The Saddleback College Academic Senate voted in favor of the current calendar format for the ’09-’10 school year Oct. 10.
The 13-4 vote defeates the alternative version proposed by the calendar committee which results in the current three-week winter break and 12-week summer remaining the same.
“I voted for the 12 week calendar to support the very strong student position and the majority of the faculty in my division,” said Nancy Bessette, Senator of Physical Education. “[We] felt that the 12 week was more favorable to student needs.”
Various senators pointed out that some students use both summer sessions to complete their transfer requirements. This could have not been possible with a shortened summer, as the sessions would have overlapped.
“Students need both sessions to transfer,” said Pam Barr, Senator of Counseling Services. “Those transferring mid-year need to have their math and English done by the summer.”
The nursing department also expressed concern towards a calendar change.
“[We] support the 12-week summer option because we have many negotiated clinical placements in hospitals and changing the calendar may put those placements in conflict time wise with other schools,” said Susan Nawa, Senator of Health Sciences, Human Services, and Emeritus Institute. “That would limit our students clinical learning options.”
The opposing measure called for an 11-week summer, adding the extra week to the winter break. Some faculty members lobbied their senators to favor the new version.
“Starting later in January allows instructors more preparation time for their spring classes,” said Carol Zhiem, Senator of Liberal Arts. “Getting that done over the holidays is challenging.”
It was also pointed out that California State Universities’ spring schedules often overlap with the beginning of the summer school sessions at Saddleback.
“If we go to the 11-week summer school schedule, CSU students who take classes here won’t have to miss the first class session,” Ziehm said. “When we are on the 12-week summer schedule, the first [class] starts the last week of May. Many CSU students are not finished with their spring classes yet.”
The students’ voice was represented at the meeting by Justin Brahms, vice-president of Associated Student Government.
“Both [ASG] branches found no positives taken from the switch to an eleven week summer,” Brahms said. “[A] key reason was the fact that no sequential classes would be able to be taken over the summer. Due to an inevitable class overlap, the English 1A/1B sequence wouldn’t be able to be completed because 1A wouldn’t be done before the start of 1B.
The change would create undue hardships on students attempting to be academically proactive over the summer, without bearing any true advantages elsewhere.”