After years of only one winter reading break, Ryerson University may finally be getting a fall reading week, even if that means some faculties may not be able to participate.
In particular, the Engineering and Nursing faculties may have to opt out of the new reading break if there is too much difficulty in rearranging the clinical placements for nursing students or Accreditation Units for engineering students.
“All strategies would lead to a heightened imbalance between Fall and Winter semesters creating challenges to deliver Ryerson courses in a consistent manner across the two semesters,” said a January 2011 Report to Senate.
Regardless, the Ryerson Senate has already “endorsed, in principle, the creation of a fall reading break”. The report also hinted at the idea of the university semesters shifting from a 13-week curriculum to a 12-week one instead.
While the fall reading week may not come into effect until at least the fall 2012 semester, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) has continued to push for it after initially putting it to the Senate.
“We heard that’s what students want, that’s what they need and we figured that most students could use a break from their academics to be able to catch up in the fall semester,” said Caitlin Smith, Vice President Finances & Services of the RSU.
Surprisingly enough, not all students are happy about the new potential arrangements. If the new break means some classes are going to be crammed with more work to accommodate it, some students would rather not have it.
“Those 30 hours of that one week somehow have to be shifted to the rest of the semester so it’s just more class on top of the 30 hours that we already have,” says Olena Bojchuk, a first-year chemical engineering student.
On the other hand, if the professors don’t cover more material in the classes missed during the reading break, other students are more concerned that the end of the term will get pushed forward, shortening the Christmas break.
“Ryerson students always finish exams early in December and get a longer winter break,” said Zeeshan Burhani, a Ryerson Aerospace Engineering student. “This new fall reading week would push exams past to 20th of December and I would rather have a longer Christmas break than a week off on October.”
Considering that many students are still unaware of the possible one-week reduction in the curriculum, it may not be as big a problem for nursing or engineering students as they think.
For now, the engineering faculty is currently supporting the new break. Should they be unable to accommodate it, all faculties will still be given the opportunity to opt out, says Smith.