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SUNY Canton likely to switch to a five-day schedule

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CANTON — In the book of Genesis, God did not rest on the fifth day — starting this fall SUNY Canton likely won’t, either.

The school is considering ending its experiment with a four-day academic week, implemented during the spring 2009 semester in an effort to save energy costs.

“We’re 98 percent sure we’re going back to a five-day week,” said interim President Carli S. Schiffner. “Our schedule is so tight and our classroom space is so limited we’ve spilled over into Friday.”

Because of recent enrollment growth, SUNY Canton could no longer meet demand for classroom space over a four-day schedule.

“We’ve outgrown the four-day model through our recent growth, and we need to use Fridays to accommodate our programs and our students,” said Karen M. Spellacy, interim provost. “The five-day academic schedule also puts our students more in contact with our faculty members and makes overall scheduling easier.”

In 2009 when it made the switch, SUNY Canton had 3,343 students taking classes, but this year enrollment is more than 3,800.

Molly A. Mott, vice president for student affairs, said the switch could be beneficial to fostering a stronger on-campus culture as the university continues to evolve from its two-year technical college roots to a four-year university.

“Switching back to a five-day academic schedule gives students another day to access our faculty, support services and campus resources. It will also give students more time to participate in on-campus events and activities.”

Students in programs requiring laboratory work, like veterinary technology and nursing, have already been on the five-day schedule.

The school saved about $250,000 a year in energy costs by switching to the short week, spokesman Gregory E. Kie said.

“Because of the transition, we’ve already begun offering all those things that we weren’t offering on Friday. We are already absorbing that cost,” he said. “I believe the effect will actually be nominal.”

Students will still be able to have four-day schedules.

“We have flexibility built into our curriculum. Depending on the program you’re in, you can actually schedule a four-day academic week if you want to,” Mr. Kie said.

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