Students are having mixed reviews about the fall reading week announcement made by UTM in the spring.

Starting October 2016, UTM students will now have two reading weeks during the academic year in place of one.

The added break is scheduled to occur during the four days immediately following Thanksgiving Monday and will extend the total length of the fall term from 12 to 13 weeks. While a fall reading week will not affect the teaching period during the semester or the duration of the winter break, the addition to the semester could shorten the length of the study period prior to December exams.

The traditional February reading week will remain as is.

According to Diane Crocker, registrar and dean of enrolment management, UTM administration had been in talks for approximately two years about the implementation of a fall reading week. After reviewing the fall schedules from a number of other universities across Canada, campus administration felt a fall reading week would serve the students’ best interests.

“I believe all students can be more successful if given more time to learn,” said Crocker, who also said the new break would especially benefit first-year students, who are adjusting to the overwhelming transition from high school to university.

The idea was introduced during past town hall meetings and students were sent an online survey to provide their thoughts and feedback on the proposal earlier this year.

Students, however, have mixed opinions about the new break.

Candice Dela Cruz, a third-year digital enterprise management student, agrees the break is exactly what students need in the midst of midterm season; however, she does not like the possibility of a shortened study break.

“I’d rather have school start one week earlier and still have the study break before exams remain the same,” she said.

Alistair D’Cruz, a fourth-year digital enterprise management specialist, agrees with the UTM administration and believes a break would provide first-year students with the opportunity to refocus after their first month as university students. However, he feels it may not be as useful to upper-year students, who would rather have extra time to study prior to exams.

A proposed schedule for the fall reading week has been released online, outlining the dates that it would occur on from 2016 through to 2020.

UTM joins Ryerson University, who initiated a fall reading week in 2012, and Wilfrid Laurier University, who began a three-year trial period in 2014.

The effectiveness of the fall reading week will be reassessed in two years.

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