AAU’s class structure has been consistent in AAU history, but there is now a proposed change to the system: instead of meeting once a week per class, it would be doubled. Students and faculty have mixed reactions to this new plan, with most being opposed to it.
Administration admins suggested this update because it could help with retention rates and student engagement. One of the official proposals says, “Students may find it easier to fit two shorter sessions into their schedules, especially if they have other commitments.”
The current system has each class lasting 2 hours and 45 minutes, while most teachers include a 15 minute break somewhere in the middle. Some classes, like language, meet twice a week for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The updated version allows for 75 minute sessions twice a week.
The proposal also acknowledges some challenges the new class times might have, such as scheduling issues and an increased commute time. Students and faculty alike agree with these concerns and have expressed them on a shared spreadsheet.
“Many of our students have to work to be able to afford to study at AAU, and many have to work in long shifts. As the proposal implies that they would have to come to the university on more days, it would make their life extremely difficult, and we would lose at least some of them,” Ondřej Pilný, a faculty member, wrote in the comment forum.
Professors said that the new schedule, while good for things like language learning, will prohibit students from fully comprehending case studies and having in-depth conversations on subject matters. This is also mentioned in the pros and cons outline the AAU administration released.
“AAU isn’t a typical American school that needs classes to be twice a week. It caters to students from all over the world who want to see more of the world. The unique class schedule AAU offers makes it unique, as students have free time to work, study, and travel I believe that students, and myself, would not benefit from this schedule as much time will be spent on commuting to the classes. Though the classes are shorter, I have not had any issues with the current class schedule,” said AAU student Mia Hoffman.
Some staff members only work part-time, making two classes per week a scheduling conflict with their other jobs.
“The proposed schedule would make life extremely difficult for most part-time faculty and adjuncts who have to juggle work at AAU with another job; ultimately, it means a serious risk of losing many of them,” said Professor Pilnýe.
There will also be a change in how long there is between classes. Currently, there are 30-minute breaks between each class, except the class that starts at 18:30 which is an hour after the class that ends before. Students and faculty point out that this isn’t a sufficient amount of time for students to recuperate or have a substantial meal to fuel up for the next class.
Community time would also be added in the middle of the day when no other classes would be scheduled. This is one change that has had more positive responses.
“It’s nice to have a space for events. Sometimes I want to attend events but can’t because they are during my classes,” said student Ela Angevine.
Many students and faculty are against the new proposal—some students even chose AAU because of the current schedule—preferring to keep the schedule the same despite some of the potential benefits.