Trinity Christian College Adopts Four-Day Class Schedule
Story reprinted and adapted with permission from Trinity Christian College (see original here).
For more than 60 years, Trinity Christian College has operated with a spirit of innovation, helping students to find their vocations and to flourish in their callings. And next fall Trinity will again try something new as it transforms its class schedule to open up Wednesdays for internships, field experience, studies, and other activities.
“There are many reasons that Trinity is pursuing this innovative schedule transformation,” said Aaron Kuecker, provost of the college. “We are convinced that creating a weekly rhythm that opens Wednesdays will create significant opportunities for vocational exploration and internships, for a more regular pace of courses, for additional time for academic support, for innovative field experience and field trips, and for overall well-being. We believe this transformation allows us better to take advantage of Trinity’s gifts around vocational exploration, internship placements, and education that is engaged with the world around us.”
Beginning with the Fall 2022 semester, Trinity’s classes will shift from a Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Tuesday-Thursday cycle to a Monday-Thursday and Tuesday-Friday schedule, with most classes being 75 minutes long. This shift will also open up Wednesdays to students for a wide range of engagement and opportunity that can be customized to meet each student’s needs, interests, and schedule, said Becky Starkenburg, vice president for student life and Title IX coordinator. “At Trinity, we desire to graduate students who are holistically prepared – mind, body, and spirit – for the challenges of working in the world. We are excited to see how this new schedule will open up opportunities for that kind of preparation.
Current students are looking forward to the change. Student Jaden Taylor said a Wednesday with no classes will allow students to catch up on studies and sleep. “And for a lot of people, Wednesdays will be a good day to work at internships and go downtown and see different opportunities, such as 1871” – the technology hub and innovation center located in the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, where Trinity is a university partner.
For education majors like Alyssa Kuehl, a Wednesday with no other commitments will make it much easier to complete required field education. “Education majors need a certain number of hours of field placement and need to be in a classroom from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That is hard to manage with classes, work, and everything else. So having that extra day on Wednesday to complete field education will be very helpful.”
Students who commute, are involved in athletics, or work at paying jobs while attending Trinity will also have an easier time balancing those activities with their classes and coursework, said Bethany Moultrie. “For students like me who have to work outside of school, Wednesdays will be a good time to work, instead of having to do it at night or on the weekends.”
The college said it will also provide extensive support to help students capitalize on the new flexibility. For example, Trinity is building a network of paid internships and employment opportunities that will make it easy for students to pursue vocational exploration, earn money for college, and build hands-on experience for their resumes. Trinity will also align academic support opportunities to make them easy to access on Wednesdays. In addition, Wednesdays will be used for innovative field trips and learning journeys that help take education beyond the classroom and into the college’s neighborhoods and city.
The new schedule will also allow students to focus on their mental and emotional health. “We are excited about the ways the new weekly schedule will support students’ commitments to their own well-being as they explore their calling,” said Starkenburg. “The pandemic has exposed such a great need for work and well-being to be linked, and this new schedule will give our students unique opportunities to begin great habits early in life.”