Pfeiffer will move to 4-day instructional week next fall

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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Beginning in the fall of 2023, Pfeiffer University will dispense with Friday classes for its undergraduate students as part of a new four-day instructional week. Under the new schedule, classes will be held Monday through Thursday.

“Falcon Fridays will provide the time and flexibility for our students to do some beyond-the-classroom activities that they might not otherwise be able to do,” said Dr. Mark McCallum, a professor of biology at Pfeiffer who also serves as director of academic initiatives. “The idea of enrichment beyond classroom lectures is not new, but the structure to better provide that enrichment is often lacking at our peer universities, and we are aiming to offer an uncommon yet more valuable undergraduate experience.”

The new schedule, inspired by similar efforts at schools such as the University of Mobile in Alabama, would give students additional time to study, to complete research projects or to work at internships. McCallum also envisions that students will use Falcon Fridays to take field trips, listen to lectures by guest speakers, attend special seminars, present recitals and partake in various extracurricular activities.

“In some cases, our students simply need more money,” McCallum said. “They are supporting themselves in college, and the occasional opportunity to work additional hours is very helpful.”

McCallum stressed that although classes will not take place during Falcon Fridays, the university’s Misenheimer campus will continue to operate as usual. Offices will be open, meals will be served in the dining hall and academic areas, including the library, will operate as usual. Faculty will be on campus.

The idea of moving to a four-day instructional week began to take hold when Dr. Daniel Mynatt, Pfeiffer’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, appointed a committee to study the concept last year. Among other things, the committee found that 78 percent of 271 students surveyed favored the schedule change.

The priority now will be growing the initiative and marketing Falcon Fridays effectively so students and faculty take advantage of all they will offer.

Pfeiffer is using the current academic year to ensure that what was once a five-day schedule of classes fits smoothly into a four-day format, maintaining full instructional time. The new schedule must also align well with the times of athletic contests, which are typically decided a year in advance.

Not all beyond-the-classroom activities can take place on Fridays, so the revised schedule will also set aside time for chapel and other student life and student success activities.

Several undergraduate students have reacted positively to the new four-day instructional week.

“It gives students more time for friends, work, and homework,” said Matthew Scriven, Class of 2024, who hails from Fort Mill, South Carolina. “It makes finding time to study or finish projects a lot easier.”

Margarita Mancilla, Class of 2023 of Charleston, South Carolina, said that the schedule change will make it “easier to maneuver and get through the week” with “an extra day to get all my work completed and time to enjoy the rest of the day (Friday)” by singing, drawing, decompressing and planning ahead.

And Sydney Siders, Class of 2024 of Jackson, Mississippi, touted the change as a way “to connect on a deeper level with all the individuals on campus, whether it be with the faculty or other students.”

“I’m excited by the idea that everyone at Pfeiffer will have more opportunities for extracurricular activities and clubs, to meet with professors, and play sports,” she said.

“We view the four-day instructional week as an innovative opportunity to enhance the learning experience we offer our students. Faculty will have extended time to engage more deeply in activities or discussion; campus ministry can engage in more meaningful ways, and athletics will be able to create more competitive schedules,” Mynatt said.