New schedule offers challenges, opportunities

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One of the proposed changes for the Guilford Edge is a switch from Guilford’s traditional 15-week semester to a 12-3 schedule.

“Under the proposed schedule, instead of taking four courses lasting 15 weeks, students would take three more intensive courses for 12 weeks and one very intensive course for three weeks,” wrote Professor of Geology Dave Dobson in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “The same total courses and total weeks, but arranged differently.”

Associate Professor of Music Wendy Looker believes that the three-week session will offer students the chance to participate in different types of courses.

“The three-week session provides an opportunity for the type of immersive, collaborative and creative and maybe study away experiences we aren’t able to offer in the 15-week semester,” wrote Looker in an email interview with The Guilfordian.

According to Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Academic Dean Kyle Dell, these experiences are beneficial to students.

“These kinds of experiential and high impact experiences are highly correlated with higher rates of retention, graduation and success among college students,” wrote Dell in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “The more students complete these experiences, the better we can support students to persist, graduate and succeed after graduation.”

This new schedule will also create more free time for the Guilford community.

“Because we only need to run 75 percent of the courses for a semester in the 12-week program, students, faculty and staff will have collaborative and community time each day for 1.5 hours where no class is scheduled,” wrote Dell. “Right now, we only have a small block once per week, Wednesdays, where that is true.”

However, with the proposed change, students will be required to do the same amount of work for each course in a shorter time period and may not have as many courses to choose from.

“Students will need to focus more closely and do more work in each course in order to cover the same material,” wrote Dobson. “We might not be able always to offer the variety of courses that we can in a 15-week semester, although students won’t need to take as many at once.”

Faculty will also have to adjust current schedules and courses.

“Shifting to this schedule will require departments and professors to do a lot of work to adjust their courses and to develop new courses,” wrote Dobson. “We’ll have to work out the scheduling changes necessary to offer the right courses at the right times.”

Looker believes that this work will be beneficial to Guilford.

“Faculty have a lot of decisions to make, problems to solve and ideas to bear,” wrote Looker. “But this is (a) change that needs to happen, and I’m ready to re-envision what we do.”

Faculty have not been the only Guilford community members involved in the decision-making and planning process for the new schedule.

“Our initial work was informed by our engagement with students and (Community Senate), going back several months,” wrote Dell. “Therefore, the base understanding of who Guilford is today and what we need to become is built upon student input.”

Students will again have the chance to participate once the schedule is further along in development. The Board of Trustees will meet in February and after that, Academic Dean Frank Boyd will create a committee to oversee the implementation process.

“This process will rely heavily on the input and hard work of faculty, staff and students. and we will continue to engage the full community with this process,” wrote Dell.

Dell is hopeful about the changes that the new schedule will create.

“Having been a part of the Guilford community for over 15 years, this transformation is the most exciting and positive vision for a new Guilford that I have seen,” wrote Dell.