Draft Winter Break Proposal February 2015

Draft Winter Break Proposal
February 2015
UM currently has one of the longest periods in the Nation between the end of Fall Semester exams and
the beginning of Spring Semester classes. Some students, parents, faculty, and system administrators
have raised issues regarding the length of the break with its effects on student performance and
retention, cost, and correspondence to breaks throughout Montana and the Nation. Given the issues
raised, during the Fall Semester 2014 in several venues discussions were had about possible changes in
the winter break. Based upon these multiple conversations about adjusting the time between the
closing of Fall Semester exams and the beginning of Spring Semester classes the following specific
proposal was developed for discussion and consideration.
Move the beginning of Spring Semester classes to one week earlier than present scheduling.
Place primary emphasis on courses and student experiences that are not offered during fall and
spring semesters and summer term, and on research/creative scholarship and outreach
Recommend that longer international courses and events begin before the end of the calendar
year (between December 26 and December 31).
Adjust the starting date of fall semester classes each year to ensure that there is only one full
week before December 25.
Adjust spring commencement to ensure that UM and MSU commencement ceremonies are not
on the same day.
Possible Calendar—FY 17 (Fall 16 and Spring 17)
Fall Classes Begin
Fall Classes End
August 29
December 16
Winter Break Classes December 27-January 13 (18 working days); regular classes of 3 credits each
held between January 2 and 13 would require 4 hours of class 5 days per week or 4.5 hours of class 4
days per week (10 or 8 days; basically a block schedule only suitable for selected courses). There would
be very few such classes given bullet #2 above. Total duration of winter break is 4 weeks.
Spring Classes Begin
Spring Classes End
January 17 (Martin Luther King Day is January 16)
May 5
Adjusting the calendar in this way would create possibilities for either a spring two-week session in May
or a restructuring of summer term into three four week sessions rather than two five-week sessions.
Adjusting the calendar in this way represents a change in the distribution of activities over the same
number of days for the academic year.