College Council Moves Forward With Wednesday/Friday Classes


College Council, held on April 18 in the South Lounge. (Brianna Godshalk/ The Observer)


College Council, held on April 18 in the South Lounge. (Brianna Godshalk/ The Observer)
College Council, held on April 18 in the South Lounge. (Brianna Godshalk/ The Observer)

College Council held its third and final meeting for the spring semester in the South Lounge at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) on Thursday. A major part of the agenda for the meeting was to discuss the proposal made by Doron Ben-Atar, professor of history and associate chair of undergraduate studies at FCLC, at the first college council meeting to change the current block schedule. The outcome of the meeting was a vote of approval to go forward with the idea of a new block of classes meeting on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Observer originally reported this proposal here.

The first part of the proposal is to eliminate the Monday and Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. class block while replacing it with a Monday and Thursday class block at the same time, cutting the current three-hour club activity block on Thursdays to an hour and a half on Mondays and Thursdays.

According to Ben-Atar, the change will synchronize the schedule at FCLC with that of Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH). The Rev. Robert R. Grimes, dean of FCLC, responded by saying that the purpose of the three-hour block was to allow commuters to participate at FCLC.

United Student Government (USG) President Alexa Rodriguez, FCLC ’13, said that in student feedback they collected, “Most of the students mentioned that the Thursday block was part of the reason they chose Fordham. Seventy-one percent of the students said that they would probably have transferred.”

USG Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Quarantino, FCLC ’13, said, “Because there is a community that is created, it is easier to identify struggling students. We are just concerned that there are students who are struggling and without this net that the clubs create, it is hard to identify them. Students would not have an outlet to address these issues.”

Some of the other issues addressed by USG in regards to the proposal were that by cutting the block to an hour and fifteen minutes on Thursdays, there would not be time for events, and people would be rushing to go to classes. “We are concerned that this current model presupposes that you can program in the evening and while that works at FCRH, it doesn’t work here. Majority of our student leaders are commuters. If the Thursday block is removed, the sense of community will be eliminated. It will just raise issues with retention,” Rodriguez said.

The second part of the proposal made by Ben-Atar involved creating teaching blocks on Wednesdays and Fridays which would create more options for classes as well as take advantage of “under-utilized time.” The third proposal is to have 1001-level language classes five days a week from 8–8:45 a.m and 9–9:45 a.m.

Carey Kasten, associate chair of modern languages and literature, said that she would rather spread the two periods out. Kasten also said “We have a lot of adjuncts and they would be affected by this and it is a problem to find enough to come in every day of the week. It is a real concern and if it happens here it will have to happen at Rose Hill. The popular response was, ‘what about four days a week from 8:30 – 9:45 a.m?’”

Ben-Atar responded saying, “Language is my main concern as someone not from the United States. We need to improve our language instruction.”

Kasten agreed that students are having a hard time with 1001 level courses and that there have been concerns about how to provide more contact for the students.

In regards to the proposal of changing language courses to five days a week, USG Secretary Rebecca Nicoletti, FCLC ’13, said “Ninety-one percent of students [surveyed] were not in favor of the language requirement. Seventy-five percent have jobs or internships and they would not be able to commute during the week or would not have the opportunity to have jobs during the week.”

The fourth portion of the proposal aims to increase seminar blocks. Mark Mattson, associate dean of FCLC, said that his “Counterproposal is to open up every morning and Friday afternoon.” According to Ben-Atar, “Seminar blocks at 8:30 a.m are terribly unpopular with faculty. We do not have enough seminar blocks in humanities and social sciences. The new core curriculum requires more seminars.”

In response to Ben-Atar, Mattson said that the blocks would not be exclusively for seminars but also for adjuncts that would prefer to teach once a week rather than twice a week.

A motion was made by Grimes to approve the idea of creating a Wednesday and Friday block. The council approved the motion.

Grimes also made announcements regarding admissions and donations made to the university. According to Grimes, 3,625 students were accepted at FCLC for the 2013 fall semester, an increase from the amount of applications last year. Currently, there are 128 deposits for the freshman class, also an increase from 69 deposits last year at this time.

FCLC also received $3 million from Eugene Shvidler, Graduate School of Business (GBA) ’92, to create the Shvidler Chair for Judaic Studies in the theology department.