Shorter Term Means Longer Classes, Later Lunch Hour

Ani Asatryan
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Glendale Community College has implemented a new schedule for the 2001-2002 school year, shortening the fall and spring terms and adding a new winter session to give students more flexibility in completing their programs.

The new schedule, which was planned for more than a year, has shortened the fall and spring terms by two weeks, reducing them from 18 to 16 weeks.

The new shortened terms have made room for a new winter session, which begins Jan. 7, 2002 and lasts six weeks.

There has also been a change in the official “college hour.”

The college hour is from 1 to 2 p.m., this time is set apart for students to have lunch, for clubs and organizations to have meetings, and for faculty to hold staff meetings.

But why the schedule change in the first place?

“The primary reason of the schedule change was to better serve the students,” said Dr. Kristin J. Bruno, dean of instructional services. “Now there are five terms instead of four and there are more opportunities for the students to gain units and head toward their goal.”

The winter session allows students to spread their classes out more and still fulfill requirements that they need rather than cluttering their fall term with too many classes.

Another consideration was that the college lost students when the fall semester began in August. “Starting school early pushes students away,” said Sharon Combs, dean of admissions and records.

“Therefore, with the new changes, the dates run more concurrent with high schools and give more vacation time for the students.”

Combs added that “the shortening of the fall and spring terms are better for the students too because they’re quicker to get through. And studies have shown that in shorter classes where the terms are 16 weeks long instead of 18 weeks long, students are more successful and their studies are more enhanced.”

GCC’s move also makes the college more competitive with the Los Angeles Community College District – with eight out of nine the campuses now on similar calendar.

Of course compressing the number of weeks for the fall and spring term also meant longer classes.

Classes that run for 50 minutes, will now run for 61 minutes in order to total the same number of hours as before.

The passing time between classes has also gained a few minutes. Three-unit classes that meet three times a week have a 14-minute passing period; three-unit classes that meet twice a week have a 13-minute passing period. For instance, if a class is scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:15 to 10:30, the instructor dismisses the class at 10:16, giving students 14 minutes to get to their other class that starts at 10:30.