A longer winter break will debut this January, lasting from December 22, 2011 to January 9, 2012. Evening exams have been added to accommodate the longer break.
The decision for an extension started over two years ago with a proposal by then SSMU VP University Affairs Rebecca Dooley, who suggested a restructuring of the McGill academic calendar.
According to Morton Mendelson, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), a work group was started, headed by Daniel Juntas, Dean of Law, and Ellen Aitken, Dean of Religious Studies.
The student body wasn’t consulted until it received a survey last winter, which attempted to address problems about where the extra time would come from.
“There would have to be trade-offs in order for this to occur. We asked students about the trade-off, we asked about starting later, ending later, evening exams and exams on weekends,” Mendelson told The Daily.
The study concluded that students most favored a compressed exam schedule. “The number of exam days will be reduced from twelve to ten, with exams on Monday and Thursday evenings to accommodate religious observances,” said Emily Yee Clare, SSMU VP University Affairs, in an interview with The Daily. “Fall and Winter exams will still end December 22 and April 30 respectively.”
“It was really done so all students could enjoy the extended winter break,” said Clare.
“Both students and professors concluded that an extended winter break would be the best. This way international students would have more time to go home, [and] professors could have more time for grading without having to cut down on the number of hours of teaching,” she continued.
According to Mendelson, it was an unusual move to change the academic calendar at such short notice.
“Typically we set the calendar 2-3 years ahead,” he said.
Both Mendelson and Clare confirmed that the extended winter break is on the academic calendar of dates for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years, and will be a permanent move for the University.