Calgary university introduces fall reading week to support students’ mental health

Mount Royal University says it's the first Calgary school to introduce a fall reading week.
Mount Royal University says it's the first Calgary school to introduce a fall reading week. Getty Images

Mount Royal University has announced the launch of Calgary’s first fall reading week, set to take effect next fall after Thanksgiving from Oct. 10 to 13, 2017.

“We feel strongly that the timing of this break will be extremely beneficial to students’ mental health and well-being,” university president David Docherty said in a statement Monday.

READ MORE: University of Alberta approves fall reading week

The university said any students experiencing challenges in their studies can use the break to meet with faculty members and support services at a time that’s “early enough in the semester to course correct.”

The university said the fall-term reading week was recommended by the President’s Task Force on Student Mental Health developed in 2013.

The decision comes after two years of a pilot project that added two “reading days” in November.

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READ MORE: University of Saskatchewan students to get fall reading week

Student association vice-president academic Robert Nelson told Global News students are under a number of stresses that the fall week can help alleviate.

“Especially here where the vast majority of our students have to work at least part time while going to school,” he said. “So there are stresses from going to work, from going to classes and personal factors, depending on the student. And just having this full block of time to really take stock of all that is going on [will help] de-stress and decompress.”

The policy change was made official Nov. 17.

“Administrators will carefully review the outcomes, with a keen eye to students’ grade point averages, retention rates and surveys that report on student satisfaction,” the university said in the statement.

Nelson said there won’t be a reduction in instructional days, since the fall semester will start on the first Tuesday of September, regardless of when Labour Day falls.

Watch below: In an ongoing effort to address the mental health and well-being of its students, the University of Lethbridge has introduced a fall reading break. Quinn Campbell has the details from Dec. 15, 2015.

With files from Global’s Carolyn Kury de Castillo


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