University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler pitched a bold idea in his first State of the University address earlier this month: exploring a year-round academic calendar.
After more than a decade in circulation, that idea has gained traction nationally - in discussion, but rarely in practice.
At the U, the year-round calendar idea offers intriguing possibilities and daunting hurdles. Such a calendar can give students more flexibility and a crack at graduating faster. But will student demand, financial aid and faculty willing to take on summer courseloads be there?
"I think the benefits would outweigh the challenges, and this is an idea well worth driving forward," Kaler said in his address.
Many universities have balked at the major cultural shift of a year-round calendar. Nevertheless, they have sought to make better use of mostly vacated campuses in the summer.
They've boasted gains in efficiency and options for students, while fighting off charges they're too set in ways that hark back to an agricultural economy.