In an informal survey conducted by The Press, 97 per cent of students approached that they would be in favour of SAIT introducing a fall reading week.
However, students were more divided in when they would like to see such a break take place.
The majority of those questioned said that they would prefer a later break, with 75 per cent choosing the week of Remembrance Day, in November.
The remaining 25 per cent wanted an earlier mid-October break.
Mount Royal University (MRU) became the first Calgary post-secondary institution when it announced on Nov. 21, 2016 the school would have a fall reading week next year.
The new four-day break is set to take place Oct. 10-13, 2017.
“The break is an ideal time to engage with faculty members and support services, early enough in the semester to course correct,” said Bryan Weismiller, communications officer for MRU, in the news release.
Alternatively, the University of Lethbridge (U of L) held its first fall semester reading break Nov. 7-10, after mid-term exams were over. Combined with Remembrance Day, the break gave students a week off from classes.
SAIT currently no plans for such a break.
Chris Gerritsen, public relations and communications specialist at SAIT, said on Nov. 22 that the only scheduled reading week will take place in February each year.
“We are required to provide a set number of hours of instruction in order to maintain our ability to grant degrees and diplomas,” said Gerritsen in a written statement obtained by The Press.
The required hours of instruction are mandated by the province, the statement noted.
Awareness about student mental health appeared to be a major reason U of L and MRU created the fall break.
The U of L based its decision on a recommendation from the university’s mental health committee, while MRU following similar recommendations from a mental health task force developed in 2013.
The break is an ideal time to engage with faculty members and support services early enough in the semester to course correct. – Bryan Weismiller
SAITSA has just created its own mental health team, the Mental What? but that group has yet to issue any suggestions for changes to SAIT policy on breaks.
For now, SAIT students will have to wait until the winter semester to get a reading week.