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A recent re-accreditation report by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges has ranked Brown ahead of many of its fellow institutions — Brown "may be the best among its peers in scheduling classes five full days a week," according to the report.

Students needn't worry about the report's final verdict — Brown was re-accredited with flying colors. But they can worry instead about working up the energy to attend class every weekday while their peers at other institutions may be sleeping in.

Although the association's evaluators did not go into further detail, Brown's "full five days a week" schedule may differentiate the University from its peers, according to Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of external relations of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

"Many institutions avoid scheduling classes on Fridays because students and faculty like having three continuous days off," Nassirian wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Students might not like the idea of waking up at 9 a.m. on a Friday, but resource constraints and the exigencies of the New Curriculum may make class-free Fridays a poor fit for Brown.

The system largely has to do with classroom space, said University Registrar Michael Pesta.

"There's a tendency in most universities for classes to be clumped in the middle of the day in the middle of the week," he said. "The problem is we simply don't have enough classrooms."

Assigning a room to fit each course's needs is a difficult process, Pesta said — one that would be nearly impossible if professors could choose any meeting time.

"If you clump your courses then you limit students' abilities to take all the courses that they want," he said. "So the other benefit is giving the students the opportunity to build a schedule for themselves that fits their educational plan."

As a result, the registrar requires that departments spread class offerings evenly over all available time slots. "Friday becomes a necessary component of that principle," Pesta said.

Some students at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, on the other hand, reported having scheduling systems that allow weekends to begin Thursday evening.

"It is totally possible for you to have the bulk of your classes on Tuesday/Thursday," wrote Emily Leitner, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, in an e-mail to The Herald. "I know people have Wednesdays off and Fridays. Your schedule is up to you — all you have to pay attention to is major or requirement guidelines."

Genevieve Irwin, a student at Princeton, said, "I don't have Friday class and am loving it."

"I get a three-day weekend and a day to sleep in and organize all I have to do over the next two days," she added.

But, according to Nassirian, critics of Monday-through-Thursday weeks say it leads to under-utilization of costly campus facilities.

Some have questioned "whether the extra day off is put to particularly good use, particularly by students who allegedly simply start their weekend parties earlier," Nassirian wrote.

Of course, there's nothing to stop some Brown students from starting their weekends early, too.

Timothy Peacock '12 agreed, saying, "I'm pretty sure that (my professor) in Chem 33 used to joke that Friday classes were smaller because people had a higher concentration of alcohol in their system," he said.

"I have a seminar 3 to 5:30 on Fridays," said Alexander Luedtke '12. "I go maybe once or twice a month."

But whether or not some students skip Friday class, two long-serving faculty members consider the scheduling system a good one.

Professor Emeritus of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine and Professor of Computer Science Andy van Dam each said they do not see a decrease in student attendance at the end of the week. The drop off, they said, comes right before the holidays, when students head home early.

"My attitude toward dealing with students has always been, ‘This is Brown,' which is shorthand for ‘students are in charge of their own fate,'" van Dam said. "They make their own decisions and I'm here to facilitate."

He said when he was in school, he attended classes six days a week, including Saturday mornings at 8 a.m.

"I think five days a week with classes not before 8 a.m. — that's pretty cushy," he added.


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