Posted August 21, 2014

New academic calendar brings fall break, Commencement date changes—and predictability

Amidst the bustle of Welcome Week, an important change in the Temple academic experience took effect without much fanfare.

The beginning of the school year marks the debut of Temple’s new academic calendar, which for the first time will include a fall break, standardized rules for the beginning and ending of every future semester and a move of Temple’s annual Commencement Exercises from Thursday to Friday.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Hai-Lung Dai lauded the new calendar’s predictability. In the past, he said, it was impossible for students or faculty to make long-range plans for major academic events, such as graduation.

"We wanted to establish a format for the semesters that can be repeated from year to year without creating disruption for teaching and our students," Dai said.

But for most students and faculty, the reform that has been applauded the loudest is the creation of a Fall Break. Starting this year, three days will be added to the traditional Thursday and Friday holiday for Thanksgiving. Although the university will be open Monday through Wednesday during the week of Thanksgiving, no classes will be held.

“Fall Break is something that students wanted,” said senior Raymond Smeriglio, president of Temple Student Government (TSG). “This will give students an opportunity to cherish time with their families and recharge before finals come.”

Shifting Commencement from Thursdays to Fridays was done out of consideration for the growing number of students who have families coming from outside the area.

"Most schools hold these ceremonies between Friday and Monday, to give families from out of state a better opportunity to take part in the celebrations," Dai said.

The new schedule also reduces the length of the Winter Break, but sets Commencement a bit earlier than in the past, which should help students get a jump on the summer job market.

“The earlier you can get out, the earlier you can start searching for a job and starting to work—and start paying back your student debt,” said TSG President Smeriglio.

The academic calendar for 2014-15 has been posted at the Office of the University Registrar’s website. For more details about the academic calendar, read the September 2013 announcement.

The changes will not impact the holiday schedule for university employees.

Later this academic year, the Office of the Provost will announce additional changes to the summer course schedule that will provide more convenient options to help students stay on track for timely graduation.