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Senate approves fall term break

Queen’s University will implement a two-day fall term break for students enrolled in the four direct-entry undergraduate programs. The break will take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

Senate approved the recommendations of the Fall Term Break Task Force (FTBTF) at its Feb. 28 meeting. The two-day fall term break will occur on the Thursday and Friday of the seventh week of classes.

“The break will help alleviate the stress students often experience during this point in the fall term,” says Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force. “With the two-day break, we aim to minimize the impact on orientation activities and the pre-exam study period, which serve to smooth the transition to university and promote student success.”

The university will implement the break by:

  • Shifting residence move-in day to the Saturday of Labour Day weekend instead of Sunday;
  • Holding faculty-specific orientation on Sunday, Labour Day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday;
  • Holding classes on Thursday and Friday of that week; and,
  • Holding university/residence orientation on Saturday and Sunday (the weekend after Labour Day weekend).

The implementation of the break will not affect the number of instructional days.

Strong support for pre-exam study break, fall term break, and Orientation activities

Senate established FTBTF in April 2016 to develop recommendations for implementing a fall term break. In addition to extensive consultations with the Queen’s community from October-December 2016, the task force conducted an online survey, which garnered 7,251 completed responses.

When asked to identify their priorities:

  • 34.2 per cent of respondents ranked a fall-term break as most important
  • 33.6 per cent of respondents ranked pre-exam study days as most important
  • 30.1 per cent of respondents ranked Orientation activities as most important
  • 2.1 per cent of respondents ranked an increase in the number of instructional days as most important

When combining the respondents’ first and second priorities, 83.5 per cent ranked pre-exam study days as either most or second-most important, while 63.2 per cent of respondents placed a fall-term break among their top two priorities. 45.2 per cent of respondents stated that Orientation activities were among their top two priorities, and 8.1 per cent identified additional instructional days as most or second most important.

The survey results, in addition to written and oral comments received by the task force, indicated that the student body highly values a fall-term break, pre-exam study days, and Orientation activities, according to Dr. Shearer. “From there, the task force focused on identifying and developing a recommendation that would retain all three of the activities,” she says.

The full report from the FTBTF is posted on the University Secretariat website