View in portable document format.
D 11445-11449


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC CALENDAR COMMITTEE TO EXTEND THE THANKSGIVING BREAK

On behalf of the University Academic Calendar Committee, Professor Hans Hofmann (committee chair, integrative biology) submitted the following report that considers extending the Thanksgiving Break to include the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and presents four options for implementing this extension while maintaining seventy days of instruction in the fall semester.

The Faculty Council will discuss the report at its meeting on March 17, 2014.
Dean Neikirk's signature
Dean Neikirk, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council



REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC CALENDAR COMMITTEE TO EXTEND THE THANKSGIVING BREAK

In November 2013, the Senate of College Councils endorsed a resolution in support of an extended Thanksgiving break that would allow a travel day for students and would also provide additional study time close to the final exam period. The resolution points out that many of our peer institutions offer the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving as an official holiday. The students requested that the University Academic Calendar Committee consider their resolution (see Appendix A).

The University Academic Calendar Committee considered the Senate of College Councils resolution and agreed with the students that, unlike the proposed Fall Break (D 10139-10147) considered by the Faculty Council and General Faculty last year, cancelling classes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving would have little impact on instruction given that the majority of laboratories are not taught during that week. Additionally, many faculty members already do not require attendance or cancel Wednesday class before Thanksgiving to allow students to travel.

The committee has met five times since September to consider how the academic calendar and the Principles for the Development of the Academic Calendar (Appendix B) might be amended to allow for an extended Thanksgiving break and maintain seventy days of instruction in the fall semester.

Four options are being presented to the Faculty Council for discussion:
  1. To maintain a minimum of forty-two MWF classes as stipulated in the Principles for Development of the Academic Calendar, we begin the fall semester the fourth Wednesday of August (as we do currently) and extend classes in the fall semester through the first dead day.
  2. To maintain a minimum of forty-two MWF classes as stipulated in the Principles for Development of the Academic Calendar, we begin the fall semester the fourth Monday of August.
  3. We begin the fall semester the fourth Tuesday of August and change the Principles for Development of the Academic Calendar from forty-two MWF classes to forty-one MWF classes.
  4. To maintain a minimum of forty-two MWF classes as stipulated in the Principles for Development of the Academic Calendar, we begin the fall semester the fourth Tuesday of August and treat that Tuesday as a Wednesday.1
Posted on the Faculty Council website (http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on March 14, 2014.


1The Office of the Registrar has stated that it does not have an effective way to schedule classrooms whereby a Tuesday is being treated like a Wednesday.



Appendix A

The Senate of College Councils
November 21, 2013
S.R. 1306

IN SUPPORT OF AN EXTENDED THANKSGIVING BREAK

WHEREAS,   In Spring 2013, the Academic Calendar Committee of Faculty Council presented a proposal regarding a two day break to occur during the fall semester; and,

WHEREAS,   The proposal did not pass a vote of the General Faculty; and,

WHEREAS, The Academic Calendar Committee has expressed interest in either tabling changes to the calendar indefinitely or disbanding the committee entirely if no action is brought forth this year; and,

WHEREAS, The current academic calendar only provides a two day break for the Thanksgiving Holiday; and,

WHEREAS, An alternative idea which emerged during discussion and deliberation was considering altering the week of Thanksgiving break; and,

WHEREAS, Many institutions including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,1 University of Michigan,2 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne,3 University of Indiana,4 Ohio State University,5 University of Kansas,6 Kansas State University,7 Iowa State University,8 University of Oklahoma,9 Oklahoma State University,10 Baylor University,11 Brown, University,12 Harvard University,13 Yale University,14 Princeton University,15 and Georgetown University,16 offer at least the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving as an official holiday; and,

WHEREAS, The concerns raised by faculty during the Fall Break deliberations are not an issue here as the week of Thanksgiving has never been a full instructional week; and,

WHEREAS, Mr. Shelby Stanfield, Vice Provost and Registrar, reported that making the Wednesday  prior to Thanksgiving an official holiday would not present major issues in the arrangement of the academic calendar provided we maintain 70 instructional days; and,

WHEREAS, Since the Fall semester always begins on a Wednesday, the schedule can be easily altered because of the two available days in August; and,

WHEREAS,  Students stand to benefit from the change by having reduced uncertainty in visits to their homes for Thanksgiving and by providing additional study time close to the scheduling final exam period; therefore, be it,                        

RESOLVED,  The Senate of College Councils supports declaring the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving as an official holiday; and, be it further,

RESOLVED,  The Senate of College Councils calls upon the Academic Calendar Committee of Faculty Council to consider and bring forth this proposal to the full Faculty Council; and, be it further,                        

RESOLVED,   That this resolution be sent to Dr. Hillary Hart, Chair of Faculty Council; Dr. Charles Roeckle, Deputy to the President; Mr. Shelby Stanfield, Vice Provost and Registrar, and all members of the Academic Calendar Committee

AUTHORS:  Andrew Clark (President, Senate of College Councils)
Alice Liu (Recruitment and Retention Co-Chair, Senate of College Councils)
Sam Karnes (Recruitment and Retention At-Large Representative, Senate of CollegeCouncils)
SPONSOR(S): Robert Belanger (Policy Director, Senate of College Councils)

   
                                                                  

16http://registrar.georgetown.edu/calendars/



Appendix B

 Principles for the Development of the Academic Calendar

These principles were originally promulgated in April 1975, and amended by the University Council in April 1979; March 1983; and February 1984; and by administrative action in June 1990. They were amended by the University Council in April 1992, and again by the Faculty Council in April 2007.
  1. Coordinating Board guidelines shall be followed in establishing the beginning dates, length of session, and ending dates of all sessions.
  2. The committee considers a seventy-five day semester (comprising forty-five Monday, Wednesday, and Friday meeting days and thirty Tuesday and Thursday meeting days) to be ideal in length. Realizing the impossibility of achieving this in the fall semester, the committee holds that there shall be a minimum of seventy class days in a semester (forty-two Monday, Wednesday, and Friday meeting days and twenty-eight Tuesday and Thursday meeting days).
  3. In the fall, Labor Day will be observed and the three-day Thanksgiving holiday (Thursday through Saturday) will be observed.
  4. In the spring, Martin Luther King Day will be observed.
  5. In the spring, the University will recess for one week’s vacation beginning the Monday after the eighth week of classes.
  6. In the summer, Independence Day (July 4) shall be observed if it falls on a weekday.
  7. Long-session semesters should begin on Monday whenever possible. Long-session graduation days should occur on Saturday, except when the fall graduation day would otherwise be on December 25, then Friday, December 24, will be designated graduation day.
  8. The following pattern for setting final examination periods in the long session should be observed:
    Friday — Last class day
    Saturday
    Sunday — No-class day
    Monday — No-class day
    Tuesday — No-class day
    Wednesday — Exam day #1
    Thursday — Exam day #2
    Friday — Exam day #3
    Saturday — Exam day #4
    Sunday — No-class day
    Monday — Exam day #5
    Tuesday — Exam day #6
    Wednesday
    Thursday
    Friday
    Saturday — Graduation day
  9. There shall be at least one full week between Commencement in the spring and the beginning of the summer session and at least one full week between graduation day in the summer and the beginning of the fall semester.
  10. The summer session shall be of eleven weeks duration, comprising two five and one-half week terms (including registration, class days, and examination days). A schedule will also be provided for nine-week and whole-session courses. There will be a minimum of twenty-five class days in the first term and twenty-five class days in the second term. Second-term registration will run concurrent with the first-term final examinations.
  11. Two-day periods for examinations shall be provided for all summer terms and sessions.
  12. The calendar of the School of Law is established by the School of Law. It must conform to Coordinating Board principles and to the rules of the American Bar Association. In setting its calendar, the School of Law shall also follow the pattern established by the preceding principles as closely as possible.
  13. The calendar for the MBA program in the McCombs School of Business is established by the McCombs School of Business. It must conform to Coordinating Board principles. In setting its calendar, the McCombs School of Business shall also follow the pattern established by the preceding principles as closely as possible.1
17Revision approved by the Faculty Council on January 25, 2010, and approved by the president on March 18, 2010 (D 7791-7806).