Plans for academic reorganization went into effect on July 1. These plans included decreasing the number of Friday classes, having a shorter semester and extending class times. Many students and faculty members have been heard speaking negatively of the changes since the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.
One of those students is sophomore medical lab science major Jered Cade, who feels like he has no time to relax.
“I really don’t have any time to do anything social,” Cade said. “I’m always in my room studying. I know at the beginning of each week I have a quiz for each lab, but I feel like I’m not learning as much, because we’re having to do so much in a shorter amount of time.”
Each semester has been shortened to 15 weeks. Classes were lengthened to abide by Institution of Higher Learning rules regarding the minimum amount of time students are in classes of 750 minutes per credit hour.
The university achieved a 15-week schedule by adding 10 minutes to 50-minute classes, 15 to 75-minute classes and 30 minutes to 165-minute block classes.
Cade said that the longer classes have been a detriment to his learning process.
“I feel like since classes are longer, I feel like I’m wanting to get out. Fifty minutes was perfect, but the extra 10 minutes does make a difference for me. And the other classes are like an hour and 30 minutes, and that’s just too long because I’ll literally start hurting because you’re in there so long. I get uncomfortable, and you don’t learn.”
Sophomore biology major Olivia Parker agreed and said she constantly feels overwhelmed.
“I have ADD, and it’s hard for me to focus for an hour and thirty minutes. I’m not paying attention at the end of class. I have a hard time keeping up,” Parker said. “I am doing school work every weekend, and I feel like I don’t have any time off. It’s all happening so fast, it’s such a short period of time, I feel overwhelmed all the time.”
Students involved in one of Southern Miss’ many organizations like Anna Gail Welch, a junior special education major, feel they have been forced to decrease time spent on clubs and activities.
“I have something due every day,” Welch said. “There is no break. There is no gap for functionality. I am involved in organizations on campus, and I’ve had to cut back on what I want to get involved in because I have more assignments due each week.”
Director for the School of Marketing Jayme Foster, Ph.D., said the new schedule has “several advantages.”
“The semester is a bit shorter and we have more options for Monday-Wednesday classes, which makes it easier to schedule labs and group meetings on Fridays. This can be beneficial, especially for students who work.”
Foster said that some of the challenges of the schedule were not realized until the semester began.
“Just over the last couple of weeks, we’ve struggled to find a time to schedule student organization meetings. Professors and students are adjusting to the quicker pace of the semester,” Foster said. “Thankfully, the university has already been making changes that will allow students more flexibility over the entire year. We are offering many more intersession, 8-week and online courses.”