Final exam passing time could be reduced

By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Undergraduate Council says cutting time best option of proposed final exam changes

The Undergraduate Council has recommended reducing the passing time between finals from one hour to half an hour, a change that could take effect as early as spring.

Jennifer Jenkins, chairwoman for UGC and associate professor in the Humanities Program, said before the official exam schedule decision is made, it must go through other campus groups, including the Office of the Provost and college deans. The Faculty Senate will make the final decision, which could take up to six weeks, Jenkins said.

Jenkins would not talk about how or why the recommendation was reached at last night's UGC meeting, saying discussions would be "premature."

But Gail Burd, associate dean for the College of Science and UGC member, said UGC members made the recommendation after debating each of three proposed changes to the final exam schedule and consulting students and faculty for their input.

"Most students polled wanted to reduce the passing time," Burd said.

However, many students said they were not even asked about the changes.

Dustin McDaniel, a political science senior, said he did not know the changes were taking place.

McDaniel added he did not understand why there is a need to change the final exam schedule, which has been in place for years.

UGC, composed of 25 representatives from campus constituencies like colleges, the student body and academic advisers, was asked earlier this month to consider three proposed changes to the final exams schedule because the current schedule conflicts with some college convocation ceremonies.

Under the current exam schedule, students attend their last day of classes Wednesday prior to final exams week, followed by Dead Day on Thursday. Finals begin Friday and last one week.

The three proposals attempted to eliminate the second Friday of finals so exams would not overlap with any college convocation ceremonies.

Besides reducing the passing period, UGC members also considered adding Dead Day or Saturday to the exam schedule.

Burd said most students who were consulted were opposed to eliminating Dead Day.

"Personally, I would like to see the (university) calendar change," Burd said.

By changing the university's academic calendar, Burd said finals would not conflict with college convocations.

But, as the university calendar is fixed for five years, Burd said changing it would be too difficult and modifying the final exam schedule is the next best option.

Students across campus were divided about the recommendation.

Trevor Weitzel, a pre-business sophomore, said since Dead Day will remain, he did not have a problem with the proposed reduction in passing periods.

But Briana Grepling, a family studies senior, said she did not like the recommendation at all.

"It's not enough time - you have to cram everything," Grepling said.

Misty Ehrman, an ecology and evolutionary biology senior, said since the passing periods do not provide students with enough time to study anyway, the half-hour change should not be a big deal.

"I can understand why people would be upset if they are last-minute studiers," Ehrman added.

Kim Hagey, a molecular and cellular biology junior, said she has never had to take two finals back-to-back, so the passing period has not been an issue.

"It's considerate of the seniors," Hagey said. "It's stupid of them to have finals on that day (Friday)."