|Rober Ulin, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, peers behind Ashok Rao, Associate Dean of the College of Business, during a vote on which calender option to adopt.
The institute is investigating the possibility that the winter quarter schedule needs to be changed. Many students and faculty alike loathe the winter quarter, not just because of the cold, but also due to the break in between studies. Some faculty members believe that two weeks away from the educational experience hinders learning at a critical time in the quarter.
A new proposal, discussed at the Institute Council (IC) on January 7, if adopted, would commence a three-year trial starting in the 2010-2011 academic year. The year would begin in late September and go until late June. This would allow winter quarter to not be interrupted by restarting in January.
As beneficial for faculty and staff as this may seem, others believe it would pose a threat to co-ops and study abroad programs. “A change to a calendar that doesn’t promote jobs is a pretty dangerous move for students who are going into the job world,” commented Matt Danna, Student Government (SG) vice president, after the IC meeting. “It [the co-op program] is a cornerstone of our university.”
SG, which had a 16-0 vote against the new proposal, believes that if RIT students get out later than other universities, they could lose their competitive edge. A recent Co-op Office survey found that 150 out of 300 companies would be concerned that the proposed schedule would make RIT students less desirable hires.
“An economic downturn leads to a more competitive market to seize the minimal amount of jobs,” argued SG President Ed Wolf. Like many in the co-op program, he feels that job opportunities will disappear if the calendar is altered.
An official change has yet to be enacted, as a consensus among the IC, SG and Academic Senate has not been reached. As College of Imaging Arts and Sciences senator Adam Richlin put it, “We haven’t seen a single positive outcome that benefits all students across the board from the proposed change.”