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Purdue begins process of switching to trimesters

Purdue is moving to a trimester academic calendar. President France Córdova says the goal is to be more efficient so students can graduate in three years.

She says the university doesn’t offer enough core classes for students to take over the summer.

“Say you got a C or a D in a course, we have so many students who would love to make up that course in the summer. Can’t do, not offered.”

The trimester plan is part of Purdue’s new 10 year funding plan. Córdova says other revenue-generating ideas will be unveiled in the coming months, such as more online class offerings.

Purdue’s University Senate chairman says the faculty will be key in implementing a trimester calendar.

Professor Morry Levy thinks the plan is a good idea, and he knows some professors will be eager to teach over the summer. But he says others will be concerned about losing research time from May to August.

He says faculty members should not fear the change or expect the worst.

"What this does not mean is faculty will be coerced or chained to their desk for more time than they currently are employed. It might give them greater flexibility within the university calendar for when to teach or take time off to do research."

Provost Tim Sands says there will be more classes to teach, but he says hiring will be necessary at some point.

"Instead of offering the core courses two times a year, it will be three times, so there will be more faculty effort to instruct and that means more faculty."

Only 7% of all credits earned at Purdue are completed over the summer. Sands says the administration has a plan to grow that by roughly 25% each of the next 8 years so the trimester system can be fully implemented.

StateImpact Indiana's Kyle Stokes contributed to this story.

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