This feels more like a news story or analysis of compressed calendar and not an editorial about it. You need to lead with what the staff thinks about it and then give me a nutgraph outlining why. You could use all of the info about it to support your angle.
Then end with a call to action.
We don’t like having all our hours and weeks tightened up. We don’t like having to sit in class for even more hours than we do now, and we don’t like having the administration change our schedule to suit people that the calendar doesn’t effect.
Starting in the fall, students will get to be in class a little longer than before and classes will begin and end at odd times. For the faculty, it means longer hours in the classroom, fewer instructional days, changing their syllabus, and no monetary compensation for the extra work.
Most importantly for the teaching staff it means a significant decrease in the amount of time spent on professional development. Professional development is essential to faculty in maintaining the integrity of their teaching. Decreasing this time leaves very little time to maintain a professional status at Palomar. Sharing resources with colleagues, producing new lessons for students, research, evaluations, along with content knowledge and skill development is time consuming and doesn’t sound beneficial to faculty or students.
Compressing a calendar prompts a lot of questions. Here’s what’s happening: the hours required to award specific credits are squeezed into 16 weeks instead of the traditional 18 weeks; that’s 15 weeks of learning and finals in the 16th week. There will no longer be a typical finals week. This aligns the schedule at Palomar with the compressed schedules at UC and CSU.
Out of the 110 community colleges in California, 54 have already converted and it seems to be working for them. There is hope that this will help with retention and help students acquire their goals much faster.
With progress comes change, but why the secrecy? The changes are claimed to be beneficial to all involved and yet it’s strange that so many on campus don’t know about it. Students are not yet aware that their hours will change in the fall, that work schedules and decisions such as child care will need reconsideration.
It is likely that with careful scheduling a student may reach their goals earlier than originally planned by taking classes during the intercessions. The new calendar clears room for three intercessions.
Increasing class time may produce a hardship for some students, not everyone is 18 years old and fresh out of high school. Most have other schedules to juggle while getting through school; like children, spouse, transportation, or a job. Spending all day in a class is not appealing to a mother or employer.
Palomar College administrators have said they are always considering the students needs and have been flexible with the faculty’s planning and course implementations. Since this major change effects everyone on campus don’t we all have a right to know about it ahead of time? It doesn’t feel like the decision for a compressed calendar was vetted at all.
We consistently call for transparency yet students and staff remain in the dark about major changes that will effect their schedules and lives. As of Thursday evening, May 11, this is still one of Palomar’s best kept secrets.