Starting today, the Office of the Principal will begin a week-long online survey about the possible introduction of a fall break at UTM. Email invitations will be sent out to all UTM undergraduate students, faculty, and staff.
The proposed fall break—which would be offered beginning in the 2016/17 academic year if the responses are in favour of the proposal—would last four days, from Tuesday through Friday following Thanksgiving Monday.
Survey respondents will be asked to select whether they are in favour or whether they are against the proposed fall reading break at UTM and will be able to leave feedback regarding the proposal.
If the fall reading break is introduced, it could affect the length of the study break between the last day of fall classes and the first day of December exams.
“We remain committed to a 12-week term and we cannot start classes here until after Labour Day,” said Diane Crocker, UTM’s registrar and director of enrolment.
According to Crocker, this is because of the time needed to “assess records” after summer programming and the need not to push summer schedules back.
The break will also not affect the two-week December holiday period after exams.
The impact of a fall break on the study break length will mainly depend on when exactly Labour Day will occur each year. Calendars showing the impact of a fall reading week over the next five years will be available online.
In recent years, many Canadian universities have started introducing fall reading weeks. As of October 2013, 11 of Ontario’s universities had a fall reading break, including Brock, Ryerson, and McMaster.
The fall reading week issue has previously been raised at the Principal’s Town Hall meetings at UTM. The dates of UTM’s fall break would not necessarily coincide with those of U of T’s other campuses.
Optional experiential education opportunities may be offered in the fall reading week, similar to the Alternative Reading Week program that occurs in the winter reading week break. For first-year students, this week could offer help for a smooth transition into university life.
The online survey will include further information about the impact of a fall reading week for all respondents to consider.
According to Crocker, the survey results are expected to be released by mid-February. The survey will exclude graduate and Mississauga Academy of Medicine students, unless they are also teaching staff.