Final Exams Resolution Passes Senate Unanimously

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There has been a lot of discussion over the issue of the academic calendar and exams on December 23rd. Today the Senate passed a resolution aimed at resolving some of the problems by allowing students to reschedule December 23rd exams. Dane Cook was Bwog’s man in the room.

This is what the University Senate looks like when PrezBo is there.

The Columbia University Senate convened this afternoon in the august World Room of the Journalism School for the last plenary session of the year. The session began by noting the absence of Provost Steele and President Bollinger (who has been called away “on business” to Washington D.C.), but Senate Chair Sharyn O’Halloran offered reassurance of the administration’s commitment to cooperation and involvement with the Senate and that their attendance will be encouraged in the future.

Among the range of topics addressed during the session, several stand out for their potential implications for students:

• Graduating seniors who have not yet landed permanent employment should take solace in the fact that the Alumni Relations Committee intends to focus its efforts on the development of career services for alumni. Currently, little to no such services exist, and the committee expressed the need to broaden resources and enhance communication.

• The budget review was resoundingly positive. Have no fear; the endowment is in good hands.

• The Information and Communications Technology Committee reported its findings from a recent survey regarding the effectiveness of technology throughout Columbia. Though still sorting through approximately 4,000 survey responses, the committee is particularly interested in the use of eReaders and hopes to cut down the University’s paper consumption in the near future. Also, Committee Chair Julia Hirschberg expressed support for a new system to replace Courseworks and noted the much-needed improvement of Columbia’s webmail interface, which she described as “awful.” CubMail, awful? You don’t say!

The issue of the day, however, was the resolution regarding finals scheduling. The resolution proposes a petitioning process for students who cannot stick around until December 23rd to attend a final exam. The new process piggybacks off of the procedure already in place for students to reschedule if they have more than two exams on one day. The resolution states as follows:

“No student at Columbia University shall be required to take a final examination on December 23rd of any year or later if such exam administration would present undue hardship.”

Chair Elect of the Student Affairs Committee Tao Tan (CC ’07, CBS ’11) was certainly pleased with the result. “This is a win for students,” he said.

But figure out your final schedule early: to reschedule an exam, you must submit a petition by December 1st, which must then be approved by the faculty member involved and your dean. Although this process may prove inconvenient, don’t fret over approval; the resolution states, “…there will be a strong presumption that the rescheduling request will be granted.”

Although more academic calendaring issues still loom on the horizon, it seems students have won this round.

The resolution can be viewed here (PDF).

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  1. ttan  

    The resolution also states that the Registrar will publicize the final exam schedule as soon as possible (the preliminary schedule is available before the start of classes, but it's usually shifted a bit after the add/drop period). We didn't explicitly define "as soon as possible", but after discussions with the Registrar, it looks like October 1 of any given year is a reasonable date.

    So, long story short, if you live anywhere that involves a plane, you can book your ticket on October 1. You can also submit your petition on October 1, too. Finally, in all practical respects, getting your professor to approve it is all you need. Your dean will only step in if the faculty member doesn't accommodate you. All faculty members we spoke to said they would be accommodating, but we put that in there to further protect students.

  2. but  

    the 22nd is fair game.

    didn't fix anything imo

  3. narayan  

    how does this solve the study days problem?

    • senator

      it doesn't - it solves the dec 23rd problem, which is the only problem outlined in the 1,600 signature petition delivered to the senate in january (which didn't even have the words "study day" in it). study days is still an issue, and it will be addressed in the future, but fixing problems at CU is done one step at a time, and this makes sure nobody THIS YEAR has to fly home on Xmas eve.

  4. Replace Courseworks?

    How many years has Sakai been in development now?

  5. Anonymous

    What's all this noise outside right now??

  6. true story


  7. Anonymous  

    So you all were completely ignorant about everyone else's related complaints? You basically solved one of the symptoms of a larger problem: starting after Labor Day. We want more study days, and we want to get out of school well before Christmas. The idea of getting even two or three days before is still shocking to me.

  8. hmm

    lee bollinger is away \on business\ to dc?

    supreme court interview much?

    • umm

      I will happily toss your salad if it turns out he's being interviewed for SCOTUS.

      Remember: the man also sits on the board of directors for the Washington Post Company and runs a major research university with obvious interest in the legislation, regulation, grants, etc. coming out of DC.

      So I don't think it's too much of a stretch to imagine the Ahmadinejad-inviting, quota-defending, ACLU-hearting president of University of Havana North (just running down the inevitable GOP talking points) is down there on business other than a supreme court nomination.

      (Also, if that were the real reason, I'm guessing he'd come up with better cover than 'business in DC'.)

  9. senators  

    are probably patting themselves on the back now. what the hell does this change? i am still miffed that i lose my study time and still have to shave down the number of days for taking finals. you don't get any thanks from me, senate.

  10. official protestor count

    according to Facebook: 171 (with pitchforks and banners)

    official protestor count according to reality: 7

    and you wonder why no one takes you seriosuly. c'mon, get your act together!!!

  11. Bollinger is not SCOTUS material  

    Obama's leaning towards someone who isn't Ivy-educated

  12. Anonymous  

    Screw the 23rd issue. WE WANT AN ACTUAL READING WEEK. Not a reading-3 days

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