Debate Sparks Over Academic Calendar

Evan Green and Scott Price

Faculty and student representatives have begun working with university administration to draft the academic calendar for the 2024-2028 school years, as debate over the number of weeks per semester has been at the forefront of the conversation.

The calendar committee, which consists of faculty and student members, has sent their proposed calendar forward to the Faculty Senate and SGA. However, there has been debate within the process regarding whether the university should continue with a 14/14-week, 15/15-week or 15/14-week semester schedule.

The 14/14-week schedule would cause no difference for students or staff and is what Marshall has worked under for the last two calendar cycles, or the last eight years.

“A 14/14-week, which is what we currently do: that’s no extra days off and just, you know, it’s what we’ve done for the last two years since COVID,” Isaac Raines, student representative for the Budget and Academic Policy Committee, said.

The 15/15-week schedule would give staff an additional week for classes and also include an extra two days off each semester for students; the exact dates are not decided for the days off yet.

“The reason for this is STEM majors can’t really do the 14-week calendar that well,” Raines said. “We’re not having enough labs or class time, especially in the chemistry department. It’s proving to be a real big issue.”

The third proposed calendar would be a blended 15/14-week semester. This would give the fall semester an extra week of classes, while keeping the spring semester at 14 weeks.

“The reason we put forth that one is you get the two days in fall off: Halloween and the day after Halloween,” Raines said. “But then in spring, it’s still 14 weeks; you don’t get the days off then, but administrators have enough time to overturn all the documents for summer term.”

The BAPC is in the process of making revisions and recommendations to the calendar. They have sent the calendars to different departments and administrators to see if the change would impact their ability to teach and have found it is mostly up to personal discretion. SGA 

plans to send a survey out to Marshall students in order to collect their opinions on the calendar schedule and to see which semester schedule they should send forward to President Brad D. Smith.

The BAPC will meet on Feb. 20 to discuss the calendars and make an official recommendation to the Faculty Senate. Both SGA and the Faculty Senate will send their official recommendations to Smith by the deadline of May 15, where he has the final authority on the calendar.