Community Time

Community Time has three main purposes: 1) to allow opportunities for all members of the community to be together at meals and other community-building events; 2) to allow opportunities for discussions and experiences that foster community within our three traditions and educational mission; and 3) to allow opportunities for all members of the community to participate in discussions and experiences that enhance shared governance, institutional effectiveness, and continuous improvement.


The "Saint Mary's Community Time Proposal" for a two-year pilot program originated in the Campus Deans and Directors Committee as the result of several years of discussion about how to accommodate various community-building activities within a daily schedule that had little room for allowing such events to happen. Representatives of various student life and academic areas suggested ways in which a community time period might be used. A proposal was drawn up and distributed to the Staff Council, ASSMC, and the Educational Policies Board on October 17, 2005. The concept of Community Time had been announced previously to faculty leaders on Academic Planning Day (August 23, 2005) and introduced as a possibility even earlier, during the spring semester, 2005.

Vice Provost for Academics Frances Sweeney spoke briefly to the EPB on September 19, 2005 and presented the proposal more formally on October 17th. Based largely on the EPB's suggestions, the proposal was revised and presented again on November 14th. Department Chairs and Program Directors, as well as individual faculty, were asked by e-mail (jointly from the Chair of EPB and the Dean for Academic Development) to review the proposal and respond with comments. The proposal was discussed again by the EPB on December 5th. Drafts of this response were distributed and presented to the Academic Senate on December 8 and January 11, 2006. On January 23, 2006, the EPB discussed the final version of the proposal and issued its response, supporting all four sections of the proposal, as amended. The Senate subsequently acknowledged the work of the EPB and accepted its recommendations as the official response of the faculty to the proposal.

The proposal was also evaluated by the Staff Council, which met with Vice Provost Sweeney and the Dean for Academic Development to offer feedback and raise concerns involving staff participation. The official response of the Staff Council, after that meeting, was to support the proposal and urge more opportunities for staff participation.

The Vice Provost took the proposal to a regular meeting of the Associated Students of Saint Mary's College for their feedback as well.

Finally, the President's Council considered the proposal and supported it. The President and Provost authorized its implementation during the 2006-7 and 2007-8 academic years, as recommended by the EPB, on a pilot basis.

After a two-year pilot program, Community Time has become a permanent part of the Saint Mary's College schedule. Beginning in 2008-09 "meeting dates," where added, as requested by the Academic Senate, to explore whether having designated meeting dates for faculty, staff, and students to use for that purpose enhances or detracts from the general goals of Community Time. There is one "meeting date" per month, except for December and May, and while other kinds of events may be scheduled on these dates, it is hoped that their primary purpose will be for meetings.