After over a week’s worth of cancelled classes, Florida Southern finally looked like a college campus again on Monday, as students were bustling about, getting back into the swing of their class schedules in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The storm brought unprecedented damage to the Polk County region, and FSC’s faculty and staff were proactive about returning the campus to normalcy as efficiently as possible.
Now, with campus power restored, debris cleared, dorms reopened and major campus events rescheduled, a bigger question must be answered. How will the recent school closures affect FSC’s academic calendar?
Dr. Kyle Fedler, FSC Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs, has been communicating with FSC’s faculty and staff to find the most feasible way to make up for the lost academic school days. Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes lost four academic class sessions and Tuesday, Thursday classes lost three sessions.
“Given how many days we’ve missed, we had to begin exploring our options,” says Dr. Fedler. “We don’t have to make up every single minute we’ve missed, but our goal is to make sure students are getting what they’re paying for.”
The school’s final decision is to reserve Saturday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 18 as optional make-up academic class days. Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes will meet on Nov. 4, while Tuesday and Thursday classes are scheduled to meet on Nov. 18. These Saturday class sessions will allow FSC faculty members to gain back lost class time if needed, while also ensuring Thanksgiving and Fall break aren’t shortened.
“We looked at shortening Fall break, but people already have established travel plans and we’ve got Junior Journey trips scheduled. We recognize that this has already been a huge disruption for people and it’s costly, so we’re trying to make up the days on Saturdays when and where we can,” says Dr. Fedler.
This is not the first time Florida Southern has had to hold Saturday classes in the wake of a major storm. The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season brought a series of severe hurricanes that caused Florida Southern students to be out of classes for weeks. However, unlike in the past, FSC faculty members are now able to take advantage of online opportunities to make up for lost time. In fact, many faculty members have already begun adding extra portal assignments, adjusting their syllabi and condensing coursework in order to avoid having to hold class during one of the Saturday sessions.
Some students have expressed concern about not being able to fit a Saturday class into their schedules in the event that their professors choose to take advantage of the extra days; however, given the complexity of the circumstance, the FSC faculty are prepared to be flexible.
“We’re not requiring it, but we’re encouraging it. We know some students may have other commitments that will prevent them from being able to make a Saturday class session, but we’re going to do what we can,” said Dr. Fedler.
Faculty members may or may not take advantage of these available Saturday class times depending on the specific needs of their class. Students who would like more information about the scheduled Saturday class sessions are encouraged to contact their academic professors.