Students, teachers adjust to extra school days brought on by hurricanes

Students and faculty have mixed reactions to the decision by University officials to end an already odd semester without the usual week and a half of all-night cram sessions.

On Oct. 28, after Hurricane Wilma forced the campus to close for a week, the academic deans, leaders of the faculty senate, president of student government and vice president for student affairs decided that class time needed to be added to the end of the semester.

Eight days of reading and exam days are now regular class days to make up for time lost due to the three hurricanes that cancelled classes this fall. Classes end on December 14, originally the last exam day, with the recommendation that non-cumulative finals be held during class hours.

“It’s a unique situation that’s arisen and we’re all trying to work around what has been an interesting semester,” said Steven Ullmann, vice provost for faculty affairs, who was on the board that made the decision.

However, the adjusted schedule is not being followed by some professors, who prefer to work within their own timetable.

“Most of my professors are ending on the eighth or ninth and not having class the rest of time,” Blaise Carpenter, sophomore, said. “I kind of like it and dislike it because on one hand we end earlier, and on the other we have to study all at once for four or five tests in two days.”

But the majority of professors are adhering to the guidelines in order to allow more time for instruction.

“My teachers are mostly just following the suggestions of the University and they’re not giving cumulative finals, which I don’t like because I always do better on the cumulative exams,” Ezra Katz, senior, said.

Some students feel that the new schedule will be helpful when it is time to take exams.

“My tests aren’t back to back, so it made my work easier,” Katie Lewitt, freshman, said. “I know a lot of people who are struggling with it, but not me.”

That sentiment is not shared by several others, who are not happy with their new testing situation.

“I didn’t benefit at all. It’s a much shorter [winter] break for me and I still have tests in every class,” Lani Hanfield, sophomore, said. “I’d rather take final exams and be out of here by the sixth.”

Paul Wilson, a music theory professor, said that he believes everyone is doing their best to cope with the lost time and altered schedule.

“We’ve all had to deal with unprecedented, unavoidable interruptions this whole semester,” he said. “I am certainly grateful for the additional class time so that I can take my students as far as possible into the course material.”

Some professors are offering additional help to their students in order to better adjust to the changes in the schedule.

“I am available for my students for extra tutoring,” Marie Cheour, an associate professor in the department of psychology, said. “But I am sure that it is very stressful for many students that we had to change the syllabus and exam dates.”

Greg Linch can be contacted at