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Academic Calendar Changes: Faculty Information

Academic Calendar Changes at ASU

ASU announces changes to the academic calendar beginning with the spring 2012 semester. The following should help answer common questions.

1. What are the changes to the academic calendar?

The revised academic calendar will consist of a fall semester with three components, a spring semester with three components and a summer semester with three components:  

Fall A: first 7.5-week session in fall semester
Fall B: second 7.5-week session in fall semester
Fall C: full fall semester (15 weeks)

Spring A: first 7.5-week session in spring semester
Spring B: second 7.5-week session in spring semester
Spring C: full spring semester (15 weeks)

Summer A: first 6-week session in summer
Summer B: second 6-week session in summer
Summer C: full summer session (8 weeks)


The spring semester of 2012 will be the first semester taught with the two 7.5-week sessions (spring A, spring B) included in the usual 15-week time period (spring C). A notable change will be that the semester will start earlier in January (Jan. 5) and end earlier in May. 

        Spring A: Thursday, Jan. 5 – Friday, Feb. 24, 2012
        Spring B: Wednesday, Feb. 29 – Tuesday, April 24, 2012
        Spring C: Thursday, Jan. 5 – Tuesday, April 24, 2012
        Spring C finals: Thursday, April 26 - Wednesday, May 2, 2012
        Spring break for all sessions: Monday, March 19 – Sunday, March 25, 2012
        Graduate commencement: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
        Undergraduate commencement: Thursday, May 3, 2012


The summer semester of 2012 will consist of two six-week sessions and one eight-week session.

Summer A: Monday, May 21 – Friday, June 29 (6 weeks)
Summer B: Thursday, July 5 – Tuesday, August 14 (6 weeks)
Summer C: Monday, May 21 – Friday, July 13 (8 weeks)


The fall semester for 2011 will not have any change in the start and end dates, nor will the additional sessions begin in the fall of 2011. Courses in fall 2012 will be available on the usual 15-week schedule as in the past at ASU, and in two 7.5-week sessions (fall A, fall B) within the 15-week period of the fall semester. There will be a two-day fall break in the middle of the fall semester to accommodate the posting of grades and enrollment matters in preparation for the fall B session. This fall break will occur for all students, including those in 15-week classes.

The fall 2012 semester will begin on Aug. 23, 2012.
Fall A: Thursday, Aug. 23 – Friday, Oct. 12
Fall B: Wednesday, Oct. 17 – Tuesday, Dec. 11
Fall C: Thursday, Aug. 23 – Tuesday, Dec. 11
Fall C finals: Thursday, Dec. 13 – Wednesday, Dec. 19
Fall break for all sessions: Saturday, Oct. 13 – Tuesday, Oct. 16
Graduate commencement: Wednesday, Dec. 19
Undergraduate commencement: Thursday, Dec. 20


There will no longer be a winter session.

Examination Periods

In each of the shorter sessions (the A and B sessions in fall and spring and in all of the summer sessions), the final examination period is included in the start and end dates (i.e., there is no separate finals period). There is a separate examination period only only for those courses offered in fall and spring on the 15-week schedule.

2. Why were these changes made?

  • These changes were made to provide more flexible opportunities for academic units and their faculty members to design and instruct courses in diverse ways while retaining the traditional 15-week schedule. For example, a faculty member who normally teaches a 2/2 load during the academic year, could fulfill annual instructional responsibilities by teaching in the fall A session and the spring B session.
  • The schedule will also provide a longer period in the summer for instruction.
  • The winter session and summer intersession will both be eliminated in this new schedule. Both of those three-week sessions were not extensively used and pedagogically raised teaching challenges for many due to the severely compressed time period.

3. How do these changes impact workload assignments for faculty (teaching, research and service)?

  • The new academic schedule will not change workload assignments for faculty who continue to teach in the 15-week sessions. The faculty who teach in the A and B sessions might find that they are able to teach their courses for a given semester in the A session and then have more time in the remainder of the semester to focus on their research and service activities. The decision on teaching assignments will be between the chair or director and the faculty member, as is the case now.
  • The option of using the shorter A and B sessions will not result in faculty members having more teaching responsibilities in terms of number of courses taught, nor will service assignments be increased by virtue of the schedule change. Because research is individually directed by each faculty member, that will not change but the new schedule may accommodate the opportunity to advance one’s research agenda more effectively.
  • Contact hours in the classroom will increase commensurate with university and ABOR policy for the compressed time frames similar to what is done now to meet such expectations in the summer sessions.
  • Learning outcomes for each course will not change by virtue of the session in which the course is taught. 
  • Each chair/director or dean should continue the same approach that has been used for teaching and other workload assignments each year. 

4. How will the changes in the academic calendar affect the College of Law?

The College of Law will continue to have its own calendar, which includes additional days for final examinations.

5. Do faculty members still get paid additional salary if they elect to teach in the summer sessions?

Yes. Faculty members who teach in either the A or B summer session or the full eight-week session will still be compensated based on the existing policy for summer salary.

6. Is there still a spring break?

Yes. In spring of 2012, all sessions will be on break for the week of March 19-25. In addition, as noted above, there will be a two-day break between the A and B sessions in both fall and spring semesters. The break between the A and B sessions in the spring semester does not affect those teaching or students enrolled in 15-week courses.

7. May I teach my in-person courses in an A or B session? 

Yes. This is possible if your department chair/school director/dean agrees, and if the classroom scheduling by the department/school/college ensures the same size room will be used at the same time in both the A and B sessions. Departments will need to follow the standard times that will be set up for the A and B sessions. If a department offers an in-person section in an A session, the department will need to offer a class of the same size in the following B session. The department will need to indicate which classes are to be matched in the A and B sessions via e-mail by the deadline for each schedule build. 

8. Are faculty members still going to be appointed on a nine-month basis?

Terms of appointment do not change with the schedule change, nor does the traditional academic year beginning and end dates. Faculty members are expected to be available from August 16 through May 15, as in the past.

9. Does this change in schedule affect what I can earn from external grants in the summer?

No. There will still be six pay periods in the summer as the term of appointment has not changed. Those earning salary from grants and contracts may continue to receive their compensation as in the past.

10. Because many NSF grant proposals have January deadlines, some faculty use the current long break between fall and spring semesters to craft well written proposals. With the new calendar, won't there be less time to develop and hone NSF proposals?

Actually, with the new calendar, faculty can find more time to craft well written proposals. For example, if a faculty member needs December and January to work on a proposal, one option is to teach in fall A and spring B, using fall B and spring A to focus extra attention on grant writing and research. Faculty should work with their chairs/directors to develop teaching schedules that advance the mission of the department and college, including the research mission.

11. Does this change mean that I may do more consulting than in the past?

No. Faculty members are still governed by the same policies on consulting and other remunerative activities as they have been in the past.

12. Does this change in the academic calendar change any process related to annual reviews, probationary reviews, or promotion and tenure reviews?

No. There are no changes. Faculty who teach in the A and B sessions will have their teaching abilities evaluated the same way as they have in the past.

13. If I do not teach in an A or B session, may I be away from the campus and not have to attend meetings or participate in service responsibilities?

No. Unless you are on sabbatical or another form of leave for the semester or year, you are required to be available and present for service responsibilities and meetings as may be called by the chair/director, dean or other appropriate person. If you have no responsibilities on any given day and wish to work from home or another location, that is acceptable. If you are going to be away from the city, you will need the normal approvals for travel and absences.

14. When will academic status reports be sent to students enrolled in classes during the A and B sessions?

During the A and B sessions, academic status reports will be sent once near the middle of each session. There will still be two academic status reports during C sessions.

15. In an A or B session, may I teach in-person classes that meet only once per week?

Yes. The standard meeting time for such a class is 4:40 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with two 20-minute breaks.