Demand pushes Friday classes

KATIE DOUGHERTY (Channels Contributor) and KATIE DOUGHERTY (Channels Contributor)

New scheduling options based on more Friday classes sparked debate across campus after they were presented by Jack Friedlander, vice president of Educational Programs, to both the Academic and the Associated Student Senates.
“This is the best we could do given the information we had,” said Friedlander, “it really affects classes with four or five contact hours.”
The English Skills Department falls into this category and department staff expressed concerns at last weeks Academic Senate meeting, citing possible problems with the distribution of contact hours and problems with scheduling adjunct faculty over five days. Friedlander said a number of departments have expressed concerns with this scheduling option.
He said one main reasons for his proposal of a five-day week was to address the shortage of classrooms that are available at City College, due to the increasing demand for more courses and the continuing rise in the student population.
“This semester we denied students access to classes because we didn’t have room,” Friedlander said.
The plan is to try to have 15 percent of next fall semester’s courses include classes on Fridays said Friedlander. Classes would meet 4 and 5 days a week as opposed to 2 and 3 days a week, as most courses currently are. With classes offered 4 and 5 days a week it allows class periods to be shorter, meeting only one hour per day. Friedlander pointed out that this format would be extremely beneficial for classes that require a lab.
This plan may also make class scheduling less conflicting for students according to Friedlander. The new schedule will have classes starting and ending at standard times so that students can maximize their days on campus. Breaks between classes will increase from the current 10-minute block to 15 minutes. This will allow students more time to talk to teachers if needed, and more time for teachers to prepare for their next class.
“It’s hard to come up with a solution that accommodates the most people,” Friedlander said. “What we come up with won’t be the perfect solution.”
Friedlander said that he understands that some staff and faculty members as well as students will oppose this plan.
He also said it might be the only way to offer students more of the classes they require.
“Other campuses are in the same boat we are in,” he said.
He said other schools with the similar scheduling conflicts have added more Friday classes and so far they have had positive outcomes.
Friedlander said he thinks this new plan will not only be beneficial for students trying to get into popular courses, but it will also help students in being more focused on school.
“It will help students’ success because they will focus on school work four and five days a week instead of two or three,” Friedlander said.
Several modifications have already been made based on opinions from the student and teacher senates.
Friedlander said that many compromises have been made to most successfully achieve the objectives of this plan.
Friedlander also said he hopes that this new schedule will be in effect by the fall of 2005.
This will have to be a somewhat quick decision because designing and building the fall schedule must begin in the near future.
The topic will be discussed at this week’s Academic Senate meeting.
“The problem is, unless we take advantage of Fridays, there’s no way that we can offer more classes in the Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday format,” said Friedlander, referring to the increasing numbers of students attending City College.