Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Late Afternoon Crickets

In telling you this, I’m not really helping you narrow down where I work. That’s scary.

At my college, the classrooms are pretty much empty by 3:00. They stay empty until the evening classes start – most at 6:00, some at 6:30. That’s an awfully long dead period five days a week.

At 4:00, you could bowl in the hallways and not hit anybody. Sometimes I think I hear crickets, or the gentle sound of tumbleweeds blowing in the distance.

We’ve tried running classes in the dreaded ‘twilight’ hours, but other than a few nursing labs (we have so much demand in that program that students will take whatever they can get), we’ve had too few takers to make it worthwhile. So the classrooms sit.

As a cc, sports are a limited presence, so that’s not really the issue. Day students like to get out by the early afternoon to go to their jobs, or just to go home. Night students usually have day jobs, so they really can’t get here before 5:30 or 6:00.

Has your college found a way to use its facilities productively in the late afternoons? I’m stumped, and we’re hurting enough financially that it seems silly to let all these fixed costs quietly mount.

We've got the same problem. Faculty claim the "culture of our students" doesn't want afternoon classes. I believe the faculty want to get gone just as badly as the students do. As we grow in headcount and FTE, our only solution is afternoon course sections, like it or not.

We don't have that much difficulty with our afternoon classes (our schedule is 2:30 - 3:45, 4:00 - 5:15, two days a week--MW or TTh). What we have is an empty campus on Fridays. Almost no classes are taught on Fridays. A few labs, some nursing classes. And we do take some flack from the legislature and our higher education commission about it. Buf we haven't made any serious effort in my 18 years here to do anything about it.
Can you all rent the space to outside organizations for meetings or classes? Are there any senior citizen groups that could use the space (and would be able to be there at that time of day?). Any colleges nearby needing classroom space? Thinking outside the classroom box,
Well then, wouldn't it be a good time and place to host the faculty bowling league? (LOL just kidding)

Over here at SNEPU we have a time of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays called "Happy Hour," which is the designated meeting time. Faculty members have their department meetings at that time, and the students have their club meetings. Would that work?

Otherwise, I agree with Joanna--rent the space out to organizations. It sounds like the perfect time of day for high school after-school programs...
My school rents out space during that time - there are always yoga and pilates classes going on, which is a nice option for everyone (they're open to non-students or faculty, too).
Yes, our non credit classes tend to thrive in the afternoons and evenings. But they are running out of space as well.

We've tried to have meetings in that timeslot, but attendance gets pretty spotty. The after-school idea is really good, though -- thanks for that!
Our school is like that, too, and it's dead on Fridays. This year, though, they've added some 4:00 comp classes that end at 5:30, and that's helped a bit. Admittedly, this is only in one department, but maybe it's a start?
I would suggest an afterschool program for school-age children, staffed by early-childhood students or Americorps volunteers.
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