Committee: Stick with three weeks of break

Jacqui Becker

Despite some faculty members’ desire to revamp the university calendar, ISU students will still have only three weeks of winter break until at least 2005.

The University Calendar Committee has officially voiced its favor of the three-week break as opposed to a four-week break.

Many representatives from across campus were part of the committee that voted unanimously in favor of three weeks, with four abstentions and six areas not represented.

The vote was held Feb. 24, and it was the second time that the committee considered the issue.

“Everybody got to say their opinion,” said Carla Rogis, GSB representative. “Nobody got left out, even though some opinions were repeated.”

The Calendar Committee first approved the calendar with the three-week break in October, but discussion among some Faculty Senate members who favored a four-week break prompted a revote.

However, some students voiced their disapproval of the proposed four-week break.

“After break and after student awareness, it was made more of an issue on the student level,” said Rogis, senior in agronomy.

Rogis said she was impressed by the faculty and staff’s support of what the students wanted.

“I was glad for the opportunity to serve on the committee and have opinions matter and at least heard,” she said.

Forrest Nutter, Faculty Senate representative, said the faculty’s desire to change the calendar was based on surveys sent to staff members that asked their opinions about the length of break.

Among the returned surveys, 70 percent were in favor of the four-week break, and 80 percent of university departments also supported that length of time, said Nutter, professor of plant pathology.

“The Faculty Senate talked about straight percentages,” he said. “Many faculty didn’t respond, and they used data of just those that responded.”

Nutter said three weeks is a sufficient amount of time for faculty to prepare class material. However, professors also have research commitments.

“Many faculty across colleges are involved with field research, which requires a lot of time and attention to planting in the month of May,” Nutter said. “Trying to teach classes and give and grade finals in some years would make things very stressful because planting is very dependent on weather conditions.”

Charlene Hulsebus, committee coordinator at the Registrar’s Office, said the issue is larger than some people may think.

“In my mind, it wasn’t a faculty/student issue,” she said. “There is a broad variety of areas impacted by the decision.”

The University Calendar Committee will now begin planning for the 2005-2007 calendar.