STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Next year’s school calendar will start one week later. The fall term will begin on Aug. 31 opposed to this year’s Aug. 25. This adds six days to summer break, but those six days will be taken from winter break, shortening the six week break to five weeks.
Nancy Geiger is the student records analyst at Drake University. She is also the secretary to the Faculty Senate.
The Faculty Senate constructs the academic calendar for the university every year. It is Geiger’s job to apply the calendar construction guidelines to the calendar for each semester.
“Basically, the calendar construction guidelines set out when the fall (semester) starts and its length and then from there,” Greiger said. “It’s more or less a function of the (yearly) calendar.”
This means the change in break is not so much an executive decision, as Drake’s schedule is defined by how the yearly calendar is laid out.
Students have had mixed reactions to these changes.
“(The longer summer break) won’t really effect me in any way, shape or form,” said biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major Connor McCarthy.
“I’m not too happy actually,” McCarthy said. “I did not know that. That six week winter break really gives you enough of a break so you have a big breather in-between … You can fit J-term within five weeks, but having six weeks is nicer than five weeks.”
Molly Silverstein, a first-year, had the opposite view.
“I don’t think (shortening winter break) is a big issue since I am, right now, not really looking at J-term,” Silverstein said. “It’s also nice in the summer, because I work nine weeks so an extra week off would be actually good for me.”
Many first-years find the change from the high school to the college calendar strange, with finals falling before winter break in particular.
“Moving to six or five weeks is a really big difference,” Silverstein said “It’s really nice.”
However, next year’s calendar is not actually so atypical.
“2016 and 2014 are unique calendar years,” Geiger said.
This would mean that 2015 will be more of a normal schedule, while this school year was abnormal with its earlier start and later Thanksgiving, creating such a short gap between Thanksgiving and winter break.
“The cycle of how (the calendar) feels,” Geiger said. “I think it affects students differently than it affects faculty and staff.”