Committee distributes student survey

The committee investigating academic calendar changes will distribute a student survey in the Marvin Center and post it online Thursday to gauge student opinion about a mandatory summer session and a four-credit, four-course system.

“Student opinion is definitely important. Even if current students wouldn’t be affected by changes, we still want their opinion because new students may have the same concerns,” said Charles Karelis, chairman of the Alternative Academic Calendar Committee.

The survey will be posted on the Student Association Web site, sa.gwu.edu, and can be picked up in the SA office on the fourth floor of the Marvin Center. A similar survey had already been circulated among faculty, and results were split, said Gerald Kauvar, special assistant to University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and a member of the committee.

Senior Amanda Mintzer and SA President Phil Robinson, the two students on the committee who designed the survey, said the poll is the most effective way to gauge student opinion. Mintzer and Robinson said they will be conducting focus groups as well.

“We’re trying to do anything possible to reach out to students,” Robinson said. “I think it will make an impact on (administrators) because it’s data … If they see 400 surveys, I think that they can’t push that aside, especially if the results are leaning one way.”

The survey will ask students a variety of questions about such topics as what summer opportunities they would lose by remaining at school and whether fewer classes per semester would affect engagement with professors and course material.

The poll pays equal attention to the summer and four-by-four credit proposals because both changes are realistic possibilities.

“The four-by-four would be easier to implement than the summer session, but they’re (both) possible,” Robinson said

Mintzer said she thinks students will be happy to fill out surveys based on the amount of talk the issue has already generated around campus.

She also said the survey will do more than establish student positions on the proposals by raising greater awareness among student body members about potential academic changes.

“I think, if anything, our report will show that more research needs to be done,” Mintzer said.

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