Senate adds two extra class days to winter semester

Student senators propose replacing buffer days with make-up classes

There was some concern over losing the two buffer days between classes and exams. Mara Ireta Gordon/Argosy

At a Senate meeting on Feb. 11, it was announced that an extra two days of class time will be added to the winter semester academic calendar. The classes will be April 6 and 7, leading straight from classes into exam period beginning on April 8. This would mean removing the two buffer days after classes finish, while leaving the exam schedule intact. The addition of two days of classes was unanimously advocated by student senators, who view the two added days as compensation for the faculty strike.

“We’ve lost five academic days and this would give us back two of those and therefore allow students to not necessarily have as much of a condensed schedule,” said student senator Sam Unger. He added that this change in schedule will ideally allow for students to complete their coursework without having assignments cut.

Senate also amended the course withdrawal date as a result of the strike. The withdrawal date was moved from Feb. 28 to March 6 to account for the week of classes lost. The deadline for professors to return 20 per cent of grades will also be moved to March 6.

There was some concern over losing the two buffer days between classes and exams. Psychology professor Dr. Jennifer Tomes voiced her worries regarding student presentations booked for the original buffer days. “Many departments have research days for their independent study students and honours students that have been planned for the Monday and Tuesday, so they will have to scramble to figure out what to do with those planned events,” she said. “Many of the rooms that they have planned their events in will now have classes.”

Classics professor Dr. Chris Forstall was concerned about students not being able to manage exams directly after their class of the semester. To this, Provost Jeff Ollerhead responded, “We have looked at that in broad brushstroke terms. We have normal procedures in place for students who do have conflicts or three exams in 24 hours, so we’ve thought about that.”

“This [potential conflict] was something that was under consideration by the student senators, myself and the MASU,” said Unger. “Just given all the externalities around the exam schedule being already released and having those dates already set, and just the general situation trying to make up some teaching days lost. This is not necessarily the most ideal situation, to lose the buffer days, but definitely one that is preferable to extending the exam schedule and trying to make up the teaching days a different way.”

The Senate meeting also covered recommendations to changes in academic programs under the 2020-21 academic calendar. This included changes to the religious studies program, including the addition of a course designation in community engaged learning and the addition of an embedded certificate in community engaged learning.

The next meeting of the Senate will be on Tuesday, March 17 in the Windsor Hall Grand Room.

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