WVU discusses potential fall break
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 00:04
West Virginia University administrators are discussing plans to implement a fall break for the upcoming school year.
In a faculty senate meeting Monday, a proposed 2013-14 academic calendar did not feature a fall break and was subsequently rejected, said Faculty Senate Chair Lesley Cottrell.
Now, the calendar committee is weighing the pros and cons and has the next two weeks to decide how to rearrange its regular calendar days to make it work.
"Everyone wants a fall break, including WVU faculty, staff and students. I think we are all hopeful that we can get it, and everyone understands the need for it," Cottrell said. "But, the options are not great for where these extra days would come from so that’s the tricky part."
The proposed break, which would be an extended weekend falling on the ninth week of classes just after midterms, cannot impose on the required 15 weeks of instruction.
"People don’t want to sacrifice their Thanksgiving break time, and classes that require lab courses would be affected because they need that full week, otherwise students are missing a whole week’s worth of work just because they’re off that one day," Cottrell said. "Things like that keep popping up. We can do this, but people might need to give something up."
Cottrell said she thinks joining the likes of local schools such as Virginia Tech and the University of Pittsburgh could benefit the student body as a whole.
"Right after midterms, everyone needs to take a mental break. People just reach their peak, and we’ve seen some issues come from that," she said. "Studies show a break like this could help decrease behavioral problems and even keep students motivated and stay in school longer."
The largest option that’s been discussed is a Monday-Tuesday period or Thursday-Friday period, Cottrell said.
Student Government Association President Jason Bailey serves on the calendar committee and said students need a break from classes and exams before Thanksgiving break.
"Physical and mental burnout is common among college students today amidst their workload, and not providing students any relief surrounding midterms almost guarantees increased stress levels that could lead to poor academic performance and a slippery slope that ultimately causes a student to leave the University," he said.
Bailey said it is the duty of University officials to provide the best learning atmosphere for the student body.
"It is our administration’s responsibility to look out for our students’ best interests to ensure they are performing to the best of their ability, and I believe an academic calendar that reflects adamant relief is pertinent to student success," he said.
Faculty senate will further discuss approving the break plans at its meeting on May 14.