Faculty passes calendar reform, fall exams to move to December in 2020

Princeton faculty members approved a plan Monday to revise the University’s academic calendar and move fall semester final exams into December from January, among other changes.

The changes will take effect in the fall term in 2020, at the start of the 2020-21 academic year. Today's first-year students in the Class of 2021 will be the first students to enter senior year under the new calendar, which also establishes a two-week "Wintersession" in January with optional, non-credit-bearing activities.

The calendar reforms were brought before the faculty at their April 2 meeting for an initial round of debate. Faculty members debated the issue for about 45 minutes Monday afternoon before the question was called. The motion carried as a majority of faculty members said "aye" and raised their hands in favor of the changes.

The calendar revisions to the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty were developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Calendar Reform, chaired by Aarti Gupta, professor of computer science, and staffed by Elizabeth Colagiuri, deputy dean of the college.

On its website, the committee noted that moving fall final exams to December will alleviate the stress associated with a winter break in which students are not able to fully rest and recharge. The revised schedule will eliminate some of the financial burden associated with multiple breaks and student trips home in December and January.

The changes will also bring Princeton’s calendar into alignment with peer institutions, to facilitate learning opportunities such as visiting student and faculty exchanges, as well as study abroad and internship experiences for students.