By: LaShawn Oglesby
After months of deliberation, the issue of VSU’s academic calendar for the year 2015-2016 has been resolved.
The final decision was made by VSU President William McKinney last week. The calendar will include a four-day finals week for fall and spring semester, a three-day Thanksgiving break and a two-day fall break. There will be no dead day during finals week either semester.
In the controversial issue concerning the placement of Spring Break, Dr. McKinney sided with the Student Government Association over the recommendation of the Faculty Senate. Spring Break will be March 14 to 18.
The Faculty Senate’s proposal would have put Spring Break from March 28 to April 1. The occurrence of Spring Break would have fallen on the twelfth week of the semester which would be in sync with the Lowndes County School District. This would cater to faculty, staff and students with children attending those schools in regards to family vacations and getting child care for smaller children.
Also students training to be teachers do not get to enjoy Spring Break due to working with the students who aren’t on their Spring Break at the same time. Then when the school districts do get their break, VSU students have to attend their classes.
The SGA argued that the proposal put an unnecessary strain on students because it would occur late in the semester. They proposed that the break be moved to either March 7 or March 14.
Dr. McKinney approved of the Faculty Senate proposal, with exception of when Spring Break would fall. In a letter to Dr. Ed Walker, president of the Faculty Senate, Dr. McKinney explained why he agreed with SGA’s idea.
“A Spring Break placed in the twelfth week of the term: (a) …our students have worked far too long in the term without a break; and (b) would appear to favor only a small percentage of employees who would benefit from the concurrence of VSU and local school district Spring Breaks.”
Dr. McKinney believes that this decision “serves the best interest of most Valdosta State students, faculty, and staff.”
Dr. Michael Noll, Professor of Geosciences, disagrees, which he expressed in a letter to his colleagues.
“With the stroke of a pen Dr. McKinney decided yesterday that a Faculty Senate, which unanimously approved an academic calendar for 2015-16, could be ignored. … If this is the state of shared governance at VSU after all the hard work that went into this academic calendar, we might just as well dissolve our shared governance structures, because they are nothing but a hoax.”
This current academic year of 2013-2014 is the first year VSU has experienced having no fall break and a full week off for Thanksgiving. VSU has one more fall and spring semester to enjoy this calendar with dead day before it changes in fall 2015.