October 2, 2008

TO:                  All Faculty and Instructional Staff, College of LS&A

FROM:            Esrold A. Nurse, Assistant Dean

RE:                  Fall '08 Calendar and Final Exam Policies

            I hope the fall term is going well for you and that you are finding your classes exciting and enjoyable.  I am writing to remind you of two responsibilities shared by all classroom instructors in the College.

            I know that some instructors feel pressure to cancel classes on the day before the Thanksgiving holidays begins. Please do not succumb to requests to cancel classes to accommodate travelling or pre-holiday plans. All classes should meet as scheduled on Wednesday November 26. The recess begins at 5:00 pm. Our fall academic calendar covers a total of 67 days, and student should not be robbed of valuable instructional time.

            Secondly, some reports suggest a recent growing tendency in the College to schedule a final exam (hourly) in place of the regularly scheduled final in the designated exam period. Even though it may be too late to make changes in this disturbing trend for the current semester, I think it is still necessary to address the issue. The LSA Faculty Code states that "All students shall be required to take the final examinations in every course they have elected in which a final examination is given," and it continues, "The official examination schedule shall be followed" and "All students are expected to take their final examinations at the time fixed in the official schedule of examinations" (LSA Faculty Code, B4.01).

Several students have reported already about having all or most of their exams on Monday and Tuesday, December 8 and 9, the last two instructional days of the term. Scheduling exams on the last day of class not only deprives students of valuable instructional time, but it also is unfair to the affected students to be studying for and taking early finals in some courses, while they must attend and receive continuing instruction in others. Furthermore, as the shift to exams on the last two days of class increases (as opposed to the 7 day examination period), the greater the chances of having multiple exams which could in turn result in less learning and weaker student performance. 

This fall the last day of regularly scheduled final exams is Thursday, December 18, a date which allows sufficient time for the grading of finals and getting course grades submitted on time before the holidays begin. Please note that grades need to be submitted within 72 hours after the final exam.

            Thank you for your attention.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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