’s just kind of hard starting your semester on a Friday and that having that weekend break and then coming back and kind of teach the student all over again. Because those students didn’t necessarily go to class on Friday because they didn’t know or forgot.”
Roosevelt students appeared optimistic that the changes will have a positive effect.
“It’s good to start on a Monday instead of a Friday,” Junior Geoffrey Paul said. “Because some teachers plan out a lesson and have homework assigned and the student will already start off the semester missing points.”
Freshman Esmeralda Zavala agreed with Paul saying, “Besides, we don’t normally have school on a Friday. So why start on one?”