By Laura Fitzgerald, Senior Staff Writer
The fall 2016 course list, released Feb. 29, contains more classes offered on Friday than past years, part of a longer trend of increasing Friday classes.
According to University Registrar Dave Sauter, the percent of classes that meet on Friday has been steadily increasing in the past few years, from 8.4 percent in fall 2012 to 10.7 percent in fall 2014. For fall 2016, that number jumped to 13.7 percent. While the course list is viewable, minor changes may still happen before the first scheduling date on April 4 for fall 2016, but there will be a greater percent of classes meeting on Friday.
Sauter says part of the reason there has been a greater emphasis on Friday classes is to spread them out so students can fit in all the classes they need.
“How are we spreading classes out? How can we maximize your success for choosing classes?” Sauter said. “If all your classes were Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., that would be a problem.”
Sauter said there are also less registrar-scheduled classrooms than a few years ago due to building renovations. Since there is less classroom space available, more classes are using less space, and more time is needed to fit in all the classes.
A registrar-scheduled classroom is a room that can be used by any class, not just one department.
There are about 200 registrar classrooms out of the approximately 500 class spaces on campus.
Enrollment for Friday classes and non-Friday classes are comparable. In fall 2014, the average Friday class had 25.8 students enrolled, whereas classes that did not meet on Friday had an average of 24.9 students per class.
In a policy that was approved by the provost and enacted in 2013, an equal number of classes need to be scheduled on Monday and Friday. Also, 50 percent of classes need to meet in the Monday-Wednesday-Friday time block.
The prevalence of Friday classes is also linked to student alcohol consumption on Thursday nights.
An alcohol task force that was formed in 2006 recommended offering more classes on Friday, among other recommendations. Rose Marie Ward, professor of kinesiology and health, served on the 2014-2015 Alcohol Task Force and is currently the co-chair for the Academic Support work group for the Alcohol Coordinating Committee. The ACC as formed by the Alcohol Task Force.
Ward says there are three groups of students: students who never go out on a Thursday, students who go out occasionally and students who go out almost every Thursday. It is those students who drink to excess that might want to curb their Thursday night drinking, as heavy drinking is associated with lower grade point average.
“There is an inverse relationship between drinking and academic performance,” Ward said.
The level of difficulty and timing of the class affects student performance and attendance, Ward said. If students have earlier or more difficult classes on Friday, they would be less inclined to skip class or go out on Thursday.
Some students might not notice a change because they have classes on Friday anyway, Ward says. Some departments are better than others at offering Friday classes.
Junior Nora Molinero dislikes Friday classes because she says she loses motivation on Friday after a long week of classes.
Many students start their weekend a day early, on Thursday night, and will go out even if they do have Friday classes, she says. Some students may be more prone to skip their Friday classes or not take their Friday classes as seriously.
“I feel like this whole campus is just saying ‘no’ to Friday,” Molinero said.
Sophomore Liz Dvorkin has three classes on Friday. She says she prefers to have classes on Friday because she feels more productive using the full week, rather than four days.
Dvorkin says she realizes she may miss some events on Thursday nights, like socials with her sorority, but she thinks it’s worth it because her education is more important than going out.
“I feel like it shouldn’t be a problem to have classes on Friday because we’re here for school,” Dvorkin said.
Margaret Luongo, associate professor of English, teaches two classes on Monday and Friday. She says she prefers the Monday-Friday time slot because she is more productive. She can spread work out over three days, as opposed to one for a Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday class.
It’s the students’ responsibility to do their classwork and attend Friday classes, Luongo said.
Although she cannot be sure, she says she has not noticed a significant difference in attendance or participation between her Monday and Friday class.