The Kansas University faculty and student council sent a message Thursday to higher education officials that it won't rubber-stamp academic calendar changes simply because the Kansas Board of Regents deems the reforms necessary.
The University Council rejected a proposal from the KU Calendar Committee which would have brought KU in compliance with a regents directive that 150 instructional days an increase of six be scheduled in the 1992-93 academic year.
Lawrence Sherr, council member and professor of business, said he opposed the change but was concerned how regents would react to the council's decision. The committee proposed KU comply by modifying students' final-exam period.
"I'm bothered by the notion that we're just going along as if everything is hunky-dory. We're just doing this because people living in Topeka said, `Thou shall meet 150 days.' This should be carefully considered," he said.
SHERR SAID he didn't want his dissent to be viewed as criticism of the regents. Instead, he wants to improve communication between regents and KU faculty on the issue. The deadline for a campus decision on the calendar is September.
The KU committee proposed limiting final exams to two-hour blocks so tests could be spread over seven days instead of eight. Council member Carl Lande, professor of political science, said he thought that proposal was too restrictive.
"The more I think about the two-hour exam period, the less I like it," he said. "This is an attempt to impose uniformity in an area where there should be flexibility. I think we should resist this effort to force us into a narrow area."
Regents voted in January to halt a 30-year decline in instructional days at five state universities. Instructional days are days in the academic year that fall between Monday and Friday, excluding summer term, holidays and finals.
Stanley Koplik, regents executive director, has said the idea was to increase faculty-student contact and reduce per-day instructional costs. A 150-day calendar at KU yields an annual productivity gain of $2.8 million, he said.
"IT WAS AN idiotic cost analysis," said Pat Warren, a student member of the council. "They based it on an absolute raw-data analysis. We ought to show them there is no demonstrable evidence" of financial benefit from the reforms.
Judith Ramaley, executive vice chancellor, told regents in January that there was no statistical correlation between the number of instructional days and the quality of a college education. She said the key is quality, not quantity.