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Campus Life

Rethinking Higher Education: The Impact of a Four-Day Academic Week

In 1926, Henry Ford initiated the transition from a 6-day work week to a 5-day week, aiming to enhance efficiency on assembly lines. Over time, this model became adopted worldwide, including in academic institutions. Lipscomb University’s standard schedule offers classes Monday-Friday, night and day. 

The college of Business, however, has most of its classes on a four day a week schedule. Dr. Allison Duke, senior associate dean for the college of business explains the operation.  

“There are some classes that we offer just on Tuesday Thursday and Monday Wednesday. There are still some classes we still need to operate on a MWF schedule. The idea is that that would allow students to have Fridays to work and also have Fridays for faculty to conduct research that we are required to publish for our accreditation standards.”  

For students, the feedback has been positive. 

“Talking to students, we have gotten really good feedback because it does give a full day that they can work off campus or on campus, or get their school work done and study for tests, things like that. So, I have had very positive feedback from students and from professors as well,” according to Duke.  

Many schools across the country have implemented four-day weeks, which means longer daily sessions to meet instructional hour requirements. For example, the University of Mobile has adopted a Monday–Thursday class schedule, granting faculty and staff Fridays off. This initiative, referred to as ‘focus Fridays,’ encourages students to engage in volunteer work, internships, or mentoring activities, with hopes of applying academics to the real world.  

According to Inside Higher Ed, the focus Fridays have led to unexpected student benefits. The school built a frisbee golf course as a result. Through student partnerships with businesses in the community, student discounts became more prevalent.   

What if Lipscomb adopted a four-day academic schedule?  

Dr. Duke believes the schedule change would benefit Lipscomb.  

“In many ways, it would be beneficial to the university, as a whole, if we had the ability to do that because you could then get more involvement from faculty and students just because you are not competing with classes,” she concluded.