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Students may be looking at longer semester

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Students may be looking at a longer semester at Colorado State University-Pueblo, since Provost Carl Wright proposed a 16-week semester at the Faculty Senate meeting on Nov. 4.

Wright presented eight proposals that would potentially change the structure of the academic school year. Three of these proposals have already been temporarily withdrawn after the input received at the meeting.

One proposal that is still on the table, however, would extend the current 15-week semester to a 16-week semester.

There has been an examination into the current number of instructional minutes being taught at CSU-Pueblo, and some classes fall below the minimum required number of minutes, and this is why the extra week of school may be added. 

According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the required number of instructional minutes is 50 minutes of instruction per week, per credit, which is called the Carnegie Hour.  

The Carnegie Hour is a standard in higher education for measuring the academic quality of a university, and it is also used for the accreditation of the school. Without accreditation, CSU-Pueblo would not have access to federal financial aid.  

The Colorado Department of Education also follows this standard, and according to the department, the minimum required minutes of instruction per semester are 2,250 minutes.

For a three-credit course meeting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the class meets for a total of 150 minutes each week for a total of 2,240 minutes per semester. For a three-credit course meeting on Tuesday and Thursday, the class meets for total of 160 minutes each week for a total of 2,380 minutes per semester.

Since the 15th week of school is finals week, the classes that meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only meet for 140 minutes that week. This makes those classes ten minutes short of the minimum required number of minutes to achieve the Carnegie Hour.

However, in December 2012, the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching began to research the effectiveness of the Carnegie Hour. According to the Foundation, the Carnegie Hour was not intended to be a standard measure for learning.

The Carnegie Foundation believes it is time to consider how a revised unit, based on competency rather than time, could improve teaching and learning in high schools, colleges, and universities, and the research they began last December will help them restructure the Carnegie Unit.

 Still, CSU-Pueblo’s solution to the current shortage of minutes is to change the 15-week semester to a 16-week semester, and some students are unsure of the proposal.

 “I think most other universities have a 16-week schedule, so I don’t know if we would or wouldn’t benefit from having that extra week of school like other institutions, but I think that if CSU-Pueblo wants to become more like say CSU-Fort Collins or CU, then they should add the extra week, for it would only make CSU-Pueblo function better,” said Renee Mitchell, a senior history major.

Mitchell said that adding the extra week on would be worth it if we did get holidays off like Columbus Day or Memorial Day. “It sucks when everyone else you know has the day off from work and school, except us here at CSU-Pueblo,” Mitchell said.

 “I don’t quite understand it, but while it is only one week, I do prefer having a shorter semester. But it would be nice to have holidays off,” said Ashleigh Rhoades, a senior mass communications major. “But that’s one more week that I would have to deal with school.”

 The next Faculty Senate meeting will take place on Dec. 2. Faculty and students should know more about this proposal by then.