Niagara College will introduce a new academic schedule in September 2012 known as the 7-1-7 model. The new schedule consists of three 15-week terms over the 12-month calendar – Fall, Winter and Spring – providing flexibility in access and consistency in program delivery to support student retention and success efforts.
Under the 7-1-7 model, each term includes seven weeks of instruction followed by a one-week break, and then seven more weeks of instruction. The most significant changes students will see are the addition of a one-week break in the Fall and Spring terms, consistent with the current Winter term break week, and the removal of designated exam weeks (where applicable, final evaluations will be incorporated into the final week of instruction each term).
The 7-1-7 academic schedule was among the key recommendations put forward by Niagara College’s Retention Committee, which was formed in 2008 with a mandate to recommend ways to ensure that Niagara College students succeed from day one right through to graduation. Some examples of the committee’s other key recommendations include the creation of a centralized advising centre (CPAAC), which was implemented in 2011, the promotion and recognition of student engagement through the introduction of a co-curricular transcript in 2012, and staff dedicated to retention issues, which has led to the introduction of student advisors in certain academic areas.
As part of its research, the Retention Committee heard from experts and looked at the postsecondary institutions with the highest retention rates; what they found is that the majority of these schools used the 7-1-7 model.
Experts say that the first six weeks of an academic program are critical to student retention; for students at risk, the break week provides the opportunity for early intervention. For students who are struggling to adjust to being away from home, it’s an opportunity to visit home earlier, and for others it’s a chance to catch up, or meet with support services or faculty to address academic challenges.
The 7-1-7 model will also create the opportunity to deliver courses consecutively rather than simultaneously, where appropriate, and it ensures that the delivery of courses is consistent regardless of term or start. In other words, programs with January or May starts will not have an accelerated or condensed delivery.
Adopting the 7-1-7 model will not cause significant changes to curriculum, nor will it affect the availability of student services and ot her college operations. All student services and the college residence will remain open during all academic terms.
Further information on the 7-1-7 model, including frequently asked questions for students, staff and faculty is available online at NiagaraCollege.ca/content/Home/717FAQ.aspx