‘Dead Week’ not likely for Marquette students

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Marquette students may want or need more time between the final week of classes and final examinations, but there’s not much hope of that in the near future.

Although some universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, designate a weekday between the end of classes and examinations as a “study day” to give students a brief reprieve from class before exams, Marquette operates on a tighter academic schedule that designates Fri., Dec. 9 as the last day of class with an immediate beginning of final examinations on Mon., Dec. 12.

Provost John Pauly said the university does not plan on adding study days to the academic schedule.

Pauly said universities go back and forth about having study days before final exam weeks and that giving students breathing room before exams has both its positives and negatives.

“There is always a trade-off when you add study days,” Pauly said. “It lengthens the time that students are on campus and then often universities have exams on weekends.”

Pauly said adding study days would be especially difficult for the fall semester because of the holidays.

Pauly said no group of students or faculty has asked for a change in the policy. He said if a group were to come forward, the policy would then be reconsidered.

Although Marquette does not have any study days, one university provision states that “no major examinations are to be given during the last week of classes.”

Pauly said the policy is in place to prevent students from being under “undue pressure” before the final exam week. It is also intended to keep instructors from canceling class periods that should be used to teach material.

“We want students and faculty to take advantage of the full semester,” Pauly said.

Pauly said the latest revision of the policy was in February 2010. At that time, two changes were made: no students should be required to take more than three final examinations in one day, and CheckMarq was designated as the “official repository of grades.”

Pauly said preventing major examinations from being taken during the week before finals week is a rule and should be treated as such by teachers.

“What I really want people to do is to follow the policy,” Pauly said.

Anne Deahl, associate vice provost for academic support programs and retention, said everyone at the university needs to adhere to the policy of no exams the week before finals.

Deahl said although the policy covers the entire university, each college decides how it wants to deal with instructors who violate the exam policy.

“We don’t want students losing out on instruction,” Deahl said.

Students said not all instructors abide by the final examination policy outlined by Pauly.

Taylor Baar, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he had a major exam scheduled for the week before finals.

“I wish I didn’t have it,” Baar said. “I still have a cumulative test next week … it’s kind of a hassle.”

Students said they would use and appreciate extra study days before final examinations.

Ellie Dorsey, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she thinks many students would use the time to study for exams, but others might not utilize the time as efficiently.

“It would be valuable time that I would use, but there will always be students who will use the time to party,” Dorsey said.

Jack Sullivan, a freshman in the College of Business Administration,  said extra study time isn’t necessary.

“It would be a nice mental break,” Sullivan said. “But I don’t think it would improve my performance on finals.”

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