Monday, January 23, 2006
The battles over college hour are constant. Faculty want to be able to run classes then, since they’re always in the middle of prime time. Organizations want students available during college hour. Students generally want classes during college hour, since they seem to care much more about getting off campus at the earliest possible moment than about joining clubs. So we’re in the odd position of telling both faculty and students not to have classes at mutually convenient times, in the name of improving student retention.
Seems like there’s a flaw in here somewhere…
Since both of my employers have been commuter colleges, we couldn’t get around the issue by basing the extracurriculars in the dorms – we don’t (and didn’t) have dorms. Students commute from home, leaving as quickly as they can to get to jobs. By about 2:30, the place is pretty empty; by 4:00, you can bowl in the hallways safely. (It gets busy again around 6:00.)
In some ways, it would be easy simply to abandon the ‘college hour’ concept altogether. Class scheduling would certainly be easier, which is no small thing. But it would be nearly impossible to schedule department meetings before 4:00 (and nobody wants them after that), the clubs would almost certainly die, and there wouldn’t be any logical times to schedule Events (speakers, job fairs, etc.).
Has anyone out there found a reasonably workable solution to the college hour dilemma?
Maybe you don't have to have it *every* day, but rather two or three times a week. That way, you get the best of both worlds.
Could the college hour be during "bowling" time?
It's a new thing for us, so I'm not sure how we'll handle it. We've also shortened our semesters to accommodate a winter intersession, so we'll have to see how it all plays out.
Personally, I hate meetings, and abandoning the college hour will, I believe, result in having to attend fewer meetings. Some people apparently feel compelled to have meetings when there is a designated window for them, even if there is really no significant reason to meet.
One of my coworkers has the following poster on his office wall:
Right now, most student activities and community-building events take place in the evening but that's tough for anyonw who doesn't live on or near campus ....
In other words, we have not found a workable solution to this.
As the first-ever debate coach there, scheduling meetings has been a hassle, but the students who want to participate make it work. Often they want to join mid-semester, and the best they can do is to change their schedule for the next semester to meet our times...
Frankly, if you have a college hour established -- I think you should keep it. The faculty and students have been dealing with it so far, and if you stop having it getting it established another time will be impossible.
A long time ago I worked for a Student's Union as the coordinator of Student Groups and this would have been a god-send. The groups would have had more consistent times to meet and my meetings with them would have also been easier to schedule. I bet I would have had better attendence, too. But I can also see the drawbacks, especially for a commuter campus.
So, we have classes in the morining and early pm that meet MWF and we have T, TH classes.
But afternoon and evening classes on MW meet ONLY then, in 75 minute (rather than 50-minute) blocks.
unforunately everyone with part time work, well, works.
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