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Please click on "Add Comment" at the bottom left of this page to discuss the concept and formulation of a Campus-wide "Common Hour. The College Senate is currently looking for discussion, comment, ideas and scope for the proposed common hour. For example, what would the campus like to see the common hour used for - in a perfect world, what would the common hour look like? On the other side of the equation, what do we NOT want it to be?

To follow is some wording prepared by Penny to reflect what was discussed in Senate. (many thanks, Penny!)

"The Senate was asked to field the idea of a Campus Common Hour amongst our faculty and staff colleagues in order to gauge interest and measure responses. Though the responses we received were mostly positive, many individuals noted some conscientious and noteworthy concerns that merit further consideration.
A common hour is a mechanism used by many universities and colleges to better ensure that students and the rest of the campus community can attend special events or guest speaker engagements, if they wish. This is done by setting aside an hour, usually once a week, during which no classes are scheduled; thereby allowing those scheduling special events an opportunity to do so at a time within which there is a reasonable expectation that all those who wish to attend may.   

However, as was noted by some members of our own campus community when informally surveyed, a common hour can only result in the above mentioned desirable ends if managed correctly. In an attempt to consider how to best move forward on this issue, the Senate forwards the following concerns and suggestions which we feel should be reviewed with respect to the possible establishment of a Delhi Campus Common Hour: 

  • Several of our colleagues commented that any common hour system should avoid as much as possible, the inclusion of mandatory common hour events. This is a case in point; too many mandatory events may serve to hijack the whole aim of a common hour. As an English Professor from BowdoinCollege noted in a speech made during common hour in 2000, common hour should not be about "everyone listening to one speech" but should be "opened up to diversity" and "democratized."
  • Others commented that the common hour needs to be chosen very carefully in order to avoid making the already very long schedules in some faculty departments even longer. 
  • It was also noted that there should be an attempt to avoid scheduling Division meetings or Staff meetings during the common hour; again something that should be deemed a priority in order to truly ensure the spirit of a common hour.
  • Lastly, some concerns were raised with respect to how the common hour will be properly chosen, monitored, and promoted to the campus on a day to day basis. It was suggested that maybe a confluence calendar page needs to be set up and administered for this purpose."

The results of the Campus-wide survey conducted by the College Senate

Faculty/Staff Common Hour Opinionnaire - Should SUNY Delhi establish a common hour?


Response                                                                 Percent                         Count

YES--pursue a common hour                                        63.7%                           79


NO--do not pursue a common hour                              36.3%                           45

answered question      124    skipped question     0

Additional comments (please specify) 27

1 This is not the type of common hour we need...we need one for faculty and staff to meet amongst themselves like in department meetings! Dec 11, 2009 8:18 PM

2 Make it half for meetings and half for events, that should help everyone out. Dec 11, 2009 8:29 PM

3 We are able to meet at ample times after 4 pm. Dec 11, 2009 8:30 PM

4 This has been needed for a long time as we use to have it. Dec 11, 2009 8:42 PM

5 You must remember that online faculty will need to be included in this somehow. Dec 11, 2009 8:47 PM

6 I think this could be used to help students who's schedules may prohibit them from meeting with faculty or to take care of personal business that needs to be done during regular business hours. Dec 11, 2009 9:26 PM

7 This is a qualified yes...If a common hour excludes certain faculty and staff from attending events, I take it back. Dec 11, 2009 9:41 PM

8 we have had common hours in the past and they have always excluded some. If some wizard can work out a common hour that will not exclude or seriously discommode some I am all for it. Dec 11, 2009 9:41 PM

9 Time must be considerate of scheduling required courses, including lab hours Dec 11, 2009 10:22 PM

10 This common hour idea is a great one. It would provide the campus with an opportunity to have a common meeting time, along with a time for cultural and artistic events, including guest speakers. Dec 11, 2009 11:37 PM

11 We desperately need a common hour so that our Division and "department" can meet. Dec 12, 2009 1:40 AM

12 arch students/faculty are not free till 6pm on M W & F Dec 13, 2009 3:00 AM

13 As long as it doesn't make putting the academic semester schedule together a total nightmare. Dec 13, 2009 2:26 PM

14 It should help nurture community spirits. Dec 13, 2009 4:31 PM

15 It is a great and inclusive way to promote cultural diversity and venues on the campus and increase participation in the great events we already have. Dec 13, 2009 5:08 PM

16 Too few faculty to support the number of hours to teach, we need the whole week. Dec 14, 2009 1:00 PM

17 Would end up being Friday at 4 or in the evening Dec 14, 2009 2:35 PM

18 It will overfill with conflicting activities. It is not a panacea for the raised issues. Dec 14, 2009 2:43 PM

19 I've heard some colleges do not hold class on Wednesdays to allow for this kind of thing as well as club meetings, study sessions etc. Dec 14, 2009 2:55 PM

20 I am not against a common hour BUT In theory, the common hour we once had was nice, but in reality it didn't work because that is the ONLY TIME EVERYONE (COMMITTEES, ACTIVITIES, ETC.) set up their meetings/events. Which meantthose who are on more than one committee or who are active on campus, couldonly attend one thing anyway. Which defeated the purpose of the common hour. It would conceivably be more difficult now since we have more adjuncts teaching classes, too.Dec 14, 2009 3:34 PM

21 would go a long way to establishing better communication among admin and all departments. a great oppportunity! Dec 14, 2009 3:39 PM

22 This is something we really need. Dec 14, 2009 3:48 PM

23 but specify that one week per month will be dedicated to divisions, one to collegewide committees, etc. Dec 14, 2009 4:45 PM

24 Then all committees and units will try to schedule "their thing" during that window of thime and we'll have an even greater logjam. Plus, what would this do to scheduiling labs and lectures that have been traditionally scheduled during this time frame. With the budget so tight and with the limited number of high demand sections for certain course I feel this would create even more scheduling issues by pushing those other courses into a smaller window of time creating even less flexibility for committees, dept metgs etc. Dec 14, 2009 8:38 PM

25 It only makes sense. Dec 15, 2009 2:24 PM

26 once a month or every other month rather than once a week Dec 16, 2009 2:45 PM

27 What will impact be on M/W/F vs. Tu/Th class schedules? Dec 17, 2009 4:33 PM


  1. Comments received from LAS:

    1. I am not for the common hour.
    2. I can tell you that we have tried it, it never succeeded for any length of time.
    3. I like the idea of a common hour (very useful when at Cobleskill).
  2. Comments received from the Library (all that I talked to said they liked the idea of having a common hour, but would "believe it when they saw it" in so many words.  Specific reactions to the document that was drawn up are below:

    • My feeling is that a common hour might be a really neat thing, but I bet that it won't affect us here at the library. I think the question not addressed in the attached document is how it will affect those that are not teaching faculty, and whether the common hour will apply to them. But perhaps it could work to our benefit, and we could organize workshops or something of the sort.
    • One thought is to go ahead with it expecting inital low attendance, execute lessons learned in subsequent time periods. The recently initiated "coffee hours" with the President may be informative as to expected participation.
    • I agree that it is important for the common hours not to be manadatory or only left for late at the end of the day - Hopefully, a variety of times could be offered, since all of us have specific "busy" times of the day we cannot walk away for an event such as this.
  3. I'm in favor of a common hour and feel it would be beneficial to the community to have such a common time when certain types of activities can be scheduled for faculty and staff across the various departments and divisions. However, I understand that logistically it could be quite difficult to plan, schedule, and implement.

  4. I like the idea on its face - are there examples that can be linked of how other colleges 'sell' and use this?

    I can imagine incorporating discussion about 'common hour' during Freshman Seminar.

  5. Here are a few links I just grabbed from a Google search on "Campus Common Hour".

    I thought this one was interesting, as it lays out in QueCentre style, all of the cultural events taking place on campus. 

    It seems the most popular days for a common hour on the campuses I visited online were T/R (roughly at lunchtime - varies 12 to 1:20, 12:30 to 1:30) so as to have impact on only 2 days per week as opposed to 3??? (this is conjecture on my part - the websites don't say).

     Ithaca college is currently having a discussion on whether to add a second common hour in addition to the one they already have on T/R. They have just started this conversation in their governance organization. 

    Initial research shows that some campuses have a centrally-monitored and maintained common hour and others use a portion of their common hours per month (like every third Thursday) for club meetings and events, etc.

  6. How would a Common Hour include online faculty and staff?

    1. I honestly don't know. That's the purpose of this whole conversation - to gather information and brainstorm the possibility of a common hour. Perhaps broadcasting events is a possibility - I don't know if we have the capabilities of doing that (especially if the event is held in a location that doesn't have the technological capabilities for that type of distribution. If you have any suggestions on how a campus common hour could include online faculty and staff, that would be great!

      1. Perhaps we could have a webcast of the common hour event/function - with telephone/video of the event.  I think Skype can do this - but I am not totally familiar with all of its functionality...


        1. David, our program uses Skype a lot for faculty meetings and such.  We find it very problematical, losing audio, audio breaking up, and such things.  A program like DimDim might work for this.  We've used it for several functions, such as faculty development and conferences there.  We even "attended" the dedication of Dennis' cabinet in the library that way.

      2. Julee and others I think we do have the capability to braodcast from lots of venues on campus and even have the ability to stream video outdoors, so I think that is clearly one way to include online faculty.  My hope is that their classes would also not be scheduled during the Common Hour.  Getting creative with technology to include online faculty and even faculty and students @ our satelite programs is one of the areas where we could utilize Kim MacLeod's position as New Media Manager.

  7. Received via email:

    In the technology division, some programs require 24 - 26 contact hours (for students), many faculty are required to teach 18 hours per week (this does not include the extra service that many of us also do).  In order for our students to be able to fit in their classes, our faculty have to teach classes throughout the day and do not have a "common" hour off. We start classes at 8:00 and some classes do not end until 5:30 or later.  Some courses also run through the noon hour.  The only fair way I can think of running a common hour is to have a revolving schedule so that one class does not always have to get canceled for a meeting.  For example, the first common hour meeting of the year would be on a Monday at 8:00, the next time Tuesday at 9:00, Wed at 10:00...the sixth meeting, following this pattern would be at Monday at 1:00pm.  Yes, there will always be someone who will have to cancel a class but at least it will not be the same class each time. G. Brackett

    1. Of all the suggestions, I think that this option would be the best.  We could prepare a listing of all of the common hour dates and times and include it with the semester college calendar and people could plan ahead and accordingly.  I think that we should also consider having at least one common hour in the evening - say at 7:00, as it may be easier to secure guest speakers that are traveling to Delhi from outside of the area.  While this revolving timeframe for the common hour would be challenging to manage at first, I think if properly administered could be an asset to our programs and internal communication.


  8. Received via email:

    I feel the Common Hour has merit to provide opportunities for campus-wide and department networking and meetings. Topics for discussion could be solicated and "floated" on a periodic basis (monthly) for Confluence or group meeting discussion. Participation should be voluntary for the online portion and up to the divisions if the group meetings are pursued. I do see this putting more stress on staff to prepare for labs and classes with this time being used for the Common Hour objectives. Personally, our department  seems to do a disproportionate amount of time with student activities, recruitment, labs and special events than most others, and I would not want to see one more layer of time and commitment become burdensome. D Reynolds

  9. Received via email:

    "...rather than a
    common hour set aside each week when there are no classes, instead we take
    one or two full days in the semester in which there would be no
    classes--faculty and staff would still be required to come on those days,
    and it would provide more flexibility for scheduling various kinds of
    events.  I know that such a plan presents challenges for those classes
    involving labs, but perhaps something could be worked out, maybe along the
    lines of what other colleges do when they don't hold classes on Jewish
    holidays." - K. DeZur

    1. This idea seems very logical to me.  This might even be easier to schedule around than having one hour a week.


    2. My daughter's college has two such days a semester called "Advising Days" where students meet with their advisors and there are no classes.   Events could be scheduled as well, I suppose.

  10. Received via e-mail:

    I think a common block that is longer than a hour would be more useful.

  11. Received via email:

    "As concerns the common hour

    The results from Applied Sciences and Recreation

    NO Votes    15

    YES Votes    5


    Ø      Although I support the concept in principal, I agree that it must be properly managed. However, for the foreseeable future, I probably will not be able to avail myself of the opportunities a common hour would provide.

    Ø      This was tried years ago and after a few semesters "unofficial" meetings, office hours, tutoring, then extended labs etc. snuck into that"hour" so it didn't really work.

    Ø        What we need is a meeting hour.....but I don't think either will work for our program without major changes to the schedule which would ultimately work against our students.   We have strived (in the Plant Sciences) to avoid conflicts between our classes to allow for the maximum flexibility for our retake courses, take courses concurrently, etc.   This is particularly ture for our transfer and 3 semester (AAS) students.

    Ø      It isn't that I don't agree in principle with the concept of a common hour, but it seems as though academics is continually taking a back seat to other campus initiatives.   The master schedule has never been stretched so thin in terms of class offerings and facility space and the introduction of a common hour only compounds these problems. Furthermore, to state that the common hour shouldn't be used for Division meetings, staff meetings, and perhaps implied that no committee work be conducted during this hour, is very counter productive.     There are very few opportunities for all of these areas to gather collectively, but to provide a common hour and then not allow the hour to be used as necessary is ridiculous.   As proposed I believe that the common hour would be counter productive to this institution.

    > only if it could be used for department meetings and the like. As a department we have no common hour within the time period of 8am to 5pm for us to meet in the Fall semester.

    >In theory it's a nice idea, but the way current schedules are (classes, etc.) creating another time for common hour doesn't seem entirely practical. "

    A. Wachter

    1. I think whether a common hour would work really comes down to what the motivation for having a common hour is in the first place and whether it can be used in a constructive way. Are there things that the college or the students want to be doing during the daytime that hasn't been able to happen because of the lack of a common hour? Would it be used to relieve some of the scheduling stresses for activities that typically run during the evening? If it were used for club, government or staff meetings that would normally run during the evening would that not defeat the purpose of having an hour during the day that the college community could all gather as a group?

      Personally I feel that it would take a great deal of resources to manage the acitivties that would occur during such a time block that at this time of stretched thin budgets, staffing, and the like and it's just not feasible.

  12. Received via email:

    "Common hour sounds like a great idea, but it has never worked. Impossible to
    identify an hour during the week from 8-5 when no classes are in session.
    And it is unfair to those few who do have class during the common hour.
    Been here done that."

    R. Fisher

  13. While I like the common hour principal, I feel that it presents a number of challenges. No matter how carefully faculty and staff manage this time and avoid filling it with division/department meetings, there is a good chance that students are going to fill this hour on their own. Another potential issue involves our students who have jobs (on or off campus) depending on when this common hour would fall there could be a number of students who simply cannot leave their job to participate in whatever is planned for during the common hour, whether it be an educational opportunity or meeting with an advisor. I understand that a common hour is also intended to build in some flexibility for staff and faculty, however this in and of itself does not appear to be a compelling enough justification, at this time, for the significant difficulties it presents when efficiently scheduling classes. Again, I do see the value in having a common hour and I do see where it can fit into our educational mission as an institution. Before we proceed down the path of establishing a common hour I would ask if all other options have been fully explored.   

  14. I believe a Common Hour or Common Hour and Half could be very beneficial to the campus community in many ways. Ideally, this allotted space should be reserved for special campus events, and forums and not just filled up with regular "run of the mill" meetings and business like others have discussed previously. I have learned about campuses who use these times very intentionally for interdisciplinary speakers and programs, and campus wide conversations and discussions. For instance, a team of faculty and staff could decide to focus on a programming theme across the curriculum and co-curriculum for a semester (such as sustainability, global studies, volunteerism), and faculty, staff and students could be brought together to hear a speaker or work together on a study topic that they had explored from various perspectives. This time could also be used potentially for major Orientation activities for students across all departments. Finally, I believe a common hour would be positive for building relationships across the campus, if there were certain times and events where more individuals could be free to gather, discuss ideas, and socialize. Certainly, with a common hour, we would need a common space- and no matter what, it will be great to have Farrell back next year!

  15. I think there have been some good points both pro and con on a common hour. I agree that it could be important and in theory helpful to students, faculty and staff. My suggestion would be to limit new freshman in the fall to 15 credit hours. As part of their schedule put in the common hour (like the free space on a bingo card). Then devise a 15 week program that will fill that hour. I think upper division students could attend some of the events, but they would have greater flexibility to choose how they want to fill their schedule.

  16. This is an issue on which I have made a 180 degree change.  As more and more is happening on our campus, I believe the time has come for a common hour. I was able last spring -through the good work of Dawn Pomeroy-Norwood- to find some reasonable times for such a comon hour. Given our space constaints, the problems of getting committees together, the requirements that assessment, searches, departmental or divisional meetings, the challenges of scheduling some extracurricular activities, etc. the time for a common hour has come. (These points barely touch on the student life issues of space and time.) Obviously, events and activities will expand to fill the alloted time, so implementing this will create some expectations that cannot be met. I know there is sentiment that a common hour not be used for departmental or divisional meetings, but in some instances it is very difficult to get everyone from a program area in the same room. If we want more face to face contact, this is a possible solution. Further, we can expect that the academic day will continue to expand into late afternoon and evening times. This seems to be something that has happened for some time. If so, the need for a common time will be even more important.

    John Nader

  17. I think that the idea of a common hour is an excellent one.  It would give the campus community a common time to meet and congregate for cultural, academic, and other intellectual events that are now very hard to schedule due to the challenging nature of everyone's schedule.  Many of my colleagues across campus have tried to schedule lectures, presentations, open forums, ect... that all of us have wanted to attend but could not due to various scheduling constraints.  Furthermore, this common hour would give the various departments and divisions the opportunity to schedule meetings in which everyone would be able to attend. 

    I think it is important for us to leave the challenge of scheduling the common hour to the powers that be.  We should not let that challenge dimish our philosophical support for the common hour.  We have been told that it can be done. 

    Terry Hamblin

  18. From the athletics scheduling point of view a "common hour" concept would perhaps be beneficial.  Many student-athletes unfortunately already have practice/class conflicts.  The proposed ability to utilize this common hour time slot may help to eleviate the conflicts for some students.  Regardless of the outcome it certainly is an interesting idea and has generated alot of discussion campus wide which is beneficial to all aspects of our campus. 

  19. It sounds like the best 'common hour' format is to manage the time carefully.  Perhaps it could serve dual purposes.  It could be managed such that 'special events' were scheduled every other week.  Then on the 'off' week departments could schedule meetings and such. 

  20. I believe that a Common Hour would be a tremendous benefit to our campus.  A common hour would provide an excellent and dedicated time for students, faculty, and staff to come together for a wide variety of campus related projects, meetings, or presentations. I  feel that if we had a common hour, it would greatly improve overall communications, bring students and staff together,  and increase the sense of community on campus.

  21. Watch for a campus-wide survey, coming soon!

    It will be a very quick and painless yes or no survey to let the Senate know the "will of the campus community".

    Please encourage everyone to take advantage of their opportunity to vote.

  22. Anonymous

    My name is John, and I am a student currently enrolled in the LAS department.  After reviewing the previous discussion and the merits of each arguement, I would like to take this opportunity to express my opinion as an individual of the common student body of SUNY Delhi. 

    I am a very involved student on campus-  I am employed as a Student Ambassador and I was employed as a Student Orientation Leader this past semester.  I have pledged for a recoginzed Greek Letter Organization, I am involved with the Campus Chorus and I plan to be involved with the College Players in following semesters.  Therefore, I am all over campus.  I tend to visit the on-campus events hosted by the Student Programming Board and I even go to the weekend movies in Evenden Tower a few times a semester. 

    As for the idea of a "Common Hour" in regards to the many varied on-campus events, I think that it would be a marvelous idea.  It would give every student on campus the opportunity to go see the public speaker or the comedian or whoever the higher-ups have enlisted to perform.  I know that I have often had the need to cancel one appointment or essentially be in two places simultaneously due to prior-planned engagements.  I would be thrilled to have a Common Hour during the day to allow myself time to actually view these events and make the most of my time.

    However, I do see the problems with creating a specific hour each day.  It would be a massive job to organize the right hour each day so that most people are happy (I say most because I know that it is impossible to please everyone all the time). I also see an issue with the food service staff on campus.  If there were a common hour each day, I can imagine every student rushing to eat their meal during that time thereby flooding the few dining facilities we have and overworking the already tired staff.

    If I were to offer a suggestion to the issue, it would be this.  Perhaps we could attempt to schedule different hours each day it is decided that there be a common hour as previously mentioned.  As a new idea, this hour could be implimented for only a few days each week.  Perhaps there could be a common hour only on Tuesdays and Thursdays or possibly even one day a week.  That would give students the opportunity to adjust to the new idea, and it would be much less hectic than beginning a strategy that involves a common hour every day of the week right away.

    I hope that my input has some merit, and I hope to hear more about this idea in the coming months!


  23. I think the idea of a commom hour is worth trying. Maybe if it started once a month and then progressively increased . I don't believe it should be mandatory, as some topics may interest some more than others. Topics that bring information but also allow for group interaction at times would be nice. Topics that have some humor always helps! Maybe once a list of possible topics is developed, people could vote for the top 4-6 choices that they would most likely attend.    

  24. Barbara Jones asked SUNY schools if they utilize a common hour on their campus. She has asked me to post the results she has collected so far.  The following schools responded they currently utilize a common hour: SUNY Old Westbury (noon - 1pm daily), SUNY Oneonta (3-4 pm on Mondays), SUNY Maritime (Wed., at noon), SUNY Geneseo (Wed., 1:30 - 2:45 pm), SUNY Cobleskill (Tues, 12-2), and SUNY Stony Brook (Tues, 12:40 - 2:10).

    1. Do we know how these schools use their common hours?

  25. If we had a common hour and half or more of the faculty, staff and students chose to attend -- what venues do we have to hold that many people?

  26. Stay tuned to your email - there is a usage survey coming out shortly to help faculty and staff determine campus needs and wants for the common hour. The first survey results are posted above, and the second survey draft is also posted above as a child page. This will help us determine more of what we need the common hour to be and do. I have some notes form the last Plenary to post here regarding some feedback I got from others....

    Many schools have different models. One has a Tues/Thurs model they use where they alternate weeks - so every other week on Tuesdays it's committee work, alternating with dept meetings. Thursday has other scheduled things but not community events - it's all housekeeping use.

    Some have lots of complaints - poorly attended, and an administrative nightmare. used for everything under the sun and bottlenecks are inherent. no pilot done and no follow up or assessment - so it was someone's good idea gone bad. faculty would dump it in a minute, given the chance.

    One runs the same program 4 days in a row then Friday is "free"

    One is used strictly for Campus-wide events. Some complaints by faculty are a big gaping hole in the middle of the day and extended hours required on campus.

    One is a "regimental hour" used by functional groups.

    Oswego, Purchase and Cortland also have one.

    Some times used by other campuses =

    • 12-1:15 T/R
    • 12:30-2 T/R (3 campuses)
    • Wed 12:40-1:40 - Mon and Fri same time empty
    • 3-4:15 W/F - Mon empty
    • 12-1 M/T/W/R - Fri free
    • Wed 2-3:15 - M/F free

    Geneseo was sort of the pioneer for the process - other schools model theirs after Geneseo's proved successful. Dennis Showers from Geneseo has a lot of info on the admin end of it.

    Administered by Assoc Provost - process is to apply for the time use to Provost. Schedule kept by one person. Assessment problematical. Complaints of times. Deans can apply to Provost to "APPEAL FOR EXCEPTION". I think this concept would have to be employed for us as well - think Vet Sci animals undergoing anasthesia, think Restaurant service, think Nursing clinicals. There may be other examples but I think most would agree that we have some special needs where we just need our huge chunks of time uninterrupted.

    Another campus has theirs administered by their office of Student Affairs.

    One issue with a "lunchtime" time slot is that students were not attending - they were going to lunch instead.

    Lots of things to think about.

    Please encourage everyone to do the upcoming survey so we have a clear picture of what the campus needs and wants are! We would like everyone on campus to have their voice and are interested in any and all input in the process.