Over the past few months, the Curriculum Coordinating Workgroup has been developing a new common calendar, with revisions of multiple drafts. As of a few weeks ago, the committee had decided to go through with a set of proposed changes. The new calendar was going to be implemented with the fall 2019 academic semester. However, due to an outpouring of concern from the Willamette community, the change has been put on hold.
The change included a few key components: it aligns CLA start dates with graduate school start dates and puts CLA back on a 15-week semester, but also allows for two additional non-class days in the spring semester. Many concerns were raised by students and staff, leading to the postponement.
The Curriculum Coordinating Workgroup has a portal online where specific information has been posted about the calendar. On this page, the group has described the advantages of the change.
“This change will help us to grow as a University. The primary advantage of a common calendar will be the reduction of any silo-like division among our schools and an enhanced ability for faculty, students and staff to collaborate across school boundaries. The change will support cross-university collaboration and curriculum development, will more easily support cross-listing and faculty team-teaching, and will lighten the burdens for students taking courses in more than one of our schools. The common calendar will also allow us to consider aligning a sub-section of the class schedule to further support joint enrollment and collaboration.”
The question that still stands is: In order to have collaboration among the three schools, do we need a common calendar? It could be argued yes, but for specific programs. For example, the new politics, policy, law and ethics (PPLE) major offers the option of taking law school and business school courses to fulfill the public policy and public law requirements, according to Willamette’s website. With an integrated calendar, the ability to take these courses would be easier.
However, there is still doubt surrounding how many people this will actually effect. While the PPLE major has identified its academic connection with the graduate programs, it is still to be seen where there will be collaboration among other undergraduate departments with the Law School or the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. The PPLE major is only one degree program out of the many majors that the CLA offers, and thus far, this change would only be benefiting a small percentage of the CLA population.
On the online discussion board, ASWU Vice President Erica Noble, who also works in the Service Center and Campus Safety, raised her concerns when it comes to her job. She wrote,“In August and the 1st week of September, we processed over 1,000 parking permits of different types. We are able to handle such a huge load because it is staggered over the course of five weeks. It would be much more difficult to process those permits in a shorter amount of time.”
Since winter break will start later under the proposal, students coming from out of state will be paying higher plane or train ticket prices since the break would be closer to the holiday period. This is problematic to some because many individuals from afar already do not go home during shorter breaks, such as fall break or spring break, due to budget restraints. If travel home for winter break became more expensive, then some students may not have the opportunity to go home. They would also have no place to stay because campus is closed.
The committee has expressed interest in wanting to find solutions to these potential problems. It has set up a logistics group going forward, however, few details about the group have been released.
Many feel that students were underrepresented in this decision. One Willamette student on the discussion board said that students should have had the opportunity to vote on the matter, since it does directly affect them.
To find out more information about these changes, you can visit Willamette’s Curriculum Coordinating Workgroup website.