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Committee recommends changes to opening schedule

11/13/2006

An ad hoc committee has examined the schedule for the start of the academic year and recommends several changes, including moving convocation to allow parents of freshmen to participate, beginning classes on Monday, and changing the summer Graduate School commencement to Saturday.

The committee was formed at the request of President David Hodge. Its recommendations have been reviewed by the Council of Academic Deans and will be discussed by University Senate at its Nov. 20 meeting.

The committee, in making its recommendations, remarked that Hodge's initial observations "noted the absence of an opportunity for parents to participate in convocation and the possible adverse impacts on the community of an extended weekend prior to the start of classes. Simultaneously, colleagues in the Division of Student Affairs were examining the sequence of experiences needed to enhance first-year preparation and initiation to college. The confluence of these examinations led to the proposed revised schedule," which was developed through consultation with the convocation planning committee, the office of international education, the inter-divisional committee of advisers, and other faculty and staff members.

The proposed schedule makes numerous changes that would affect various groups, and can be found below under "Related media."

"Since the first-year transition can be stressful, it is critical that academic goals, academic self-concept, clear pathways for successful matriculation, early peer-to-peer connections, and information about institutional context and resources be understood early to maximize student success," the committee wrote in its report.

The committee said in proposing the changes it aimed to create opportunities before the start of class for new students to learn fully about Miami's intellectual and social expectations and university systems and policies; connect with each other and the community; and have time to complete required tasks, yet relax and adjust to their new academic home. The changes also provide more opportunities for student-to-student contact and integration, parent-school contact, sub-group support connections, and student-faculty/staff connections.

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