Faculty Senate committee recommends ‘Week 0’ for fall semester

Sydney Purtee

The Faculty Senate Professional Standards Committee created a recommendation for how to label the first week of fall semester after student confusion was raised by the new fall break.

The committee agreed on a recommendation that instructors label the first half-week of classes ‘Week 0’ or ‘Welcome Week.’ No faculty member is obligated to use it, but the Faculty Senate agreed that it would help fix any student confusion.

In fall 2018, Kent State implemented the first fall break to give students an extra break from the stress of college classes. What faculty didn’t anticipate, though, were the amount of problems that arose from the break.

“If we’re taking off these couple of days in week 10 of the fall semester, we’re losing a significant amount of contact hours with our students,” said Deborah Smith, a philosophy professor and a member of the Faculty Senate’s Professional Standards Committee. “The fall semester already had fewer contact days than the spring semester because of holidays, so they decided to start the semester on the Thursday prior to when we started it so we wouldn’t lose contact hours.”

What seemed like an easy fix for the Faculty Senate ended up creating issues they did not see coming. During a Faculty Senate meeting last fall, a senator raised their concerns about how students are becoming confused on what week they were on due to faculty not labeling their weeks the same.

“Some faculty were confused as to what to call the first half-week,” Smith said. “Some faculty decided to call it ‘Week 0’. Others decided to call it ‘Week 1,’ and this resulted in student confusion.”

Since some faculty label their course weeks by consecutive number and some use the actual week dates, students were getting off track and confused as to what week it actually was.

The result of the confusion ended in missed assignments or missed quizzes—which was not the intent of the fall break.

“The Professional Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate was asked to provide guidance—not rules—so we didn’t write a policy,” Smith said. “We merely put out a recommendation.”

Adding a ‘Week 0’ also does not mean that more days are being added onto the fall semester. Kent State simply took the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday classes that were lost due to fall break and moved them to the beginning of the semester. No days were added and no days were lost.

Sydney Purtee covers Academic Affairs. Contact her at [email protected].