With few exceptions, chapel break is “off-limits” for classes

Chapels+offer+a+time+to+recenter+on+God+during+the+busyness+of+the+school+day.

Adelaide Mei

Chapels offer a time to recenter on God during the busyness of the school day.

Classes typically are not scheduled during chapel break because it is a “sacred” time, according to Tom Steenwyk, registrar and director of academic advising. But each year some hands-on and off-campus course requirements have to overlap with chapel break due to high demand or compatibility with community partners.

In addition to nursing clinicals and student teaching placements, which have schedules not controlled by the university, 18 classes are scheduled over chapel break — art studio classes and labs — according to Steenwyk. 

Todd Dornbos, associate dean for retention, curriculum and planning, said that most of these classes are ones which require “participating in on-site [or] off-campus practicum experiences, including student aiding, student teaching, clinical rotations and internships of various sorts.” 

In his 27 years in the registrar office, Steenwyk said that only on occasion has there been “some kind of weird emergency,” like trying to schedule senior classes, where classes have extended over chapel break. “Sometimes those kinds of exceptions are made, but for the most part chapel break is off-limits,” Steenwyk said.

However, “given space limitations, there are a few laboratory sections that are scheduled over the chapel beak in order to meet student enrollment demands,” Steenwyk told Chimes. For example, according to Steenwyk, 2 of the 11 CHEM 101 labs — which half of all first-year students must take — are scheduled Tuesday and Thursday mornings because there is simply not enough time Monday through Thursday afternoons and evenings to accommodate so many labs.

Steenwyk’s role is to schedule classes after collecting information from departments about courses they plan on offering and possible times for them, often based on scheduling from past years. Though scheduling does change from year to year, Steenwyk and Dornbos said that these classes, labs and practicums have traditionally been scheduled during chapel. However, according to Dornbos, “since many of these off-site experiences do not meet five days per week, most of these students do have the opportunity to participate in chapel a few times each week.”

Malena Gustafson, a junior studying art education, said she enjoyed how her EDUC 302/303 professor gave students a break for chapel every Monday during their three-hour lecture –  especially since this student teaching class required that she was off-campus Tuesday through Friday. Gustafson said “worshiping the Lord” with classmates provided a good break in her otherwise busy schedule.

In a drawing class this semester, Gustafson said she feels like she would be missing valuable class time if she were to leave in the middle of class for chapel, but she still sees a benefit to chapel when she is able to attend.

“Just getting time in the morning to worship and to remind myself [that] I’m supposed to be living for the Lord [and] giv[ing] him glory every day while I’m doing school and other things” is important to Gustafson. “ I love that Calvin does it every day,” she said.