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Calendar Committee

The Calendar Committee for 2003-04 first met on September 9, 2003, and elected a chair. Our first business was conducted via e-mail during September. We were asked to advise on a proposal concerning changing dates for mailing out tuition bills and changing add/drop dates, etc., due to the anticipated action of the Board of Regents in November of raising tuition for the spring. The committee assented but expressed some regret that actions of the Regents and the University could not be hastened to allow students and parents more time to prepare for increases. The new calendar for 2003-04 was then reissued in early October.

As a result of a question to the president by Tom Palaima on November 17, 2003, Marvin Hackert charged the Calendar Committee as follows.

I ask that the Calendar Committee review the proposal for a fall break and report to the Faculty Council Executive Committee/Faculty Council (FCEC/FC) with a recommendation to either 1) not pursue it, or 2) a proposal of how best to implement such a fall break that would then be brought before the FC for discussion and vote.
The committee gathered together numerous documents that had been generated by consideration of the same question during the 2000-01 academic year. The committee found that the substantive problems raised in those documents largely remained and that the matter should not be pursued at this time. This was reported to the Faculty Council on February 16, 2004 (D 2943).

At that same meeting, the committee also presented a report to the FC (D 2936-2937) concerning the Summer Freshman Class (SFC) schedule. This issue was brought to the attention of the committee by Vice Provost Lucia Gilbert. In brief, calendar changes in Texas high schools have made it impossible for some freshmen entering in the summer to start at UT when our first summer session begins. However, some of these students are required to attend classes all summer. In addition, they must undergo an orientation prior to the beginning of classes. As a result a special schedule for the SFC has been created for each summer session. Several options were presented for dealing with this problem. They included

1. Changing the schedule of the nine week summer classes designated n to start approximately 10 days later than usual and end at the same time the s/w classes end.

2. Introducing a new designation “t” to accommodate the SFC classes.

Subsequent to that meeting much effort was devoted to seeking out any ill effects of the various options. Responses left the committee with only the most basic action. Nursing objected strongly to the changing of the n classes. They use n classes for their masters students and felt that “pushing back this course would have a devastating effect on our ability to recruit faculty to teach in the intensive summer course for our incoming alternate entry (AE) students. It would also place added stress on a group of students who already are in an intense, accelerated program.”

The proposal, which was passed at the FC meeting of April 12, 2004, (D 3210) reads as follows.

“ The schedule for the Summer Freshman Class will be published in the calendar each year. This will include dates for orientation, registration, first and last day of class and final exams.

It may be that the other options referred to above will be reconsidered by future calendar committees. Thus I append the following report on the effects of introducing a new designation “t”. This report was prepared by Laura Kobler, associate registrar and advisor to the Calendar Committee."

*See Appendix C-2 for Laura Kobler’s follow-up memo regarding the SFC schedule.

Edward Odell, chair



DATE April 5, 2004

TO Ted Odell
Chair, Calendar Committee

FROM Laura Kobler
Associate Registrar

SUBJECT Possible effects of creation of a ten-week summer term

As you requested, I inquired with several offices about the effects of the creation of a ten-week summer term beginning in summer 2006. I asked about two proposals: that a new term be created for Summer Freshman Class courses, following the informal ten-week SFC schedule; and that the ten-week term be made available to other classes as well. Responses are summarized below.

1. Admissions, Housing and Food, Orientation

I talked to Kendra Ishop, assistant director, Office of Admissions; Sarah Key, assistant director, Division of Housing and Food Service; and Kyle Clark, student affairs administrator for the Orientation program. Kendra responded on behalf of her office; Sarah and Kyle discussed the proposals with other administrators in their programs. None of these three offices has serious objections to either proposal.

However, Sarah Key said that Housing and Food Service would not offer a different contract to students who attend only the ten-week term. Those students would pay the same amount for housing as students in attendance the whole summer, even though they would move in about ten days later. Kyle Clark noted that Orientation sessions for SFC students and fall freshmen will be offered simultaneously for the first time this summer. Until they have tried running simultaneous sessions, the Orientation staff doesn’t know whether they could also provide a session for ten-week–only students in the week before their classes begin.

2. College of Natural Sciences

I talked with Joy Lock, assistant dean, to learn (a) whether the first proposal alone would be helpful to the natural sciences departments involved with SFC, and (b) how many natural sciences classes might move to the ten-week term if the second proposal were approved.

Joy told me that the only non-SFC classes for which staffing has proven to be a problem for summer 2004 are nine-week computer sciences classes. Consequently, the college does not anticipate converting any classes other than these to the ten-week term. In fact, since the number of faculty members affected is small, the scheduling of these computer sciences classes could be handled informally in the future as it has been for summer 2004. The College of Natural Sciences would be satisfied if the ten-week term were available for SFC classes only.

3. Office of the Registrar

The registrar’s office would be heavily affected by both proposals. The main impact would be the time required for analysis and programming to incorporate the ten-week term into systems that support registration, the scheduling of classes and classrooms, and the maintenance of student records.

Specifically, changes would be needed in the systems that support course scheduling, registration, room scheduling for both class-related and nonclass events, final exam scheduling, headcount reporting, transcript production, and degree audit. These programming changes would take about 680 hours of staff time.

While there is time to do this work before summer 2006, other analysis and programming work would have to be postponed. Among current and anticipated projects that might be affected are development of on-line systems for submission of changes to the course inventory and course schedule and improvements to the on-line course schedule and the prerequisite checking, waitlist, room scheduling, and degree audit systems.

Analysis and programming would also have to be done by or on behalf of the Office of Institutional Research, Student Accounts Receivable, and the Office of Student Financial Services.

The preceding work would be needed if either the first proposal alone or both proposals were adopted. The following problems would occur only if the ten-week term were open to non-SFC classes. How significant they would be depends on the number of classes converted to the ten-week schedule; we cannot predict this number.

Classroom space would be less efficiently used. The preferred scheduling for three-semester-hour courses in the current summer terms is

term meeting days hours per day total hours (2006)
first, second MTWThF 1.5 37.5 class hours
nine-week MTWThF 1 37 class hours
whole-session MWF 1.5 45 class hours

The most efficient schedule for ten-week classes would be MWF, 1.5 hours per day; this schedule would yield 39 class hours in summer 2006, when Independence Day will fall on Tuesday. There would be no effect on room utilization if a whole-session class adopted the ten-week term. However, the class would meet for substantially fewer hours. Therefore, it seems likely that the ten-week term would be populated with classes that now follow the f, s, or n schedule. The result would be fewer classes meeting every weekday and more meeting three days a week. (A Tuesday/Thursday ten-week class would have to meet for 2.5 hours a day, which seems unlikely to be a popular schedule.) The result of classes moving to the ten-week term, then, would be that classrooms now being used every weekday would be empty on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A number of nonclass activities occur in the summer. In addition to Orientation and the Honors Colloquium, summer activities include programs for traditionally underserved students sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and such organizations as the National Science Foundation and the Breakthrough Collaborative. In general, summer programs prefer or require the same meeting places throughout the week. The concentration of classes into an MWF schedule would require more rooms to be used for classes on those days, leaving less space for other events that occur daily. Providing space for these University-sponsored nonclass events is already difficult; if only a few classes (other than SFC) moved to the ten-week term, it might be impossible to accommodate all the nonclass activities that now occur.

4. Other possible effects

The addition of another term might make the construction of a summer schedule more difficult for students. Ten-week classes would probably not be offered in the same proportion by all departments and colleges: some departments might convert many of their classes to this schedule, while others would convert none. Lower-division students, who are most likely to enroll in classes in multiple departments and colleges, might have trouble finding classes without overlapping meeting times if they had to take ten-week classes as well as f, s, n, and/or w classes.

If a student enrolled in both an f, n, or w class and a t class, he or she would be able to drop the first class without penalty through June 14 (in 2006) but would have through June 23 to drop the second class. Late registration, add/drop, and withdrawal schedules would also be different. These deadlines might be difficult to communicate to students and difficult for Registration Supervision, the departments, and the colleges to administer.

For some time, the scheduling of SFC classes has varied from one summer to the next. It is unclear whether the ten-week schedule will continue to meet the program’s needs. If a term is created that corresponds to the program’s current schedule, it is possible that the committee will frequently be asked to redefine that term. Any future change in the length of the term would require more systems analysis and programming time.

Summary: The creation of an official ten-week term for the Summer Freshman Class would simplify and streamline the administration of the SFC program. It would make the handling of SFC classes and students easier for the Office of Admissions, the Office of the Registrar, and the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences. It would create no serious problems for Admissions, the Division of Housing and Food Service, or New Student Services. However, the amount of systems analysis and programming time needed to create the term is substantial. It is not certain that the resulting term would continue to meet the needs of the SFC program.

Allowing non-SFC classes to follow the ten-week schedule has substantial potential disadvantages. Classroom space would be used less efficiently, which might preclude important nonclass activities from occurring on campus. Students might have more difficulty enrolling in the classes they need. The complexity of overlapping registration, add/drop, and withdrawal timetables would be difficult to communicate to students and the University community, and confusion about these deadlines might have substantial academic or financial consequences for students.