Statement from the AMS Executive on the Future of a Fall Break
April 19, 2016
KINGSTON, ON – Today, Kanivanan Chinniah, President, and Sarah Letersky, Vice President (University Affairs) released the following statement in response to the motion voted upon at Senate regarding a fall break:
“Over the past few weeks the University has been increasingly engaged in conversations surrounding a fall reading week. There has been a diverse array of opinion on this matter both between and within students, faculty, and staff.
“In particular, students have told us they were concerned about the impact a break could have on Orientation Week and the pre-exam study days. We took these concerns very seriously and worked extensively with both the Administration and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures to develop a compromise that worked for students.
“As a result, the University Senate voted today to establish a Task Force that will investigate how to best implement a fall break at Queen’s with these concerns in mind.
“At our initiative, this Task Force will include student perspectives from all direct-entry programs (Arts & Science, Engineering & Applied Science, Commerce, and Nursing). We are confident that they will develop a proposal that preserves our unique Orientation Week and the pre-exam study period.”
- The Senate Committee on Academic Procedures previously put forward this proposal for a fall break: http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/sites/webpublish.queensu.ca.uslcwww/files/files/FinalSessionalDatedRecommendationSCAPapproved.pdf
- This proposal was going to be voted on at the Senate meeting of April 19th and therefore the AMS worked to find a compromise that better reflected student opinion, resulting in the following motion:
“That Senate endorse the following principles to be used as a framework by the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures when approving sessional dates, commencing in the 2018/19 academic year for a three-year trial period:
- A fall term break is desirable for student wellbeing;
- Orientation activities are valuable for assisting first-year students to make the transition to university life and should be preserved;
- A pre-exam study period is beneficial to students and should be preserved; and
- The number of instructional days should be increased as far as it is practicable in order to help smooth out workload across the term.
“That Senate task the Principal to create a Task Force to:
- Create an implementation plan for a Fall Term break at Queen’s University for the four direct entry undergraduate programs with consideration of the aforementioned principles;
- Conduct broad consultation with Queen’s students and other interested and affected members of the Queen’s community regarding such an initiative; and
- Report back to the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures no later than February 2017, with a comprehensive recommendation.
“Understanding the broadness and diversity of opinion on this matter, such special purpose committee to be comprised of:
- Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) – Chair
- AMS President, or designate
- Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs
- 1 departmental representative from each of the four direct entry undergraduate programs:
- Dean of Arts & Science, or designate
- Dean of Engineering & Applied Science, or designate
- Director of the School of Nursing, or designate
- Executive Director of the Commerce Program
- 1 student-at-large from each of the four direct entry undergraduate programs:
- Arts & Science
- Engineering & Applied Science
“At the discretion of the Committee non-voting advisory members may be added to provide expertise into operational issues.”
Alma Mater Society (AMS) – https://myAMS.org/
As Canada’s oldest student government and the central undergraduate student government at Queen’s, the AMS represents over 16,500 students. The Society seeks to enhance the Queen’s experience for every student and as such runs a variety of services and programs internally and advocates externally on behalf of students to the University and other bodies.