Other campuses: Professors ask to eliminate fall break

(U-WIRE) UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Professors are requesting a revision to the academic calendar to remove the fall study day, Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier said last week.

However, Spanier said he would like to wait five years before re-evaluating the calendar.

“I have received several e-mails from professors asking to take away the fall study day,” Spanier said at last week’s University Faculty Senate meeting in Harrisburg.

Spanier also discussed the issue at the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Academic Assembly meeting on Monday.

Jim Wager, assistant vice provost for enrollment management and university registrar, said that although he heard Spanier’s comment about the issue during the Faculty Senate meeting, he has not heard additional details.

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    “I have yet to hear anything coming through the administration,” Wager said. “I believe the academic calendar will stay the same for the next several years, though.”

    Wager said the fall study day was implemented for the first time last year to replace the two-day fall break.

    “Every time the university makes changes to the calendar, it causes a large disruption,” Wager said. “No calendar will ever be perfect.”

    English professor Toby Thompson said a study break may help students’ morale, but he is unsure why a break is needed two months after school begins.

    “I’m not against the break,” Thompson said.

    “It makes the students feel like the university is on their side, which is important for the learning environment,” he added.

    Science, technology and society professor Steve Walton said the fall break did not affect him this year because he does not teach any Friday classes.

    However, he said he did not think the fall break needed to be taken away.

    “I would like a proper fall break, but I’d rather start classes after Labor Day,” he said.

    USG President Galen Foulke said he would like to keep the fall study day.

    “Without the long weekend, it would make for a really long semester,” Foulke said. “We need that extra day off.”

    Chemistry professor Ken Feldman said because fall break occurs in the middle of the semester, it lacks importance as well as usefulness for students and faculty.

    “There is no great value in just having one day off,” he said. “It seems awkward to me.”

    At the assembly meeting, Spanier said making the Thanksgiving break longer if fall break is eliminated was not an option.

    He also urged professors at the meeting to hold classes during the week of Thanksgiving to prevent students from taking a longer break.

    “We have declared those days academic days,” Spanier said. “Students need to go to classes on that Monday and Tuesday. Please don’t cancel them.”

    -Sarah Goldfarb