There are a few reasons for this change. Wellesley’s previous class schedule fell short of federal guidelines for contact hours. Students who took courses three times a week had their courses overlap on Wednesdays. And in the previous schedule, most classes were being taught in just a few blocks, making it difficult for students to schedule courses.
Academic Council voted in favor of the new schedule in December 2018 after a thorough and collaborative process involving faculty, staff and students. In July 2014, the provost convened the ad hoc Committee on the Schedule to begin exploring how the course schedule should be updated. The final schedule was created after many rounds of input from students, faculty, and staff; it balances the multiple desires and requirements of our entire community.
Three main things. First, most students taking courses three times a week will have a 50-minute meeting on Wednesday (as opposed to a 70-minute meeting, as in the previous schedule). This will largely eliminate the “overlapping Wednesday” problem in the old schedule. On Tuesdays and Fridays, most classes will now end earlier in the day than they had under the old schedule. Community time is moving from Wednesday to Thursday, and there is another long block of relatively unscheduled time in the midday on Monday.
Most of the schedule will look familiar to the Wellesley community. Courses meeting two twice a week will continue to do so on a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday schedule, and courses meeting three times a week will continue to normally have the additional meeting on Wednesday. Seminars, studio art, and labs will continue to meet for the same amount of time as they did previously. And there is still the same amount of unscheduled time for office hours, team practice, org meetings, and downtime.
Any time a community is trying to schedule classes and events, problems can arise! If you have a particularly difficult problem, seek help from your advisor, class dean, or chair of the department.