The most discussed topic of these weeks at Politecnico, has been by far the upcoming changes of the Academic Calendar for the year 2017/2018.
Since the very first introduction by the Dean, prof. Lozza, to now, students' representatives, supported by many professors, have reached the goal of developing some changes which would simplify students' lives while keeping the original objectives of the new calendar.
The first semester will start on the 18th of September and will finish with the Christmas Break. The winter exams session will last 6 weeks, preceded by 1 week of break for every kind of activity. The second semester will start on the 26th of February and finish on the 8th of June. There will be, again, 1 week of break and then 6 weeks of summer exams session. The September exams session will start the last days of August and will last 3 weeks.
One of the most relevant changes is for sure the fact that, starting from the next year, breaks and exams sessions will be much more aligned to the ones of the major European universities, particularly the ones of the northern Europe, which are the most important, in terms of numbers, for exchange students of Politecnico.
Furthermore, both winter and summer exams session will now last 6 weeks (Jenuary - February / June - July) and will have a break week just before they begin. This way, there will also be more time between one exam and the other: at least 15 days between two dates of the same exam will be granted.
One of our requests, gladly accepted by the University, was to move the graduation session at the end of the exams session, in order to make all the exams of the session valid for graduating in that same period. To accomplish that, on September, the graduation days will be on Saturdays and we think this idea is surely appreciated by friends and relatives of graduating students which can more easily take part at the proclamation.
The number of exam dates will now be increased from 4 to 5 also for students of the first year of Engineering, as it already was for subsequent years.
The most relevant criticalities of the new calendar seem to be: the compression of mid-term examinations period, which now requires that every study course has to choose a maximum number of exams which can use mid-term examinations (some criterion will be introduced, in order to prioritize those exams, probably favoring the most difficult ones or the most fundamental ones).
Some concerns have been raised about the schools (AUIC) or the Courses (Civil Eng.) which have very different calendars for many reasons. Some of them have been already solved: the first year of Architecture will start later, in order to adapt to the national test of admission. Other problems are still being discussed, like how to manage the spare number of exam dates in Civil Eng.
Our objective is to ensure that previous conditions are not broken in order to comply to the new calendar.
During the transition period, which is this years' exam sessions, some changes are needed, in order to accomodate the new calendar:
September exam session will be following the new calendar: just one exam date, valid for graduation.
The aim is to recover the second date for the exams of september: anticipated in the summer session for exams of the first semester, posticipated to the next session for the exams of the second semester. Each school will take the final decision.
Calendar's reform will probably be approved at the next reunion of the Academic Senate, on March 20th. Then the Schools will have to decide how to operatively realize it's schedule. The process should be concluded by May.
A few thoughts on the topic
In almost a year, we dedicated ourselves in continuous discussions both with the students and the professors, in order to better evaluate pros and cons of these changes and to define the correct path.
We are perfectly aware that this calendar is disliked by many students.
Despite that, the reasons which moved the new Rector for this change must be taken into account: statistics about mid-term examinations have given the insight that mid-term examinations are not always beneficial for the students, since the tendency is becoming to "try them all", as if it is the right way of organizing oneself's study program.
It is instead considered that a key aspect of university life is the ability to evaluate in a proper way how to schedule the work and therefore going to an exam being conscious of having had enough time to study.
We decided to accept the challenge proposed by the Rector which truly believes that in this way we will have more time to study but we are ready to constantly monitor the impact these changes will have on students' lives by sharing with you, as usual, the benefits and our concerns.
We will keep you updated as soon as changes will arise. We are heavily interested in any contribution you may give to us for better continuing our and your studies with serenity and happiness.