Plan to Change Lang Schedule Pushed Back
After an announcement in the fall semester that the bell schedule (class times and lengths) at Lang would be changing in the fall of 2011, the university has pushed back its implementation for one year after administrators realized that a longer planning period was needed prior to the transition.
The Lang administration announced the change last October as part of an effort to integrate the divisions of the university. Within weeks, Lang professors began to rework their class plans to accommodate the changes.
At a February 10 Lang faculty meeting, Dean Stefania de Kenessey gave an update on the bell schedule change. "I indicated that the new president, David Van Zandt, is committed to finding a common bell schedule for the university; that he was even hoping that it might be possible to institute such a thing as of this coming fall," de Kenesey wrote in an e-mail. "[B]ut that we (and he) realized that the project of putting not only Lang and Parsons, but also [New School for General Studies] and [New School for Social Research] on shared or adjacent schedules will take some more time to figure out."
Senior academic leadership, which includes the deans and the provost, decided to delay the change until fall 2012, forcing the Lang faculty to change their course plans once again, reverting to the old schedule, except for a few classes.
"Faculty who teach at Lang have been working on this project and will be piloting next fall," wrote Vice Provost Elizabeth Ross in an e-mail. The Lang dean's office has not yet decided which classes will be testing the new bell schedule.
Ross sees standardizing the bell schedules as a way to enrich undergraduate education. "Standardizing the bell schedule is one important step towards scheduling courses across the university that opens up our curricula to more students," Ross wrote in an e-mail to the New School Free Press. "There is so much going at The New School, it is in everyone's interest for the breadth of intellectual experiences here to reach interested students."
When the new schedule is implemented, classes will be shorter but carry the same amount of credits. The decrease in time spent in class will be made up for with an online component. The online component remains a matter of uncertainty, and for many on the faculty, a matter of debate. "Part of the implementation is to create a process through the faculty curriculum committee and deans' offices to create guidelines to assist faculty in developing the hour outside the class," said Ross.
Despite the criticism, the university administration is convinced that the schedule change will benefit the university. Administrators, though, recognize the hurdles ahead. "With such a large institution, with such a variety of divisions, each representing a distinct type of educational mission, it is not so simple to get all the programs to share common beginning and end times for their classes," de Kenessey explained in an e-mail. "But we are getting closer and closer to a workable and smart solution."