Announcing the 2023-2024 Academic Calendar
Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:
I write to announce that the university has approved the 2023-2024 Academic Calendar for fall and spring, now marked as “official” and available on The HUB website. The summer 2024 calendar is still marked as proposed and will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Institutionalizing a 14-Week Semester
The AY23-24 calendar permanently institutes a 14-week semester, including a week-long Fall Break, a model proposed by the Calendar Innovation Committee (CIC) and piloted over the past two years. The 14-week semester aims to better meet the needs of student health and well-being by offering more time for rest and restoration throughout the semester. I am excited to make the Fall Break permanent as we solidify this 14-week model moving forward and thank the CIC, as well as everyone who provided input, for their efforts.
Supporting Holistic Health and Well-Being
Over the course of the pilot, the CIC collected data and feedback to assess its effectiveness. In particular, students expressed that the Fall Break benefited their holistic health and well-being. The CIC’s assessment highlights the ways our teaching and learning community used their time away from the classroom.
In 2019, the Task Force on the CMU Experience recommended implementing Tartan Community Day as one day set aside for community connection, rest and pausing business as usual to support a culture of well-being. Based on the feedback they heard through their assessment, the CIC is recommending that we repurpose the elements of Tartan Community Day that were most successful and incorporate them into existing activities.
Tartan Community Day was a meaningful initiative and its spirit is still important to the university’s mission and strategic vision. Building on Tartan Community Day’s impact, we are pleased to institutionalize the week-long Fall Break, amplify community-building programming for existing traditions like Homecoming and maintain wellness elements as a critical feature of our programming throughout the year.
In conversations with CMU community members regarding the 14-week semester, we noted an emerging opportunity to focus on our institutional commitment to civic service and democracy on Election Day. This especially resonates with the work of the Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression, which recommended increased campus engagement regarding key ideals of democracy. Likewise, the Undergraduate Student Senate passed a resolution supporting a day off from classes on Election Day, which aligned with earlier recommendations made by the Graduate Student Assembly’s leadership.
The CIC has recommended a two-year pilot of a Democracy Day held on Election Day. This year, on November 7, 2023, classes will not be held before 5 p.m. and the university will offer programming and discussions on civic service and democracy. On Election Day, supervisors are encouraged to exercise reasonable flexibility for staff voting and/or volunteering at the polls as well as attending on-campus programming.
The Calendar Innovation Committee was originally charged with reviewing our academic calendar and making recommendations to advance student-centered efforts to provide a strong academic experience that is supportive of creative pedagogy and community well-being. I am deeply grateful for their efforts to explore, refine and implement the positive change to a 14-week semester. I look forward to the long-term benefits their work will continue to have across the university.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer