Upcoming class schedules could introduce Fridays

Written By Hayley Keys, For The Globe

Point Park students may be adding Fridays to their weekly schedule of classes in the near future, according to university administrators. The change is being considered due to a lack of available classroom space during popular class times.

However, some students have expressed concern that the change would be an inconvenience to their schedules and are reluctant to accept the idea.

“I would not like a class on Friday,” Evan Laurent, a freshman broadcast production major, said. “I would like another day for work or to work on school assignments.”

According to Spencer Scott, one of the university’s registrars, said the odds of this change happening anytime soon is about 15 percent and the earliest anything would happen wouldn’t be until 2022.

“No one wants to teach at eight o’clock in the morning,” Scott said. “So between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. our space is really, really tight.”

But it’s not just the teachers who want to sleep in. Many students purposely schedule classes later in the day, which makes it difficult to fit everyone in for the class times they want.

Scott explained that many of the classrooms are unused on Fridays, as most non-conservatory students do not have class. While three-hour long classes do occur on Friday, there are not enough classes to make efficient use of the space.

According to Scott, this isn’t a matter of lack of space. The real problem is with how the time slots are laid out and how the classrooms are put to use.

The university is also considering how much of the day they want to use for classes. One idea is to make Monday and Wednesday classes an hour long and then add another hour of class time on Friday, so that students still get the standard three hours a week per class. Another thought is to only have classes scheduled until 3 p.m. on Fridays.

Jonas Prida, the Assistant Provost of Point Park, said there is talk about making Wednesdays the “new Fridays” in order to prevent students from skipping class.

Scott claimed that the main goal behind the ideas is to change how time is spent to get the best experience for the student body and the faculty.

Adding another day onto the teaching week could also help make room for more faculty meetings and club meetings. Currently, Monday afternoons serve as the time slot for these activities. For example, the United Student Government has legislative body meetings at 3 p.m.

Another reason for the change is the university’s goal to prepare students for the work world and having Fridays off could cripple a student’s motivation.

Behind this reasoning, Scott cited one of his previous jobs at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

“Many of [the students] went to college, graduate school and started teaching,” Scott said. “Having a day off or Friday off was what they were used to,” Scott says. “It was harder to make something like that work.”

Prida said his hope is that a five-day week would bring in an influx of students aged 18 to 24 years old, so the university can grow its programs.

“If you can even have a steady rate where you add maybe only 10 students a semester, you’ve just added 30 more students,” Prida said. “Having more classes available allows us to break classes down so instead of 25 people, you can have 12.”

Jehnie Burns, a history professor at Point Park, agreed that the class size, especially for writing intensive classes or production classes, is imperative to student success.

“I don’t think there is really anyone who wants to move to 60 or 70 student lecture classes,” Burns said. “That’s just not what Point Park is.”

According to Scott, the university has not had “specific Friday classes for a long time,” and that changing that culture could take some time and student pushback is expected.

Sean Martin, a freshman global cultural studies major, commutes in order to save money, using the bus to travel to school twice a day.

“Having class on Friday would require me to pay $5 more a week in order to make it to class,” Martin said.

Martin also works at Ice Castle in Castle Shannon on the weekends. He works anywhere from 20-22 hours a weekend, which leaves him little free time.

“I would not like Point Park making Friday classes the norm because it would make it more difficult for me to balance work with school,” Martin said. “I would have severely less time to do my school work.”

Martin also said that his previous classes were not big and had approximately 20 students in them.

“The university could increase the class size a little bit in order to increase space,” Martin suggested.

Administrators disapproved of increasing class sizes because they believe one of Point Park’s perks is having smaller class sizes.

Natalie Brandt, a sophomore undeclared major who, like Martin, does not want Point Park to add Fridays into the weekly schedule.

Unlike Martin, who only has a 15-minute commute, Brandt’s trip is an hour each way.

“For me, once I commute downtown I would like to get in as much as possible before I commute home again,” Brandt said. “I have no problem with longer classes.”

Another group of students who would be affected are those in the athletic program. Scott pointed out that athletes sometimes leave on Friday mornings for games or matches that take place on Saturday. Having class on a day that is consistently missed would be pointless for both the student and the professor.

Julius Thomas, a freshman cinema production major who runs cross country and track, opposes the idea of having class on Friday.

“I definitely think they shouldn’t [hold Friday classes], because sometimes you have meets on Friday or you have to leave Friday for a game on Saturday so you miss class,” Thomas said. “Also with just practice and stuff, an extra class is the last thing someone would want.”

When Scott presented his idea to some of the full-time faculty, he said the reaction was split 50/50 with those in favor and those against. He also mentions that many of the faculty have experience working outside of the university, so they are most likely used to working on Fridays.

“We’re not going to force the students to take a course on a Friday,” Prida said. “But there will certainly be faculty and students who want to take opportunities, and then hopefully we can start having some courses on Friday.”