Many of you might be asking yourselves: “What should I expect moving to 8-week terms?” In fact, this change is the result of a discussion that has been happening on university campuses across America for years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; this move comes as an answer to our ongoing question: “What can we do to meet the needs of today’s students?”

Today’s college students have more complex needs than ever before; many work while attending school, hope to get more involved in clubs and organizations during their college experience, or may be looking for greater flexibility while balancing athletics and classes. Walsh University has responded by working diligently to reduce the number of credit hours to graduate with a BS or BA from 125 to 120. In addition, in fall 2020, Walsh will move from a standard 15-week semester and to two 8-week terms during the fall session. This move will provide students with several important benefits other universities who have adopted this system have already realized.

  1. Greater Focus. The first benefit is greater focus. Instead of managing 4-6 courses/labs per 15 weeks simultaneously, students will have 2-3 courses/labs per 8-week term. Students will be in class more hours per class each day, but with only 2 classes, studying will be more focused. Many universities have seen greater student success as a result. Faculty will have the challenge to redesign courses, so they are not simply a 15-week course compressed into 8 weeks in terms of content, but rather a pedagogically streamlined version of traditional courses taking advantage of modern technology and resources.
  2. Flexibility. Students who need to work will have more flexibility to do so, and if students have challenges in their personal lives or want to pursue internships, they have the flexibility to adapt their schedules to their own needs.
  3. More time for collaboration. In addition, an 8-week structure also leaves one day per week available for students and faculty to pursue other activities like research, study and discussion groups, and campus events. As students and the campus community adjust to this new schedule, they will find themselves more comfortable with essential twenty-first century skills, such as collaboration, self-motivation, and focus.
  4. Research and Scholarship. This 8-week system will also provide faculty with flexibility to place more focus on scholarship and research, incorporating students into scholarly projects and better preparing them for further schooling and their careers.

Certainly, the pandemic and its economic consequences have catalyzed greater flexibility and responsiveness, however, moving to 8-week terms better prepares our institution to be nimble, more responsive to our students’ needs, and more innovative as we develop options for the future. Having pivoted to a completely online delivery mode in three days in March 2020 by necessity, we are confident that our faculty and staff can use their experience and expertise to make this 8-week model an even more effective educational environment going forward. This change will not only help the institution as it navigates these challenging times, but it will also help us emerge even stronger and prepared to thrive in the years to come. As a Walsh University alumnus, faculty member and now administrator, I am committed to helping us move forward successfully, regardless of inevitable conflicts and challenges, because what we do to transform lives collectively is our mission and that must not cease. Swords Up!!

Dr. Mike Dunphy, Vice President of Academic Affairs

Michael J. Dunphy, Ph.D. ’79
Vice President for Academic Affairs