Faculty Council approves proposal that would start Thanksgiving break on Wednesday

Madlin Mekelburg

Faculty Council approved a proposal to extend Thanksgiving break by one day at its meeting Monday. The proposal will now be sent for approval by all faculty members.

According to the proposal, Thanksgiving break would start Wednesday, as opposed to Thursday, giving students three days off. To make up for the lost day of classes, there would be one more day added to the end of the semester and dead days would be pushed back to the Tuesday and Wednesday of that week.

Since the proposal is considered a piece of “major legislation” it is subject to review by the general faculty. Faculty members have 10 days to submit written objections to the proposal. If 25 faculty members submit objections, the proposal will be discussed by the general faculty when it meets at the beginning of the fall semester, said William Beckner, math professor and chair-elect of the council.

“But, it’s incredibly difficult to get a quorum there,” Beckner said. “If there’s not a quorum, the proposal will come back to Faculty Council for discussion.” 

Beckner said if the general faculty votes to approve the proposal, it will be sent to President William Powers Jr., who has the final approval. If they vote against the proposal, it will come back to Faculty Council who will reopen discussion and take another vote. At the council’s March meeting, Powers said he would support whatever the council’s calendar commmittee decides.

Both the Senate of College Councils and Student Government passed resolutions in support of this schedule. Nursing freshman Ashley Levey said she would be in support of the proposal.

“As long as we have the same amount of time to prepare for finals at the end of the semester, I think it would be beneficial to have a longer break,” Levey said.

In March 2013, the general faculty voted against a proposal that was originally passed by the council that would create a two-day fall break in October, citing it would force professors who have lab classes to have their labs start the first week of class.

Faculty Council also approved a proposal to eliminate a University rule stipulating students are required to complete 24 of their final 30 hours in residence at their meeting Monday. According to Mary Rose, associate sociology professor and chair of the educational policy committee, this rule contrasts with procedures in some departments and colleges, which have different rules regarding in-house hours. 

The council also approved proposed changes to course evaluation forms. The UT System mandated a set of five questions be added to the evaluation forms at all System institutions in order to generate consistency. 

Faculty Council also voted for next year’s chair-elect and members of the faculty council executive committee. Andrea Gore, a toxicology and psychology professor, will be chair-elect of the Faculty Council starting in the fall Fall. Jody Jensen, kinesiology and psychology professor, Christine Julien, associate electrical and computer engineering professor and anthropology associate professor Mariah Wade were elected to serve on the council’s executive committee next year.