Nov. 7, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 5

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    Calendar committee appointed

    Current academic calendar to be reviewed The Provost has appointed a University committee to study the academic calendar and to make recommendations on how the calendar can best serve students and faculty.

    "The committee should broadly consider how the University's calendar can best support the scholarly and educational goals of our faculty and students," wrote Provost Geoffrey Stone in a letter to the committee.

    The committee will study all options for the calendar, including keeping the quarter system; modifying the system to offer breaks more consistent with other universities; or possibly changing to a different calendar while ensuring the University keeps the same academic rigor.

    "We're going to look at the calendar issue from basic principles -- to ask the question, what is the most sensible calendar to have?" said committee chairman Robert Rosner, Professor and Chairman of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Professor in the College. "Answering that question means we must ask another question: Are the costs involved in changing to an "ideal calendar" in fact balanced by appropriate benefits? Our challenge is to answer both questions."

    The positive and negative aspects of the current system will be evaluated by the committee. In particular, Stone has encouraged the committee to ask:

    _ can the benefits of the quarter system -- the "compactness and intensity that reinforce the seriousness of the educational enterprise" -- be maintained if the quarter system is changed?

    _ does the current calendar cause students unnecessary pressure and tension "that detract from our educational goals," and could changes in the calendar help alleviate undue pressure?

    _ are research standards dependent on the current calendar because it enables faculty to schedule dedicated time for research, and could other strategies provide faculty the same advantages with a modified calendar?

    _ is the calendar too different from other academic calendars to allow students and families to schedule outside interests, such as summer internships?

    _ should the current calendar be modified to change start, end and break times?

    Members of the committee have been encouraged to seek input from deans, faculty, students and administrators across campus. The committee members are chair Robert Rosner, Professor and Chairman of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Professor in the College; Philippe Desan, Professor in Romance Languages and Civilizations, Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division and Associate Dean of the Humanities; Cornell Fleischer, Professor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and the College; Anthony Mahowald, Louis Block Professor and Chairman of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Professor in the College; Nancy Stokey, Professor in Economics and the College; David Strauss, the Harry N. Wyatt Professor in the Law School; Robert Topel, the Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Professor in the Graduate School of Business; Daniel Garber, Associate Provost and the Lawrence Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy and the College; and Assistant Provost Ingrid Gould, staff to the committee.