UBC to implement fall reading break starting in 2021

Jun 1 2020, 4:24 pm

Students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will have a fall reading break starting in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Academic Policy Committee brought the motion forward to the UBC Vancouver Senate, and it was passed last week. The motion explains that the idea of a fall reading break has been “considered off and on for many years,” most recently being when a working group was established last spring.

The five-day break will take place in November and will be aligned with the Remembrance Day holiday. The Academic Policy Committee explains that this allows for consistent timing without introducing a short week and maintains regular start dates for term one and two of winter studies.

It also has the advantage of retaining the three-day study break that takes place between the end of classes and the start of exams.

Matthew Ramsay, Director of University Affairs at UBC, told Daily Hive that the biggest change noticed by students will be the compression of the final exam period to 12 days.

“The biggest shift for the university is allowing exams to be written on Sunday to accommodate the additional days of the break which will obviously entail some Faculty and staff working on a Sunday,” he wrote in an email.

The motion will also benefit students by pushing back the deadline to add, drop, and withdraw from courses.

The current rules place the withdrawal deadline for first-term courses around Thanksgiving. The motion argues, however, that at that point in the semester, “many students have not yet received feedback on their learning.”

While most universities across Canada have different withdrawal dates, they’re all typically later than those of UBC. One-term courses will now have an extended withdrawal date, pushed back by two weeks in the winter and one week in the summer. The adjusted withdrawal dates are expected to take effect on September 1, 2020.