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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

University Reinstates 8AM Classes for Fall ’08

Starting next fall students at UMass Boston will have the option to take classes as early as 8:00 a.m. The reason for this alteration, according to the Provost Office, is to create more class sections and therefore allow a greater number of students to enroll in the fall semester.

Anita Miller, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, explained that the change would allow up to “100 extra class sessions a week.” She went on to elucidate that some students like to take classes early in the morning because they have work or other obligations in the afternoon. “Access is one of our hallmarks, and sometimes you have to make concessions to create that environment,” explained Miller.

Arthur MacEwan, an economics professor at UMass Boston, says he is “concerned” about the schedule change, although concedes that it may be the most viable solution to the space problem. One of his concerns is the effect that the new policy will have on attendance. “My current 8:30 class…has significantly lower attendance.”

Another concern about the new schedule is the cutting of the free period in the afternoon used for faculty departmental meetings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The free period used to run for an hour and a half, but starting in the fall it will be cut to an hour, running from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The worry is that an hour for the department meetings might not be enough time. “The free period…is an integral part of the academic atmosphere. [With this schedule cut] if people are late for departmental meetings, by the time they get there the meeting could be over,” Professor MacEwan explained.

The new schedule will also include a new forty-five minute free period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which supporters of the schedule change believe will help alleviate the time lost on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Anita Miller advocates looking at this change with a glass-half-full attitude; looking at it from the point of view that current 8:30 a.m. classes would move to 9:00 a.m., and the new 8:00 a.m. classes would actually be a new section. However, Miller also recognizes that if “[the plan] fails…Fall ’08 will look different.”

The intention is that current and future students will have more options when it comes to the type, size and time of their classes. Although plans for a new classroom building are in the Master Plan within the next 10 years, in the meantime UMass Boston would rather not “turn qualified people away at the door.”

The lesson here is, if you do not enjoy getting up for an 8:00 a.m. class then register for your classes as early as possible.