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Faculty Senate approves academic calendar changes

October 20, 2015 By Greg Bump

Photo: Commencement in Camp Randall 2014

Spring commencement will be set at the second Saturday in May, with the beginning of the spring semester determined by counting backwards from that date, under changes approved by the Faculty Senate in the Academic Calendar.


The Faculty Senate has approved revisions to the Academic Calendar for academic years 2016 through 2021, including a fixed date for spring commencement and adding a new summer session.

The changes eliminate a Friday start to the fall semester and set the spring semester based on counting backwards from commencement, which will be set on the second Saturday in May. Effective in summer 2017, these changes are also intended to create flexibility and predictability for summer sessions.

Secretary of the Faculty Steve Smith says the calendar changes were made based on information and feedback from a working group that presented options to the chancellor and provost. The group observed that adding an early May session offers more flexibility, better utilizes available space and facilities, and could reduce time-to-degree for UW–Madison students.

“Setting a regular date for commencement provides more predictability and opportunity for our students,” Smith says. “Students would consistently know that they could start an internship, summer job, or study abroad experience on the third Monday in May.”

The revised calendar can be found here. A print version of the overall approved calendar is available as well as year-by-year versions.

If you have any questions regarding the calendars, please contact the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty at