CSM students often wonder why the campus calendar does not include a holiday for Labor Day, or why students do not get a full week off for Thanksgiving. Lara Medley of the Registrar’s Office answered these questions at the USG meeting last week as she explained how the campus calendar is created.
First and foremost, the calendar is outlined by federal guidelines. One such guideline requires one hour of classroom time and two hours of “out of class work” per credit hour for fifteen weeks per semester for classes. Labs require three hours of classroom time for the same time period. Mines currently meets this requirement only by also including times spent during finals week.
Second, as employees of the State of Colorado, the staff of the campus are required to have 10 holidays throughout the year. New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are holidays recognized by the school. The other five holidays—Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veteran’s Day—are all “moved” holidays that Mines faculty recognize on the days between Christmas and New Year’s, which gives staff an extended holiday and allows the school to save on utilities costs.
Third, the faculty contract allows faculty members 75 days a year in which they are allowed to work on their research or other endeavors outside of teaching students.
Finally, the school recognizes traditional non-class days such as M-Climb and E-days. Once all of these criteria have been satisfied, the calendar committee looks into giving students as many convenient breaks as possible.
Medley went on to answer common questions about the calendar.
Q: Why does Mines not recognize Labor Day?
A: Students voted in 2007 that they would rather have Fall Break for two days and therefore have a longer break and a chance to catch up on homework than have Labor Day so early in the year.
Q: Why is Spring Break so early and not matched with Jeffco School District?
A: Jeffco schools continually push their break later in the year. Students voted they would rather have spring break during weeks 8 or 9 to break up the semester evenly.
Q: Why don’t we get a full week for Thanksgiving like some schools do?
A: The criteria listed above just don’t allow Mines to have this flexibility.
The calendar committee, which consists of an undergraduate member, a graduate member, three faculty, the Associate Dean of Life, and the Director of Human Resources meets every September to discuss the calendar three years in advance. Additional non-voting members include the Registrar and the Executive Assistant to the Provost. Once the committee approves the calendar, it goes on to the Provost, and then the President for final approval.