How It’s Made: Academic Calendar

Marissa Gamache | News Editor

Vice-President and Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Deb Sullivan-Trainor is in charge of the puzzle. Policies, guidelines, lists and approval groups are all aspects of stitching the academic calendar together at Bethel. She’s tasked with all of the logistics that go into making the puzzle pieces fit snugly. The Academic Calendar Policy guides Sullivan-Trainor and serve as a basis for laying out the possible options for how the academic calendar will look. While the whole process only takes up about two percent of her job, according to Sullivan-Trainor, it is still a cumbersome project that has faced numerous hiccups in past years.

The office of Academic Affairs, guided by the Academic Calendar policy first penned in 1984, takes charge of planning each academic calendar. Scheduled two years in advance, Sullivan-Trainor must take athletics, holidays and music tours among other agendas into consideration when lacing together a calendar that appeases all departments. She must slot fall break when there are no home athletic events and plan homecoming during a home football game but not the same weekend as Gadkin.

Both fall and spring semester must have 69-71 school days, leaving very little wiggle room for adding extra days to a break, or re-arranging how the schedule has always been. That being said, input is always welcomed from students that have concerns about breaks and events throughout the year. The additional day to Thanksgiving break, making it a three-day break instead of just two is an example of the willingness from faculty to implement change.

“Student input had a great deal to do with these changes” Tiffany Cornwell said. Cornwell is the Academic Affairs Coordinator.

With days off from school used sparingly, breaks from the stresses of school are cherished by faculty as well as students.

“Fall break is my favorite, I love fall, and sometimes I travel.” Sullivan-Trainor said about the break she looks forward to most each year. Some years more difficult than others, Sullivan-Trainor always looks forward to the day when the cabinet passes the proposed calendar with no hassle; her work done and folder closed until it comes time to do it all over again.

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