Nova Scotia

Dalhousie University adopts a second reading week

Dalhousie University is changing its academic schedule to have a reading week in the fall semester. The school already has a reading week in the winter semester.

School year to begin earlier to make room for fall reading week in 2016

Dalhousie University will now have a reading week in the fall starting in 2016. (CBC)

Dalhousie students will get another chance to catch up on their studies, or a little more time to relax, next year now that the university has added a reading week to the fall academic schedule. 

Reading week is a five-day period when there are no scheduled university classes. The new break will run from Nov. 7-11, 2016, and was officially approved by the university's senate Monday night. There's already a reading week in the winter semester.

Dalhousie added the break after the school's student union requested the extra week. 

"It's a really big win," said Dan Nicholson, president of the Dalhousie Student Union. 

"It's an excellent example of how the university has taken the opinion of students on things that students want, not only want, but need." 

Nicholson says students need a break in the fall to help them cope with the stress and pressure of university. 

"Being able to step back from the hectic school life, be able to sort of catch your breath and just relax a little bit is extremely helpful in terms of stress management and mental well-being."     

Reading week fairness

Dalhousie University's senate first approved the idea of a fall reading week in April, but only set dates on Monday. 

The university's acting registrar, Mairead Barry, says the university realized it wasn't fair to offer a reading-week break during the winter semester and not have one in the fall. 

"Students who took classes in the fall term didn't have that advantage of having a break before the end of the term, that they could work on term papers and other things," she said.

"That was one of the major considerations that we took into account, was how do we bring consistency between the terms." 

Barry says Dalhousie will now start its fall semester early, in order to make up the academic time lost by having the new break. 

Instead of starting on the Thursday following Labour Day, classes will begin on the Tuesday after Labour Day. 

Dal isn't the only university that has looked at adding a fall reading week. 

"As a part of our research we were looking at it, but it definitely is a trend that a lot of universities are moving in that direction," said Barry.