Late exam schedule releases causes concern

Justine Cleghorn, Contributor Ω

For 38 per cent of the TRU student body, the late posting of exam schedules is not only affecting their scheduling, but their wallets as well.

According to the 2008 TRU Institutional Planning and Analysis Factbook, 38 per cent of students at TRU are not from the Thompson-Okanaga region, meaning flights are required for many to make it home for the holidays.

“There’s only so long you can wait,” said Alexie Pertich, a third-year student studying respiratory therapy. “You’re expected to be on time for school fees, but the school isn’t on time for us.”

Pertich doesn’t want a repeat of last year. She is concerned with increased flight costs when booking on shorter notice. She paid more for a flight home to Grand Prairie because of the delayed posting of the exam schedule last year. Had the exam schedule been posted in September rather than late November, Pertich could have saved $300 on her flights.

According to Dennis Acreman, acting registrar, the university is concerned that student flight costs are increasing.

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The registrar tries to have the December exam schedule posted by the middle of October, but it is “unusually late this semester,” according to Acreman, who said delays within the registrar are the cause for the late posting of the final exams.

A poll taken by The Omega of 50 students surveyed in Old Main, the International Building, the Brown Family House of Learning and the TRU Residence and Conference Centre discovered 80 per cent of students from that sample were frustrated with the delayed posting of the Fall 2012 exam schedule.

TRU has a history of having irregular final exam schedule postings. It is uncommon for the exam schedule to be posted at the end of October at TRU.

Late in October 2011, Dustin McIntyre, TRUSU president, was approached by students concerned that the final exam schedule had not been posted. The Fall 2011 final exam schedule was posted one week before the final exam period started.

After TRUSU lobbied these concerns to Alan Shaver, TRU president, he promised to make prompt final exam schedules a priority.

Following TRUSU lobbying, the registrar posted the Winter 2012 exam schedule, in the third week of February. TRUSU considered its lobbying efforts effective since the Winter 2012 exam schedule was released earlier.

In the future, the registrar aims to have more consistent and timely exam schedule postings by improving technological procedures.

“TRU is going through a process to purchase class and exam scheduling software,” said Acreman, “which would allow consistently early production of an exam schedule.”

The goal of the new program would be a system where students know their final exam schedule when they register for courses, McIntyre said. The registrar hopes to implement the new program in two years.

Prompt exam schedules are still a priority for TRUSU, which is engaged in open communication with Acreman to resolve the issue. “It is a campus-wide problem so it’s something we will continue to work on,” McIntyre said.

Compared to other universities, TRU is posting exam schedules late.

Simon Fraser University finalized its Fall 2012 semester exam schedule the first week of July, said information assistant Justin Lepitzki.

The University of Victoria posted its finalized exam schedule on Oct. 24, said Takako Kitagwa of undergraduate records and graduation services.

The University of Lethbridge publishes student exam schedules before the start of semester, according to Penny Secretan, a supervisor at the information centre registrar. The Winter 2013 exam schedule is already posted, Secretan said.

The TRU preliminary Fall 2012 exam schedule was posted on October 31, 2012. Since the exam schedule has not been finalized, it is still subject to change.