University of California, San Diego


December 7, 2001


SUBJECT:  Interval Between Classes

I write you concerning a change in class scheduling practices slated to begin in the Fall of 2002. You may recall that, in the Spring of 1996, the Academic Senate Representative Assembly voted to increase the interval between scheduled classes from 10 to 15 minutes, and it forwarded this recommendation to the administration for implementation. One motivation for this action was a desire to afford extra time for students and faculty to make their way across campus (between classes) and have the opportunity to discuss questions and other matters that may have emerged during class. What was not anticipated at the time of this decision, of course, was the fact that the campus would, in a few years, face unprecedented increases in enrollments that would put a great deal of pressure on existing classroom and scheduling capacity.

Last Winter Quarter, Senior Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Chandler approached the Academic Senate leadership and asked that it expeditiously consider the matter of the class interval. The move to a 15 minute interval had effectively eliminated one class session during the prime daytime (8am to 6pm) scheduling "window." Given the rapid increase in enrollments (and associated increase in the number of classes scheduled), the SVCAA felt strongly that restoration of the 10 minute interval was justified. The Senate leadership asked that Academic Affairs solicit comments and suggestions from academic departments and gather data from the Registrar regarding the impact of scheduling changes on faculty and students. In a departmental canvass last Spring, 20 of 24 departments, as well as the College Provosts, favored returning to the 10 minute class interval. Those officials in the student government who were consulted indicated that students preferred the 15 minute interval; nevertheless, these officers are resigned to the need to return to a 10 minute passing-time. Moreover, the Registrar, having reviewed student schedules during the 2000-2001 academic year, estimated that less than 2% of students (given their schedule formats) would be dramatically affected by a reduction in the interval time. For all these reasons, the Academic Senate Council has agreed with the campus administration that a return to the 10 minute class interval is both necessary and justified. This change will go into effect with the scheduling of classes for the Fall Quarter of 2002.

I recognize that some members of the Academic Senate and some students will be upset with this news, and I understand that many, back in 1996, had both strong feelings about, and several arguments to marshal in support of, the move to a 15 minute interval. Circumstances well beyond the control of the campus, however, have taken the matter out of our hands. Given the opinions of a vast majority of the academic units on campus, as well as the input received from members of the campus student government, the Senate Council chose to support this extraordinary action.

                                                Most cordially yours

                                                Michael A. Bernstein
                                                Chair, Academic Senate: San Diego Division