Samuel Northrup, Editor-In-Chief
Proactive students who checked Utica College’s calendar for the spring semester may have noticed something different — finals week starts on Thursday, May 2, stops on Sunday, May 5, then continues from May 6-7.
With finals week traditionally lasting five consecutive days, the sudden change has raised questions from faculty and students about what makes this semester different. The reason for sudden change, according to Registrar Chris Dewan, was to accommodate this year’s Senior Week activities before this year’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 11.
Dewan, who was part of the task force that developed Utica Colleges 2019 calendar, explained that college official had to create a schedule that would accommodate both this year’s finals week and Senior Week while also making sure enough class days were scheduled.
“We need to make sure that we have enough Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday classes to meet state requirements for hours of instruction,” Dewan said.
Under New York State regulations, higher education institutions are required to alot 14 weeks for instruction in a given semester. Within that same period, at least 750 minutes of class time is required for each credit hour that a class rewards.
With these parameters in mind, Dewan and a select group of faculty and staff members were tasked with formulating a calendar for the entire year of 2019 at Utica College, while also factoring in holidays, finals weeks and breaks. Once each year’s calendar is created, it is then sent to Faculty Senate and the college president’s cabinet to be reviewed and approved.
While this semester’s schedule accommodates the senior class’ week of celebrations on top of spring break and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the idea of finals going into a weekend, stopping for a day and then continuing into the following week is overwhelming and confusing for those who are used to five consecutive days of finals.
For sophomore Jacob Farquhar, the idea of having to come in on a Saturday for a final is “inconvenient” because he is a commuter.
“I’d probably appreciate it (the finals week schedule) more if I was a senior,” Farquhar said. “But when you’re not a senior, it’s kind of an inconvenience.”
Junior Alyssa Clayton was also not pleased with the idea of having to come in to take a final on a weekend.
“Who wants to come and take a test on a Saturday?” she said. “If I were a senior, I might be grateful, but if I have to come in on a Saturday I would not be pleased.”
Some graduating seniors, like Alexandra Regimbald, are happy with the continuation of Senior Week but also recognize that the trade off is this semester’s finals schedule.
“I like the idea of that (Senior Week),” Regimbald said. “But I don’t like having finals stuck in the middle of the week.”
Hawa Sanogo will not have to come in on a Saturday for finals week, but she knows the different schedule can be an adjustment for friends’ studying habits.
“It doesn’t conflict with my major, but I know that it can be stressful for others because you’re trying to study, it’s overwhelming,” Sanogo said. “If you’re in class one week, then you think you have the weekend to rest, but then you have to continue finals again [on Monday and Tuesday].”
While those graduating in the spring will not have to worry about returning to classes after summer break, returning students may be surprised to know that next semester’s classes begin on Labor Day, Sept. 2, which is a week later compared to past years. But the late start will come at a cost, as finals week for the fall will conclude on Dec. 20 to fit 14 weeks of classes, plus fall and Thanksgiving breaks, into the semester.