Schedule change brings more Wednesday, Friday classes

For 20 years the class schedule hasn't changed. This spring, there are more classes later in the week — and it all comes down to money.

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Patrick Martin | News Editor

Nathael Nkumbu, Contributing Writer

It’s been more than two decades since the course schedule has changed. This semester, about 14 days worth of classes have been packed into the Wednesday and Friday class rotation alone.

There were 22.5 hours of Wednesday and Friday classes in fall 2015. This semester, there are 351, making for an increase of almost 1460 percent.

The decision has received mixed reactions, with some strong opinions.

“I think it’s the worst [expletive] idea ever implemented by FAU,” said engineering major Stincy Dumerjean, who is studying for a second bachelor’s degree. She added that the changes may be affecting student performance in the classroom.

According to Heather Coltman — the dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters — this is the first time in 20 years that the departmental course schedule has changed.

Coltman said university administration implemented the changes this semester “in order to better serve student demand and need.”
Media relations representative Lisa Metcalf said members of the registrar’s office surveyed over 3,000 students and faculty members on the course schedule and how it could improve two years ago.

Faculty voted for the number of days that their classes required per week and their format — in-person or online. Students voted for whether to take classes in the morning, afternoon, evening or online.

According to a presentation provided by the registrar’s office, 41 percent of faculty voted for more one-day classes, and 38 percent favored more two-day classes. Five percent cast their vote for three-day classes and 16 percent for more online classes.

Map of class increases by Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor 

Map key:

Yellow:   no increase at respective school

Blue:       increased number of Friday classes

Green:    Total number of Friday classes. Numbers found by dividing total classes in each college by three days

Interactive map:

(All building photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

The board of trustees and the board of governors had a say in the decision as well. They feared if campus facilities weren’t used enough, the school would lose funding for new buildings and renovations, as stated by the presentation.

Business professor Lawrence Newman said the change comes down to money. “The college is having more Friday classes to better utilize the space that’s been left empty during Fridays. Better utilization equals conserved money.”

On the university website, the registrar’s office put up a document explaining the reason for the changes. It reads as follows:

“With careful consideration to the needs of all of our stakeholders, the primary goal of this proposal is to develop a scheduling scheme that increases access for our current students and potential students, facilitates student progression through degree programs for a timely graduation, and fully utilizes the university facilities and resources as efficiently as possible.”

Although there have been issues with the schedule, Ben Lowe, history professor and chair of the history department, thinks that the schedule changes put FAU on the right path.

“The only problem that we had to deal with is that the [teacher] conference schedule gets mixed up, but otherwise we haven’t had any problem,” said Lowe. “There was some initial confusion about the schedule because we had staff meeting on Fridays and now we have moved to Mondays.”  

The Space Committee, led by Provost Gary Perry, department heads and the registrar, collects the data on the classes and buildings and what days they’re full.

From there, it gives recommendations on the days that classes should be held and how buildings should be used more efficiently, according to Corina Mavrodin, spokesperson at the Office of Space Utilization and Analysis.

Senior elementary education major Stephanie Canino said, “I think it’s great that there is more Friday classes. It allows more people with access to their professors and makes people happy.”

Stincy Dumerjean is not a fan of the increase of Friday classes. Photo by Nate Nkumbu | Contributing Writer
Stincy Dumerjean is not a fan of the increase of Friday classes. Photo by Nate Nkumbu | Contributing Writer

Other students were not so enthused.

Dumerjean said she doesn’t buy into the new schedule changes. “People are doing worse because of the addition of Friday classes.”

According to the engineering major, people have very little time to sleep and study and that the change is making students take professors they wouldn’t normally choose.

“Hell, my department of engineering is suffering because of this,” she said.

Engineering professor Hangi Zhuang feels the only thing that’s changed is the campus being quiet on Monday, as opposed to Friday.

Zhuang said a change in scheduling is part of what happens as the size of the school increases.

“It wasn’t necessary to have Friday class when the campus body was 15,000, but at 35,000 and growing, the need to utilize the space on Friday became more apparent,” he said. “At least that’s what the Space Committee said.”

Newman said that, financially, it makes more sense for the school to have classes full all week instead of just Monday through Thursday.  

“I understand the plight of the student and some of the faculty, but it is more economically better.”