Covenant administration is potentially planning to extend the chapel time slot by ten minutes starting next year, according to an announcement made to faculty last week. Chapel would officially run from 11:00-11:45.
Extending chapel by even ten minutes would create a chain effect in which all post-chapel classes and athletic practices would be bumped up by 10 minutes, according to Professor Cliff Foreman. For instance, 2:00-2:50 classes would consequently be pushed to a 2:10-3:00 time slot.
Faculty, after complaining about not being consulted, have arranged a meeting next month to discuss potential changes. A Bagpipe staff member will attend the meeting and report.
“If it happens, faculty would like some sort of guarantee that 11:55 classes will be able to start on time, that chapel won’t creep later, as it does now. Supposedly faculty reactions could change the decision. I know of no plans to discuss it with students,” said Foreman.
The office of the President has traditionally overseen school operations, including the schedule, though the schedule concerns multiple departments including Records and Academic Affairs. Shifting the schedule by even ten minutes would affect many areas of the college including the FURF system, the work study program, athletics, academics and even food service.
President Halvorson thinks that the idea has merit, according to Foreman, for several reasons, including because many similar institutions have longer chapels, a 35-minute slot limits or reduces chapel to some sort of formula, and speakers can’t develop their ideas enough in the shorter time slot.
Faculty members who oppose the idea argue that Professors speaking in chapel seem to have no trouble with the current time slot, that it reinforces the idea that chapel is church, that it takes another half hour of students’ time, and that longer chapels will cause students to lose interest.
Foreman emphasized that while Covenant strives to integrate faith and learning, the real work of the school goes on in the classroom; extending chapel, he says, seems to suggest that chapel is more important, an idea that has troubled faculty in the past.
Representatives from Student Development and the chapel department declined to comment for this story. Academic Affairs and the office of the President were unable to be reached for comment.