After extreme weather conditions caused administrators to cancel class for the second time this year, Yale College Dean Mary Miller is working to devise plans for future emergency course rescheduling.
In a Friday email to faculty and students, Miller outlined recommendations for professors rescheduling classes and announced the creation of a committee to look into ways to deal with class cancellations. Miller said the registrar’s office has made classrooms available on Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, March 3 for professors who want to reschedule the classes they missed on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12, and encouraged faculty not to schedule courses during reading period at the end of the semester. Though Miller said no solution for course rescheduling will be “perfect,” she added that the new committee, which will comprise faculty members and students nominated by the Yale College Council, will work with the Emergency Operations Center to create recommendations for future situations.
“Not counting discussion sections, there are about 1,000 Yale classes on Monday and Tuesday,” Miller said. “We’ve got hundreds of instructors, thousands of students and dozens of rooms to negotiate, and that’s the challenge.”
Miller said she does not expect the new committee to find a “one-size-fits-all solution” for rescheduling classes, but added that she hopes to establish a set of best practices for faculty to follow in making up lost class time. She added that she considered numerous options to compensate for the missed classes this semester, including rescheduling classes on a Friday or during reading period, but she said the number of courses that needed to be accommodated made these options unfeasible. Miller added that she thinks class should not be scheduled during reading period, especially in light of the new calendar put into effect this year, which shortened reading period by two days.
Faculty members interviewed said they are compensating for the lost class time on a course-by-course basis. Several professors said they have opted to condense their lectures rather than reschedule because the complexity of students’ schedules makes it difficult to find a time that would be convenient for all students, while other professors said they will use the recommended Saturday and Sunday makeup times. But all six professors interviewed said they are not concerned that the lost class time will negatively affect their students.
English professor Leslie Brisman said he could not find one time that worked for all students in his “Victorian Poetry” and “Major English Poets: Milton to Eliot” seminars, so he offered two makeup sessions, one last Thursday and one last Friday.
“This curse has turned to a blessing,” Brisman said. “The opportunity to meet them in smaller groups gave the reticent a chance to shine, and gave me a chance to get to know all of them better.”
All seven students interviewed said they do not expect their classes to be rescheduled because most professors only altered their course syllabi in response to class cancellations during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
Jenna Hessert ’14 said many students would be unable to attend class on weekends because of athletic and extracurricular commitments.
Students said they do not think missing class negatively affected their academic experience last semester. Abhimanyu Chandra ’14 said his classes last semester made up for the hurricane days without a problem.
“I don’t mind having a few faster classes if we have a few days off,” Chandra said.
Prior to the 2012-’13 academic year, the last time Yale canceled class was during the 1978 blizzard.