New course schedules arouse discussion

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The UIS administration has been working to extend students’ course schedules from Mondays-Thursdays to Mondays-Fridays. 

Meeting times for three credit hour classes would change from an hour and fifteen minutes two days a week to 50 minutes three days a week. This new course schedule is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2018. 

According to the UIS website, the change was driven by “a focus on serving student demand and needs to the best of our ability, maximizing the quality of teaching and learning based on disciplinary considerations and pedagogy, and making optimal use of increasingly scarce classroom space.” 

Heather Bailey, associate professor of history, indicated that it is a mistake on the UIS administration’s part by not including four credit hour classes in their talks. 

However, Bailey also believes that the proposal of four credit hour classes meeting four days a week will pressure professors to redo all their materials and syllabuses, which would cause a workload issue. 

“The problem is how we can schedule the budget. Teaching is not the only work we have, we also must do scholarships and service to keep the university running. We have other responsibilities, and that’s why I am concerned about our work load.” She said. 

Lynn Fisher, associate professor of anthropology, said there was never a conversation about the schedule change between UIS administration and faculty

“UIS Administration made the decision without communicating with students and faculty, and we haven’t see any evidences that there is a need of it,” said Fisher. “We are concerned if our students really need it. Do they want to have classes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays? For students who commute from Decatur or Peoria, do they want to drive to school every day, considering gas prices and driving time?” 

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Dennis Papini acknowledges the backlash, but maintains that the new schedule is in the best interest of students.

“All change involves some degree of confusion and dissatisfaction. What is important is that the change better allows UIS to meet the needs of students now and into the future.”

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