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Task force to examine implementation of fall term break

Principal Daniel Woolf has formed a task force to consider the best way to introduce a fall term break for direct-entry undergraduate students in Arts and Science, Engineering, Commerce, and Nursing. The task force, which held its first meeting in late September, will deliver a comprehensive recommendation to Principal Woolf in February 2017.

“The Queen’s Senate and its committees have been discussing the feasibility of a fall term break since 2013, and Senate agreed in April 2016 that a break should be implemented after taking into consideration a number of factors,” says Principal Woolf. “I have asked the Fall Term Break Task Force to consider the work completed to date on the issue, as well as the extensive consultations that will occur in the coming months, when forming their recommendation.” 

In April 2016, Senate endorsed the following principles, which the Task Force will keep in mind while completing its work: 

•    A fall term break is desirable for student wellbeing.
•    Orientation activities are valuable for assisting first-year students to make the transition to university life and should be preserved.
•    A pre-exam study period is beneficial to students and should be preserved.
•    The number of instructional days should be increased as far as it practicable in order to help smooth out workload across the term.

“When we look at the university’s options to alter sessional dates, there are many factors involved, and all must be considered,” says Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, who chairs the Task Force. “Our academic terms are already quite condensed compared to many other institutions, so incorporating a fall break isn’t as simple as choosing not to hold classes for one or more days during the term. Many programs require a certain number of teaching hours for accreditation purposes, students working during the summer often would like as much time as possible to earn money to fund their studies, and the Task Force’s principles also confirm for us that orientation activities and a pre-exam study period should be preserved.”  

The consultation process will include a survey open to all members of the Queen’s community, consultation sessions, and a town hall meeting.  

The Task Force will be equally comprised of students and administrators. Members include: 

  • Representative from the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) - Chair 
  • AMS President, or designate 
  • SGPS President, or designate 
  • Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs 
  • One representative from each of the four direct entry-undergraduate programs: 
    • Dean of Arts and Science, or designate 
    • Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, or designate 
    • Director of the School of Nursing, or designate 
    • Executive Director of the Commerce Program, or designate 
  • One student-at-large from each of the four direct-entry undergraduate programs: Arts and Science, Engineering and Applied Science, Nursing, and Commerce. 

More information about the work of the Task Force can be found on the University Secretariat’s website. Details about the consultation process will be communicated in the coming weeks.