It’s been a month since this semester started, but it’s felt like ‘forever’ since we’ve been at school. However, it wasn’t too long ago that I was hearing the same about winter break’s length. Why are our breaks so long? I’ve wondered about this since freshman year when I realized that, by the last two weeks of winter break, I didn’t have many ‘home’ friends left to hang out with because they’d gone back to school.
So I did some research to figure out why we have so much vacation time and found that the creation of our academic calendar is more complicated than I had anticipated. It’s created through a years-long process that involves a wide variety of stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, and students. Vacation days aren’t the only thing that must be taken into account; we need to have enough time for class meetings and exam prep, with a balance that makes everyone content. The reality is that there are many complex interests involved in the process and striking the right balance is difficult.
Making the Calendar
Academic Affairs and the Education Policy Committee (EPC) (a committee comprised of six faculty members, two WSA members, and one graduate student) update the academic calendar every five years—most recently last year. This process usually begins a couple years before the year it is updated.