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November 12, 2003

Senate forwards four calendar votes to Geoffroy

by Linda Charles

There was a lot of voting going on at the Faculty Senate meeting Nov. 11, but in the end, the senate had no single recommendation on the next academic calendar.

During the course of the evening, the senate voted:
  • Against calendar B (41-23),
  • Against calendar A (33-27),
  • In favor of a modified version of calendar A that would add an extra week between fall and spring semester (57-13) and
  • Finally, in favor of calendar A over calendar B (28-19, with 17 abstentions).
Senate president Jack Girton will forward the results of all four votes to the administration. President Gregory Geoffroy has asked for input by Nov. 14 on the two academic calendar options currently under consideration. Geoffroy has indicated he will make a decision on the next calendar by mid-December.

One option, calendar A, mirrors the current calendar. The other option, calendar B, would extend class periods by 5 minutes, shorten the semester to 14 weeks, and increase the summer interval to 16 weeks. It also would include a two-day class break in October, a four-week winter break and a 10-day, optional mini-semester in early January.

The senate meeting began with former senator Jim Hutter reminding the senate that the current academic calendar discussion came out of an April 2002 senate resolution that called for an additional week to be added to the current three-week winter break between fall and spring semesters.

Hutter, who authored that resolution, said, "I think what you are being presented is an option (calendar A or B) you don't want at all."

The academic calendar used to include a four-week break between semesters, and was changed to the current three-week break without senate input, Hutter said.

Girton noted that adding the extra week between semesters would put Iowa State on the same academic calendar as the University of Iowa.

Much of the discussion during the evening centered around whether a recommendation to modify calendar A would be taken seriously by Geoffroy, or whether the senate should confine its recommendation to the two options as presented.

Several senators pointed out the current calendar with an extra week between semesters would resemble calendar D, another option that was considered earlier this year. Geoffroy removed calendar D and a fourth proposal, calendar C, from consideration last spring when he narrowed the proposals under consideration to the two (A and B) that had received the most support from the campus community.

After votes rejecting calendar B, and then calendar A, the senate seemed ready to recommend calendar A, but state that its preference would be to add an extra week between fall and spring semesters.

At that point, some senators called for a vote between calendars A and B, in case Geoffroy would not consider a modified calendar A. Many senators abstained from that vote, indicating they felt they had already decided the matter.

It was then that the senate decided to forward the results of all the votes to Geoffroy.

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