Having a secular calendar isn’t a topic new to the faculty and student body on all 3 SCCC campuses.
What is a secular calendar anyways? It means having a calendar with no spiritual or religious basis. Adelphi University in Garden City has a secular calendar. While only observing national American holidays, no religious holidays are encountered on their online academic calendar.
The truth of the matter is, having so many religious holidays off has always raised eyebrows at SCCC. If you take a look at the academic calendar, you would notice that SCCC only recognizes Christian and Jewish holidays. Are those the only two religions we have on campus? President of FASCC (Faculty Association Suffolk Community College) Ellen Schuler Mauk, reassured that SCCC students and faculty had much more diverse religious backgrounds then we think. “We tweek the calendar every year but it seems like in the fall semester [alone] there are a lot of holidays that interrupt the academic flow” remarked Schuler. “We need to focus on academics.”
The calendar committee consists of 3 faculty members from the 3 campuses, the Registrar, the college associate dean for planning and master schedule, and the associate dean of academic affairs. No students are on this committee by the way. Who has the last word on how the academic calendar should look like? According to Dr. Fliz Turhan-Swenson, Associate Professor of English, the president does. No, not President Barack Obama but president Shaun L. McKay. Dr. McKay received the proposal from the calendar committee and he then asked for some feedback from colleagues. Revisions are then made by the president and the calendar is tossed back and fourth from the office of the president to the office of the calendar committee until they reach some sort of agreement on how the 2 school years should “look” like.
“The president of the college ultimately has the last word in compliance with the faculty labor contract and with input from all members of the college” Dr. Turhan-Swenson commented. The deadline for the calendar to be complete is in the beginning of December so that catalogs can be printed and ready to be used for the upcoming 2012-2014 school years. “The calendar will be finalized before Christmas” reassured Dr. Turhan-Swenson.
So what do students think about a secular calendar? Liberal Arts student Jonathan Amaya commented, “Well we would be able to get more assignments done but the work load would be so intense and we wouldn’t have time to breathe aside fro the weekend. But as you know, a lot of students who go to community colleges work during the weekend, so when would the work be done?”
Mathematics major, Jairo Hernandez on the other hand thinks it would be a good idea if SCCC did in fact have a secular calendar. “We wouldn’t lose focus on our school work that’s for sure. We would still have weekends off if anything but I think we would get more for our money’s worth.” Whether SCCC gets the secular calendar or not, students and faculty wouldn’t be able to find until early January.