Potential hour class changes will add more slots

The Calendar and Scheduling Committee (CSC), represented by Sarah Iams ’04, updated College Council (CC) last Wednesday on a number of proposed changes the committee will present for discussion to the faculty at its Wednesday meeting. Most importantly, class-hour changes include a new morning schedule for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (MWF) and a new Tuesday/Thursday schedule, which are intended to create a time slot for meetings, tutorials and colloquia and to provide additional time for seminars in the afternoons. However, a final decision on any changes to class hours will not be made until the October faculty meeting.

“There are a staggering number of complaints about the schedule,” said Iams.

The new proposal is an attempt to address the current problems. The committee solicited input from faculty earlier this year, but Ronit Stahl ’02, former managing editor of the Record and member of the committee, pointed out that “there was very little consistency in desires, which made creating a schedule that would satisfy all people almost impossible.”

Therefore, the proposal addresses only the most common requests in an attempt to satisfy a majority of the Williams community.

One common complaint centers around the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. Specifically, students feel that not enough classes are being offered in the 8:00 to 8:50 a.m. and 12:00 to 12:50 p.m. slots, leaving only three time slots – 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m– frequently used for 50-minute classes.

To address this problem, the committee has proposed to move most of the time slots forward one half hour, so that the earliest class is at 8:30, and sliding the 12:00 time to 1:10.

In a related change, a 9:55-to-11:10 class hour has been added to MWF in order to increase scheduling flexibility. This hour is limited to multi-section courses since it overlaps with other class times.

The afternoon schedule also has several proposed changes. Classes would start at 1 p.m. and end by 3:40 each day of the week except for Friday. On Friday, classes would end by 2:15, leaving free time for meetings, colloquia, tutorials, review sessions and all-campus events.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there would be two morning 75-minute class hours, starting at 9:00 and 10:25. This would leave time free in the middle of the day, from 11:40 to 1:00 p.m., for a variety of curricular-related events.

There were several faculty requests for seminar and tutorial time slots, so new times have been added on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00 to 3:40 p.m.

Finally, there would be additional evening classes for non-required courses in order to increase the flexibility of the schedule. There would be new times on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:40 to 7:55 p.m.

This new schedule is being presented to several groups on campus so that the Calendar and Scheduling Committee can receive as much feedback as possible. Cesar Silva, the chair of the committee and professor of mathematics, said the CC’s first reaction was concern over having fewer class hours. His response to this criticism was that the proposed schedule has more usable class hours.

The faculty will vote on the proposal in October, so changes could be implemented as early as the 2003-04 academic year.