Adjusting to the new schedule one day at a time

In the 25 years that Washington State University Vancouver has been operating, it has grown and made changes to allow for the ever-growing student body. Last fall one of these changes occurred in the form of adding a fifth day to the class schedules, making the school week Monday through Friday, instead of ending it on Thursdays. This change has caused many mixed feelings throughout the WSU Vancouver community.

The majority of universities in the US operate on a five-day schedule, sometimes even stretching into Saturdays and Sundays. WSU Vancouver’s decision to follow suit does not make it unique. On the other hand, it is set apart from most universities by the makeup of its student body. The average age for the undergraduates at WSU Vancouver is 26, while at the Pullman campus it is 21. WSU Vancouver also has a larger population of parents and veterans as students than WSU in Pullman. Not only does the five-day schedule add yet another day of driving, but it also takes a financial toll on students who had previously used Fridays for work; especially those who are juggling parenting, work, and school

“It was so nice,” said Alli Benson, a WSU Vancouver student since 2010, when asked about how things were before the five-day schedule. “I was able to work three straight days in a row. Nothing is going to help with tuition, but it really helped with all my living expenses. I only live 20 minutes from school. I can’t imagine how tough it is for people who have to drive an hour to get here.”

A graduate student and current employee of WSU Vancouver, who asked to remain anonymous, echoed many of Benson’s frustrations and added some of his own: “For faculty and grad students, three days of class a week means we lose a day for meetings with colleagues and advisors, student conferences, responding to papers/exams, and our research that is, ostensibly, the reason we’re all here! How can we work across disciplinary boundaries when we can’t even find times to meet with our own department colleagues?”

Not everyone at WSU Vancouver views the change in schedule negatively, though. Kandy Robertson, an English professor at WSU Vancouver, sees the change as an opportunity for a more comfortable transition for students coming out of high school and those transferring from other colleges. Robertson went on to say that her ability to properly teach her class improved when, because of the change, the allotted time for teaching a class went from 50 minutes to 1:15.

Although improvements to the campus, schedule, and academia are essential in the success of any university, sometimes they can be viewed in a much more negative light than was expected. This change has been seen as both and left many students asking “why” this change happened. The VanCougar staff contacted WSU Vancouver faculty to inquire about why this change was made, but they declined to comment.

Photo credit: Laura Evancich

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