“We can, you can’t.”

So I’m talking with a new Instructor and he shares this with me:  He is in his first night of the class and it is 9:40 and he’s come to a stopping point so he asks the students if it is OK if class is dismissed early.  They reply with some amusement, “we can leave early but you can’t.”

I have to say the students’ response surprised me because it says that some faculty have employed the practice of dismissing students earlier than 10pm and then staying on to 10pm themselves doing one thing or another before leaving.  We have hundreds of excellent Instructors who ARE holding their classes to the full time.  I want to thank you for that and commend you for your diligence and integrity.

I’m hoping this is a rare occurrence, but I need to make sure there is no ambiguity on this point.  The truth is that we are attempting to establish a culture of ethical practices and excellency, neither of which are achieved by allowing students to leave early but staying ourselves until the full time.  This not only lessens the educational experience but it says to the student that “fudging” on the policies of their organization must be OK if it is OK for a Christian Instructor in a Christian Institution to do so.  YOU ARE A MODEL IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CONTACT WITH STUDENTS, DO THE RIGHT THING!!!  Or, to put it in simple terms, no, you can’t let students go earlier than 10:00pm even if you stay the full time.

Dr. Ruddell, Dean in Houston wrote a great post on Taming the 10PM Titian which I encourage you to read.   I know also there are a variety of posts within this blog under the Category “Collaborative Teaching Ideas” which could be used quite effectively to fill that last hour if you are running low on ideas.  This also goes back to the Collaborative Learning Strategy which I’ve written on before.  You know things will slow down after 9:00pm, so plan some more energetic activities during that time.



  1. John Soden

    I agree. If the focus is on using the time productively – it will benefit everyone. If the goal becomes merely keeping them – the end of class will become like herding cats. Thanks for the thoughts.


  2. Lewis Todd

    I teach BUS309 Computer Business Applications. It is a very technical course showing how a business person would use Microsoft Office in their work. The assignments have them creating letter, flyers, doing mail merge, investment portfolio analysis, creating time sheet and several different PowerPoint presentations using animation and audio. Since I have been teaching for over 15 years, I know how “slow” it can get in the last hour. I use that time to give students information and assistance on how to complete their assignments. The first three hours are used showing the mechanics of the applications and how to create letters, spreadsheet and presentations, but the last hour is unique to the assignments. That is also the time I use for exam or quiz review. So far, this seems to be working.

  3. chip mason

    We really don’t have enough time to cover everything that needs to be covered in our courses. If you find you have extra time in Business courses, please contact me so we can review the modules. We are clear in a marketing to students and in the faculty contracts that the classes are four hours, so this should not be an issue. Thanks for all you do in ministering to our students at Belhaven.

    Chip Mason, Dean of the Business School

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