Flames of the Torch

Since the start of last semester, the St. John’s community has been adjusting to an unwelcome change of schedule. In the fall students and faculty dived into schedules that replaced 55-minute classes with 85-minute ones, set two days between class meetings, and contained a day in the middle of the week for three-hour classes.

The school also lost its twice a week “common hour” period to a strange and confusing time on Wednesday afternoons when student groups can meet if they’re not already in a three hour class and happen to be on campus.

A few professors and students have spoken positively about the change, and to this year’s freshmen the new schedule is all they’ve ever known. But for the rest of St. John’s the schedule change has been mostly an unnecessary hassle, nonsensical and a slap in the face to those who voiced their concerns last spring when it was merely a proposed idea.

It’s no surprise that the University has decided to make some changes for next year.

The Torch has been critical of the schedule change since word of it first broke last spring. The nontransparent way in which the administration came to their decision in March caused anger amongst the student body and faculty, and we did our best to be critical of the University keeping its community in the dark over their decision process.

Now that the University has decided to reform the current schedule, we must congratulate the administration on finally cutting its losses. There is no doubt that this year’s change of schedule was met with the same distaste as it was last spring, but at least the administration is taking action now to recover a better working schedule for the future.

However, as the spring semester gets underway we still have one pressing suggestion for the administration to consider as they look to prepare for next fall. Based on what students and faculty members have said—starting at the forums last spring and continuing into this year—we feel it imperative that the option of 55-minute classes is reinstated and made available to the student body.

As of now, the 85-minute classes are set to stay intact for next semester, which was one of the bigger changes from the schedule of years past. Whereas every class is now 85 minutes in length, in prior years students had the option of taking 55-minute classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The longer classes are more demanding of students, pushing the envelope of critical attention span. We believe that the option of 55-minute classes not only benefits student learning and experience, but faculty preparation and performance.

Simply put, the option of taking shorter classes makes it easier for many students to learn and stay focused on the lectures at hand. Any longer, and many students feel their attention begins to fade. Whether or not this gels with the opinions of the faculty or the administration, the opinion is widespread and frequently spoken.

We hope the administration will consider this, as we have seen it to represent a widely held opinion of students at this University.

In reforming the current schedule and reintroducing more reasonably timed classes, the University can resolve the issue of an unsatisfactory schedule at hand.