Brock University will have a fall reading week as part of its academic calendar, starting in 2013.
At its Dec 5. meeting, University Senate adopted a fall break week as a three-year pilot project, at the end of which its impact will be reviewed.
The mid-term break from class schedules takes place during Thanksgiving week, which is the week of Oct 14-18 in 2013.
The move will have minimal impact on term schedules. Classes will begin during Orientation Week as usual, but in 2013 commence Wednesday, Sept. 4 instead of Thursday, Sept. 5. Orientation programs will still take place during O Week.
At the end of term, exams will not run any later than normal and are scheduled to conclude on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Creating a fall reading week was recommended in the University’s Mental Health Strategy and by the Brock University Students’ Union, and is seen as a mental health break for students to help alleviate stress.
The report before Senate said Thanksgiving week is good timing for the break.
“The fall can be a stressful time for students, many of whom are away from home, friends and family in addition to coping with a challenging academic course load,” the report said.
“Several Ontario universities currently have a fall break to support student success and mental health, and other universities are considering it.”
30 comments on “Fall reading week coming in 2013”
Will this push the last day of lectures in December back a week?
Does this mean that students will begin exams right after classes end? Meaning that there will no longer be a week between the end of classes and exams commencing?
Lectures will not be pushed back a week. I believe it will be an extra day or two. There are still two reading days after classes end. Exams will run in 10 days over 4 periods, instead of the normal 12 days with 3 periods.
This means that I am getting less for the money I pay per credit. I am not a supporter of this. 49 years students have survived without a fall reading week… If a student needs a break that bad, that early in the year, there is a good chance they will not survive in the real world.
Martin, I am curious about what you mean by ‘getting less for the money you pay per credit?’ Can you elaborate on what you are getting less of?
As tuition costs increase it is surprising that we are now getting less classtime for more money. Will this mean the academic rigor will fall or will more information and responsibility fall to the students. I really question the need for a slack week when three rigors of the work a day world will not be lessoned after they leave the ivory towers.
I am against this idea. I think Reading Weeks are, in general, a total waste of time.
Mental health services are there to help people cope if they are experiencing severe homesickness and/or stress, which is great, but giving everyone a week off just because SOME students supposedly can’t handle the stress is a bit odd. We all need to learn to cope effectively with demanding situations and get on with life. Offer services to help students learn to do that, but don’t start introducing another break as if this is a make-it-or-break-it issue . . . most students can handle the school year as it is just fine. Personally, I want to spend more time in the classroom, not less.
Could universities be giving students any easier of a ride? Brock, and other institutions who adopt this was of thinking are simply setting more young people up to fail in the real world, where these types of concessions do not exist. How many more opportunities are administrators going to give students to talk about how easy university is? The fact that Brock is even calling it a “reading week” shows how willfully blind they are to the reality of the situation. Sure, an extra four days off in October will be useful for some students in the most advanced programs. But giving 95% of the student population more time off to do nothing makes a mockery of the degrees the school has been issuing for nearly five decades.
I believe that this will be beneficial for students, the fall term can be just as stressful as the winter one, and for people who have mental health issues and suffer from different things this will benefit them, as well as those who are away from home and are stressed due to that. I dont understand how people are saying they wont survive in the real world, university is much more stressful then the real world when you have your career and degree resting on your shoulders. This reading week will definately be beneficial.
Remember that this is a pilot program. I for one do not agree with it, but I respect the fact that the University is trying something to provide a better student experience. If this program fails, which I hope it does, then we will not be worse off for trying something different. I for one would be concerned if the University were not trying to find ways to make the experience better for students. Go naysayers, but keep it constructive, we have to live with this for three years.
The introduction of a fall reading week will not reduce instruction hours, which are regulated by the government.
To those saying people will not survive in the real world with an additional 5 days off: you were never prepared for the real world to start with. If 5 days off makes or breaks you, you seriously should consider getting some help. People in the “real world” have more than 5 days off as well and I don’t know too many of them that are struggling with having those days off. In regards to less time in the class room, it’s one class per course you’re missing. It is not that big of a deal. Besides the people now commenting on this saying that they are opposed to a fall reading week are probably the same people complaining in November that they are overwhelmed with essays/ labs etc. More time in the classroom? I don’t know what classes you guys are taking but I personally do not have any more time to be in the class room as my schedule is already packed. Try taking 6 classes a semester consistently, and see what sort of toll it takes on you. It’s beneficial to have a fall reading week for that sole purpose. In regards to tuition as well, you already get less education for what you spend anyways, and tuition rates are not going to decrease anytime soon. An additional week off is not losing any education you might be gaining. If anything it’s keeping it on par with what we already experience. I’m willing to bet that most people’s courses waste at least 2-3 classes anyways with introductory classes etc. The first class of the year in 98% of classes you learn nothing anyways. Should we prevent that also? Are you getting your money’s worth for that? Didn’t think so.
While I respect your opinion, I would like to state that I am a mature student, who spent years in the “real world” before coming back to school for a degree. University is MUCH easier than having to deal with the stress of balancing a “real” job, a mortgage, groceries, car payments, and personal obligations, year-round. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that 5 days off will “make or break us”, only that it’s just another waste of time, and does nothing to address the real underlying issues surrounding mental health. If any student is THAT terribly stressed out by their studies by October (a mere month and a half into the school year!), I don’t think an extra 5 days off will cure their problems . . . they will probably need long-term one-on-one counselling through Mental Health Services to learn to cope.
In my opinion, the real issue here is that far too many students are being pushed into pursuing university studies before they are ready for it, and some would be better off learning a trade or directly entering the workforce. If there wasn’t such a stigma attached to not going to university these days, and if students leaving high school were better aware of all the different options available to them, then maybe we wouldn’t have so many students coming to university only to fail, struggle, and develop severe depression and other mental health issues. I think a lot of students who are struggling do so because they are in way over their heads, and an extra reading week simply isn’t going to change that.
That was my point I was getting at. For me it is a welcome break. Sure it is only a month and a bit after the school year starts, but reading week second semester is only a month and half after we have already had a month off for Christmas. So the whole “it’s unnecessary” should really also be directed at the second semester reading week as well if that’s the case. I also never said university was harder. It most definitely is not and I realize that despite the fact that I went straight to university after high school. I think the whole “mental health” excuse for developing a reading week is not even a valid argument. As you said, an additional week off is not going to solve underlying issues of depression etc. But for me it’s a nice break to be with friends/family and have a break before November crunch time. Personally a reading work the first week of November would be better before all essays are due & exams follow.
Thanks for your response, I completely respect your position. And I do see your point in saying that since we have a reading week for the winter term, it’s only fair to have one for the fall term as well. I guess my stance is that they could get rid of the winter reading week as well for all I care, but if the reading weeks help you out, then they can’t be all bad. Good luck with your exams. 🙂
Cancun in October anyone?
Many schools implemented a fall reading week long ago, so this is certainly not new or particular to Brock. Academe is stressful; it does not necessarily mean that one is ill prepared. Comparing academic/student life to the ‘real’ world and insinuating that work outside of academe is more demanding is offensive (as is vice-versa). Work is work! Let’s not forget that when a person works more hours at their ‘real world’ job, they earn more money. When a student or a professor works more hours on their assignment or a lesson plan, grading, etc., the amount of pay is the same, as is the credit that a student earns. If a student is in an overly demanding class, he or she still only earns one or half a credit.
The extra reading week is a great opportunity to collect one’s thoughts and prepare a plan on how to proceed with the semester’s work.
Good call, Brock!
Well it is about time. I think we’re the last university to do this.
I’m happy to see this implemented. I am a mature student that has lived and worked in the “real” world. I coped well in the work force and I cope well in university life but a break will be welcomed in the fall as it is in the winter term. I juggle school, a family, a home, bills, etc on my own and having a week to keep up on readings, write essays or just enjoy my daughter sounds like a great plan to me!
You will not lose course days. There will still be 60 teaching days, same as a normal Fall.
However, we will no longer need the extra 2 lab days for sciences, and instead of 12 days/3 periods, exams will run over 10 days/4 periods.
So exams will not be going longer this coming fall?
what does 10days/4 periods mean?
It’s fairly simple – exams currently run at 3 times through each exam day (9am, 2pm and 7pm, I believe) and the entire exam period is 12 days…. the new exam period will be shortened to 10 days and exams will run at 4 times through the day.
@ Stella, Let me begin by saying I also am a mature student, I have run my own business, and had a career in marketing. I have a family, mortgage, bills, and so on. I also suffer from a severe mental illness. I do not think that anybody implies a week of is going to fix a mental health issue, however, it is a much appreciated rest for many, and positive for everyones mental health. No the “real world” is not more stressful than university. In the “real world” we get paid vacation, paid to work, and if we are lucky enough many extra perks that go along with working. Perhaps you have a high stress tolerance and that is great for you. But, the majority of the students I know find that “mere” month and a half into the term, the most stressful part of the term. The workload is intense, midterms are taking place, and the pressure is on. And as far as the “you must go to university stigma.” Just because somebody struggles through university, does not mean they are in over their heads. It is a fact that having a degree will get anybody further, should they decide to put it to use, than those that are uneducated or those that go into a trade. People with mental health issues deserve the right to educate themselves and be successful too. We are not any different than you, research top executives and CEOs that have bipolar. I’m sure they struggled through university and they are some of the most brilliant, and highest paid people. I for one greatly appreciate having a week to collect my thoughts, mentally prepare for the remainder of the term, and enjoy time with my family. If you feel it is a waste of time, spend the week in the library educating yourself on just how stressful university can be for the majority of students.
I feel having a week off is fantastic as the university year is a stressful year and will give extra time to complete assignments/study, etc to help reduce the stress/workload… …my concern is jaming the exams into 10 days instead of 12 days having exams 4 times throughout the day rather than 3 times a day will be even more STRESSFUL for students having the exams closer together not leaving much time to study, as there is not enough time now. This will create more of a stressload at exam time, but reduces stress at the fall break. So how is this solving the problem??? One problem is solved creating another problem. Maybe more thought should be given before changes are made.
I would just like to say something to everyone who is saying that the ‘real’ world is harder than University. Yes, in the ‘real’ world you have to work, buy groceries, clean your house, pay your rent/mortgage, car payments. Sometimes you have kids to look after or relationship issues to deal with etc. I would like to point out that many students are doing all of these things already. Going to school everyday, bringing hours of homework home with them every night… and paying way more money than we have to be here! Saying that University is not part of this ‘real’ world is insulting to those of us trying to juggle all of this. It’s not easy.
Will the Teacher Education program get this break as well?
I think this is a great idea, especially for students who get behind in their readings because we all know how difficult it can be to catch up once you get behind. Other universities enforce this policy as well and since they haven’t revoked it, I’m assuming that it has not caused problems as of yet.
Personally I think this I ridiculous. Primarily because of the changes to the exam schedule. Previously I had my two toughest exams on the same day; one 9 – 12 the other 2 -5. It made for an extremely long day. How are students going to cope now? I mean they will have to take out the time in between the exams in order to have the gyms available meaning that they will probably be asking us to get done in IB and that instantly at the time our first exam ends to be at the next exam in Davis? Will it now be acceptable to have three exams in one day when this was previously considered a conflict? Very unreasonable and unfair to my eye. If they were really worried they should have just given Friday AND Monday off at Thanksgiving and lost one lab day. Especially after last years winter term where we had to make up two days of classes; it was hectic enough. This only makes student life harder, while yes a week off sounds great but in the long term? I certainly wont appreciate the consequences.
Has everyone forgotten the past events in prior years among all Ontario universities where students have committed suicide due to their increased levels of stress? Some individuals cannot cope with the large amount of change after they enter their first year of university. Coping strategies must be developed – they do not just happen. Even in the hospital workplace, workers are provided approximately 1 day/month where they can call in for a ‘stress day’ (not a ‘sick day’). Stress is harder for some individuals to cope with which is why I am accepting of this Fall reading week. I acknowledge that for some students it is more difficult to cope than it is for others and that is okay! Do not discourage those who cannot cope as well.
In addition to the previous statement. If it means one less student takes their life – the consequences that follow are in fact worth it.