Majority favor compressed calendar for SRJC, but not by landslide

Craig Couden, Copy Editor

A majority of SRJC students and faculty favors shortening the current length of semesters, according to two surveys from the Compressed Calendar Task Force.

Out of 500 faculty, classified and administrative staff, 67 percent favored either the 17- or 16- week compressed calendar, 19 percent wanted no change and 15 percent had no opinion, according to the survey cunducted Spring 2010.

Out of 359 students, 62.6 percent favored a compressed calendar, 16 percent wanted no change, and 15.4 percent had no opinion, according to the survey.

A compressed calendar would shorten the current length of semesters from 18 weeks to 17 or 16 weeks, but attempt to keep the same amount of instruction time. In a compressed semester, classes would make up the lost weeks with longer class periods. However, a 3-unit class that meets twice a week for an hour and 20 minutes would only add five minutes to each class period, according to the task force website. Similar calculations would be made for other classes and lab sections and added time would depend on the number of units and class meetings per week.

About half of California’s 110 community colleges use a compressed calendar, with nine more districts considering the change. No colleges have returned to an uncompressed calendar, according to the task force website. Colleges using a 16-week calendar also report between 1 to 2 percent better student retention and success. A 16-week calendar also aligns more closely with UC and CSU calendars.

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