April 8, 2020

Considering 4-day academic week

In a measure geared to increase the College of Eastern Utah’s appeal to students from the Wasatch Front, and to consolidate class time, next year’s academic schedule may change from a five- to four-day week.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This archived article was written by: Kellie Henderson

In a measure geared to increase the College of Eastern Utah’s appeal to students from the Wasatch Front, and to consolidate class time, next year’s academic schedule may change from a five- to four-day week.
The curriculum and instruction committee and president’s cabinet promoted the idea for several reasons, according to Michelle Fleck, interim vice president of academic affairs. She explains, “We’ve used a four-day schedule for our summer terms for the past few years, and most students and faculty seem to like the schedule. I recall that this discussion came up when the state of Utah was planning to go to a four-day schedule, but we didn’t think it would be feasible for the college to operate on a four-day work week. However, we did decide to consider the concept of a four-day academic week.
She cites several pros for the submitted change, including, “Faculty and students seem to prefer 75-minute blocks, as opposed to 50-minute blocks; a shortened academic week might be enticing to students from the Wasatch Front, who need to return home to work on weekends, the possibility of offering more Friday field trips and weekend RECR courses; a three-credit course could be completed in three- to four-weekends.”
The change was not intended to cut costs, as faculty and staff would continue to work five-day weeks. “In this proposal, campus services and offices would remain open Fridays, and most standing committees would conduct their regular meetings on Fridays,” explains Fleck.
Current dilemmas in the proposal include whether or not some of the CTE (Career & Technical Education) can follow the four-day week, though they will be allowed to continue on the five-day schedule if the switch would be an inconvenience to their program. Also, “An important question that has arisen is how we will schedule four-credit-hour courses — two days per week at 100 minutes, three days per week at 67 minutes or or four days per week at 50 minutes? I think any option would work,” Fleck points out. Also, Some of the Science departments are concerned about the impact a four-day schedule would have on their required labs.
Strong responses for and against the proposal have abounded, including one from Mike Tryon, welding instructor, “As it is, working a five days a week you already have a certain amount of faculty members who have figured their schedules out so that they only have to be here four out of the five days. Give them another door and they will be showing up to work three days a week … . As a faculty member, I prefer the 50-minute blocks, I would challenge that just about every discipline that is teaching a 75-minute block rarely holds class for the full-time frame. I have seen this personally from peer evaluations.
“How would it be to set aside Friday for field trips and recreation courses, are you kidding me … what kind of work ethic are we teaching our students?”
Whitney Goodworth, CEU student, comments, “My opinion of it as a whole is that most students already try to get Fridays off for work, or just for a longer break. I like to have longer classes, that way I save time because i’m not having to walk to and from classes more often and pack and unpack books, etc.
Personaly, I think I would go home less. I live three hours away, and only go home as often as I do because I am not able to fit my home schedule- family, friends, etc- in a normal weekend. I tend to not go home as often in the months that have three-day weekends … [Also] the activities are already scheduled for as early in the week as possible, so I don’t feel like things will switch as much with that.”
A final decision on the schedule is anticipated within the next two weeks.
Students, staff and faculty are welcome to direct their comments to Michelle Fleck, or to the Eagle staff, who will be conducting a poll in the Student Center on Tuesday, March 3, at noon.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email