Guidelines to Building an Academic Calendar
These guidelines were agreed upon on by Academic Affairs and UCE on September 24, 2015.
The academic year is composed of two (approximately) equal semesters of 15 weeks (fall and spring). The academic year also includes winter & summer sessions. All semesters/sessions are subject to Federal, State, and SUNY requirements, especially seat time. Seat time compliance is not based upon the number of meetings but rather the number of minutes spent in the classroom.
A "Carnegie Unit" is known by the familiar term "semester credit hour," and is the primary academic measure by which progress toward a degree is gauged.
According to SUNY, the traditional format for Fall and Spring semesters is that a “semester credit hour is normally granted for satisfactory completion of one 50-minute session of classroom instruction per week for a semester of not less than fifteen weeks.” This totals 750 minutes per one credit of lecture study, per term, across 15 weeks.
However, this formula need not necessarily be applied to shortened sessions like summer and winter as SUNY dictates, “this basic measure maybe adjusted proportionately to reflect modified academic calendars and formats of study.” This means the ultimate goal is to meet compliance for seat time, but that the number of meetings is not fixed in shortened academic terms. Rather, for these abbreviated terms, the deciding factor is the total number of minutes in class.
Seat Time Compliance Defined
1 lecture credit hour = 50 minutes per week of classroom time, plus 2 hours per week of outside work
1 lab credit hour = 50 minutes per week of classroom time, plus 50-100 minutes per week of supervised lab work, plus 2 hours per week of outside work
» Information on Carnegie Units
Academic Calendar Process and Rationale
Academic calendars will be approved for 4 years in advance and go through the following stages of approval:
- The Director of Records & Registration creates the Academic Calendar in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
- Once finalized, both the Director of Records & Registration & the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs review with the President of the UCE of FIT designee.
- Once approved by the UCE and Vice President of Academic Affairs, the calendars are recommended to the president for review who then recommends to the Board of Trustees for their approval (as per CBA, section 29.1)
- Once approved by the President & the Board, notification will be sent to the Director of Records & Registration who will notify the FIT community.
Structures for Academic Calendars
- Convocation takes place one week before classes begin.
- Fall semester runs for 15 weeks including a period set aside for final exams, projects & presentations.
- The College is closed for the following holidays in the term:
Rosh Hashanah—Classes suspend at 4 pm on the eve before the holiday and suspend the two days of the holiday.
Yom Kippur—Classes suspend at 4 pm on the eve before the holiday, and suspend the day of the holiday.
Thanksgiving Break (Thursday–Sunday)—Classes resume the following Monday.
Two emergency make up days will be built into the final week of the semester and used as needed. (These are not additional meetings and are only used if a class is missed due to the College closing.)
- Begins once the College reopens from winter break.
- Winter session will never be more than 12 days. All classes must meet seat time compliance.
- The College is closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- Spring semester begins on the last Monday of January, after convocation.
- Spring semester runs for 15 weeks including a period set aside for final exams, projects, and presentations.
- The College is closed for the following holidays in the term:
- Spring break is during the week of Easter. Classes are not scheduled during this week, though the College is open (except for Good Friday).
- Two emergency make up days will be built into the final week of the semester and used as needed (these are not additional meetings and are only used if a class is missed due to the College closing).
- Commencement takes place at the end of the spring semester; during the week classes have ended.
- Summer 1 will begin after Commencement and run for 5 weeks. Both day and evening sections will run during this term.
- There will be no classes scheduled on Fridays.
The College is closed for the following holidays in the term:
Juneteenth – If the holiday falls on a Saturday, the College will be closed on Friday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the College will be closed Monday and no classes will be scheduled on that day.
Independence Day - If the holiday falls on a Saturday, the College will be closed on Friday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the College will be closed Monday and no classes will be scheduled on that day.
- Summer 2 will begin right after Summer 1 ends and will run for 4 weeks.
When considering seat time, the schedule would be formatted like this:
|Term||Number of Weeks||Schedule Type||Meetings Per Week|
|Summer 1||5 weeks||Lecture||MTW or MW or TR|
|Summer 1||5 weeks||Lab/Studio||MTWR or MTW|
|Summer 2||4 weeks||Lecture||MTWR|
|Summer 2||4 weeks||Lab/Studio||MTWR|
In order to meet seat time compliance, in either summer schedule format, the following seat time compliance guidelines must be met:
|Schedule Type||Credit Amount||Required Minutes Per Term||Required Hours Per Term/Session|
|Lab or Studio||1||1500||25|
|Lab or Studio||1.5||2250||37.5|
|Lab or Studio||2||3000||50|
|Lab or Studio||2.5||3750||62.5|
|Lab or Studio||3||4500||75|
|Lab or Studio||4||6000||100|
Make Up Days for Emergency Closing
In the event that the College must close for an emergency, classes will be rescheduled. Seat time can be made up using the following methods:
- Faculty can reschedule their class during the scheduled emergency make up days in the calendar.
- Faculty can schedule online supplements such as online lectures, or interactive discussions with the instructor/student collaboration on additional projects.
All scheduled make up time must be reported to the respective chair.
Attendance shall be taken in all classes. The general policy with regard to the student attendance in any class is determined by the instructor and is announced to the class at the beginning of each semester.
In the event that a student is unable to attend a class session due to illness, accident, or some other emergency situation, he/she should contact their individual instructors directly, through phone or email, from the information in their class syllabus. Extended absences from class should be substantiated by appropriate documentation, and sent to the Dean of Students, who will notify the student’s instructors and department chair. This notification is not be construed as an “excused” absence for the student who will still be responsible for following up with instructors and arranging to complete missed work.
A student who believes that an instructor has (a) established unjust attendance policy, or (b) unfairly penalized the student for absences, should abide by the grade appeal procedures.
Certification rosters will be distributed electronically to faculty after the add/drop period and must be submitted electronically by the Census Date (21st day of the semester). These dates are available on the Academic Calendar. The Registrar’s Office will send notification via email. Faculty will receive an electronic notification once their certification roster is submitted.
Education Law, 224-a
- No person will be expelled from or be refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he or she is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to register or attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirements on a particular day or days.
- Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days will, because of such an absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.
- It will be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school because of his or her religious beliefs an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements that he or she may have missed because of such an absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind will be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.
- If registration, classes, examinations, or study or work requirements are held on Friday after 4pm or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, study or work requirements, or opportunity to register will be made available on other days, where it is possible and practical to do so. No special fees will be charged to the student for these classes, examinations, study or work requirements, or registration held on other days.
- In effectuating the provisions of this section, it will be the duty of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to exercise the fullest measure of good faith. No adverse of prejudicial effects will result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section.
- Any student who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative officials to comply in good faith with the provisions of this section will be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the country in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of his or her rights under this section. 6a. It will be the responsibility of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to give written notice to students of their rights under this section, informing them that each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, must be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind will be charged by the institution for making available to such students such equivalent opportunity.
- As used in this section, the term “institution of higher education” will mean any institution of higher education, recognized and approved by the regents of the State University of New York, which provides a course of study leading to the granting of a post-secondary degree or diploma. Such term will not include any institution, which is operated, supervised, or controlled by a church or by a religious or denominational organization whose educational programs are principally designed for the purpose of training ministers or other religious functionaries or for the purpose of propagating religious doctrines. As used in this section, the term “religious belief” will mean beliefs associated with any corporation organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, which is not disqualified for tax exemption under Section 501 of the United States Code.