Semesters will be shorter but days longer under a new 16-week condensed calendar that takes effect in the fall.
Most students indicate they like the concept, but many expressed dismay at the Tuesday/Thursday schedule with an hour-and-a-half College Hour with no classes.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner, chair of the Calendar Committee, said the calendar has pros and cons as it moves from an 18-week schedule down to 16. SWC is now able to add a winter intersession to accompany the summer session.
College Hour will grow from the hour 11 a.m.-noon time slot to 11:45 a.m.-1:10 p.m. Afternoon classes will not start until 1:20 p.m. and will end at 2:45 p.m. Last year’s ASO negotiated the longer College Hour.
Armando Gonzalez, vice president of club affairs for the ASO and ICC President, said he likes the new calendar.
“Winter session will go into effect now, it’ll help students finish and transfer earlier,” he said. “I think is something that’s incredibly important. It gives people just another opportunity to excel academically.”
Students will have fewer class meetings but longer classes, according to ASO President Sayaka Ridley.
“There is a big misconception about the compressed calendar,” she said. “People think because we’re going from an 18-week to a 16-week calendar we are going to lose two weeks of school, but that’s incorrect. We are going to have the same amount of school hours, just classes will be a little bit longer.”
ASO representatives wanted to keep College Hour at same 11 a.m. time, but were not able to.
“We advocated for College Hour to be at 11:45,” she said. “We wanted to keep it at 11, but the Calendar Committee didn’t want to so we met in the middle.”
Classes will not be offered during College Hour, with a few exceptions approved by the SWC Calendar Committee. Gonzalez said he thinks the new increased College Hour will give students more time to be involved in club activities.
“I think it’s a good,” he said. “It’s longer and people are aware that there are no classes during College Hour giving them more time to be involved.”
“I think it will affect the ASO positively because now College Hour is one hour for us to do our activities and now we have an hour and 25 minutes,” she said. “That will be very good for the clubs, too.”
Professor of Political Science Phil Saenz said that the Calendar Committee should have rephrased the 2013 survey conducted by Dean of Instructional Support Services Dr. Mink Stavenga that sampled about 660 SWC students.
“I am not protesting the compressed calendar, but I am questioning whether it in fact meets the needs of our students,” he said. “I recommend doing another survey with a larger sampling to better assess the needs of the students.”
Ridley said SWC will adapt to the condensed calendar.
“If other community colleges can do it, we can do it,” she said.