The SUNY New Paltz Department of Enrollment Management recently made the decision to change the start time of classes.
Beginning next semester, scheduled courses will be switched from the current system of 10 minutes apart to a 15 minute period between classes, with the exception of 8 a.m. classes.
This change, according to Vice President of Enrollment Management David Eaton, is an implementation of the college’s previous policy for class scheduling from six years ago which was changed when the demand for classrooms increased.
“There had traditionally been 15 minutes between classes until 2008, [but] the course schedule was changed because of an ongoing series of renovations of classroom buildings [such as] van den Berg, Old Main, and Wooster [which] created a classroom shortage that needed to be addressed,” Eaton said. “Course times were subsequently modified and the time between classes shortened in order to create an extra time zone to absorb the impact of classroom closings.”
Eaton said when the change happened in 2008, many students and faculty members were displeased and viewed it as an inconvenience, although it was never intended to be permanent.
“At the time, the change created problems for faculty and students with back-to-back classes and the understanding was that as classrooms came back online, we would return to 15 minutes between classes by eliminating the extra time zone,” he said.
The re-openings of academic buildings throughout the past few years has allotted for more classrooms to be available at once, now making the seemingly traditional 10 minute policy a notion of the past.
For students like undeclared first-year Victoria Calandriello, this new change is a relief since it will allow for less of a rush when walking to academic buildings that are further away.
“I feel like it depends on the student, but for me it will give me a little more leeway. I’m in an intro to painting class in [the] Smiley Arts Building now where I have to clean up five minutes early just to make it to my other class in Humanities on time, where I could be working a little more diligently instead of trying to give myself enough time to get there,” Calandriello said. “If I had a class that was farther, like in Old Main or College Hall, I would probably never make it, so I think the 15 minute change will be better for the future.”
Although the extra five minutes between classes will allow for students to prepare for their next class, second-year visual arts and art history major Erica Melville said this change will probably be a cause of concern among people taking back-to-back evening classes.
“I’ve never really had a problem getting from class to class in 10 minutes, but the change is great if you have classes that are really far apart or if your professor always teaches until literally the last minute,” Melville said. “Last semester I had four classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I went from 8:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. with one 90 minute break. If I set up my schedule the same way next semester, the 15 minute [breaks] would mean that I would go from 8:00 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. instead. Throughout the whole day that time will add up. The extra five minutes doesn’t mean that much between one class, but [with back-to-back classes] it would end up making your day significantly longer.”
Eaton said this new change will hopefully allow people more time to comfortably complete a class and be able to get to the next one if they are back-to-back, even if it is on the other side of campus. He also said the extra five minutes will give students more of an opportunity to speak with their professors after class if they need to do so.
“The only negative consequence would be if classroom availability became a problem because of the loss of a time zone, [but] so far the assessment is that it will not,” Eaton said.