Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boalt Admins/Faculty Propose a New 13 Week Semester

If you're reading M*ndi's emails, then you know that the law school is considering substantially altering the class and semester schedules beginning next fall. Seeing as these changes affect law students, there's bound to be a bunch of complaining about these changes.

The change is meant to coincide with the change in OCIP (now scheduled for August 8 to 12). Classes would begin on August 29th and there would be no flyback week. This would also mean that semesters are 13 weeks long instead of 14, with Spring semester being pushed back a week. This shift also means that the Fall semester wouldn't end until December 19th, instead of December 15th.

Additionally, we would go from having 6 "bands" of classes (scheduling times over the week) to 5 "bands." This means there would no longer be classes before 9:00am, but at the cost of having one fewer time to schedule classes a week. This will inevitably lead to worse course conflicts than we see now.

While this is probably a good idea and will likely be instituted, it does raise the question of financial aid disbursement. Right now, aid is disbursed during the first week of classes. Under the new schedule, this means aid wouldn't be disbursed until September 1, 2011 or somewhere thereabouts. The Curriculum Committee recognizes this is an issue and is looking into whether or not the disbursement can be moved up.

The elimination of Fall Break is sort of sad. It's a great week for 1Ls, 3Ls and 2Ls like me who weren't looking at firm jobs to spend the week doing whatever we wanted. We will lose this and late November will probably seem more horrible than it already does as a result. However, that seems a small price to pay for an extended summer vacation.

BHSA will be hosting a Proposal Panel Discussion this Thursday, January 20th at 12:45pm in room 140 regarding the proposal. Representatives from the CDO, Financial Aid, and Faculty will be on the panel.

Also, can someone explain Pope Gregory make up days? The calendar attached to M*ndi's email has them, but I do not understand what in Christ's name it means.

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30 Comments:

Blogger Patrick said...

I didn’t understand Pope Gregory Makeup Days either, until someone told me to mentally drop the “Pope Gregory” when thinking about it. Then, it makes perfect sense: they’re just pre-scheduled slots for recouping missed class time.

At least, that’s how I understand it.

As to the rest of the post, well, it sounds a lot like the premise to a plan my home state of Idaho is considering for covering an education budget shortfall: putting more students into a smaller time slots reduces the amount of time the buildings are open and occupied. The heat bill goes down, and the dollars go up, sort of like a furlough, sans the salary angle.

Next up: 1L torts by laptop?

1/19/2011 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Gregory_XIII#The_Gregorian_Calendar

1/19/2011 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish Mindi still sent me e-mails. :'(

1/19/2011 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oppose:
1. No Fall Break
2. Long Classes
3. More Work Per Week
4. Less fun time to ease in

1/19/2011 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about addressing the fact that our school already has one more week of class than other law schools and one more week than required by the ABA? At least this was something I was told. Then I thought this could mean we would eliminate a week AND keep fall break. But then, I tried to look up the ABA requirements and got confused/lazy.

(a) A law school shall have an academic year of not fewer than 130 days on which classes are
regularly scheduled in the law school, extending into not fewer than eight calendar months.
The law school shall provide adequate time for reading periods, examinations, and breaks,
but such time does not count toward the 130-day academic year requirement. (a) A law school shall have an academic year of not fewer than 130 days on which classes are
regularly scheduled in the law school, extending into not fewer than eight calendar months.
The law school shall provide adequate time for reading periods, examinations, and breaks,
but such time does not count toward the 130-day academic year requirement.
(b) A law school shall require, as a condition for graduation, successful completion of a
course of study in residence of not fewer than 58,000 minutes of instruction time, except
as otherwise provided. At least 45,000 of these minutes shall be by attendance in regularly
scheduled class sessions at the law school.

(http://www.abanet.org/legaled/standards/standards.html)

1/19/2011 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fail to see why classes would be moved back. Can someone help me out here. Why do we need a week off in between OCIP and classes starting? Is that week off the "new" fly-back week? Why does the administration think that call-backs will occur that soon after interviews? None of my callbacks from this year's OCIP had that quick of a turn around.

If that isn't what the administration is thinking, why not just have OCIP and then classes start immediately after? Too stressful for the soon-to-be 2Ls? Do they need a one week recuperation period? Boo-hoo. Be glad that our collective bitching (current 2Ls and probably the 3Ls too) after our experiences got your OCIP moved up so that (a) your chances of getting a job have increased and that (b) you don't have to balance classes and your initial interviews.

I feel as though my sentiments could be properly expressed through a sticker of Calvin peeing on this proposal. If you probably couldn't tell, I rather like my fall break.

1/19/2011 3:57 PM  
Blogger James said...

For those of you who can't calendar, OCIP is two weeks before the proposed new start. And yes, these would be the new "fly back" weeks.

For what it's worth, most of our "peer schools" have 13 week semesters much like the ones proposed.

1/19/2011 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes but most have 13 week semesters WITH "fly back" weeks.

1/19/2011 4:14 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I could be wrong, but my impression has been that most students took time off from classes to fly back for interviews, as opposed to getting a week off.

1/19/2011 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not clear how this would affect financial aid disbursement. Right now we don't receive disbursements until AFTER the semester begins. I thought this was because the disbursements were tied into when the rest of campus begins classes, which is a week after we start. So wouldn't this then mean that we would now be getting disbursements BEFORE the semester begins? It would be nice to be able to afford books for the first week of classes.

1/19/2011 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like Boalties to complain that we can't get jobs and CDO is useless, then when CDO actually tries to help us out, you start b*tching. Come on, guys. They're trying to help us.

1/19/2011 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Bothered said...

Dear BHSA: I don't really care. I am honestly pretty offended by the fact that you think this is worth freaking out over, like last semester's GA funding crusade. There are legitimate crises currently happening at Boalt, at UCB, and with public education in California, generally. Meanwhile, you are freaking out about the deck chairs on the Titanic. Those of us concerned about drowning find this distasteful.

1/20/2011 2:34 AM  
Blogger Dan #2 said...

We would indeed get our financial aid sooner. Really, the downsides of this are minimal, and the upsides are great. There could be more class conflicts, but DE said that the time where deference is given to professors at the cost of students is over with or without this proposal, so hopefully that should take care of that.

1/20/2011 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:34 has more serious things to worry about than this, like investigating who put sandpaper on his/her toilet seat.

1/20/2011 2:25 PM  
Blogger Andrew Fong said...

The downside of the changes on financial aid is that, by federal law, financial aid cannot be distributed more than 10 days before the start of instruction. Under the current proposal, that would be on August 19. An earlier OCIP would require 2Ls to come back by August 8, well before financial aid was available, and plop down money for rent deposits, suits, etc.

Moreover, emergency loans from central campus are not available until a week before the term starts. That would be August 15, also well after the start of OCIP.

It's not necessarily a deal-breaker, especially for those not doing OCIP, but it's something to consider.

1/20/2011 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Juggalawyer said...

Just another step closer to Boalt Hall, Inc. First DE ravaged public interest and low income students with the fee increases to bring Boalt more in line with the private schools in the T10. Now he's re-shaping our course schedule to appear more capital-friendly.

1/20/2011 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juggalawyer is a hoax.

1/20/2011 6:47 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown said...

Keep in mind that unlike most decisions made at Boalt, this one hinges on the input of the students. The professors are very likely to vote the same direction as our recommendation. Each professor I have spoken to recognizes the difficulties that come with a changed calendar, but they also admit that with careful planning, the challenges are not insurmountable. On the flip side, if we make a change hastily, and without solving our logistical concerns, we will be scrambling to solve this next year instead of working on the next great crisis that is bound to come down the vacuum tube.

I was very disappointed by the student turnout at the panel, but I do understand that there were other, very important events and meetings at the same time. Students need to chime in as fast as they can with informed opinions, suggestions, and concerns so BHSA can bring their voice to the faculty meeting next week. BHSA intends to provide a unified voice based on the legitimate majority opinion of the students and competent leadership for those who for one reason or another have ignored or do not care about this proposal. Most importantly, I that we need to ensure we proceed with a tone that acknowledges the voice of the student's in the minority.

1/20/2011 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why should we go? isn't that the whole point of BHSA? what are they for then if they are leaving it to us to represent ourselves?

1/20/2011 11:52 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown said...

Student turnout at the panel serves three purposes.

1) It gives the students an opportunity to ask questions directly of the administration. This is (arguably) better than the hyper opinionated goobly gook you will get discussing it with a friend over a beer.

2) It gives the administration a taste of student concerns unfiltered by BHSA.

3) It gives BHSA an opportunity to talk and assess the overriding concerns of the students in a format that is sure to bring out well reasoned opinions. Further, the format allows BHSA to inform the students directly (as opposed to an impersonal and largely unsuccessful e-mail) that there are other opportunities coming soon to help shape BHSA’s position before the faculty meeting.

1/21/2011 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Miles said...

Financial aid mentioned at the lunch meeting that to resolve the financial aid disbursement problem they would be arranging some sort of short-term advance on one's loan to cover expenses associated with OCIP/flybacks/paying rent

1/21/2011 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was f'ed up what you did to rihanna.

1/21/2011 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote that we have OCIP next week to maximize our advantage, why wait all the way to early August? We all know the early bird gets the worm.

1/21/2011 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Shy Ronnie said...

i second 8:59

1/21/2011 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can we get Mindi to send e-mails to alums?

1/21/2011 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone else worried about how this will effect 3Ls who did get a summer job, but who might not get an offer. Is the earlier OCIP going to cause a problem for them?

1/22/2011 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with 1:42. Or what about 2Ls that got jobs, but planned on doing OCIP again to try for a job in a different region?

1/23/2011 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you really are worried about getting no-offered or want a new job, what is stopping you from interviewing for one? Is it that you are lazy and don't want to do OCIP if you are offered, or that your OCIP job will run past OCIP?

I'm not a big fan of the new schedule, but I'm not sure I understand the issue.

1/23/2011 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are probably more official channels to find this out, but maybe someone here knows: How long do we have campus wireless access after we graduate?

1/24/2011 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can we please get a post on how to get mindi to send posts to alums?!

1/26/2011 7:21 PM  

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