Some see problems in structure of UK’s Dead Week

The week before finals is designated as Dead Week by the University Senate, but many students argue that it is not much of a break from their regular schedule.

“For most classes, it’s a week of projects and papers, and those assignments are just as big as a final,” said Kelsey Hill, a marketing and integrated strategic communications junior.

The last week of instruction of a semester is termed “Dead Week,” a time when no final exams can be given and when no take-home exams can be due, according to University Senate Rule

But contrary to what many students perceive Dead Week as, projects, papers, presentations and other assignments can be due during the week as long as they were scheduled in course syllabi, according to the rule.

Certain sections of the rule were changed in April 2006 to clarify the regulations.

“We changed the rule to make it more student-friendly,” said Kaveh Tagavi, University Senate chair. “The purpose is so students could start gathering their thoughts and preparing for the final exam.”

Regularly scheduled quizzes are allowed during Dead Week as long as they are on the syllabus and do not have an increased worth, like a final. This prevents teachers from giving an early final, Tagavi said.

“We didn’t want professors to give an exam during Dead Week and call it quiz number three,” he said.

There is no rule concerning a review for a final exam, but some students think a review should be required. New students need some review time before finals to prepare, said Kerry Richmond, a history freshman.

“I think you need it, especially for freshmen because some high schools do not prepare you for this,” Richmond said. “You are so overwhelmed, and you need extra review to focus and be ready for finals.”

Teaching new material up until the last day is not addressed in the rule either.

Christopher Rice, a political science professor, said he understood a need for review time, but there is too much information students need to be taught to not teach during Dead Week.

“In a way, I understand the stresses students are feeling, but if you’re paying tuition you should want to get the most education you can,” Rice said. “We cover a lot during the semester, and students need some time to catch up, but you structure the semester to use all your teaching time.”

But some students see it as unreasonable to teach new material up until the last day of class during Dead Week.

“It’s ridiculous to have new assignments and to have new material with just two or three days to memorize it,” said Amber McGuire, a history freshman.

Giving students more time to prepare is a problem with UK’s structure of Dead Week, said history professor Karen Petrone. Other schools have specified study days before finals.

“We go right into finals, but other universities have reading days or study days,” Petrone said. “The problem is there is no space between classes and finals.”

Dead Week should be restructured if there is a genuine concern from students, Petrone said.

“Do we have it set up in a way that allows students to adequately prepare for finals?” Petrone said. “That is a question worth addressing.”

Rice said the university should compromise between students and faculty when it comes to Dead Week.

“What is helpful is a genuine shared understanding of what’s at stake,” Rice said. “Faculty need to understand what (students) are going through, and students have to understand that faculty here have a genuine commitment to providing the best education they can, and for most faculty that is teaching up until the last day.”