As students unwind (and maybe do a little reading) during the weeklong Winter Reading Break, they can also look forward to another full-week break next fall.
As of November 2020, the Fall Reading Break, which was previously three days (including Remembrance Day), will be extended to a full week.
It’s a change that students have been advocating for, largely because of the mental health benefits of having a longer break. “There is a tremendous benefit to student wellbeing gained by a simple two-day extension of the break,” says Sean Waddingham, vice-president, Academic of the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU). “I think it’s clear that with student mental health being a significant concern, and so many students working part-time during school, a full-week break is necessary.”
Despite the clear benefits of extending the break, there were more logistics to consider than one might think. The university had to ensure that minimum requirements for instructional time, exam days and grading time were met, without having the term begin too early or end too late. “We wanted to avoid starting the term in August or ending in January,” explains Sean. “If it had, students’ grades would either be posted late, or they may have had to pay rent for an additional month – neither of which would help ease the stresses of being a student.”
Though the issue was initially raised by students, the rest of the university community was on board. “Students advocated for an increased Fall break through the academic governance process. Consequently, MacEwan surveyed the entire internal MacEwan community and there was overwhelming support, in principle, from students, faculty and staff to move to a full week break,” says Dr. David McLaughlin, associate vice-president, Planning and Analysis, and registrar “From there it was just a matter of prioritizing and getting a working proposal.”
The first weeklong Fall Reading Break will take place November 9 to 13, 2020.
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