By Samantha Abear
Students and faculty at John Cabot University (JCU) are frustrated that the final exam schedule is not available until the fourth week of the semester. Students at similar universities, such as the American University of Rome (AUR), receive their exam schedule on the first day of classes.
For some, this frustration derives from the financial burden created by having to wait longer to book flights. Senior Valentina Capotosto began studying international business at JCU four years ago and has always returned to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, during winter and summer breaks. She says she has spent more money on flights because she was not able to book earlier. “I like to fly home the day after my last final so I have as much time at home with my family as possible. It frustrates me because tickets, especially for international flights, get so expensive the longer you wait,” said Capotosto.
For others, waiting to receive the final exam schedule means having less time to organize end-of-semester travel. Stephen Hemmersmeier, who is currently studying abroad at JCU from the University of San Diego, said, “I am used to getting my exam schedule on the first day of class at my home university. It would be better if the finals schedule here was more timely with its release as it could aid many students when planning end-of-semester trips.”
On Thursday, Feb. 11, the JCU Office of the Registrar notified students and faculty that the dates and times of the Spring 2016 final exams were posted online. Both JCU and AUR prohibit rescheduling of final exams to accommodate travel. After this point, however, the universities’ policies diverge. While JCU Academic Policy states that the final exam schedule will not be created until after the Add/Drop Period, AUR’s requires that students be given the date and time of their final exams on the first day of class.
Even after the JCU final exam schedule is created and posted, it may be subject to change. Kiriko Mechanicus, a junior history major at JCU, works as an Orientation Leader welcoming new students each semester. “We are instructed to advise them to book their flights home for the Saturday following finals exams. It could happen that the date or time of your exam changes in the middle of the semester, and if you already booked a flight, you either have to miss the flight or your exam,” she said.
Not only students are confused about the situation. Professor of Communications Antonio Lopez does not understand why it takes JCU’s Office of the Registrar so long to deliver the schedule. “They have all the information they need to make the schedule earlier,” he said.
Lopez, who previously taught at AUR, said he preferred being able to give students the information about their exams on the first day of class. He said, “It reduces uncertainty and questions, and it helps me when making my own travel schedule.”
Margaret Kneller, Professor of Natural Sciences at JCU, said she has noticed the final exam schedule coming out quicker now than when she began teaching at JCU 10 years ago. However, she thinks it would be better to have the schedule earlier to allow professors to also organize their time better.
Registrar Carmen Scarpati said she had a discussion with Dean Mary Merva three semesters ago regarding the final exam schedule. “It was coming out too late and getting too complicated to make because we used to email faculty to ask if they had conflicts with their exams being scheduled on the weekend,” said Scarpati.
To further explain the delay and why it is JCU’s policy to wait until the end of the Add/Drop Period to schedule final exams, she said that the Office of the Registrar has to verify that no classes were canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
When asked if she was aware of AUR’s policy of giving students their final exam schedule on the first day of class, Scarpati responded, “Really? Well good for them.”