As registration week rolls around again, students have searched class schedules for their favorite professors and topics. Dr. Atto will be lecturing in his simple yet eloquent style on Vietnam, whilst Dr. Crider expounds on the centrality of the Trivium in education and Dr. Hanssen illuminates “The Education of Henry Adams.”
However, one cannot help but feel torn, for all of these classes are at 8 a.m. Thoughts of half-conscious lectures fill one’s mind as one tries to decide between sleep and one’s favorite professor or topic.
But why don’t we ever stop to ask why we need to have classes at 8 a.m. at all? Perhaps because we simply assume that the schedule just has to be that way. But does it have to be that way?
One reason could be that the UD administration is providing us with the lesser of two evils. If not at 8 a.m., these classes would probably have to meet in the afternoon at 2 or 3 p.m., a time when most students would rather not be in class. After all, who doesn’t find it hard to focus in class on Friday afternoon? But, though afternoon classes are not ideal, they are certainly much more bearable than 8 a.m. classes. As most students would agree, getting to Music on the Mall one hour later once a week beats uncontrollably nodding off during lectures three times a week.
Another possible reason is that having these classes during the afternoon would not leave time for office hours. True, an afternoon class may prevent afternoon office hours, but it would not keep a professor from having office hours at another time. In fact, if he had time for office hours with a class at 8 a.m., then he would have time for office hours with a class at 2 p.m. After all, his total time commitment would remain unchanged, since his class load would have been simply rearranged, not increased.
Perhaps the most compelling reason is that there are no free classrooms in the afternoon for these extra classes. Anecdotally, however, that does not seem to be the case. Walking through Gorman Lecture Hall and the Science Building in the early afternoon in past semesters, I have consistently noticed at least a handful of dark, empty classrooms – some of which I have used as study spots.
The current schedule corroborates this observation. It indicates that Gorman Lecture Rooms A, B and C are all free after 12:50 p.m. on MWF with one exception. A closer look at classrooms in Carpenter and the Science Building would probably reveal equally many empty rooms.
Perhaps there are other reasons why we should have classes at 8 a.m. of which we are simply unaware. For example, it is possible that Dr. Atto, Dr. Hanssen and Dr. Crider all prefer early-morning classes. If that’s the case, then we should drop the issue now. But if not, why maintain an unpopular policy which could be avoided?
Certainly, it is too late for changes this semester. But perhaps with enough chatter and even a few emails to the powers that be, we can channel our current frustration to the constructive end of changing next year’s policy.