Challenges with staffing courses under a 12-3 model

Here’s another logistical issue we’ll need to deal with if we move forward with the 12-3 schedule. It’s a different kind of challenge to staff a three-week course than it is a 15-week course, and with the current low number (at least in recent history) of tenured and tenure-track faculty, it’s likely we’ll need to lean hard on temporary faculty to make a three-week term work. The graph below was part of an analysis I sent to the senior team back in November. I never received a response to that message, although I’ve talked with Frank about parts of it since.

The blue line is just math, 1500 students spread across a variable number of courses. At the right side of the chart, it approaches one class with 1500 students. At the left side, it approaches 1500 classes with one student each. In the area shown, we’re between 150 classes with 10 students each and 37.5 classes with 40 students each. Everywhere on the line, courses times students multiplies out to 1500 total students.

For an intensive semester to work, we are mathematically obligated to be somewhere on the curved blue line, or students won’t be able to graduate in four years/eight semesters (i.e. without summer school or a fifth year). If we find internships or non-Guilford study away opportunities in the 3-week term for 10% of our students (setting aside the cost of administering internships and the potential lost tuition revenue if students took non-Guilford off-campus courses), we might be able to swing the dotted orange line, but that doesn’t change the math much.

The yellow horizontal line reflects the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty we have now, which is around 80. However, in any given year, some of those are on study leave, some are leading study abroad, some are taking family or medical leave, and some have course releases for other work. Also, with our 3-3 teaching load, in a four-course 12/3 setup, we can only count on 75% of faculty to be teaching during the 3-week term, because some faculty will do their three course load as three 12-week courses.

So, we have, at best, tenured and tenure-track faculty able to teach somewhere near the horizontal green line. Everything above the green line will have to be taught through faculty with temporary appointments or with overloads. We may not even have tenured and tenure-track faculty to match the green line, because some faculty meet their load with a combination of lecture and lab courses and won’t have space in their schedule to do a 3-week intensive class, and it’s possible that more tenured and tenure-track faculty may get caught up teaching a full load in the 12-week section to meet departmental or general education needs rather than doing 3-week courses.

The green line crosses the blue line at about an average class size of 28. Most faculty, when they talk about a potential 3-week intensive class, talk about project-based courses, travel courses, special topics, or research opportunities that might engage 5-15 students, like what we saw in January Term, which is shown with the light blue dot. That kind of class is the size that we keep hearing anecdotes about, from Hiram, from Culver-Stockton, and from others who wax poetic about the opportunities of a three-week term. Nobody is talking about the joys and radical benefits of managing a 40-student on-campus intensive course, but for every 10-person class we offer, we’ll have to hire somebody to teach the other 18 students, or add them to another class. The 3-week term just can’t resemble Jan Term. The classes will have to be significantly larger.

So, we either need to have 3-week classes that average 28 students, or we need to add a lot of temporary faculty to the mix. If we go the latter route, I can see a few options to address this math problem, none of which look great. If we want to support a significant number of 3-week courses with 10-15 students, we could:

  1. Have tenured and tenure-track faculty stretch to cover more of these classes after teaching a full semester load during the 12-week, compensated by Guilford’s modest overload pay.
  2. Hire 50-100 full-time adjuncts for a 3-week term to meet student needs. We have about 50 FTE of non-tenure-track faculty now, but more than half of those (and thus well more than half of the people involved) are part time. The 3-week term is supposed to be full-time work.
  3. Change our teaching load to 4-4, mandating the 3-week term for nearly everyone
  4. Create huge (70-120 student) megacourses or other experiences to balance out the small ones.
  5. Hire more tenured and tenure-track faculty

Option 1 is a lot of work. Remember that the 12-week courses, if we do them in a principled and accreditable way, have just as much student contact, just as much graded work, just as much student interaction as a 15-week course. They’re meeting more often per week, for longer classes, with more frequent or longer assignments. That leaves less faculty time for grading, for planning, for preparation, for meeting community partners, and for rounding up resources, and also for service work, research, or professional development and growth. Somebody doing a 3-course load in 12 weeks ought to be way more frantic and burnt out than during a 15-week semester. If three courses over 15 weeks is a 40-hour-per-week job, then doing the same in 12 weeks is 50 hours a week. We’d then be asking faculty to take on an additional full-time 3-week experience after twelve consecutive weeks of overtime.

Options 1 and 2 are expensive. If we pay $4000 per class, either to adjunct faculty or as overload pay for tenured and tenure-track faculty, and we need 50-100 extra classes, then we are spending $200,000-$400,000 for every intensive semester. Some of that we already spend, because we already have temporary faculty and overloads, but given the numbers of courses required, a good chunk of that is new money that we’ll have to find somewhere.

Option 2 also presumes we can find 50-100 qualified instructors in the local job market who are willing or able to take on 3-week full-time jobs which overlap a regular semester period. Some of those folks would presumably be with us for the 12-week and extend to the 3-week, but not all of them would, and even then, there aren’t enough. Frank assures me this kind of recruiting is possible. Even granting that, many of those instructors would not have the benefit of the faculty development work in collaborative learning that we’ll undertake along with this initiative, and those who show up just for a three-week term will likely not have a long-term engagement with our institution and with our majors and programs. Also, if we do this, we would be moving towards, or past, 50% of these showcase courses taught by temporary faculty, which is a far higher percentage than during the regular term and which has associated management, recruiting, and oversight challenges. It also extends Guilford’s reliance on the more exploitative and poorly compensated adjunct faculty market, which I think is a bad thing.

Option 3 is awful, and radically redefines the nature of faculty work at Guilford. If that’s on the table, we should have just done it under the old model and reaped the savings there. It would be better to take on that challenge under a regular model that we know rather than adding that additional burden to a massively disruptive new semester structure, new curriculum, and new pedagogical focus.

Option 4 is a real challenge. It’s hard to imagine what huge courses look like, or how they’d be administered or taught, or how the teachers would be compensated, or how students in such a large course would get the one-on-one contact and guidance we say is our strength and our goal for this program.

Option 5 is the most principled way to do this, with the best likely outcomes, but given that this all is happening in the midst of a budget deficit, I think there’s zero chance it will happen until and unless (and most likely after) the promised enrollment boom occurs.

There may be other options here that I haven’t thought of. I would imagine that each comes with its own challenges. We could also combine these or other approaches. But the fundamental problem here is a mathematical one, and I don’t know the solution.


Here’s an updated version of the graph that fixes the class sizes and numbers for January term, adds earlier January terms, and explicitly includes current numbers of full-time non-tenure-track faculty, assuming that all would teach a three-course load in a 12/3 semester. This is in response to Rob Whitnell’s comment below. Click to make it bigger.





  1. I haven’t made it to the end of Dave’s post yet, but I do want to throw out that one-third of my full time load is a one-credit course (college Choir). In an ideal world that course should have 60 students enrolled. I would love nothing more than to travel with 60 students – this is normal and aspirational for my field, and I’ve never been able to make this happen at Guilford. I’d gladly and joyfully take on 60 students in one section every 3 week term. I assume I’d also have to offer this course with its typical depressing and anemic enrollment during the 12 week as well. Mine is not the only variable credit course that has been woefully underenrolled for years. Granted, this is not the norm, but one faculty courseload can look drastically different from another. I don’t know that we need every faculty member to teach in the 3 week, do we?

  2. Ok, now I’ve read the whole post. Option 4 is not only easy, but beneficial for music and theatre, and we already hire adjuncts (aka guest contract artists) for short, intense periods. A theatre production, between cast, crew, design, props, costumes, etc. can easily engage 70 students without any extra budget for hiring. We use our department budgets to contract guest artists. And like I said, Drew and I would kill to work with large ensembles. Maybe 2-3 “mega-courses” isn’t enough to balance out, but I think it could be. These large group experiences have collaborative learning built in, facilitated by the director.

  3. Hi, Wendy –

    A choir tour with a lot of students sounds awesome, and an excellent use of the 3-week term. I thought of both that and a theater production when pondering these issues, and maybe also a big work project or conference (e.g. on a big topic, like climate change or justice, with a full schedule and invites to students from other local colleges). A work project is only good if it can be organized without negatively impacting the community where the work is done. Large travel classes are great, and a potential answer, provided there is some college funding for the travel (which exists through trustee funding and donors at other schools). Otherwise, our students with high need are unlikely to be able to go, and we’d end up with one of the problems with January Term, where the cool off-campus stuff was only accessible to students with independent resources.

    If we have 10-15 big courses, with 50+ students, that starts to take a lot of the edge off the staffing issue, and I think it’s more workable then. I just don’t know if we have that many big ideas, and if the other courses will stay big enough to keep it working. If we have fifteen courses at 50 students, but eighteen others at 10, then we’re right back in it, and the need for extra staffing is the same as I outlined.

    • Some suggestions:

      1) The 3-week immersives are the Q major’s “6 experiences,” Students need to complete only six blocks to graduate. This means that not all students have to enroll in a three-week block. Seniors, for example, do not (transfer students would operate under different rules). This would reduce the number of students we are dealing with overall.

      2) We reduce the credit hours for these six courses. They are not four-credit experiences. This takes the pressure off a faculty member trying to cram a traditional semester’s worth of work and grading in three weeks with 20 to 60 (using Wendy’s model) students. We lower the number of credits it takes to graduate. Majors might also have to adjust their credit requirements accordingly. Faculty who teach the three-week block still get full credit for their course load.

      3) We tie the 6 experiences to some incredibly exciting idea, so that faculty and students actually want to be part of it, and so that it can accommodate larger courses. An example might be: the Q major becomes the Guilford LOVE (Living Our Values Every Day) Project. Every course and project offered during that time reflects Guilford (and Art & Science) modeling: ethical action, community spirit, and team and collaborative learning. During the LOVE block, we are doing amazing things that reflect our values AND SOME OF THESE ARE VISIBLE BEYOND CAMPUS, so that Guilford LOVE becomes not only part of our brand and name-recognition and recruiting tool, but a force for good. Wendy’s choir, in its red LOVE t-shirts, for example, is also a flash mob of LOVE in a public space, bringing unexpected beauty to our community. Other students, in their red LOVE shirts, are building a Habitat for Humanity house, or a community garden. Guilford LOVE students spend their three weeks learning about oral storytelling and how to record it, and participate in an ongoing, multi-year project called Storying Greensboro. Other classes maybe are not so public, or concentrate on doing good inside Guilford. but all are tied to living our values, whether through business practices, in science, in art, in humanities, in technology, social justice, etc.

      4) To help us do this, we hire not necessarily only traditional adjuncts but practitioners in their fields, and we call them something they would actually like to put on their resumes and would be proud of. Distinguished Visiting Leader (or something). We leverage monies we already have (like the Bryan Series or other speaker funds we have on campus) to bring in experts during the block, and they don’t just pass through for a day. They teach. They lead. They create, here, something they have always wanted to create, but never had a place to do. We give it to them. We advertise. We recruit leaders for this. We spread the LOVE.

      5) T and TT faculty who teach blocks need to be given some perk beyond only having to teach 2 courses during the 12 weeks. Their calendar will be longer than anyone else’s. I am not talking just money and resources. I mean you teach X number of blocks and you earn a course release for the following year. I know that would eat into the number of faculty available to do this work. But we have to be fair. Either that or everybody has to teach a certain number of blocks within a certain period of time.

      6) We tie all of this to the larger discourse of the campus in visible, exciting ways that people, on and off campus, WANT to be a part of. “Come to Guilford. Find your EDGE. Learn what you LOVE.” We tell students: you do a 12-week semester, and then you get to the edge of it . . . and you leap. You leap into the LOVE. You leap into something exceptional.

      That’s all I got for today. Thanks for reading.

      • Mylène, those are awesome ideas that I’d love to talk more about. One note on your #1 and #2 – I think we’ve already cut the 3-week classes to three credits, because four credits (180 student hours) in three weeks is 60 hours of student work per week, and impossible to justify in most settings. With that cut, we can’t also cut students’ participation to six of the eight terms, because that would put us below the SACS limit of 120 credits students need to graduate. It will be very difficult for students to take a four-credit overload in the 12-week session (akin to taking 20 credits now, which almost nobody does, and which hypothetically commits students to 60 hours of work per week if we’re honest with SACS). So, barring summer school, everybody has to take something worth three credits for all eight 3-week terms. The rest of it is really exciting though.

        • Gotcha, Dave. Maybe those six extra credits (over the course of a 4-year degree) could be earned another way? Some students (seniors?) are working on something else? Their signature project? Or designing ideas for future blocks? Get them involved in building the LOVE? Not necessary to solve this, of course, because we could just say everyone has to do 8 blocks. But I’m curious to think about how we could solve it. Seniors become block mentors? Especially to freshmen? Folds into Team Advising.

          • Music majors are carrying 20 credits more often than not. Their 2-credit private lessons put them over 18 without penalty because of the course fee (which pays their teacher, who is often adjunct). I’m optimistic that we will work out these credit issues. Music and theatre majors cobble together schedules with all kinds of 1-2-3 credit courses that balance one on one work with larger collaborative projects. Sometimes they have to take summer classes or take a course through the consortium in order to finish. Sometimes not. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to balance the liberal arts experience with competitive arts training, and it’s not easy, but it’s doable. We can make this work. Maybe we need to examine the margins to see the various shades of gray in our students’ schedules. The catalogue tells one story, but what do our most successful (what that may mean) students really do?

          • Piggybacking on Wendy’s comment below (which the system won’t let me reply to directly): There are lots of ways for students to pick up an extra 1 or 2 credits in a semester, and many students currently do that to stay on track with the 128 credit requirement. I don’t know if devoting so much of the 3 week sessions to the Q major is the way I would want to go, but I certainly don’t want to use SACS as a way to say no to anything without a lot more analysis.

      • I love all your ideas. I do think the credit hours can stay at 4. The reason is the class isn’t traditional. The amount of face time hours with the students increases, and can be spread out between faculty and staff. For instance with the J-term theater production, all the students spent 3 hours every morning with Brian Coleman and I doing tech work (could be considered a “lab”) and then a “straight 6” hours in rehearsal. That’s 45 hours per week in class. Tech students spent the 6 after lunch continuing tech work and/or working on my research. That accounts for 90 hours in the first two weeks, Tech week the hours went up. The rest of the 180 hours is accounted for by their character research, memorizing lines etc.

        I think one thing that needs to be thought about in staffing is that the theatre studies teaching load and the music load seem built for this, but other departments may not be. Team teaching seems ideal for increasing face-time in creative ways, so how does that work more seamlessly into load?

        When I taught Digital Graphic Design in J-term I struggled a little to make the sacs hours for 4-credit because screen fatigue is an issue when teaching software. I put in all-day field trips to help up the face time hours and they ended up being beneficial to the content of the course and the students responded positively to them.

        These are personal anecdotes but I hope they are helpful.

    • But the travel portion doesn’t have to happen. Performing arts can happen just about anywhere and still provide students with a meaningful, interdisciplinary, immersive and community-service experience. And these are not one-time projects. The same set up can happen over and over- with the same 2-3 faculty.

  4. One question we need to decide on is how much of these three-week programs should be reserved for general education, and how much should be used for major programs. To Mylene’s point #1, the conversations we’ve been having in my department are about how we could preserve the integrity of the 12-week courses by sliding some of the material into an immersive, project-based, three-week expansion of the course. So you might spend 12 weeks studying the theory of Quantum Mechanics, and then spend three weeks actually measuring the properties of single sub-atomic particles. Or spend three weeks in creating computer simulations of interesting problems. Somewhat like the example Frank shared in the faculty meeting about what was done at Illinois Wesleyan. However, if we are going to say that the 3-weeks are going to be reserved for gen ed, then that removes that option for our department, and we need to rethink how we use that time (or we only require two physics three-weeks, so they can still get six Q major three-weeks in four years). I can see strengths and weaknesses either way (to Dave’s point, *these* kinds of experiences would only house something like 5-10 students, which means some other course would have to be much bigger), but that’s a conversation we need to have!

  5. Back when I first heard about 12-3, which now feels like ages ago, I was excited. I could easily picture ways to connect 12-week courses with intensive 3-week courses to finish a project in an immersive way. But the more I thought about the logistics of it, including that probably many of us would want our three-week courses connected to a preceding 12-week course, and that students who are taking three 12-week courses in that semester could only take one 3-week course, the more I worried. So a student in my 12-week course who is simultaneously in Don’s 12-week course would have to choose which to complete in the three-week term. Which changes a lot how tightly connected it seems I could treat any 12-week/3-week pairing. (Unless we make the pairings so tightly connected that no one planning to take Don’s 3-week course could take any 12-week course connected to a different 3-week course, which is possible but also complicated and adds additional constraints on student schedules.) And of course there will be students who are eager to take a 3-week course that term that isn’t directly connected to any of the 12-week courses they just took.

    These kinds of issues also seem to potentially put limits on how large at least some of the 3-week courses could possibly be.

    • Maria makes a really good point, and I have the same concern. Our large, collaborative performing arts projects often involve MOSTLY non-majors, meaning at least a few students who would be in a Don or a Maria course for their major might also be long-time members of the college choir.

      I see the benefit of connecting a 12-week course to a 3-week immersive. Maybe we can rotate? Maybe Fall semester could be connected 12-3 experiences, while Spring semester is a time to venture out? I don’t know, but I think we can make it work.

      I don’t want to forget Mylene’s “Find your Center, Feel your Edge” concept that had rotating immersives identified by Centers. I liked that. I also like Damon’s addition that each Center had a Clerk that would represent the Center on Cler’k’s Committee.

    • I would almost invert this idea…how can a 3 week intensive lead to something in the 12 weeks? So students taking an intensive have an opportunity to extend the research in the next 12 week chunk as a 2-credit seminar. Maybe that opportunity is optional? I do think tying too many 3-week experiences to a 12 week as part of a requirement runs into trouble. I imagine it will take us a few years to find the rhythm of this and them more tie-ins can grow?

    • I share Maria R.’s concern regarding enrollment in the 3-week intensive classes. Not only must we consider traditional students pursuing double majors, but we must also consider students who are not pursuing majors at all, e.g. our ECG students.
      As for reorganizing our departments into Centers, I worry about the unintended consequences. If we no longer have departments as such, do we fall into the territory of section 2.721 of the handbook, “Faculty and Committees Involved with Cases of Discontinuance of Program or Department Not Mandated by Financial Exigency”? This section addresses the dismissal of tenured faculty following “the formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction.” We need clarity on the potential ramifications of reorganization before pursuing this path.

  6. (I had started writing this reply before Jane’s email dropped this afternoon. Even though the question of whether we’re doing 12/3 has now been answered, I hope these comments can help us address how we figure out how to do 12/3.)

    I have some issues with the original post. Let me note some that hit me pretty quickly. My general hope is that we can reach a consensus pretty quickly on what faculty resources are needed to offer 12/3.

    First, the blue dot on the figure. I looked at the January Term 2017 course schedule, and after accounting for cross-listed courses, cancelled courses, and student participation in non-Guilford study away, I get 23 courses with an average class size of 13, with course sizes ranging from 4-30. That’s not where the blue dot is. And 2017 is a special case anyway–it was the last one, and it did not offer the Theatre Studies production course, one of the most popular in every other January Term. Using any January Term, and particularly the last one, as a comparison point for 12/3 is problematic.

    Where do full-time temporary faculty fit into this structure? According to the spring 2018 distribution list, we have 85 tenured/tenure-track faculty and 19 full-time faculty who are not on the tenure track. Of that latter group, a number of them have considerable service and a strong commitment to Guilford. So why are we starting with 80 as the starting point of available full-time faculty instead of something closer to 100, like we have now. The post makes a mention of “faculty with temporary appointments,” but limiting the graph to showing only tenure-track faculty doesn’t represent how we currently offer our current schedule in the 15 week semester (each of the 1500 students taking 4 classes).

    So before even getting into questions I have about options 1-5 (which I won’t do here), I’m not yet convinced that this post reflects the actual degree of difficulty in staffing the 12/3 courses. In particular, I need to think about this analysis a lot more before believing we need “50-100 extra classes.”

    And one last question: Has anyone, among the faculty or the administration, anywhere else other than this post, suggested a 4-4 load?

    Of course, if we don’t do something institutionally to address current trends, we’ll see the issues raised in this post fix themselves in a way we really don’t want. The enrollment data for Spring 2018 was made available on the registrar’s GuilfordNet page ( this past Thursday. Here is just one scary result.

    On February 1, 2017, Guilford enrolled 1134 traditional students and 445 CCE students, 1579 total traditional and CCE headcount.

    On February 1, 2018, Guilford enrolled 1057 traditional students and 332 CCE students, 1389 total traditional and CCE headcount.

    We have a 12% drop in traditional and CCE headcount in the past year. So even the assumption that we need to find 3 week classes for 1500 students has been overtaken by events. Whatever we’re going to do, we better find a way to do it really well, really fast.

    • Hi, Rob – I made the original graph back in November, so I had to do a little forensic research to figure out some of the issues you raised. I’ve created a new version of the graph and added it to the post above (can’t put graphs in comments easily).

      With regard to Jan Term:

      — You’re right that I got the Jan Term 2017 numbers wrong. I didn’t remove non-Guilford off-campus courses, and I didn’t combine cross-listed sections. I did that in the graph above and got numbers similar to yours. I didn’t get rid of all overseas courses, because some of those were directed by faculty, and presumably we’d have some of those in the new system.

      — I calculated and added to the graph similar numbers for Jan Term 2015 and 2016.

      The result is to move the Jan Term dot slightly down and to the right, although it still inhabits the same neighborhood of the graph. It’s possible I may still have mischaracterized a couple of the courses – I’m not familiar with the logistics of all of them, and I was going off the Banner listing.

      With regard to faculty numbers:

      I had a number of 80 faculty, which I think was from a distribution list from fall. I bumped that up to your number of 85, and then applied the same ratio I did before (subtracting ten for sabbatical and other leaves, which I think I got from the literal number last fall or last spring, and then multiplying by 75% to take into account a 3/3 load.)

      You asked about including temporary faculty explicitly, rather than just invoking them but not doing any math. A reasonable question and critique. So, I went ahead and added them in using your number of 19 full-time non-tenure-track faculty. The old numbers (tenured and tenure-track only) are now in the dashed lines, and the new numbers are in the solid teal and purple lines. Adding those folks in drops the average class size we can deliver with all current full-time faculty to about 23, rather than 28 if we were just to use tenured and tenure-track faculty.

      We do employ a lot of part-time temporary faculty now, so it wouldn’t necessarily be an added expense to add more to the three-week term from that pool. However, those appointments would need to shift to closer to full-time for the three-week, and not every part-time person can do that for us (e.g. somebody who currently teaches once a week at night). My original point, that if we want to support a lot of classes of around 10-15 students, we would need to hire a significant number (yes, maybe north of 50) additional faculty beyond our tenured and tenure-track faculty, I think still stands. We likely have at least 15 and maybe 40 of those folks already here and ready to go, and we might well be able to find more for a special program, but I think we’re likely to instead see demand for larger classes, closer to the 23 average above.

      Another issue, as yet not really discussed, is that we’ll either need to do something like making all 3-week courses Q-major courses (or some other role, like regular major, or other Gen Ed), or we’ll have to offer a lot of variety to students so they can find something they can take, that’s not full, and that they haven’t already taken. That’s something that’s harder in the more limited set of offerings for a short term than it is in a longer term with three or four times the number of courses available.

      • Oops, forgot one other point. A 4/4 load was mentioned by a faculty member at one of the forums during last fall as a possible solution to this, although it was quickly critiqued. We’ve also discussed it in Clerk’s, and I’ve discussed it with Frank, not as an option anyone is in favor of, but as something within the realm of economic possibility in worst-case settings.

        If faculty were offered the choice of 4/4 (or 4/3) or major cuts to programs and departments, which I’ve definitely heard from leadership as the likely plan if the Edge fails, I don’t know what they’d choose – both are a terrible outcome.

      • Dave in terms of some of the experiences like choir or theatre students may choose to repeat because they would be different or the students may hold a different role…

        I can envision other courses that have a common process but shift focus or partners each time that would be repeatable.

        And if our new vision for the Gen Ed has many less required credits as was envisioned by LAGER, they are free to repeat things they love and that access their learning centers (is that the Q?)

      • Thank you, Dave, for your replies. It helps me see how differing assumptions about who we are as a faculty and what we might do in response to 12/3 can lead to some very different discussions about needs. For example, I’d look at the place where the teal line of full-time faculty available to teach in the three week session crosses the red-dotted line of on-campus student population for that session. And that results in an average class size of 18-19, pretty close to our current average class size.

        In that current average class size, we support classes this semester that range from 3-41 students (just looking at 4 credit courses). Those that aren’t offered by full-time faculty in their normal teaching load are taught through overloads or part-time faculty.

        My conclusion is that options 1, 2, and 4 (with 30-40 student classes, not 70-120) really are things we already do in order to offer our current schedule–we have lots of part-time faculty, many faculty teach overloads. If we’re concerned about those options for the 12/3 schedule, we should be equally concerned about our current practices. And since option 5 won’t be on the table for a while, we’ll have to continue those practices in both 12 week and 3 week until the student population grows.

        So while it’s worth keeping in mind Dave’s analysis and my comments (and the limitations of what both of us are doing), I’d rather see the faculty build sample 12/3 schedules. Let’s see what’s possible, what’s not, and what we’ll have to compromise. We’ve seen ideas from Mylène, Robin, Wendy and others both about possible classes and ways to implement 12/3. But we’ll also need fewer courses in the 12 compared to what we currently have in the 15–which courses will make the cut?

        For example, in the three week session, I can see teaching an upper level required course for chemistry courses (5-8 students), or a course on big data and data visualization (did not make in January Term, but likely much more successful in the context of Q majors, maybe 15 students), or a course on app development in the context of solving large-scale problems (again likely much more successful in 12/3 than in January Term, especially with ECG students participating, so 25-30 students). Balance that against what I wouldn’t be able to do in the 12 week session, and we make a decision about whether and what I should teach in the 3 week session. Repeat for all faculty (and extend it to discussion of the weekly schedule).

        We’ll know what we can and can’t do in the three week term. We’ll know what we can keep and what we’ll potentially lose from our current 15 week schedule. We’ll see where the 12/3 dot on Dave’s graph goes and start to understand what resources will be necessary to move it where it needs to be. And if 12/3 is truly impossible at Guilford without more investment than we’re willing to do, then we’ll have the evidence for that conclusion.

  7. I woke up this morning thinking about implementation and people’s words over taking the reins yesterday. I wonder if we can “take the power back” this way: Gayle Webster brought up more than once the idea of a 12-3, 15. But I think so many people were against the 12-3 this was dismissed as a compromise with something no one thought was really going to happen. So now that 12-3 has happened. Can we recommend an implementation plan that is the 12-3-15? So that 2019-2020 looks like that, which helps us shift courses and curriculum more slowly and with better care? With the idea we go to the 12-3,12-3 the following year (or even two years out). Just a thought.

    • Robin-

      I’ve never been in favor of a 12 week semester.

      The thought of teaching Chemical Principles I or II in a condensed term is not going to go well for most students. I am in favor of including a pre-Fall term, a Jan Term, or a May Term that is INCLUDED as part of the regular academic year. One three week intensive term gives students the option of having one regular term taking 3 courses, rather than 4 for one of their semesters. Or, for our stronger students, they could continue taking 4 courses per 15 week semester and, perhaps, graduate a semester early.

      • Sorry to miss-quote you! I just wonder if any of these ideas were part of something offered to Jane as a bold plan. I feel like I would hear them in faculty meeting but never saw them after. It seems like having our cake and eating it too right? To maintain the 15 week semesters and have the immersives? And people teaching immersives get a course off..maybe id you teach three immersives you get a 15 week semester off to work on research without having to use sabbatical.

        Alternatively if the 12 week is the important part why not a phased-in implementation? I am excited about the 3-week, there’s nothing about the number 12 that makes me feel one way or another, I would be equally excited and inventive in a 15-3 week semester (or 14-3 once you have break)

        • If I recall correctly, Jim Hood’s Avanti proposal was rejected as ‘not bold enough’ and it was a 3ish-14(very ish, I don’t recall very well there at all)/15. I dunno what grounds it was rejected as not bold enough, but as far as I understand it did get presented.