With the implication of the new First Year Seminar (FYS) program this year came some frustration about scheduling conflicts. Because the program runs from noon to 1:00 p.m., first year students, peer mentors and professors of first year classes have voiced concerns about their inability to schedule 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. classes. This is planned to change next year with the implication of a revised Tuesday-Thursday schedule.
The proposed revision would shorten the FYS from 60 to 50 minutes, and chapel time would be decreased from 30 to 20 minutes. These two sessions would take place between 11:10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and would shift morning classes up 10 minutes and afternoon classes back 10 minutes. This schedule would create the least conflict between sports teams, class organization and chapel activities.
“We sought to look at the Tuesday-Thursday schedule to see if there was some way to preserve a common hour for the FYS, to preserve chapel, and to not have anything conflict or overlap with class times,” said Edward Hasecke, professor of political science and member of the task force that drafted the proposal.
Some students have expressed concern that the reduction of chapel hour time will undermine Wittenberg’s integrity as a Lutheran institution. Hasecke stated that the revisions do keep in line with the school’s Lutheran values. He pointed out that most Lutheran institutions east of the Mississippi River have fewer chapel days than Wittenberg does, which shows that Wittenberg still maintains a high level of dedication to its religious heritage. In addition, Pastors Andy and Rachel Tune have expressed their support of the proposal.
“As pastors, we found this compromise to be acceptable,” said Andy Tune. “While I don’t think it’s ideal to lose 10 minutes from our chapel time, I think we’ll be able to adjust adequately.”
The idea to revise the Tuesday and Thursday schedule came about from the feedback of first year students and from a task force, which included students. The committee considered other options for improving the schedule. One consisted of moving the FYS from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., but this conflicted with the 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. time slot. Another proposal that preserved the 60-minute FYS and 30-minute chapel period would involve classes either starting at 7:30 a.m. or ending at 5:40 p.m., both of which conflicted with morning and afternoon practices.
“I think the Tunes’ supporting this makes it easier for students to support it as well,” said sophomore Zach Lough, president of student senate. “As far as the overall schedule change goes, in general, it seemed to the students that this proposal made the most sense to accommodate FYS.”
The extended common hour also provides faculty the chance to have meetings and allows chapel the opportunity to do more on Thursday, when FYS doesn’t meet. Anonymous voting by the faculty and staff is currently underway to approve the program. Voting is planned to be finished in time for fall registration. If accepted, it will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester and will be effective for the incoming freshman class.