The 2017–2018 academic year will start earlier for UTSG Arts & Science students due to Fall Reading Week, meaning that orientation week organizers at the colleges are accommodating for changes in schedule relative to previous years.
Previously, Arts & Science students had a two-day break in November. The new Fall Reading Week will add three more days, lengthening the break from November 6–10.
Due to the lost instructional days, Deborah Robinson, Faculty Registrar and Director of Undergraduate Academic Services, said that “classes will begin on the Thursday following Labour Day [September 7].”
Robinson also stated that the university has “modelled sessional dates for the next seven years.” The university will “only be releasing the dates one year at a time, just in case things have to change for some unforeseen reason.”
The early start to the school year will cut into days that would normally be reserved for frosh week. Robinson acknowledged this fact by stating that “students voted overwhelmingly in favour of a Fall Reading Week and were prepared to make some changes to orientation in order to make up for lost instructional days.”
Orientation organizers have been preparing its frosh week differently to ensure a full experience with the reduced time that is available. The Varsity reached out to the Dean of Students of each college to understand the different plans. Victoria University and St. Michael’s College did not respond.
According to University College (UC) Orientation Coordinators Lindsay Kruitwagen and Michelle Beyn, all colleges will maintain their move-in dates as the Sunday of Labour Day weekend. UC will have optional events on Thursday, September 7 and Friday, September 8, which are the first two days of classes.
UC Dean of Students Melinda Scott noted that the college is also considering hosting events on the weekend following orientation week.
New College Director of Residence and Student Life Leah McCormack-Smith said that the college plans to start its orientation week on Monday, September 4, whereas typically the start day has occurred on a Tuesday.
Moreover, New College will be holding a suite of drop-in academic, social, and wellness programs on the Thursday and Friday.
According to Dean of Students of Woodsworth College, Liza Nassim, the college will be moving the move-in date to Sunday, September 3. Currently, the college is still working with Woodsworth Orientation for Life After Frosh coordinators to plan the frosh week.
Trinity College is also just beginning to plan its frosh week. Kristen Moore, the college’s Dean of Students, explained that her office and the orientation co-chairs are looking at options on programming around the Thursday and Friday classes.
Innis College Dean of Students Tim Worgan explained that the college plans to extend orientation events through the first few weeks of class. The college believes that this method will facilitate a successful transition from high school to university as orientation events will not abruptly end on the last two-day period.
With regards to other inquires on changes to sessional dates, Robinson said that based on the sessional dates for the next seven years, “there will continue to be a ‘make-up Monday’ and a break — although sometimes the break falls on a weekend — at the end of classes and before the exam period starts.”