Protected Time Proposal: Benefits Students or Limits Choices

Benefits

By: Brooke Chatterton

Faculty and staff at Southwestern have attempted to respond to student needs by proposing a new policy that would help ease the amount of class and extracurricular conflicts in the evenings by providing a Protected Time to students.
Currently, the classes that take place during those hours are required to be either offered at other times during the day or to be not required by any major. The implementation of protected time would further supplement the policies already in place to aid students who experience evening conflicts.
With the addition of this policy, which is still under development, the hours of approximately 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. would be reserved for the students. If tests or other class work, such as mandatory lectures, were scheduled during those hours, students who were unable to attend would not have their grade penalized. An alternate option would have to be provided by the faculty or the requirements would become suggested rather than mandatory for your grade.
The policy will come as a relief to anyone who often has obligations in the evenings that they must sacrifice for a lecture or a night exam, especially student athletes.
Many athletes expressed supported for the policy at the student body forum. The adoption of protected time would be a major relief for athletes who are currently forced to deal with class and practice conflicts in the evenings.
Athletes are forced to cut down on extracurriculars and are sometime forced out of classes they wished to take simply because they are unable to meet the time obligations. Even if they are able to squeeze in all of their obligations, athletes are forced to run on a schedule where they work themselves to the bone attempting to run a hectic schedule that leaves them harried and stressed.
With Southwestern’s increasing number of students in athletics due to the formation of the varsity women’s lacrosse and football teams, it shows great foresight by the Southwestern administration to fix the problem now before the population of student athletes increases on campus.
This policy change would also impart benefits to students who are required to take the night exams that are prevalent among the science majors. To be clear, this policy would not eliminate night exams or force professors to stop suggesting lectures or events to attend. Rather, if an exam were to fall during protected time, an alternate would have to be offered for those who are unable to attend. It grants a subsection of the class, who would have been forced to miss the exam, practice or a treasured extracurricular, another option.
Protected time gives big benefits to athletes, students with night exams and students who are required to attend various lectures and events at no cost to other Southwestern students. This policy is all about giving options. Protected time aims to protect a selection of students in the Southwestern student body, to ensure they get the best education possible and to make their learning experience more satisfying and enjoyable.

Limits
By Arianna Haradon

The “Protected Time Legislation,” also know as the “Non-schedule Policy,” and alternatively, the “Schedule and Activity Policies” is legislation currently being written and discussed by the university. The objective is to give students freedom to schedule their evenings without being restricted by mandatory class activities. While this may sound harmless, the proposed legislation could actually restrict students more and inconvenience faculty.
There is currently no clear policy restricting when professors can give mandatory night exams, labs, or other events. The legislation is still being discussed, but the proposed policy would limit the types of activities that could be given between roughly 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on weeknights. The exception to this rule would be Choral and Ensemble, which would be scheduled in their current time slots. Athletic practices would also be scheduled as normal.
One of the most important skills a student learns in college is how to effectively schedule their time. Time management is a skill that is imperative throughout one’s life. The evening activity system in which students must schedule their athletic practices, mandatory class events, jobs, and extracurriculars forces students to finely hone their time management and scheduling skills. Thus, the current system provides students with lifelong benefits.
A period of time in the evening in which practically nothing can be scheduled has the potential to hurt students more than just having to juggling several evening obligations. If professors were unable to have out of class review sessions, as is currently common, professors would be forced to give a review in class. This could result in the material being covered inadequately in order to fit it into the schedule along with the other curriculum. This would also inconvenience professors already struggling to fit a lot of material into only 15 weeks, forcing them to assign more reading each night and skim over the subject matter in class instead of going through it thoroughly. In this situation, both students and faculty lose.
On the other hand, having required class activities during the evening can cause chaos in a student’s life. While the juggling may be difficult for some, this could easily be remedied by a policy requiring professors to publish the dates and times of all required outside events in the syllabus. This way students would still learn how to manage their time, and would also have a better opportunity to participate in all the events that they want and need to by scheduling ahead. This is a much simpler solution to students scheduling woes than carving out a block of “no schedule” time.
Instead of creating steadfast rules limiting scheduling, the university should require that professors tell students upfront in the syllabus what is required outside of class and facilitate more communication between professors and their students. This would save a lot of time and energy for everyone involved in the legislation process. Additionally, the university should host several time management seminars throughout the year in order to ensure that students are properly developing the skill.
In conclusion, there are several ways that would help alleviate some of the stress felt by students with mandatory outside of class activities, without wasting the university’s time and energy, or inconveniencing professors. It is essential that the university look at these strategies before going forward with rigid rules restricting mandatory evening activities. Despite good intentions, the proposed legislation should not be passed.

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