University to require more 8 a.m. classes

In an effort to create a more fair balance between morning and afternoon classes, Marquette’s Office of the Registrar is requiring Marquette’s academic departments to schedule additional 8 a.m. classes.

John McAdams, a professor in the department of political science, has written about this issue on his blog since February. McAdams said the additional 8 a.m. classes are unnecessary because of the dozens of classrooms open for use later in the day.

McAdams said the main issue for professors is teaching an 8 a.m. class to a handful of students, and then on the walk back to their office noticing numerous unused classrooms at 9 a.m.

“This spring, before they started demanding more classes at 8 a.m., they had plenty of free classrooms later in the day floating around,” he said.

McAdams, with the help of his research assistants, said he discovered more than 70 classrooms not being used this semester in the 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. slots on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 40 classrooms free for use in the 9:30 a.m. and the 12:30 p.m. slots on Tuesday and Thursday.

However, the university is disputing McAdams’ figures.

Provost John Pauly said almost all of the classrooms McAdams cited in his research cannot be used for lecture-based classrooms. He said many of the classrooms do not have the technology required by teachers to show videos to their students, or simply are not big enough for use.

Pauly also said a substantial portion of the vacancies are due to language courses meeting four days a week, leaving the classroom open on the fifth day, and large lecture courses meeting twice a week and needing numerous additional classrooms for their Friday discussion period.

“Classroom scheduling is not an exact science, and each choice we make involves a trade-off competing priorities,” Pauly said.

McAdams, however, does not believe Marquette’s assertions about his research.

“They simply want a lot of extra capacity so if a professor needs a bigger room for his class early in the semester, (the university) can easily find a bigger room,” he said.

He also rejects Pauly’s explanation of the Friday discussion periods.

“If they’re going to force some stuff at 8 a.m, why not put the Friday discussion there?” McAdams said.

Not all professors are fighting against the increase in earlier classes, however.

Gary Meyer, associate dean in the College of Communication, oversees course scheduling for the college. Meyer said he prefers to teach classes early in the morning, and places high importance on using classrooms at all times during the day.

“By teaching at 8 a.m., I can lead by example,” Meyer said in an e-mail.

Charles Breeden, a professor in the department of economics, said student complaints about waking up early don’t reflect their real-world pursuits.

“I’ve observed over the years that the same students who complain bitterly about 8 a.m. classes seem to have no trouble getting up for their 8 a.m. internships,” Breeden said.

James Courtright, a professor in the department of biological sciences, said he does not mind teaching at 8 a.m., but he does believe early classes affect some people in a negative matter.

“My guess is that many professors and students do not do well at heavy duty thinking and concept analysis at 8 a.m.,” Courtright said in an e-mail.

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