Univ. to alter course times

Starting next fall, the 10-minute sprint from Kline Biology Tower on Science Hill to Linsly-Chittenden Hall on Old Campus will become a thing of the past.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted last Thursday to increase the time interval between morning classes so students will have 15 minutes of passing time rather than 10 minutes, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said. Next semester, 50-minute morning classes will meet at 8:20, 9:25, 10:30 and 11:35 rather than at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 as they do now.

The faculty also approved an option for professors to teach twice-a-week courses on Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition, he University will attempt to increase the amount of “mixed scheduling” on campus, such as offering elementary language courses on Science Hill and science lectures on central campus.

The entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences — including the Graduate School — will adopt these changes starting in the fall.

Salovey said the modifications to the schedule are the result of student feedback citing flaws in the current arrangement, as well as an attempt to diffuse the concentration of courses at popular time slots during the week.

“Students have complained for years that getting from class to class on time, especially in the mornings, is quite difficult,” Salovey said in an e-mail. “As for the Wednesday/Friday change, we just saw no rational reason not to allow two-session courses to meet on these two days, even though Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday is fine. By scheduling courses in time slots other than those that are most popular, the Registrar has more flexibility in finding appropriate rooms and lecture halls.”

The vote stemmed from a report drafted by the Course of Study Committee, which was chaired by history professor Anders Winroth. It stated that the Yale College Standard Time Pattern contained several regulations that were most likely antiquated byproducts of previous adjustments to the schedule. The committee also concluded that it is “essentially impossible” to travel from Science Hill to central campus in the allotted 10 minutes, which is a greater problem in the mornings given the scheduling patterns of science departments.

Many students were pleased about the promise of additional time between courses, though some said the extra time may end up being wasted.

Joshua Block ’07, who regularly takes courses on Science Hill, said the additional time between classes will be extremely beneficial to science students, who must frequently run from one class to the next. He said he has often had to build his schedule around the location of his courses, not his particular interests.

“There were actually some classes I wanted to take in the Old Art Gallery, but that was way too far, so I ended up taking classes in Davies [Auditorium],” Block said.

But Benjamin Bokser ’09 said while he understands the reasons for the change, he believes the additional passing time will probably result in unnecessary “dead time” for him, since he does not take science classes and rides his bike to get around campus.

Some students said they were unlikely to take courses that met on Wednesdays and Fridays, and professors said student reactions might influence whether or not they choose to teach on those days.

Bokser said he thinks the new Wednesday-Friday option is a positive move for the University as well as for students who are frustrated about classes that overlap, but he said he will most likely still stick with the other twice-a-week options so that he can keep his three-day weekends.

English professor Amy Hungerford said it is “likely” that students will hesitate to take classes that meet on Wednesday and Friday. She said while she has no particular preference for which days she teaches, she would still think twice before teaching a class on a schedule that the majority of students do not favor.

“I probably wouldn’t choose those times unless I thought it was a class that would be really over-enrolled and I wanted to limit the numbers,” Hungerford said.

Molecular biochemistry and biophysics professor William Summers, who teaches the popular course “Biology of Gender and Sexuality,” said he does not have strong feelings about when he teaches courses, though he thinks the general trend in scheduling has caused Friday and early morning classes to “wither away.” He said he thinks it is important to consider how courses are scheduled respective to other classes in the same department and to accommodate the schedules of faculty that commute to the University from outside New Haven.

The report also included stipulations to enhance the shuttle service between Science Hill and central campus and to revisit the possibility of enacting 15 minute passing time for afternoon classes as well if the new schedule is successful.

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