Missouri Western State University will have a four-day course schedule starting in the fall semester of the 2020-21 school year, possibly due to lack of funding.
Missouri Western declined to specify why they decided to change the weekly schedule, but there is speculation that it may be due to lack of funding.
Missouri Western will be removing Fridays from their school week and turning them into flexible, hands-on learning opportunities, according to a press release from the university. Fridays at Missouri Western will be known as “Gold Fridays.”
Missouri Western is Missouri’s official applied learning university. Fridays will be reserved for concentrated and purposeful experiential learning opportunities, according to Missouri Western’s Gold Fridays website.
Students will have the opportunity to do what they wish with their Gold Fridays. Students can still access campus for things such as labs, participating in organizations, tutoring services and meeting with teachers. They also can use the opportunity to work at their jobs, begin internships or any other learning opportunities.
Missouri Western President Matt Wilson said in a press release, “No other university in the area is doing anything like this.”
Wilson also said in the press release the university’s main focus will be to retain quality and ensure success.
The revised schedule will hold most classes Monday through Thursday. According to the press release, a four day schedule may not be functional for every program, but most of the programs will be modified to fit the new schedule.
The press release states that Gold Fridays are not intended to be a “day off” but to offer students freedom to seize opportunities that could enhance their education. Wilson sees Gold Fridays as a recruitment tool for future Griffons.
Robert Bergland, an associate professor at Northwest, worked as an associate professor of journalism at Missouri Western for 22 years. Bergland said the new president, Matthew J. Wilson, J.D., at Missouri Western came from an institution that had already implemented a four-day school week.
According to a Missouri Western press release, Wilson’s installation as president, the university he applied a four-day weekly schedule to, was University of Akron. Wilson was president of the University of Akron for two years.
Bergland also said that Missouri Western has done a four-day school week during a summer semester. He said during the summer, the university closed most of the buildings on Fridays. This allowed Missouri Western to save money by conserving electricity and other utilities used to run the buildings.
“I think it is something that we will periodically take out and look at as is it the right thing to do for our university? Is it the right thing to do for students? Is it the best thing to do for student learning? Right now, I don’t think that’s necessarily the window we’re at,” Northwest’s Provost, Jamie Hooyman said when she was asked if Northwest would do anything like a four-day schedule in the future.
As a close competitor of Missouri Western, Northwest’s consideration of a four-day school week is currently minimal.
Nationally, other schools have had similar experiences as Missouri Western and have implemented a four-day school schedule to recruit and save money.