author: matt wincherauk | editor-in-chief
How do you feel about another break?
University of Regina students recently found themselves asked to fill out a form regarding a potential fall semester break similar in length and purpose to the Reading Week break in the winter semester. While information is currently scarce, the Carillon was able to talk to James D’Arcy of the registrar’s office about the thinking behind the idea of a break.
So where did this idea come from? Well, according to D’Arcy, the idea came from a number of different sources, with the intention of improving students’ mental health.
“It’s come from different sources of the university like the University of Regina Student’s Association, our counseling psychologist and also some faculty who have all indicated that a fall break could be beneficial to our student’s mental health,” D’Arcy told the Carillon.
Before the University could even think about surveying students about a possible fall semester break, research needed to be done. D’Arcy talked about looking “across Canada to see some of the models introduced at some schools.” Schools like the University of Saskatchewan have had a fall semester break for a few years now.
But just because a number of Canadian universities have already implemented a fall semester break, does not mean that the U of R will necessarily adopt their exact plan. D’Arcy explains that the U of R has to do their best to accommodate students, and provide them with as many options as possible before making a decision.
“More and more schools are doing it, and all of them have different formats. You probably saw questions on the survey talking about compressed exam schedules, starting a week early, a five day break vs. a seven day break, that’s all based on the research I’ve done on the different way schools have implemented it.”
Student who have participated in the survey know that a number of different options were provided. While students appear to support the initial idea of a break, questions from the fall semester break would not come without changes to the rest of the semester. While the break would coincide with either the Remembrance Day or Thanksgiving Day holidays, a break would likely also mean a start before Labour Day, or a shorter exam schedule. D’Arcy went on to further explain his survey questions.
“The reason I structured it like that was because coupling it with a statutory holiday has the least amount of impact on the schedule overall,” D’Arcy explained. “Some schools have it in October, and some have it in November, but it does seem that the research is leaning towards that November is the better time to have it, because that’s when students are presenting themselves into their school’s counseling office needing help with stress management. November appears to be when students need the highest level of assistance.”
While D’Arcy cannot comment on the any opinions the U of R administration may have regarding the break, he does note that preliminary results from the survey have been promising, with over 2500 students participating and letting their thoughts be known, a number that D’Arcy is quite content with.
According to D’Arcy, students appear to be on board with the idea of a fall semester break, but that he won’t know for sure until he looks through the rest of the data, which will not be finished until February. Regardless of the decision made, the actual implementation of a fall semester break likely will not come until the 2018-19 school year, as the 2017-18 school year has already been approved.
The Carillon urges students to complete the survey if they have not already done so.