Administration considers moving to four-day workweek

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The college would be open, but classes will not be offered.

By Emily Rodriguez

erodriguez734@student.alamo.edu

A proposal to eliminate Friday classes by making a four-day workweek was discussed with Student Government Association officers Oct. 29 and is being considered by the college executive team.

The Student Government Association officers learned of the proposal during a briefing with the college administration. SGA meets with President Robert Zeigler; Robert Vela, vice president for student and academic success; and David Mrizek, vice president of college services, to be briefed on current issues, so they can discuss it during their regular meetings.

Andrew Hubbard, SGA president and business administration freshman, said in an interview Sunday the association will not decide on a stance on the proposal until it has been discussed at a regular meeting and surveys have been conducted.

The proposal was discussed at the Nov. 4 meeting of SGA.

Zeigler said in an interview Nov. 1 the proposal is in its preliminary stages and nothing has been decided.

“It’s something that we were looking at, but we haven’t even thoroughly discussed it with department chairs,” he said. “If we do, it would be Monday-Wednesday, Tuesday-Thursday schedule.”

Zeigler said the reason behind the proposal is to give students Fridays off to study and would allow faculty to have meetings and work on professional development.

“I’m not sure if the (proposed) scheduling is workable. I’m not sure we have the space during the four days to compress stuff. There’s just a lot that we need to work out. It’s just a thought,” he said.

The idea has been talked about for years, but is now getting a closer look to see if it can be implemented, he said. “It’s just a thing that we had decided after we had talked about it. There was no magic moment. We just decided that it was time to see if we could possibly do it,” he said.

The change would not save the college money because the college and services would still be open, but classes would not be offered.

The proposal will be discussed throughout the spring semester by the college executive team and the department chairs.

Once a plan is in place, the board of trustees must approve.

“We do a four-day week in the summer. Some departments have their classes on a four-day schedule because of the nature of the way the classes or the disciplines work. All of those things would come after we make a decision, but we’re not there yet,” Zeigler said.

English Chair Mike Burton said Thursday the four-day workweek would be detrimental to the English department’s students.

The department is teaching four-hour courses to accommodate changes in developmental English and reading courses.

Burton said if the college switches to a four-day workweek, English flex classes will have to meet two days a week for three hours and 20 minutes.

If the college remains open as it is now, flex classes can still meet three times a week for two hours and 15 minutes a class.

Burton said although the four-day workweek could give students more flexibility to balance work and school, it would not be a good idea to give students a three-day weekend every weekend.

Business Chair Val Calvert said in an interview Nov. 7 moving to a four-day week would be a good idea because of the high rate of student absenteeism on Fridays.

Most classes within the business department are scheduled for Monday-Wednesday, Tuesday-Thursday schedule.

“Students are our clientele or customers, you have to look at what they’re telling you. What they’re showing you is that they don’t want to be here on Fridays,” Calvert said. “When you’re serving a segment of society we have to base our services and products on their aspirations, not necessarily our own.”

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