Editor's note: The changes to the academic calendar have been approved. The view the new official academic calendar, click here.

College faculty drives changes to academic calendar

By Will Hebert

The proposal for Laramie County Community College’s academic calendar for 2012–2013 has incorporated suggested changes from Faculty Senate because of concerns raised by faculty about the current calendar.

The calendar was drafted by a calendar committee Sept. 15 and sent to the Learning Leadership Team (LLT). LLT is comprised of deans and led by the vice president of instruction, Dr. Marlene Tignor, for review and approval, said LCCC instructor of English Liz Jackson. She was also a member of the calendar committee.

An email sent to faculty by Faculty Senate’s president and LCCC instructor of economics and finance, Jeff Shmidl, said two senators, Jackson and instructor and coordinator of physical education Cindy Henning, served on the committee to represent faculty concerns.

“The goal of the committee was to come up with something that, hopefully, works better for students because we lose lots of instruction days this semester because of the way things are going, and there’s an inequitable distribution of certain days of the week, and that’s not good for students,” Jackson said.

Shmidl’s email said faculty members were asked for input early this semester, and concerns were brought to the committee on faculty’s behalf.

One of the concerns brought to the committee by faculty was the inclusion of five days of in-service in which no classes were held to begin the fall 2011 semester and only one to begin the spring 2012 semester.

The calendar for 2011–2012 had a total of nine in-service days scheduled.

During the beginning of the fall 2011 semester, in-service days were held on Aug. 15–19, and classes began Aug. 22. The 2011–2012 calendar scheduled grades to be due by noon on Dec. 13, and an in-service day is scheduled for Dec. 14.

For the spring 2012 semester, the calendar has scheduled an in-service day on Jan. 9, and classes begin Jan. 10. At the end of the spring semester, the 2011–2012 calendar has final exams scheduled on May 2–4, commencement scheduled on May 5 and in-service days scheduled for May 9–10.

The calendar committee included a total of seven in-service days in the 2012–2013 calendar, with four in-service days scheduled for the fall 2012 semester and three in-service days scheduled for the spring 2013 semester, said Shmidl’s email.

Another issue addressed on the new calendar was the date grades will be due. For the first time, grades this year will be due before the end of faculty’s contract days, meaning faculty will have to work at the college after final grades had been given and after commencement. These days have been eliminated in new draft calendar.

The schedule for final exams has also been changed in the current draft of the 2012–2013 academic calendar. This year, three days were allocated for final exams, but next year’s calendar would return to four days for exams for both semesters, Shmidl’s email said.

Jackson said the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the 16th week of the semester would be allocated to exams; Thursday would be a flex-day, and final grades would be due Friday at noon.

The email also said faculty were concerned about lost days of instruction in the previous year’s calendar. Because of this, the new draft calendar more closely resembles the academic calendar for 2010–2011, with 76 teaching days in the fall and 74 in the spring.

The loss of a day being set aside for advising was another concern brought forth by some faculty, Shmidl said. He said the new draft calendar has no day set aside with no classes for advising because not all faculty support an advising day.

Jackson agreed faculty have different opinions regarding a day being set aside for advising.

“We were not able to get advising day back, and the committee acknowledged that not everybody is going to be happy about that, but there are cases both for and against advising day,” Jackson said. “And for programs that are very heavy on advising day, I think that there might be some opportunities to make it a little bit easier by working with student services, but those need to be discussed further.”

Shmidl said Faculty Senate will gather input on the number of faculty who support advising day before the next calendar is drafted.

The equality of days of the week for classes that meet only once a week was another issue faculty wished to have addressed, Shmidl’s email said. Shmidl said the 2011–2012 academic calendar had only a difference of only one day between classes held once a week.

Jackson said unequal distribution of days could give classes that meet once a week fewer class periods.

“For example, if you have a Monday night class, you could have only 14 Monday night classes based on a certain calendar, but, really, it should be 15,” Jackson said. “So we were trying to make that distribution more equal.”

According to Shmidl’s email, other issues faculty wanted addressed were as follows:

Jackson said the proposed calendar has scheduled classes for the fall 2012 semester to begin Aug. 20, classes for the spring 2013 semester to begin Jan. 14 and graduation to take place May 11, 2013.

Jackson said LLT examined the document Sept. 19, and Vice President Tignor said the drafted calendar has yet to be approved.