On Jan. 10, the Office of the Provost announced a change to the academic break periods. Previously, no classes were scheduled on Mondays 4-6 p.m. or on Wednesdays 1-6 p.m. By next semester, both breaks will be replaced by a single break on Wednesdays 3-5 p.m.
According to Provost Christophe Pierre, this change will efficiently accommodate for almost 100 additional class sections, simplifying scheduling and reducing registration-related stress. One freshman stated, “I’m in class for six hours on Tuesday and Thursday. It would be nice to even it out.”
Despite this, much of the student body is concerned and even upset by the new academic break. In a poll of 91 randomly selected students representing a range of classes, about half said they were unaware of the changes or had no strong opinion on them. Of the remaining, however, 34 students said they were unhappy with the changes, while only 11 students thought they were a good idea after hearing the Provost’s reasons for them.
Several upperclassmen said that this indicates a “growing disconnect [with] the administration.” An increased number of classes means that the school can support more students, which means more funding for facilities and future expansions. The administration has an impressive eye for the future, but many feel a lack of recognition in the present.
As a result of the new academic break, valuable time for extracurriculars will be threatened. Club meetings must fall in a smaller time frame, which may inadvertently force some students to drop conflicting clubs and limit the involvement of commuters on campus. Furthermore, the changes may disrupt Stevens’ athletic programs, as practices face rescheduling. A few students even voiced their concern that the school’s focus on expansion is threatening its image as a small, potently rigorous institution. At the same time, others showed excitement at the prospect of increased academic resources.
The disapproval of the academic break modification by over a third of this group may warrant the administration’s attention. These students will eventually be alumni. In their view, the school doesn’t need ten thousand students to achieve the legendary job placement and return on investment that led them here in the first place. Going forward, the administration should continue to search for a balance between expansion and consideration of the current student community.