Terminally Tardy May One Day Find Salvation

If you’ve ever been shoehorned into making the trek from Grays to Vanserg in just seven minutes, relief may be on the way: the Committee on Undergraduate Education is considering adding more time for traveling between classes.

While the Student Handbook officially allots five minutes for students to get from one class to another, CUE members said, seven minutes has become the norm. The committee is considering expanding this time frame to as long as 15 minutes.

Members of the faculty and administration noted that the time allotted for commuting was decided upon when most classes convened in Harvard Yard—when a walk from Boylston to Robinson required no more than five minutes.

But with classes now meeting as far west as the Quad, as far north as the Northwest Science Buildings, as far south as the River Houses, as far east as 52 Kirkland Street, committee members agreed that seven minutes often proves insufficient.

CUE members are also exploring the possibility of revising the scheduling system.

Instead of hour-long blocks, the new blocks could last as long as 75 minutes, with professors having discretion over how to allocate this time. For example, a professor could opt to teach a 55-minute class and follow it with a 20-minute discussion section. (The CUE members did note, though, that the proposed changes might not assuage undergraduate concern over having enough time to eat lunch.)

Beyond scheduling considerations, the committee is also researching the relationship between the frequency of class meetings and quality of learning—whether classes held twice or three times weekly produce better academic experiences.

Such a schedule shift might make for a longer day. Having classes extend as late as 5 p.m. could conflict with athletic practice times and extracurricular activities that traditionally take place later in the day.

Athletic coaches and public service group leaders that the committee contacted agreed that academics were the top priority in future scheduling considerations.

Still, all the initiatives discussed at yesterday’s meeting are tentative. Committee members promised to have more specific versions of the proposals drafted by next month.

—Staff writer Bita M. Assad can be reached at

—Staff writer Ahmed N. Mabruk can be reached at