University considers six-day class schedule

St. John’s University is considering changing its schedule structure to a six-day cycle and eliminating 55-minute classes, according to University Registrar Joseph Capobianco.

The idea, which was first suggested by Provost Dr. Julie Upton at a Sept. 17 University Senate meeting, would make nearly all St. John’s classes run twice a week for 85 minutes, and Saturday would become a class day.

“This is not by any means a done deal or something that has been predetermined,” Capobianco said.

“The question came up over whether we should rearrange class schedules, and have three two-day patterns instead of Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. The thought was it could be more student-centered and that it could allow more flexibility.”

According to Capobianco, the suggestion is still going through “phase one,” with administrators asking faculty members and the heads of departments how they feel about the potential change.

“There is a large group of faculty who feel the 85-minute instructional periods are good, and they welcome the opportunity to have class in that time,” Capobianco said.
“There are other disciplines, like math and science, that feel that the 55-minute classes work better in their areas of study, so there have been several responses.”

Representatives from the Freshman Center, deans, and Staten Island campus administrators have also been asked for their input, Capobianco said.

“We’re waiting to digest all that, and now we’re waiting for the next phase to begin, but not everyone has finished studying the initial findings.”

Capobianco stressed that this is still just a suggestion, but one that is being “seriously considered” to be implemented as early as next year.

“The first commitment,” he said, “is revealing all the information and all the ideas that have come up and see what that suggests.”

Most professors, according to Capobianco, were “not enthusiastic about Saturday classes.”

The University has not yet engaged students in a widespread survey to see their reactions, but Capobianco believes
that a plan is in the works for the near future.

He also explained that the schedule change could be extremely beneficial to students, especially ones who work.

“Maybe with blocked units of two days, students and faculty could have more flexibility and not be forced into three days,” he said.

“We’re just studying things and asking, ‘is it [current schedule structure] doing as well as it did in the past?'”

Along with the new class days, the University is also considering creating a daily common hour and increasing the amount of classes that meet online.

“Having a common hour every day of the week was viewed rather favorably,” he said.

“The question of using technology better in the classroom also came out in these meetings,” he added, “such as having more hybrid classes that meet some days on the computer.”

In terms of practicality, the switch to a six-day schedule could provide more classroom space for the growing University.

“That would be one possible result,” Capobianco said, “but from my understanding, it is not the overwhelming driving factor.”
Students seem divided over the issue. “I don’t think anyone would take classes on Saturday,” said third-year pharmacy student Swati Shah.

“They offer some Saturday classes now, but I don’t know how many people would find more classes that day convenient.”
Junior Jumobi Agwu liked the overall idea, but does not enjoy 85-minute classes.

“Right now, I only come in twice a week, and I like it,” he said. “But I hate 85-minute classes, since I can’t concentrate near the end of them.”

Student Ami Shah feels that the potential Saturday classes could be hard for commuter students.

“I think it’s mostly for residents, who live right here,” she said. “Coming here on Saturdays would be bad for commuter students.”

Other students seem more enthusiastic. “It’ll give students a lot of time to do a lot of things,” said freshman Michael Kamoru.