Members of the University’s faculty and administration discussed a proposed change to the first-year orientation and move-in schedule at the last faculty meeting of the semester Dec. 7. Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy, also reported an increase in asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the weeks following Thanksgiving Break.
In the meeting, faculty passed a motion to extend the pilot period on the University’s revised first-year orientation schedule for a third year. Announced in 2020, the updated program shifted first-year move-in day and Academic Advising Day to the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day weekend respectively, increasing the University’s orientation program from four to six days. Prior to the change, the University had the shortest orientation program within the Ivy League.
Dean of the College Rashid Zia ’01 spoke in favor of the scheduling change.
An earlier registration day “allowed colleagues in my office to make personal dedicated outreach to more than two dozen students who weren't able to successfully register (for courses)” prior to Labor Day weekend, Zia said. “These would have been students that would have gone into the first week of the shopping period and had real challenges not knowing what their courses were … (and) needing additional support. It really does allow students to put their academics first.”
Faculty had initially proposed a motion to make the scheduling shift permanent, but some faculty members were concerned about the timing of the orientation program. This led to the proposal of a new motion that only extended the revised program for an additional year.
Amanda Jamieson, associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, explained that the new orientation schedule creates timing issues for undergraduate advisors also dealing with graduate student retreats and advising. Other faculty members expressed concern over colleagues who are parents or who receive payment on a monthly basis who have to work on a day in August outside of the academic year.
Ross Cheit, professor of political science and international and public affairs, expressed that a decision should not be made before faculty have been properly “involved or surveyed … as to how this (change affects) them.”
“I appreciate the two dozen students who were helped by this process,” Cheit said, “but I think every person I've talked to in my department considers this a change that was undesirable and really infringed on their summer.”