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).