The lack of student voices over the length of the summer term has been an ongoing concern of the administration, but a survey offered through the MyCNM website has helped to reach more students on this topic, said Executive Assistant to the President Samantha Sengel.
Eighty-seven percent of students who took the online survey sent out earlier this month by the Executive Council of Students would be affected if the summer term were shortened, according to the survey results.
The survey, which focused on the issue of changing the summer schedule, gave three possible term length options: keeping the calendar the same, having the fall and spring terms remain the same with an eight week summer term or having three 15 week terms, said Sengel.
“We narrowed the options down to three to keep the survey user friendly,” said Sengel.
Opinions were split as to whether an eight week term would be better than the current 12 week term, according to the results.
Some students were concerned about the amount of information that would be taught in a short time period.
“It would force instructors to teach more material in less time, which would make classes more difficult, and also have a negative impact on retention of knowledge,” wrote one student.
Other students see the possible change as giving them a chance to take vacations and spend time with family.
“I think the courses being a little shorter will give me a bit more time with my kids,” wrote one student.
A few of the participants responded positively to a question that asked if students would prefer to see a schedule that aligned with Rio Rancho Public Schools, Albuquerque Public Schools, or UNM. “Having a shorter summer term would correlate with the APS schedule; summer classes are still going on when APS is starting school and I work for APS,” wrote one participant.
Still others suggested to getting rid of spring break as an alternative.
“Not having spring break would be more suitable,” wrote one student.
A few of the students worry that shortening of the summer term for classes like sciences and nursing program courses would make the classes too intense and cause students to fail. Similar concerns were also voiced for the students with special needs and disabilities.
“Computer classes tend to be pretty intensive, so shortening the term would make it even more difficult to understand concepts,” wrote one student.
Many students commented that the shorter term would help prevent burnout.
“The shorter summer session would give students an opportunity to regroup and hit it hard again in the fall and spring,” wrote one student.
Some of the participants worried about a shorter term adding time spent completing their degree or preparing for a transfer.
“Shortening the summer session would make it difficult to complete 12 units of credit and could, therefore, add four or five months to the time it takes to complete an associate degree or transfer to a university,” wrote one student.
The debate over the shortening the summer term has been ongoing since last fall, she said. The survey inlcuded 2,442 students and faculty. The information gathered is very helpful, said Sengel. The survey results will be given to a new calendar committee which will come up with the best solution for most students. There is currently no timeline for a final decision, said Sengel.