FALL BREAK PROTESTS
BREAKDOWN BY DEPARTMENT, COLLEGE, AND SCHOOL

(Return to Notice.)

Protests received by department:
Accounting (1)
Aerospace Engineering (1)
American Studies (1)
Architecture (1)
Asian Studies (1)
Astronomy (1)
Biological Sciences (1)
Chemical Engineering (3)
Chemistry & Biochemistry (8)
Computer Science (1)
Electrical & Computer Engineering (11)
Finance (1)
Geography (1)
Geological Sciences (2)

Germanic Studies (1)
Integrative Biology (1)
Law (7)
Linguistics (2)
Marketing (1)
Mathematics (1)
Mechanical Engineering (1)
Molecular Genetics & Microbiology (1)
Music (1)
Neurobiology (2)
Pharmacy (1)
Physics (4)
Psychology (1)
Rhetoric & Writing (1)
Sociology (2)

Protests received by college/school:
Architecture (1)
Business (3)
Engineering (16)
Fine Arts (1)
Jackson School of Geosciences (2)
Law (7)
Liberal Arts (10)
Natural Sciences (20)
Pharmacy (1) 

Protest remarks:
I wish to put in a protest on the proposed fall break motion on the basis of several points.
 
1.    The earlier start to the semester will mean less time available for new student orientations (for both undergraduate and graduate students).  This will have a negative effect in integrating these students in the university and may impact 4 year graduation rates.
2.    Academically, I don't think that an extra 2 day break in the middle of the semester is productive for class continuity etc.
3.    On a work-life balance side of things, perhaps it is better to not have the first day of classes coincide with the first day of AISD school start. This would be the case if the change goes into effect.  This first day of school (and usual daycare cycles) is quite stressful for kids and parents.  Having to additionally run to campus to get to the first day of class would add undue stress to this time.
Thanks,
 
Hal
_________________________________________________________
Hal Alper
Assistant Professor
Chevron Centennial Teaching Fellow in Chemical Engineering
McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
200 E. Dean Keeton Street, Stop C0400
Austin, TX  78712-1589
CPE 5.408 / phone: (512) 471-4417 / fax: (512) 471-7060
E-mail: halper@che.utexas.edu
 


To Whom It May Concern:
 
I am opposed to the Fall Break Proposal. The fall semester is already shorter than the spring semester. In addition, many students already take off the day (or week) before Thanks Giving. Introducing another break into the semester would be additionally disruptive. I am also persuaded by the concerns of the natural sciences faculty. They would lose a week of lab work during the fall semester. This could not be made up by the extra days at the beginning of the semester because students are dropping and adding then, making productive lab work difficult.
 
Angela Littwin
Assistant Professor
University of Texas School of Law
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 232-5561
 


Starting on the fourth Monday in August, coupled with not having class on the Monday and Tuesday of the ninth week of class creates three problems that I can see:
 
1. It requires new students to arrive the week before for orientation, cutting their summers short.
2. It makes the summer shorter for continuing students doing internships.
3. It would make the number of recitation/labs sections irregular, since we schedule recitation/labs throughout the week.
 
Ari Arapostathis, Professor
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station C0803
Austin, TX  78712, USA
Tel:  (512) 471-3265, Cell: (512) 590-4224
 


Dear Faculty Council,
  I would like to register my protest against the proposed Fall break.
It will presumably result in either a later end to the Fall semester,
or an earlier beginning to the Fall semester.  The Winter break is
already very short because of the trend towards starting Spring
the week before MLK day.  I have no interest in returning to school
mid-August.  In short, I do not want the Fall Break. 
  Best Regards,
  Ross Baldick
 


I would like to file a protest over the proposed Fall break — if it’s possible for this to be filed anonymously, that would be great!  At any rate, my reasoning:
  1. It will reduce the number of full weeks of instruction, which is a significant issue for laboratory courses (particularly multi-section lower division courses) as they are already compressed to fit into the short Fall semester.  When coupled with UT’s commitment to preparing undergraduates for life in four years, I believe the proposed action will put undue additional burden on students in engineering and the physical sciences.
  2. I am particularly dubious that the students will actually experience a restful break from schoolwork, judging by how much students work to catch up over the Thanksgiving break.  I would love to have the additional couple of days off mid-semester, but I do not believe that the students will actually reap this benefit.
  3. The Fall break will come at the expense of a shorter summer break, which will affect a great many things.  For example, it will reduce the amount of time that continuing students can work over the summer.  This is particularly problematic for students taking internships, which can offset a great deal of the cost of their education.  Two fewer work days would translate to $300-500 dollars in lost salary from a good internship, which is a significant burden for many students. 

I believe that this is one of those ideas that seems like a no-brainer on the surface, but makes less and less sense the more you think through the nuances and practical ramifications.
 
Many thanks,
Seth
 
Seth R. Bank
Associate Professor
Temple Foundation Faculty Fellowship No. 5
Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
phone: (512) 471-9669
email: sbank@ece.utexas.edu
web: http://lase.ece.utexas.edu/
 
Mailing address:
10100 Burnet Road, Building #160
MER 2.606C
Austin, TX 78758
 



I object to this proposal.
Beverly Hadaway
 


Dear Office of the General Faculty,
 
The proposal to add a fall break is in the forwarded e-mail message below after my signature.
 
I formally protest the proposal to add a fall break to the academic calendar.  Adding a fall break will be disruptive to our courses in electrical and computer engineering, esp. those with recitation and/or laboratory sections.
 
You have my permission to add my name to the list of faculty protesting the proposed legislation.
 
Regards,
 
Brian
-----
Brian L. Evans, PhD
Engineering Foundation Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
 
Home page: http://www.ece.utexas.edu/~bevans
Wireless Networking and Communications Group: http://www.wncg.org
Center for Perceptual Systems: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/cps/
 


I write to protest the proposed fall break, at least in its current form.  A Monday Tuesday break would wreak havoc on chemistry labs, including the junior/senior physical chemistry lab I supervise.  We run 9 sections of the lab Monday-Thursday, including labs every evening.  This places a great demand on staff so Fridays, which are also unpopular with students, are devoted to setting up for the next week or to comp time for those working evening shifts. I also believe that having the break in week 9 is really too late to serve the intended purpose. I know you've had lots of input but I strongly oppose the current proposal and suggest that, if a break is needed at all, we move the start of school up to Monday as proposed and schedule a Thursday Friday break in mid-October, which is when many other flagship state universities schedule theirs.  If it were up to me, I would do without the fall break and still move the start of school up to Monday, to make the fall and spring semesters the same length.
 
Sincerely,
 
AC
 
Alan Campion
Dow Chemical Company Professor of Chemistry
University Distinguished Teaching Professor
 
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Texas at Austin
105 E. 24th STOP A5300
Austin, TX 78712-1224
 
WEL 3.114
512-471-3012 (phone)   512-471-8696 (FAX)
 


Dear Sir or Madam:
 
Please count me as an objector to the proposal, and schedule the proposal for a faculty vote.
My objection concerns the likely impact of the proposal on science classes where students do lab work.
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles Silver
McDonald Chair in Civil Procedure
University of Texas School of Law
727 E. Dean Keeton St.
Austin, TX  78705
512.232.1337 (voice)
512.471.3829 (fax)
csilver@law.utexas.edu
charlie@silverlegalconsulting.us
http://ssrn.com/author=164490
 


I teach a lower division larger enrollment lab course in geosciences and I believe this new schedule would effectively eliminate a 2 hr lab section for me. Typically not having a lab in the first week is not 
much of a loss but missing one in the most content rich period of the semester is ill advised. The first week of class you hardly know what your enrollment will be and the students are adjusting to the course, 
shopping courses and just getting oriented to you, the TAs and the material. I believe this move would influence the effectiveness of my own course and others like it.
 
Julia Clarke
Associate Professor
Department of Geological Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station C1100
Austin, TX 78712
 


It is really absurd to have additional break for students. I do not favor the start of the school on Monday. Time is too short between the summer teaching and the start of the fall.
 
The students need to focus on their schoolwork. No break for them after they go to a football event like Oklahoma vs Texas. Additional day off on Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving is more common sense to me rather than the start of the school year.
 
Perry
 


Protest for the proposed fall break
 
Chikako Hirayama Cooke
(Japanese Language Lecturer
Asian Studies)
 
Reason:
For the language class (first 2years we have everyday classes), this new proposal is not ideal to have.  Having a break middle of the semester will not help students.
As a language teacher, I would rather have the schedule we have right now.
 
Sincerely,
Chikako Cooke
 


Name:
 
Daniel Jaffe
 
I object to the legislation proposing a fall break.
 
Reasons:
 
1) The Monday class start puts too much burden on our now much
smaller staff to get things ready for the beginning of the semester.
 
2) The interruption of the school year has as many negative effects
on teaching as positive ones.
 


To whom it may concern,
 
I opposed the acceptance of the proposal put forward by the Academic Calendar Committee. The proposal for a drastic change to the calendar that will affect  50,000 students and 2500 faculty is purportedly to help students, particularly, freshmen recover from midterms.  THis rationale is weak, to say the least, as no evidence that students actually take exams during the 8th week of the semester is provided. Appendix B does not provide any information about the percentage of courses with midterms scheduled during the 8th week of classes. A quick glance at some of the syllabi of undergraduate courses provided online show:
 
(1) 2012 Fall Freshmen seminars did not schedule midterms on the 8th week of classes. Many do not even have midterms.
(2) There's great variability in the date in which midterms are scheduled. Of the 12 English and History syllabi I reviewed, only 1 had an exam during the 8th week of classes of the 2012 Fall semester.
(3) The midterm carries less or equal weight than do other assignments for the calculation of grade. In fact, many courses do not have a single midterm, but two exams in addition to the final. Is the plan to schedule a break after each exam or major assignment?
 
Starting classes earlier in the academic year has profound consequences for the orientation of new students and faculty.  Would the September 1 - May 31 contract for faculty be changed to accommodate the start of duties in mid August? Such duties involve the academic advising of new students, the grading of placement and diagnostic exams, music auditions, division and departmental meetings, etc.
 
It is upsetting that the Academic Calendar Committee would propose such a consequential change for the entire university on the basis of such a trivial and seemingly inexistent problem  (that students need to rest after taking exams during the 8th week of classes). Let's recommend that students use the weekend to recover from the academic hardships of completing a rigorous program of study instead.
 
Sincerely,
 
Eugenia Costa-Giomi, Ph.D.
Professor, Music & Human Learning
Affiliated Faculty, Developmental Psychology
 
Butler School of Music
University of Texas-Austin
2406 Robert Dedman Dr. Stop E3100
Austin, TX 78712-1555
 


I am against the proposal because we have many upper division labs that meet only once/week.  Those that meet on monday or tuesday will miss an entire week and not benefit from the whole week at the beginning of the semester.  We already have one 1/2 week for thanksgiving, which causes problems, we don't need another one.
 
Dan
 
Daniel Johnston, Ph.D.
Chair of Neurobiology and
Director, Center for Learning and Memory and
Institute for Neuroscience
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station, C7000
Austin, TX 78712-0805
djohnston@mail.clm.utexas.edu
512-232-6564 (Phone);  512-475-8000 (Fax)
 


I am opposed to the fall break, because there will now be two fall breaks.
 
Prof. David G. Hull
Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
210 E. 24th St. Stop  C0600
Austin, TX 78712-1221
Tel:  (512)471-4908
Fax: (512)471-3788
 


I would like to protest the proposed fall break.
 
Starting on the fourth Monday in August, coupled with not having class on the Monday and Tuesday of the ninth week of class creates three problems that I can see.
 
1. It requires new students to arrive the week before for orientation, cutting their summers short.
2. It makes the summer shorter for continuing students doing internships.
3. It would make the number of recitation/labs sections irregular, since we schedule recitation/labs throughout the week.
 
Thanks.
 
Derek Chiou
 


I wish to protest the fall break proposal on the grounds that it is disruptive to laboratory classes in Natural Sciences and Engineering and does not address the fact that many students skip class the day before Thanksgiving.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
Michael Domjan, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
The University of Texas at Austin
108 E. Dean Keaton Stop A8000
Austin, Texas 78712-1043
 
512-471-7702
 


I see no need for this, especially because of Thanksgiving.
 
If it were up to me, I would eliminate Spring Break.
 
William Doolittle
 


Colleagues,
 
I write to protest the proposal for a new Fall Break.  Here is why:

  1. If a two-day break is deemed wise in the Fall, put it during Thanksgiving week.
  2. It has long been argued this will damage lab offerings In CNS.  I agree.
  3. I do not want to move semester up any further in August.

I have other reasons for protesting this proposal, but that should be sufficient for now.
 
Sheldon Ekland-Olson
 



Dear colleagues,
I should like to register a protest vote for this proposed legislation. The way it is suggested for implementation will be highly disruptive to the educational mission of the university and will impact departments, such as mine, that rely on tightly coordinated laboratory courses. We would be fall better off having the whole Thanksgiving week off.
Thanks for the consideration,
Jonathan
 
Jonathan Sessler
Pettit Centennial Chair in Chemistry
University of Texas at Austin
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Welch Hall 2.204
105 E. 24TH ST.  STOP A5300
Austin, Texas   78712-1224
Sessler@cm.utexas.edu
phone 512 471-5009 (office); 512 203-2121 (cell)
FAX 512 471-7550
 


I am writing to protest against the proposed fall break.  My reasons for doing so are as follows:
 
1) The fall semester is already very short (70 days rather than 74 days like Spring).  Students regularly take off the day before Thanksgiving even though that is not a UT holiday, making the fall term effectively 69 days.
 
2) Our  colleagues in the Natural Sciences are strongly opposed to such a break.  It will come in mid-Oct., and will mean that they lose a whole week of lab work.
 
Best Regards,
 
James C. Spindler
Sylvan Lang Professor of Law, University of Texas School of Law
Professor, McCombs School of Business
http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/js59483/
 


To whom it concerns:
 
This letter is to protest the proposed Fall Break on the Monday and Tuesday of the 9th week of Fall classes. The assumption of this proposal appears to be that a missed Monday and Tuesday would not cause scheduling difficulties for any classes. However, many lab courses in the Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry meet on a single day of the week and may need significant juggling to accommodate the proposed change.
 
The Rationale for the proposed change appears to me to be weak. If the proposal were to be approved, UT Austin would not be the first university to institute such a plan. Is there any evidence that a Fall Break has improved overall student performance or decreased Freshman drop-out/fail-out rates at participating universities (I believe, Michigan, South Carolina, Utah, others)? If so, why wasn't this information provided in the Rationale? If not, why is it expected that UT Austin would be different from other large, state universities?
 
Sincerely,
Jason B. Shear
Professor
Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 232-1454
 


Protest of fall break:
 
Any time a week is chopped up or shortened, it causes a kink in the lab-oriented courses which are prevalent in the sciences.  For this reason alone (discontinuity in lab courses), I would vote against a fall break.
 
Sincerely,
Jenny Brodbelt
 
Jennifer S. Brodbelt
William H. Wade Endowed Professor of Chemistry and Graduate Adviser
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
1 University Station A5300
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  78712-0165
 
jbrodbelt@cm.utexas.edu
Phone:  (512)-471-0028
FAX:  (512)-471-8696
Web site: http://www.cm.utexas.edu/jennifer_brodbelt
 


This proposal is unnecessary, unjustified, and would be academically disruptive.  It is inconsistent with a reasonable schedule for laboratory courses.  Laboratory schedules are already problematic in the fall semester because Labor Day interrupts one week and Thanksgiving another in a semester that is even shorter than the spring semester.
Kenneth Gentle
Professor of Physics
 


To the Office of the General Faculty:
 
I am opposed to the fall break proposal and hereby submit a protest.  The break proposed for the ninth week of the fall semester would be a disruption to my classes.  From long experience with the Thanksgiving break I know that too many students, when given a two day break, regularly turn it into more than two days.  Since that is already occurring at Thanksgiving, I think it is pedagogically unwise to introduce a second such disruption into the fall semester.
 
 John Deigh
Professor of Law and Philosophy
School of Law
University of Texas at Austin
727 East Dean Keeton St.
Austin, TX 78705
 
Phone:  (512) 232-2298
Fax:  (512) 471-6988
 


I protest on having a fall break, because it forces earlier start in August.
 
The earlier start in August is problematic because
(i) faculty and TAs are not paid for teaching in August.  This means 2 more days of unpaid teaching.
(ii) Some of the TAs go for summer jobs. This means, coming back 2 days earlier.
(iii) Faculty paid on research grants in August have higher problem - 2 more days.
(iv) Lab classes are disrupted when we have partial weeks. If a whole week is break, that  is good - but just having 2 days will disrupt lab classes even more. Already we have to handle Thanksgiving break.
 
Name of protester: Lizy John, ECE
 


Creating a Fall Break is an absolutely ridiculous proposal.  We should
be increasing academic standards and expectations of our students, not
lowering them. A two day break soon becomes a weeklong break in the
eyes of two many students. And there is no advantage offered.
 
I vote a strong NO, as a protest vote.
Kenneth A. Johnson
 


My protest is based on the lack of any rationale given for this change and my inability to find any information on the website noted in the faculty communication about where to find more information.  I don’t know why there is not more readily available explanation of the proposed change.   Linda Gerber
 


 
I write to lodge a protest at the approval of the fall break proposal. I believe a fall break is unnecessary and would disrupt instruction.
 
Patrick Woolley
Beck Redden & Secrest Professor in Law
 


I'm filing a protest on the proposal passed by Faculty Council to add a two-day fall break by starting the fall semester two days earlier (i.e. on a Monday instead of a Wednesday).
 
Starting on the fourth Monday in August, coupled with not having class on the Monday and Tuesday of the ninth week of class would create many problems including:
 
1. It requires new students to arrive the week before for orientation, cutting their summers short.
2. It makes the summer shorter for continuing students doing internships.
3. It would make the number of recitation/labs sections irregular, since we schedule recitation/labs throughout the week.
 
Another problem is TA's are not employed in August. So they are not insured in August.
What if they get hurt in the lab?
 
We should actually start school the day after Labor Day.
 
Jack
Jack C. Lee
leejc@austin.utexas.edu
Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Professor in Engineering
Microelectronics Research Center Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
MER 1.606D (Building #160, Mail Code: R9950)
10100 Burnet Road
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin TX 78758-4445
Admin: Jeannie Toll (512) 471-4493
(512) 471-8423
 


The proposed fall break would be extremely disruptive to courses in the sciences that include labs.  For most labs, no class on Monday and/or Tuesday will require canceling an entire week of labs.  In addition, many of us give several exams over the course of the semester, not just a single mid-term.  The ninth week of the semester may be a week in which the second exam of the semester would normally fall, meaning that students would return from this little break to face an exam. 
 
A more general objection is that students already skip class for OU weekend and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Given a four day weekend, it's a safe bet that many students will want to stretch this and skip Friday classes.
 
It would make much more sense to add the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Many students need this day to travel to their homes to spend the holiday with their families.  In addition, it would not affect most labs, since they are not held during this week anyway.   Alternatively, schedule OU weekend and the break to coincide with each other.  This would minimize the educational disruption.
 
Lynne McAnelly
 
Section of Neurobiology
School of Biological Sciences
University of Texas
Austin TX  78712
 


Members of the Faculty Council:
 
I would like to protest the proposed fall break plan, as it places a serious burden on my class, and I suspect a range of other classes with similar characteristics.
 
I and a colleague teach GEO 303 in the fall semester.  It is a large-enrollment class (2 sections, ~400 students), with a required lab, and is a required course for many Engineering majors. Our labs consist of a once-a-week 2-hour period, and run all day, every day, throughout the week.  For this reason, we need to have a balanced number of each weekday for the semester.  Our usual Fall schedule is to not teach labs the first three days of classes (Wed-Fri), and then start labs the next Monday or Tuesday, depending on when Labor day is.  After Labor Day, our labs are on a Tuesday-Monday schedule, until Thanksgiving, after which it reverts to Monday-Friday.
 
The proposal essentially moves a Monday and Tuesday from the middle of the semester to the beginning.  Thus, if we are to keep the same number of Mondays as every other day, we would need to start teaching lab from the first day of the semester.  This presents a number of difficulties, including:
-          Graduate student TA’s would need to be assigned sections well before the beginning of classes, certainly in some cases before their own class schedules are finalized.
-          Organization and training of TA’s would also have to happen before the semester begins.
-          It prevents us from “introducing” the labs in the first lecture as we usually do, when we lay out the entire course for our new students; many labs would meet before the first lecture.
 
I also note that, with the current schedule, we can and do fit in one more week of labs in the Spring semester as compared to the Fall.  Sacrificing a second week of Fall labs is thus also a poor option.
 
I see from the fall break proposal that similar concerns are shared by colleagues in the College of Natural Sciences and College of Engineering.  I’m not aware of the process by which the Jackson School of Geoscience was queried on this matter; I was not asked, and I did voice concerns about it at a Student Deans Committee meeting last spring, while I was serving as our Undergraduate Faculty Adviser.
 
I hope that in coming to this decision the faculty council is careful not to embody a “tyranny of the majority”, in which a large number of faculty who would feel no cost from this proposal inflict substantial, concrete cost on others, for what appears to be a hazy benefit.
 
Sincerely,
Richard Ketcham
 
Richard Ketcham
Associate Professor, Jackson School of Geosciences
Director, High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility
University of Texas at Austin
2275 Speedway Stop C9000
Austin, TX 78712-1722
(O): 512-471-6942
http://www.ctlab.geo.utexas.edu/
 


Ladies and Gentlemen:
 
I – Vadim Kaplunovsky, professor of Physics – object to the proposal D 10139-10147 concerning the Fall break.  My objection is not to the break as such but to an earlier start of the Fall semester.   As it is now, the Fall semester starts way too early, we should not make it even worse.
 
Best regards,
Vadim Kaplunovsky.


I wish to register my protest with the fall break proposal. I believe that while there are certainly good intentions behind the change, it presents too many new problems. One I find particularly troublesome is the short amount of time that the new calendar would have between the end of the second summer session and the start of the fall term. I believe this would present new stresses on students, faculty, and staff. I think that the current proposal is a well-intentioned bandaid and, not withstanding the hard work already put in by the calendar committee,  a more radical calendar consideration should be contemplated.
 
Leslie Vaaler
Senior Lecturer, Mathematics
 


I am writing to vote against the proposed Fall Break.
 
I see no good reason for this break.   Having two days off is likely to distract students.  Adding the break is inconvenient to many faculty members.  It interferes with lab sessions in the sciences, and for many of us, will overlap with a national conference that takes place on the Thursday and Friday after the break.  And the break, which lengthens the semester, will cost money.
 
Best,
 
Lynn R. Wilkinson
Associate Professor of Germanic Studies, Comparative Literature, and Women’s and Gender    Studies and Graduate Advisor, Program in Comparative Literature
Dept. of Germanic Studies
University of Texas
1 University Station C3300
Austin  TX  78712
USA
 


I protest against the idea of a fall break other than Thanksgiving, and/or starting the semester earlier or ending it later.  As a teacher, semesters have a certain momentum to them, and the Thanksgiving break does more than enough harm to it.  Another break in addition would make it harder to schedule course phases, papers, and exams at "natural" content-related points in the semester, not to mention students taking the day before and they day after break days for travel.  Students are perfectly capable of taking breaks when they need them (for visiting family, funerals, weddings, sick days, and many other special occasions <for them>).
 
thank you for your consideration.
 
Michael Benedikt
 
_____________________________
Michael Benedikt
Hal Box Chair in Urbanism
ACSA Distinguished Professor
Director, Center for American Architecture and Design
School of Architecture
The University of Texas at Austin, Texas 78712
512-471-9890
 
http://soa.utexas.edu/caad
http://www.mbenedikt.com
 


I would like to formally protest the Fall Break legislation that was approved by the Faculty Council on January 28, 2013.
 
Reasons:
1) Insufficient weight has been given to the problems of laboratory course losing one week of labs and  the problems of TA staffing for such laboratories at such an early date in August (especially in light of the fact that appointments for TA positions do not actually begin until September).
2) It is not clear that the proposed fall break, consisting of only an extended weekend, will have any academic value.
 
Dean Neikirk
Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
neikirk@mail.utexas.edu
voice: 512-471-8549
 


I write to protest this legislation.  I am of the opinion that the Thanksgiving holiday is sufficient fall break, and that an additional holiday from classes would break up the semester too much.
 
Sincerely,
 -Mary Rose
 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mary R. Rose, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Texas at Austin
512-232-6336 (ph)  
mrose@austin.utexas.edu
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 


 
I would like to lodge a protest against the proposed legislation because of the disruption it would cause to laboratory courses with many
sections (which are extremely common in the College of Natural Sciences). Due to limited laboratory space such courses need to meet
every day of the week. The proposed legislation  would effectively eliminate a week from the fall term for such courses. We already lose two
weeks because of Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
 
Richard Fitzpatrick,
Institute for Fusion Studies,
Professor of Physics,
University of Texas at Austin,
Austin TX 78712.
 


Dear Faculty Council,
 
I wish to protest the "Fall Break Proposal from the University Academic Calendar
Committee".
 
I believe the fall break will not be used by students for its intended purpose,
namely catching up on homework, projects, etc.
 
I believe most students will take the opportunity to leave campus or if they do
stay on campus, choose to relax instead of working. Likewise, just like
Thanksgiving and spring break, many students and faculty will leave a day or two
early causing more lost time and inefficiencies.
 
Pushing the start of school further back in to August reduces the time for
internships and summer jobs.
 
College is hard work. Let's not lower the expectations we have of our students.
Let's not waste time.
 
Personal Info:
 
Name: Michael D. Scott
Department: Computer Science
Title: Senior Lecturer
uteid: scottmd3
 
Very Respectfully,
 
Mike
 
--
Mike Scott
Lecturer
Computer Science Department
University of Texas at Austin
(512) 471 – 9785
 


Billy H. Wood – protester
Mechanical Engineering Dept
 
I teach classes on a Monday (lecture)/Wednesday (lab) schedule and a Tuesday (lecture) /Thursday (lab) schedule.  Classes start on a Tuesday so there is no Monday in the first week and the next Monday is a holiday so the extra  Monday holiday would cost me another lecture.  That is three in one semester.  It also would affect my ability to perform labs  as they follow the lecture.
 
Why not take the whole week off at Thanksgiving if a fall break is needed.
 
Billy Wood
 


To Whom It May Concern:
 
I hereby “protest” the proposal to add a fall break to the university academic calendar.
Please register my opposition.
 
Thank you.
 
Mitch Berman
 
Mitchell Berman
Richard Dale Endowed Chair in Law
Professor of Philosophy
The University of Texas at Austin
727 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, TX 78705
512/232-3525 (voice); 512/471-6988 (fax)
Homepage: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/mberman/
SSRN author page: http://ssrn.com/author=136813.
 


Dear Committee members,
 
I would like to protest the proposal of “fall break” dates.  I think in the neighborhood of Thanksgiving will make much more sense.  And as is, it is not convenient for several reasons:
 
 
1. It requires new students to arrive the week before for orientation, cutting their summers short.
2. It makes the summer shorter for continuing students doing internships.
3. It would make the number of recitation/labs sections irregular, since we schedule recitation/labs throughout the week."
4. It is too short for students to have a home visit
 
Thanks for your consideration.
 
Ray T. Chen
 
Cullen Trust Endowed Professor
Director of MURI Center for Silicon Nanomembrane
http://muri.engr.utexas.edu/
http://www.mrc.utexas.edu/index.php/peoplemain/106
Phone: (512)471-7035
Fax: (512)471-8575
chen@ece.utexas.edu
Nanophotonics and Optical Interconnects Research Lab
Microelectronics Research Center
The University of Texas, Austin
10100 Burnet Rd., Building 160
Austin, TX 78758
 


I Protest the proposal for a Fall Break because it will disrupt once a week lab courses.
 
Richard Aldrich Ph.D.
Karl Folkers Chair in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research II
Professor  of Neurobiology
Center for Learning and Memory
1 University Station C7000
The University of Texas At Austin
Austin TX 78712
 
512 232 6246
raldrich@mail.utexas.edu
http://www.utexas.edu/neuroscience/Neurobiology/RichardAldrich
 


To the UT Faculty Council:
 
I wish to record my opposition to the proposed change in the Fall academic calendar to enable an October "fall break".
 
My reasons are:
 
1) this change will remove one full week from the schedule of the undergraduate physics lab I oversee (PHY 117N), which will drop it two weeks behind the equivalent lab schedule for Spring semesters, thus cutting into essential material needed in the course--a companion lab course to the bio/premed calculus-based general physics course, PHY 317L.  This will adversely impact some of the very best students at UT.
 
2) The even earlier start date for the fall semester cannot compensate for this loss of a lab week and, I believe, is counter-productive because of the simple fact that the start of any fall semester is generally inefficient in use of class time and is handled as well as can be expected now with the Wednesday start.
 
This proposed change in schedule will materially affect the quality of our undergraduate education offerings.
 
Sincerely,
 
Roy F. Schwitters
S.W. Richardson Professor of Physics
RLM 9.320
(512) 471-9962
 


I am replying to protest the fall break proposal. A mid-October two-day break, when combined with a late November two-day Thanksgiving break, would be excessively disruptive to the flow of the semester. I could be persuaded to consider a full-week Thanksgiving break, as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become a "de facto" break anyway in many classes. Short of the full week for Thanksgiving, officially adding the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to that break would be helpful. But barring that, I prefer no change to the proposed two-day October break.
 
Please register my protest in the record.
 
Steven Kachelmeier
Professor and Randal B. McDonald Chair in Accounting
Department of Accounting
McCombs School of Business
 


Dear Council Members,
 
I wish to strongly object to this change in the schedule. I personally see during the week of Thanksgiving, students automatically assume that we will give them Wednesday off and now are frequently leaving on Monday and Tuesday (some use the argument that they are beating the travel rush). God forbid we assign anything due on the Wednesday of that week as it usually results in negative student reviews. I have noticed this beginning the week before.. students stop putting effort into their classes and just 'blow off' studying or participating in class; attendance already begins to diminish. Adding what amounts to a second "Thanksgiving" to this semester will result in two completely disrupted weeks rather than one and forces exams to be scheduled and compressed into smaller windows of complete weeks. (The department tries to stagger the dates of exams for the large sections). This causes more strain trying to find sufficient rooms to hold exams and reviews for the large classes I typically teach (300, 400 students). We will also see increased requests for exam date conflicts due to increased overlap of exams and labs (I know this is going to REALLY impact labs). As more students figure out there is a second long weekend, more will schedule flights out of town and concoct reasons for why they should be allowed to leave early, adding to the conflicts. With effectively less functional time in which the students are not in "holiday" mode, we are looking at a greater challenge to fit in all the material expected of the course. Ive lectured on a Wednesday afternoon to a class of 11 attending out of ~400. It was a joke. I ended up pretty much redoing it the following week based on the questions I got via email and office hours.
 
I am not averse to a break in the semester (I came from a three 10 week term system in the UK with a month between each term and a long summer break) but if any extra holidays were to be added to the schedule, I would rather they were dumped into a week that is already essentially trashed, i.e., Thanksgiving. It would then cause about the same disruption as Spring Break.
 
I also would object to the earlier start to the semester. Having taught summer sessions several times and sometimes both summer sections, this would leave an even smaller window of time between the end of the summer and start of the Fall semester. This time is useful for activities related to the start of the Fall, which is often a time when a major change might be initiated.
 
Finally, a less critical point but one that should be considered is that lecturers cannot take off time whenever we wish. Our schedule is not set up like a staff member where we can request vacation times. Unlike a tenured faculty member, I rely on teaching each semester in order to maintain an income. Because my spouse is a staff member we have to confine significant travel plans to times between semesters or I have to opt out of taking a position and thus lose an employment opportunity. I accepted this sacrifice when I decided to become a lecturer, but this proposed action further removes times when we could travel together.
 
In summary, this has too great an impact on our students' attitude and focus on their studies, removes time when a faculty member can prepare for the upcoming semester, causes no end of potential issues with exams, and has no obvious benefits. I sincerely hope this action will NOT be implemented.
 
Thankyou for your consideration of my comments.
 
Dr. Sara Sutcliffe
Lecturer, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Texas at Austin
 


Dear Sirs,
 
I do not agree with the proposal of having a fall break..  
 
Rationales are:
 
We already have a Thanksgiving break weekend….  Suggestion: We could add an extra day to this break such as: Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
2.  The break between second summer session and the first day of classes would be shortened if it is planned to be moved up two days earlier – from fourth Wednesday to fourth Monday of August.   Those who teach second session would definitely need a little more time to have some break from teaching as well as to prepare for the fall semester.
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Thank you.
 
Best regards,
Carol Seeger, Senior Lecturer/ American Sign Language Coordinator
 


To Whom It May Concern:
 
I see more difficulties than assets with this proposal.  I will make them succinctly.
 
1.)  We already start too early.  Even a two day increase is a step in the wrong direction toward a hotter summer.  I would prefer the schedule be moved in the opposite direction.
 
2.) BY taking off Monday and Tuesday, one is putting classes on Mondays at a serious disadvantage.  This is especially true for people whom are teaching 3 hour seminars.  They have already missed a week on Labor Day and this second Monday will result in classes that are two weeks behind other classes.  To my mind, this is clearly a deficiency to students as well as faculty.  If one feels it necessary to take off two days, I strongly believe it should be a Thursday and Friday.
 
 
Mark C. Smith
American Studies and History
 


To whom it may concern
 
    I support starting the semester on a Monday rather than a Wednesday, but I strongly oppose the proposed “break”.  This disruption will cause a VERY serious scheduling problem for the Chemical Engineering laboratory class that I teach.  I think that this sort of proposed change is not difficult to assimilate for a lecture class, but it is a disaster for the logistics of a large lab class with multiple sections.   Please reconsider this plan and take the time to understand how to implement the change in a way that does not create a disaster for the laboratory classes.
 
Sincerely,
 
Grant Willson
 
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
The Rashid Engineering Regent’s Chair
 


 
To Whom it May Concern:
 
I would like to voice my protest to the proposed 2-day fall break.  There are two main reasons I am opposed to this change in our fall calendar:
 
1. This causes a disruption for laboratory schedules, which can generally meet only during full class weeks.  While the proposal does add a full week of classes during the first week of the semester, this first week is not useful to the laboratories; hence the net change is a reduction in the number of full weeks available for laboratories by one.  Our goal is to provide our students with excellent, hands-on laboratory experiences that complement and reinforce core concepts and prepare students for their future careers.  The implementation of this new fall break will work against those goals.
 
2. In the listing of alternatives for the proposed fall break, it is stated, "...it seems unlikely that students, staff, and faculty with young school-age children will be willing to start the semester in advance of the AISD start."  As a faculty member with young children, I can say that starting the same day as AISD will also be problematic.  I use the Monday and Tuesday we currently have after the AISD start and before UT's first day to finalize class preparation, meet with my teaching assistants, and in general make sure that everything is ready to get my classes and students off to a great start.  The loss of those days for preparation, meetings, and orientations will cause significant challenges. 
 
Thank you for your consideration,
Stacy Sparks
Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
 


I am not in favor of having a Fall break because it disrupts the Fall semester unnecessarily.
I am opposed to the fall break because:
•It further disrupts the fall semester and serves no reasonable academic objective; students will take off more than the two days
•It negatively impacts laboratory classes
____
 
Stephen Martin
 
M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry
Editor for the Americas of Tetrahedron
 
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Texas at Austin
Welch Hall 2.204
105 E. 24th St.  Stop A5300
Austin, Texas   78712-1224
(512) 471-3915 (Voice)
(512) 471-4180 (FAX)
 
Martin Research Group Home Page: http://sfmartin.cm.utexas.edu/
 


Please register my protest to the fall break.  I am Susan R. Klein, a tenured professor at the law school.  My reason is that my colleagues in the Natural Science tell me having only 3 days in the 9th week of the semester would mean they cannot use that week for labs, and they need to retain the number of labs they currently have.  These same colleagues tell me that it will not help to have a full week the first week of class instead, as there are too many students engaging in add/drop to conduct a lab so soon.  I understand they manage this at Harvard, but no one explained how they manage to do that and so many other wonderful things, or why they believe we could replicate that in the face of my colleagues telling me that they cannot.  I also saw no supporting data for needing the fall break for mental health reasons.
 
I am also concerned that our students only have 70 days of instruction n the fall (74 in spring), and that they take off the day before Thanksgiving even though it is not an official UT holiday (leaving 69 days of instruction).  I would suggest adding the two days for the first week, no fall break, but giving one day before Thanksgiving.  This would leave 71 days of instruction, which is still very short.
 
Best, Susan.
 
Alice McKean Young Regents Chair in Law
University of Texas School of Law
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 232-1324
sklein@law.utexas.edu
 


Dear Office of the General Faculty,
 
I too protest the proposal for the reasons mentioned by my colleague. I fail to see any benefit from the break.
 
Feel free to also add my name to the list of professors protesting the proposed legislation.
 
regards
Ahmed
 _______________________________________________
Ahmed Tewfik
Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering
Chairman, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
ENS Room 236   
2501 Speedway, C0803                                     
Austin, Texas 78712-0240 USA
 


This proposal was presented to the Faculty Council with no research of any kind to support its benefit or need. That is because there is no research to support that it is either necessary or beneficial.
 
It is clear that this proposal would cause hardship to various sciences, and, indirectly, to other required courses (such as first year composition). I object to any proposal that would demonstrably cause hardship and not demonstrably have any benefit.
--
Trish Roberts-Miller    redball@mindspring.com
"I'll always be a man who's open to persuasion."
http://www.drw.utexas.edu/roberts-miller
 


To whom it may concern,
 
I am writing to protest the present proposal for a Fall Break.  This issue needs to be studied much more carefully. In particular, the ramifications for laboratory courses could be considerable.
 
I hope that we can agree to explore these further before moving forward.
 
Thank you,
 
 
Thomas M. Truskett
Department Chair, Paul D. & Betty Robertson Meek Centennial Professor, and
Bill L. Stanley Endowed Leadership Chair
McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering
Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
200 E Dean Keeton St. Stop C0400
Austin, Texas 78712-1589
CPE 2.802E / tel: (512) 471-6308 / fax: (512) 471-7060
truskett at austin dot utexas dot edu / www.che.utexas.edu/~truskett
 


I protest this ridiculous legislation.  The only logical time for a fall break is the mon-wed before thanksgiving. The existing proposal interfers with laboratory courses because all sections of labs should complete the same expts/exercises  in the same week.  The proposed fall break is without merit and should be changed or abandoned.
 
James r walker, prof
 
James R. Walker
University of Texas at Austin
Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
2506 Speedway Stop A5000
Austin, TX 78712-1191
Tel:   512-471-1692
Fax:  512-471-1218
 
Courier Service
University of Texas at Austin
Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
2506 Speedway Stop
NMS 3.316
Austin, TX 78712-1191
 

Dear Colleagues

I am writing to protest the legislation on the fall break proposal.

As lead instructor for BIO 206L Introductory Biology Laboratory course, I am concerned that the introduction of a fall break will significantly impact the learning experience of our students and create further imbalance in course content across semesters. While I can only speak for myself here, I know that my fellow IoRs, Dr. Marty Maas and Dr. Bill Allen (cc.ed) have similar concerns.

BIO 206L serves 1200-1400 students per year, both biology majors as well as many others on a pre-med/pre-allied health sciences track. A Monday lecture is coupled with a 4 hour lab, held in 27 sections that run concurrently on Tuesdays through Thursdays morning, afternoon, and evening. There used to be Fridau sections as well, though they were cut a few years back as part of the general instructional budget cutting frenzy. Any fall break that includes either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday will therefore mean one week less of instruction for BIO 206L. (Even though not ideal, a Friday through Monday fall break would be doable for this course, as "only" the lecture would be cut, similar to the current situation with Labor Day in the Fall and MLK Day in the Spring.) In effect, this would mean cutting one exercise or ca. 7% of the course content. Exercises cover the entire range of modern biology, so the lost content cannot simply be spread across other exercises.

Also, losing one week of instruction in large lab courses would further exacerbate the existing imbalance between fall and spring semesters, as the former is in effect already one week shorter due to Thanksgiving week when we cannot offer lab exercises. Thus, students enrolled in the fall version of the course might get two weeks (= 2 exercises) less instruction compared to those enrolled in the fall semester (or long summer session).

Why I certainly appreciate the students' desire to have an additional break on the long road to Thanksgiving. However, I sincerely doubt that it will have the desired effect. Students can and should be helped with time management and prioritization, simply giving them a couple of days off will not solve these issues.I also hear that some of our peer institutions have a fall break. Surly, the goal cannot be to find the lowest common denominator in quality and quantity of instruction!? Student who come to UT Austin should not be surprised by the fact that they have to work hard.

In conclusion, a fall break would do our students a disservice, further compromising an already compromised education given the severe cuts we implemented just a few short year ago. We are under siege by ideological zealots as is, we should not do their bidding nor should we offer them another opportunity to label us as lazy and inefficient on a silver platter.

Best regards,

Hans A. Hofmann, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Co-Director, Center for Brain, Behavior, and Evolution

The University of Texas at Austin
Section of Integrative Biology
Institute for Cellular & Molecular Biology
Institute for Neuroscience
1 University Station - C0930
Austin, TX 78712

Phone: 512-475-6754 (office), 5-7318 (lab), 5-7396 (fish facility)
Fax: 512-471-3878
Email: hans@utexas.edu
Skype: phenomics
URL: http://cichlid.biosci.utexas.edu/


I have concerns regarding the proposed legislation regarding a fall break. Providing students with a Monday and Tuesday break during the middle of the fall semester essentially eliminates one entire week of laboratories. This is of significance in laboratory courses, particularly in the sciences and in some of the professional schools such as pharmacy. I have concerns that this will either comprise student learning or actually increase the pressure placed on students who try to achieve the same laboratory course competencies in one less week.

Regards,

M. Lynn Crismon, Pharm.D.
Dean
James T. Doluisio Regents Chair and Behrens Centennial Professor
College of Pharmacy
2409 University Ave, Stop A1900
Austin, TX 78712-1113
Ph: 512-471-3718
FAX: 512-471-8783
Email: lynn.crismon@austin.utexas.edu