Changed bell schedule frees up students’ Fridays

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“Change is inevitable”: The new school of business and communication bell schedule for next semester moves to longer class times on Mondays and Wednesdays and frees up Fridays for students and faculty.

Kyle Wells, dean of the school of business and communication, said he hopes that the new bell schedule change will prove to help faculty with class times and offer more course options for students. 

The main change will be to turn the Monday and Wednesday classes to 75 minutes instead of 50 minutes. The Monday and Wednesday bell schedule will be the same as the Tuesday and Thursday bell schedule.

Classes will be from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., which is the same as the Tuesday and Thursday bell schedule, Wells said. 

Wells said the new schedule has been criticized as giving students a three-day weekend and not fully utilizing facilities on Fridays, but he said it is the opposite. Fridays will offer short-term intensive training classes, executive training and Institute for Continued Learning classes, as well as more options for block classes and blended classes.

Wells proposed the change in the bell schedule last year. 

There is a potential conflict with students who want to take classes in another department because of the timing of the classes, Wells said. He anticipates the scheduling conflict will occur on Monday and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. 

Bryan Jacobs, communication department program adviser, said that advisers are always concerned with the shock waves that may happen with any new changes. He is concerned for the students who are looking to attend classes on the old bell schedule and the new bell schedule, or if the changes precludes a student from graduating. 

Timing for the general education classes are a concern, Jacobs said, but there are multiple sections to choose from and classes that are offered online. This helps students with scheduling conflicts. He said that he is waiting for feedback from students since the spring semester schedule has only been available for a short time. 

“I would encourage students to look at their schedules more closely … [and] in this instance, identify [if] they have problem,” Jacobs said. 

With students, the changes are another wrinkle to work through, Jacobs said. The new bell schedule is a change, and there is a fear factor that comes with that. 

“Change is inevitable; it’s not a bad thing … and hopefully this is one of those changes that will improve things,” Jacobs said.

The faculty saw it as an easy transition, Jacobs said, and it was almost unanimously supported. He said that faculty members have expressed that having students for longer than 50 minutes is a bonus. The longer class times allow for more in-depth discussions.

Wells said that there are eight classrooms allocated on the second floor of the Udvar-Hazy School of Business building that will be used on the deviated bell schedule, but scheduling for other departments will be accommodated.

“I’ve asked [other departments to] just bring the classes or the times [they] would like, and we can be as accommodating as we have in the past,” Wells said. 

Wells said they are still waiting to hear feedback from integrated studies majors, but so far the change has been relatively smooth.

Kevin Rorie, a junior integrated studies from Suffolk, England, sees the pros and cons of a four-day class schedule. He said that attendance and grades would suffer because students would want to take Thursdays off, as well. The new schedule would not stay consistent with the work week.  

Not having class on Fridays would give out-of-town freshmen students a chance to travel home, Rorie said. Freeing up Fridays would be beneficial for those who work and for off-campus learning. 

“Because I am integrated studies, I do take a lot of courses that will have different times [and] it may conflict with classes in the future.” said Rorie. 

If the new bell schedule doesn’t work out, Wells said that the schedule change doesn’t have to stay implemented. 

“If there is no redeeming value, we will pull back,” Wells said. “I hope that other departments and other areas see the benefits, as it frees up resources and makes scheduling faculty meetings easier to do. [The new bell schedule] actually increases the utilization of classrooms and spaces by moving block classes and blended classes to a dedicated time period.” 

The new bell schedule reduces travel time for those who commute and helps students who work, too, Wells said. 

“We are trying to make it more efficient and more responsive to our No. 1 stakeholders and that is our students,” Wells said.