Rutgers University Senate
Academic Standards, Regulations and Admissions Committee (ASRAC)
Report and Recommendations in Response to Charge S-0326
Modification of University Calendar for Academic Year 2009-2010
[As Adopted by the University Senate, March 2005]

The University Senate’s Academic Standards, Regulations and Admissions Committee requests that the University Senate adopt the following recommendations regarding the University Academic Calendar:

The Calendar for Fall 2009 shall be modified as follows:

Fall Semester Begins: Tuesday, September 1
Labor Day: Monday, September 7 - No Classes
Change in Designation: Monday schedule on Tuesday, September 8
Thanksgiving Recess: Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29
Regular Classes End: Friday, December 11
Reading Days: Monday, December 14 and Tuesday, December 15
Final Examinations: Wednesday, December 16 through Wednesday, December 23
Winter Recess Begins: Thursday, December 24

Need for this Proposal

Section 2.2.2 of the University Senate’s Enabling Regulations provide that the Senate establishes the University Calendar.  The Senate has exercised this power by adopting a repeating fifteen-year calendar.  On February 5, 2000, the Senate adopted an academic calendar for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Fall Semester was designated as follows:

Fall Semester Begins: Monday, August 31
Labor Day: Monday, September 7 No Classes
Changes in Designation: Thursday Schedule on Tuesday, November 24
Friday Schedule on Wednesday, November 25
Thanksgiving Recess: Thursday, November 26 through Sunday, November 29
Regular Classes End: Wednesday, December 9
Reading Days: Thursday, December 10 and Friday, December 11
Fall Exams Begin: Monday, December 14
Fall Exams End: Monday, December 21
Winter Recess Begins: Tuesday, December 22

This schedule provided for an August 31 date, an unusually early date, for the beginning of classes.  We understand that there was debate in the Senate about the decision to start on August 31, and that the Senate, in adopting this calendar, acknowledged the need to later revisit it.

The Rutgers Chapter of the American Association of University Professors objects to the August 31 start date.  The Chapter points out that the August 31 start date conflicts with the collective bargaining agreement between the Chapter and the University; this agreement calls for faculty to be in residence beginning September 1.  An August 31 start date might also cause hardship for both faculty and students.

The Executive Committee charged ASRAC, in November 2003, to consider revising the calendar for the three academic years (2005-2006, 2009-2010, 2011-2012) which were to begin on August 31.  Last year, ASRAC developed, and the Senate adopted, altered calendars for 2005-2006 and 2011-2012. ASRAC has now developed, and asks the Senate to approve, an altered calendar for 2009-2010.  The altered calendar not only changes the August 31 start date, but also provides for no classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Rationale for Recommendations

Here was our greatest problem:  if there were no classes on Monday, August 31, then Monday classes would not meet until the third week of the semester because Labor Day is a holiday.  This would mean that students would have no opportunity to try out a Monday-only class until after the add/drop period had ended.

ASRAC,  thanks to former Senator Aaron Domb, came up with a solution:  to convert the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 8, to a Monday schedule. This would allow the classes from all five weekdays to meet before the end of the drop period.

But there was a difficulty.  During the first part of each semester, several professional schools hold classes aimed at working adults.  These are the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, the School of Social Work, and the Graduate School of Education.  These schools prefer not to re-schedule classes because they fear that their students will not be able to attend classes on a different night than originally scheduled.

ASRAC, at the suggestion of Arun Mukherjee,  Director of Scheduling and Space Planning,  contacted the three schools to see whether it might be possible to postpone September 8 classes to a Tuesday after the normal end of classes.  Karen Kavanagh, Executive Vice President for Administrative Affairs and a member of ASRAC, has informed us that these schools agree with ASRAC’s proposal and will make it work.

That left the issue of how to adjust the rest of the semester.  Arun Mukherjee suggested to us that classes be cancelled on November 25, the day before Thanksgiving.  He noted that canceling classes on this date had proven very popular the past semester.  Doing so extends the last day of exams to December 23, but this is done in other calendars.  We note that this approach maintains the reading period as, in effect, a four-day weekend, something that seems to us very desirable.  In addition, Mr. Mukherjee’s solution means there will be no changes in class designation in the very busy final days of the semester.

Thus ASRAC asks the University Senate to adopt the above-stated modification to the Academic Calendar for AY 2009-2010.

We would be remiss if we did not thank former Senator Aaron Domb, Arun Mukherjee and Karen Kavanagh for their efforts.