Committee Approves Changes to Calendar

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Doug Hageman?s 7:30 a.m final exam began 45 minutes late, and he had another test scheduled right after it, and then, after writing eight pages of essay answers, he was forced to run to his next final to write another essay.

Stories like Hageman?s prompted the University of Utah Senate Executive Committee to unanimously pass a proposal temporarily lengthening the U?s final-exam period to five days. The proposal will take effect at the beginning Fall Semester 2001.

In addition to extending the exam period, the new schedule provides two-hour exam blocks beginning at 8 a.m, with a half hour break between each exam. Tests will also end earlier, with the last exam of the day beginning at 3:30 p.m, and Monday?s reading day will be moved to the Friday preceding exams.

Laurence Meyer, a member of the Senate Executive Committee, said he was not entirely happy with the new system, but believes it is an improvement over the old schedule.

?Any time you put a schedule together you hope?there are no mistakes. [Overall], it?s a very good schedule.?

The committee extended the final exam period to accommodate the shorter schedule in the Fall.

Changes in the schedule shortened courses by one day, so classes will be held the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to make up the difference, Meyer said.

The schedule also contains a request that professors hold exams during finals week and not before.

A similar schedule for Spring Semester is being created, said Hageman, who staffs the Academic Senate Student Commission.

The Student Commission, a five member committee, looks for ways to simplify student academic life.

But altering the Spring Semester finals schedule will be more of challenge because of the [2002 Winter] Olympics, Hageman said.

The extended Spring Break during the Games makes it difficult to accommodate the longer exam period, he said.

?[The schedules] are a pilot program,? said Associated Students of the University of Utah President Jess Dalton, who is also a member of the Senate Executive Committee. ?They will be effective for next Fall and Spring only.?

The senate will later evaluate the schedules and vote on whether or not to keep the proposal based upon its success in Fall and Spring.

Unlike changes to the Fall Semester schedule, changes to the Spring schedule will be presented to and voted on by the full Academic Senate.

The Fall Semester schedule was not taken through the full Senate because of time constraints, Meyer said.

?The Fall bulletin had to be published [containing the schedules] and so?we just sent it forward,? he said.

Meyer said the committee received sufficient input from students and faculty to vote on the proposal.

?We got a lot of feedback from people within the Student Commission; it was put on the fast track, but we got enough [feedback] or we wouldn?t have done it,? he said.