Five College Consortium

Academic Year Planning Guide & Useful Dates


Below are some key dates and advice to keep in mind for leaders of Five College academic programs, arranged by the academic year.


The Five College Academic Calendar offers calendar information compiled from all five campuses.


September

Fall Semester Classes begin: See the Five College Academic Calendar for dates of first day of Fall semester classes at each campus. 

By September 30: Submit next year's budget request. If your program has an annual budget allocation from Five Colleges, the program leader will receive a letter in early September from FCI staff with instructions for submitting the following year's budget request by September 30. (For example, AY2017-2018 budget requests should be submited by September 30, 2016. Contact your program's Five College staff liaison for more information.)

By September 30: Update the program website. Contact your program liaison to plan for making changes to your program's website. Make note of any changes to the listing of associated faculty members on the program’s “People” page (new faculty members, sabbaticals, etc.). It may also be useful to make note of any new content you would like to add to the program website such as news, upcoming events or key dates. (See Guide to Website Content Management for Academic Programs).

By September 30: Update the program email listserv(s). Contact Brian Acevedo with requests for changes to the program listserv(s) including adding new and visiting faculty members. Most academic program websites located on the Five College website include links to automated subscription to the program listserv(s). Contact Brian Acevedo for more information. (See Guide to Five College Email Listservs.)

September - October: Plan for end-of-year reporting. At the request of the Five College Deans, each Five College academic program is expected to submit an annual report by early May each year and a comprehensive program review report every five years. Taking time early in the academic year to plan for reporting and information gathering can ease reporting headaches later in the year. It can also help ensure your program committee is collecting information that is valuable to your program in the long run. Talk with your Five College staff program liaison to find out more about planning for reporting. 

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October

October 1: Plan for course lists and other advising tools. To help students and advisors plan ahead and encourage awareness of course offerings across the campuses, each Five College academic program engaged with courses or curriculum coordination (e.g. certificate programs, majors, departments and others) is expected to prepare and publish a list of courses as well as other useful advising tools recommended by the program steering committee. Semesterly course lists need to be updated in October and again in March, in preparation for each advising and pre-registration period. Contact your program's Five College staff liaison by October 1 to plan for the upcoming pre-registration period (Spring semester).  (See Guide to Preparing & Publishing Program Course Lists.)

Second week of October: Mid–semester break. (See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus).

Last Wednesday in October: Submit the upcoming Spring semester course list. If you have arranged for a list of Spring semester courses recommended by your program to be published on your Five College program website, submit the list of courses per your program liaison's instructions no later than the last Wednesday in October. (See Guide to Preparing & Publishing Program Course Lists).

November

November through mid-February: Each year Five College academic program steering committees are invited to nominate a student for the Five College Lorna M. Peterson Prize. Nominations should be submitted by the second Friday in February. The Lorna M. Peterson Prize supports scholarly and creative work by undergraduate students taking part in a Five College program. The $500 prize is awarded annually based on nominations from Five College program committee members on behalf of a student. In addition, each nominated student is expected to submit an short essay. Learn more about the Lorna Peterson Prize and nomination instructions.
(See also Five College awards, prizes, performances and other celebrations of student work.)

November 1: Students pursuing a Five College certificate who will graduate at the end of the Fall semester should plan to meet with their certificate advisor by November 1 in order to complete the required documentation. The certificate advisor is then expected to submit the documentation for final review by the program steering committee before the end of the semester. (See the Guide to Processing Five College Certificate Awards).

First week of November: Spring semester courses are published in the Five College Online Course Guide as well as course lists recommended by Five College academic programs, coinciding with the advising and pre-registration period. (See the Five College Online Course Guide.)

First two weeks of November: Advising & Cross-registration (interchange) course request period for the following Spring semester. See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus.

Third week of November: Thanksgiving Vacation. See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus. (Normally Amherst College breaks for the entire week, and the other campuses break for the latter portion of the week.)

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December

If you have not done so already, the end of the semester is a good time to check in with your Five College staff program liaison about managing your program budget, and any plans for developing special projects.

Last day of Fall semester classes: See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus.

December 15: Certificate program committees are expected to submit certificate completion materials to the Five College Academic Programs office no later than December 15 for any students completing the certificate who are graduating in the Fall semester. Contact Brian Acevedo for more information. The set of documents required for the certificate awarding process is different for each program, and is established by the committee overseeing the certificate program in consultation with the program liaison. (See Guide to Processing Five College Certificate Awards).

January

January Term: See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus

Spring Semester Classes begin: See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus.

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February

Second week of February: Plan for course lists and other advising tools. To help students and advisors plan ahead and encourage awareness of course offerings across the campuses, each Five College academic program engaged with courses or curriculum coordination (e.g. certificate programs, majors, departments and others) is expected to prepare and publish a list of courses and other useful advising tools recommended by the program. Semesterly course lists need to be updated in October and again in March, in preparation for each advising and pre-registration period. Contact your program's Five College staff liaison by the second Friday in February to plan for the upcoming pre-registration period (Fall semester).  (See Guide to Preparing & Publishing Program Course Lists.)

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March

Second week of March: Spring Recess (all campuses). See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Third Wednesday in March: Submit the upcoming Fall semester course list. If you have arranged for a list of Fall semester courses recommended by your program to be published on your Five College program website, submit the course list per your program liaison's instructions by the second Wednesday in March. (See Guide to Preparing & Publishing Program Course Lists).

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April

April is the season for Five College student symposia, conferences, performances, exhibitions and festivals. Scheduling an event during this month can be tricky. Planning far in advance is recommended.

First week of April: Fall semester courses are published in the Five College Course Guide and course lists recommended by Five College academic programs, coinciding with advising and pre-registration periods. (See the Five College Online Course Guide.)

First two weeks of April: Advising & Cross-registration (interchange) course request period for Fall. (See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus.)

April 20: Five College Faculty Seminar proposals (new and renewing) due. (See the Request for Proposals page).

April 1: Students pursuing a Five College certificate who will graduate at the end of the current Spring semester should plan to meet with their campus certificate advisor by  April 1 in order to complete the required documentation. The certificate advisor is then expected to submits the documentation for final review by the program steering committee before the end of the semester. (Learn more at the Guide to Processing Five College Certificate Awards).

Last day of April: Certificate program committees are expected to provide certificate completion materials for any students completing the certificate who are graduating in the current academic year no later than the last day of April. Contact Brian Acevedo for more information. The set of documents required for the certificate awarding process is different for each program, and is established by the committee or council overseeing the certificate program, in consultation with the program liaison. (See Guide to Processing Five College Certificate Awards). If you anticipate materials will be submitted to Five Colleges after April 30, please contact Nate Therien as soon as possible in order to request special accommodation.

If you have not done so already, April or early May is a good time to check in with your program's Five College staff liaison about program budget accounting and/or plans for developing special projects.

April - May: Plan for next year:

  • Schedule next year's meetings: Many program committees and councils find it useful to schedule meetings for the following academic year at the end of the Spring semester. To arrange meetings at Five College central offices, 97 Spring Street in Amherst, contact Nancy Eckert. (See Guide to Booking Meetings).
  • Plan for end-of-year use of funds: Funds allocated by The Five Colleges, Incorporated (FCI) to a program are to be used between the first day of July and last day of June (FCI fiscal year). If your program is allocated an annual budget, contact the Five College staff liaison to your program or Yvette Morneau, before the end of June to ensure that all expenses for the current fiscal year are processed before June 30. Unused program funds do not “roll over” to the next fiscal year. This does not apply to collaborative grant project awards, which are handled on a timeline established via the project proposal and award letter from FCI. (See Guide to Planning Use of Funds Allocated to Five College Academic Programs and Collaborative Projects).

  • Plan for future budget management and next year's budget request: Consult with your program's Five College staff liaison or other Five College Academic Programs staff about planning future use of an allocated program budget or grant award. Each year, Five College programs are expected to provide a budget request for the following fiscal year by September 30. (See September activities, and the Guide to Planning Use of Funds Allocated to Five College Academic Programs and Collaborative Projects).
  • Consider planning for special projects.  Be in touch with your program's Five College staff liaison well in advance to discuss your ideas for new collaborative activities. Your program liaison can help strategize about developing coordination of resources or funding proposals. (See Requests for Proposals for more information about Five College special projects funding options. Learn more about Five College awards, prizes, performances and other celebrations of student work.)
  • Program Leadership: Is it time to plan for a new leader to the program steering committee? Be sure that you have notified your program's FCI staff liaison about any anticipated changes in leadership for the program steering committee. Each new program leader is encouraged to contact Nate Therien or another Five College staff liaison for your program in preparation for the transition to new leadership.
  • Review program plans for next year.

  • Reserve dates and space for Fall semester events.

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May

Last day of classes: See the Five College Academic Calendar for specific dates per campus.

By the second Monday in May: Academic programs conducting a five-year self-study are requested to submit the report to Five College Academic Programs no later than the second Monday in May. Brian Acevedo and Nate Therien can provide guidance and submission details.

By the second Monday in May: Each academic program is requested to submit an annual report about program activities and plans for next year by the second Monday in May. Brian Acevedo or the primary Five College staff liaison to your program can provide guidance and submission details.

Before end of June: Plan for end-of-year use of funds: Funds allocated by The Five Colleges, Incorporated (FCI) to a program are to be used between the first day of July and last day of June (FCI fiscal year). If your program is allocated an annual budget, contact the FCI staff liaison to your program or Yvette Morneau before the end of June to ensure that all expenses for the current fiscal year are processed before June 30. Unused program funds do not “roll over” to the next fiscal year. This does not apply to Five College grant project awards, which are handled on a timeline established via the project proposal and award letter from Five Colleges, Inc. (See Guide to Planning Use of Funds Allocated to Five College Academic Programs and Collaborative Projects).

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