Students to Expect 4-Day School Week in Fall

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Students to Expect 4-Day School Week in Fall

Buchtelite file photo.

Buchtelite file photo.

Buchtelite file photo.

Buchtelite file photo.

By Brooklyn Dennison, Editor-in-Chief

“Five-Star Fridays,” an initiative that will shorten the school week for most students, is The University of Akron’s new approach to enhance students’ college experience.

Starting in the fall semester, the majority of classes will be held Monday through Thursday. The University’s president, Matthew J. Wilson, said the four-day school week will work for about 80-85 percent of students. Students who are in certain programs that need to utilize Fridays, such as band, or classes that require daily engagement, such as the arts, will continue to have Friday classes.

Although there won’t be many classes on Fridays, the day will be reserved for special events and academic and job opportunities. “Students who want to compete in a variety of different things trying to excel, oftentimes they have to travel on Fridays. For instance, our state champion speech and debate team are always traveling and competing on Fridays,” President Wilson said, giving an example of how students can benefit from “Five-Star Fridays.”

Other examples he gives are activities such as career fairs, which students could attend without missing class if they are held on Friday. Students could also schedule their internships and interviews on Fridays

However, a potential drawback, John Zipp, a professor of sociology, explained that not all students may have internships that fall on a Friday. He also said that there may be potential for burnout for students who have multiple 75-minute classes in a row.

The structure of the four-day school week class schedule will reflect the Tuesday, Thursday class schedule. Most classes will be held on a Monday, Wednesday and a Tuesday, Thursday basis, but faculty who needs to have a three day per week class can offer classes on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule, President Wilson said.

Along with having a class-free Friday, President Wilson said that the staff at the University will try to streamline the class schedule. Having a Monday, Wednesday and a Tuesday, Thursday class schedule will eliminate some of the unnecessary conflicts in class times that comes with having a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Tuesday, Thursday class schedule.

President Wilson said that the University has also invested in a core scheduling software that is supposed to automatically tell where conflicts in scheduling exist. There is also the factor of having fewer classes on campus that makes scheduling easier. “We don’t have as many classes as we did four or five years ago because we have fewer students. If you go back six years ago, there were 30,000 students on our campus, now we have 22,000. Because we’re smaller, not only do we have a more family environment but the scheduling can be different,” President Wilson said.

Although some may be hesitant to change, administrators, faculty and staff seem to aim to provide better student services. Zipp said that he supports the initiative as long as it benefits students. President Wilson said the whole nexus of “Five-Star Fridays” is to provide better student services and to enhance student activities.

President Wilson said that there will be question and answer sessions in the future about the initiative, but those who have any immediate concerns can reach out to him.

Pamela Schulze, Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences and the president of the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors said, “active faculty engagement is essential to the success any initiative that affects the delivery of academic programs.” She said she strongly encourages faculty to attend faculty forums that discuss the implementation of the initiative to ask questions, to express concerns, and to share ideas about how this will work for their respective programs.

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