President Eric W. Kaler's thoughts on the "Three-Period Plan"

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I want to amplify my idea for a full term during the summer months, or the "three-period plan." I know there has been a lot of conversation about this, and maybe some misinformation.

There are several goals in doing this. First, I think it will help with student success by having more flexibility in class offerings. (And no, I don't think we'll require summer attendance across the board!) If a robust summer schedule is available, students would be able to use other times of the year for internships or other out-of-class experiences. On the other hand, if a student wants to move through our program more quickly, there would be opportunities to do that, too.

Second, I think it offers more flexibility to faculty who might want to arrange teaching so as to have two consecutive semesters for scholarship, or to have the chance for full-time research in the fall or spring rather than just the summer. Faculty on nine-month appointments would be expected to teach twice a year, as is now the case.

Finally, going to a year-round schedule would certainly make better use of our facilities, and might allow a modest increase in the overall size of the student body, thereby providing access for students who might otherwise not be able to come to the U.

This would be a Twin Cities campus initiative, with other campuses invited—but not required—to take part in the conversation.

Changing the calendar would be complex and has many moving parts, not the least of which is student financial aid. We are just at the beginning of analysis and listening. I do think that it is time to look at this in a serious way, and I welcome your input.