March 13, 2017
After 18 months of review, research, and discussion, I am pleased to report that we have a new administrative policy that establishes the basic characteristics of the RIT Academic Calendar. These characteristics include such fundamentals as the number of weeks in a semester, our breaks during and between semesters, and our commitment to the success of our students. This is a real advancement of the university.
One of the most compelling aspects of this policy, which can be found here, is that it enables the university to publish calendars five years in advance. This means that students and parents can see 5 years in advance and make plans accordingly. As a parent myself, I know that this is a real benefit and I would appreciate the university for having this foresight.
The policy also enables the university to embrace more of a trimester model. Why is this important? We have seen that after converting to semesters, more students gravitated to co-ops that took place in the summer. There is nothing wrong with this per se, except that it is far more challenging for students to secure co-ops during the summer due to the increased competition for such positions. It also means the distribution of students on campus is focused more on the traditional fall and spring semesters; in the quarter system, RIT managed to balance the students on campus across all the fall, winter, spring and summer quarters. Under the new set of characteristics, summer will be at least 12 weeks long and now students will be able to take a full load of courses. So if a student chooses a fall or spring co-op, they can use the summer semester to stay on course for on-time graduation, assuming the courses are offered. I expect that we will see a rebalancing of on-campus and off-campus students throughout the full calendar year.
There are other characteristics that indicate we are headed in the right direction but for me, it's all about the students. And this is what I believe: this new calendar empowers students to plan for their future and increases their potential to succeed. How can we not feel a bit proud for RIT?