Interim might move to May


Sebastian Larsen

Students travel to a variety of unique locations during interim.

Calvin is considering moving interim from January to May. The proposed changes would no longer require students to take three interims for graduation and would combine interim and spring semester for course load billing purposes. According to a faculty senate agenda, students would be allowed to take from 12-17 credits between spring semester and interim. Students would pay per credit for additional credits. 

This new model is expected to create additional revenue of $1.3-1.5 million a year, according to a faculty senate agenda. 

Katherine van Liere, the history department chair, said, “We are not enthusiastic about it. But we understand that it is motivated largely by difficult financial conditions, and in this context, we are prepared to try to adjust to it.” Similarly, Gayle Ermer, the engineering department chair, said, “Although I have concerns about how the proposed changes might impact students in our department, I also understand why changes… need to be made for the overall [financial] sustainability of the university.”

It’s also possible that this change could affect travel abroad options. “I think it will affect interim study abroad options, but I am not sure in which direction — more offerings or fewer offerings,” Brandsen commented. 

Van Liere said, “It would not harm the [history department’s] semester in York program. It would actually make that schedule smoother since in some years the start of York’s spring semester has overlapped with the last week of interim.” 

Van Liere also said, “We are also concerned that making interim more expensive could discourage students from double-majoring… [but] this could be offset by the new core.”

Programs with heavy course loads, like engineering, may be affected differently. Ermer said that engineering students normally have 15-17 semester hour course loads in order to finish the program on time. “At this point, we don’t have a good sense of how many students would be willing to pay more tuition in order to fit an off-campus experience into their plans,” Ermer said.

The way the proposed change will affect certain interim programs will be considered over the course of this semester, Brandsen noted. 

Changes regarding the DCM courses are being considered by the core revision committee. 

Brandsen hopes the decision will be made by early summer of 2020.