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August 23, 2010

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This academic year is last to start on Thursday

Semesters to begin on new days beginning in fall 2011

When students reported to class for the first time last Thursday, it was the last time it will happen in middle of the week. After this academic year, the calendar will change and semesters will no longer begin on Thursdays.

The changes to the academic calendar, approved by the Kansas Board of Regents last spring, mean fall semesters will begin on Mondays and spring semesters will begin on the Tuesday immediately after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The changes were made to correct a discrepancy in the number of Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Tuesday-Thursday classes. Fall break will be on a Monday and Tuesday instead of Thursday and Friday. Beginning in the 2011-12 academic year, there will be an equal number of classes for each day. Spring break will remain the same.

The calendar committee of University Senate approved the changes last April. The recommendations were then passed on to the chancellor and provost, who approved them and in turn forwarded them to the regents.

The total number of instructional days was also changed, being reduced from 150 to 146, or 73 in each semester.

The calendar changes are still a year away, but Marla Herron, associate university registrar, recommended faculty and staff be aware of them soon. Many research and work travel plans are made a year or more in advance, and the change in class days could potentially affect plans, she said. The changes could also potentially require updates to course syllabi.

The new schedule will also mean changes for offices such as New Student Orientation, Admissions and Study Abroad, as enrollment is open until the day before classes begin. Students are already being recruited and admitted for next year as well.

The move to begin fall semesters on Mondays will also mean big changes for events such as Hawk Week and Traditions Night. Meetings are ongoing to discuss how to schedule the events, traditionally held early in the week in which fall classes start. Herron said the goal is to have plans finalized this fall.

After lengthy discussion, it was determined to maintain Stop Day on the Friday before finals. There was debate about whether the day, implemented to provide study time for finals, was being properly used.

“There was faculty input, student input and staff input on the Stop Day issue, and it was all taken very seriously,” Herron said.

Like Stop Day, summer semesters and Commencement will not change. Summer semesters will still begin on Tuesdays and end on Fridays. Commencement will remain the Sunday after finals week in the spring semester but will change to a morning ceremony.

A PDF version of the academic calendar, projected through 2013, is available online.


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