Some faculty members are worried students will suffer the consequences of a shortened summer session which will save NIU nearly $400,000.
At Wednesday’s University Council meeting, NIU President John La Tourette said summer classes will begin on June 24 and run for six and a half weeks, instead of the usual eight-week session which would have begun on June 15.
This one-year change will place six days of the session on fiscal year 1993’s budget, cutting back FY 92 budget costs.
“My worst fear is if we started on June 15, we would have a $394,000 problem in the last minute of the fiscal year,” La Tourette said.
University Council Executive Secretary J. Carroll Moody said the six days faculty members do not teach will save NIU a “tremendous amount of money.”
However, in order to teach students the same amount of time, classes that meet four times a week will meet 20 minutes longer this summer.
Physics Department Chairman Richard Preston said he believes the increased class time will put more strain on students. “It’s going to be harder on them,” he said.
Because the physics department also teaches two four-week summer classes, the crunched class time will make it difficult for students, he said.
Faculty members should be allowed to volunteer to teach the regular schedule and receive the same amount of payment, Preston said.
At the UC meeting, La Tourette said some exceptions might be made, but contracts cannot be issued for June 24 if faculty begins teaching on June 15. “We can’t operate that way,” La Tourette said.
“I’m sorry, you could if you wanted to,” Preston said.
La Tourette recommended Preston speak with Legal Counsel George Shur. Shur was unavailable for comment.
“I’m afraid you’ve got the tail wagging the dog here,” Preston said. “When can we see the legal counsel and talk?”
Provost Kendall Baker said he would “be happy to” look at the issues Preston raised, and added that some exceptions might be made.
Computer Science Department Chairman Rodney Angotti said he applauds the decision La Tourette made, but his program will be affected negatively because of the new plan and recent budget cuts.
Computer science classes will suffer “tremendous” instructional problems, he said, adding that science and technology courses will have the most problems.
“Students will be forced to understand more things at one time,” he said. “They won’t get the chance to go out and do things (between class meetings),” he said.
The computer science department has a limited admission program and students depend on the summer classes to get the classes they need, Angotti said.
“Any change in summer school causes major problems,” he said. “We’ve got to sit down at our department and try to figure out what we’re going to do about this.”