Kent State Faculty Senate approves new academic calendar for fall 2023

Anthony Zacharyasz, Reporter

Kent State University Faculty Senate approved a new academic calendar that would see changes beginning in the fall of 2023 and now awaits a final decision by university President Todd Diacon.

Option two proposed by the senate received more votes by members of the senate over option one. Diacon will now make a decision with hopes of a final conclusion before the start of the 2022 fall semester, said Pamela Grimm, the chair member of the Faculty Senate at Kent State.

As stated in a presentation released by the Academic Calendar Advisory Committee, amendments presented in option two include that the start of the fall semester would begin on the last Monday of August and it would decrease the fall semester by two days and start the summer term on a Monday.

Option one, which was not motioned forward to the Office of the Provost, included the start of the fall semester would begin on the second last Monday in August which would decrease winter break from four to three weeks and start the summer term on a Monday.

All classes for each of the semesters and intersessions (fall, spring and summer) would start on a Monday to avoid classes beginning on a Thursday or Friday.

“Faculty was quite unhappy about [the start days of classes], students were fairly unhappy with the weird starting days and schedule for exams and it was just a weird kind of schedule,” Grimm said about the current implemented academic calendar.

Senate members stated option two received support “overwhelmingly” from other faculty members, while option one would “not be in the best interest of students” due to losing a week of winter break, according to the minutes from the May 9 faculty senate meeting. Option one would provide a little amount of time for students to prepare for the spring semester following winter break, along with less time to get tuition and financial aid set up, according to the minutes.

The “biggest downfall” with option one is the shortened winter break, Grimm said. Senate members consulted other Ohio universities’ schedules regarding their winter break, but saw that many of the schedules they viewed were from universities like Ohio State University, Youngstown State University and Miami University, among others.

Gaining three class days and having spring finals start on a Monday and conclude on a Sunday are further benefits revolving around option two stated in the Academic Calendar Advisory Committee presentation.

Challenges stated within the presentation by the committee include losing two class days in the fall semester and class times would increase by five minutes each to be compliant with the semester credit hour requirements under Ohio Administrative Code 3333-1-02. That ruling calls for a minimum of 750 minutes of instructional time per semester.

Challenges with the current implemented academic calendar that the presentation presented by the committee put forth states that the fall semester starts on a Thursday, exams for the spring semester are scheduled from a Thursday-Wednesday, the summer term begins on a Thursday and ends on a Wednesday and class time must increase to be in compliance with the semester credit hour ruling.

In regards to the university’s spring break, for the 2021-2022 academic calendar, the university’s spring break during the 2022 spring semester was during week 11 of the semester. The Academic Calendar Advisory Committee and the Faculty Senate are looking into moving the timeline of spring break to earlier in the semester, such as week 9 or 10 of the semester, Grimm said.

“President Diacon is great at consulting widely before making important decisions and he understands how important the calendar is to any member [of the university],” Grimm said.

The academic calendar is “a very big deal,” Grimm said. The calendar is set to “balance the different needs across different sectors,” she said.

Anthony Zacharyasz is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]