On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Office of the Provost officially announced the new daily class schedules to students and faculty in an email. A memo was previously sent out to Lehigh faculty on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. (Rong Chen/B&W Staff)

Class structure changes spark outcry from students

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In an effort to make better use of classroom space and create more room for the upcoming increase in the student body, drastic changes to the structure of class scheduling will be in effect this fall.

The Office of the Provost notified student and faculty of the new daily schedule on Jan. 29. In the new changes, classes will begin at 7:55 a.m. and end at 9:55 p.m. No more than 35 percent of a department’s classes can be scheduled during the “prime time” hours of 9 a.m. to noon. In addition, all class periods will be 75 minutes and meet two times a week — replacing the three-day, 50-minute class.  

The result will be more classes in the morning, in an effort to reduce time conflicts for students when registering for classes. However, students have mixed reactions to the changes.

Kyra Hollenbach, ’22, said the new scheduling system will negatively impact her daily routine. 

“The only thing that’s really going to be hard is the increase in likeliness that I will have an early morning class because it differs from how my regular schedule is,” Hollenbach said. “Each day is different, but I do have a lot of afternoon classes which are great for me.”

Theo Faucher, ’22, said he typically prefers afternoon classes so that he has more time to stay asleep in the morning. He said he could foresee a situation in which depending on the day, more or less students might show up to an earlier class.

Iiona Scully, president of the Graduate Student Senate, explained how graduates students are particularly subject to the negative repercussions of the new schedule.

“I think the earlier time slots are probably going to be disliked — that’s the universal among both the graduate and undergraduate populations,” Scully said. “With the new parking changes compounded with the earlier time slot of 7:55 (a.m.), it’s going to take longer to get to campus, especially if they have to park somewhere far like Goodman and come down to campus for class on time.”

However, Scully’s main concerns are how the schedule change will impact graduate students’ availability to do their jobs as teacher’s assistants, as well as professors’ availability to teach graduate classes.

Scully said many graduate courses in the business and education schools take place at night, so these changes could impact professors’ availability to teach graduate courses.

However, while some students believe it can be frustrating to have more morning classes and longer class times, Faucher said he doesn’t believe his academic abilities will be hindered.

“I don’t mind making classes longer and having fewer classes a week. It makes sense because that’s probably easier to manage and gives you a lot more free time to study,” Faucher said. “Even though it would be a pain to wake up, having classes done earlier would give me more free time for extracurriculars.”

In terms of switching to the 75-minute class blocks, Hollenbach said students and professors alike will benefit.

“I like having an hour and 15-minute classes over 50-minute classes because I like to not have classes on Fridays,” Hollenbach said. “The 75-minute periods are also much more effective than a 50-minute class because you can get a lot more done since you have the momentum of the class you are already in.”

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