Panel postpones academic report

A GW task force exploring a mandatory summer session and an alternative course structure will postpone its Thursday deadline to allow for further investigation. The task force will reconvene during the third week of May to establish a new deadline, said Phil Robinson, outgoing Student Association president and a member of the subcommittee on student issues.

“There’s still too much information that we’re compiling,” Robinson said. “The committee wants to be sure we have accurate data.”

Robinson said the committee did not expect to push back its deadline, but needed more time for research.

Committee chairman Charles Karelis told the Hatchet last week that a report, outlining the pros and cons of the possibilities of a summer session and a new type of credit system, would be submitted to the administration May 1.

A summer session would mandate all students take a full course load in between their sophomore and junior years, and then take one of the last four semesters off.

The new credit system emphasizes a switch to a four course per semester system, in which each class would be worth four credits.

Both ideas are under consideration to more effectively use University resources, such as overcrowding classrooms, officials said.

Extra time will give the committee a chance to go into the depth it needs, officials said.

“It’s going to be a very complete report,” Karelis said. “The general public will get to see it in detail. It’s not going to be a secret.”

Senior Amanda Mintzer, the other student member of the committee, said extra time will allow subcommittees to research student issues, particularly, how to make a mandatory summer more attractive.

“If we want to have a unique experience here, we’re going to have to make it worthwhile for the students,” Mintzer said.

In a survey Robinson and Mintzer began last week, students offered suggestions to make a summer semester appealing. Mintzer said ideas included adding an outdoor pool to campus, incorporating internship opportunities and bringing guest speakers into classrooms.

Focus groups consisting of 75 to 80 students were also conducted to identify pros and cons of new academic systems. The groups voiced concerns about effects a summer session and four-by-four credit option would have on seasonal activities and financial aid, Mintzer said.

Students were also concerned about fatigue from the possibility of attending three semesters in a row, she added.

The survey’s results identified positive benefits to academic changes such as class bonding, opening up more courses during registration periods, increased one-on-one time with professors and more opportunities to study abroad.

Surveys will continue to be conducted until Commencement and can be picked up in the SA office. Robinson and Mintzer strongly encourage students to fill out the survey, which will be available on sa.gwu.edu next week.

“It really helps,” Robinson said. “People are camped outside of Gelman, so we’ll pump them with surveys.”

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