Yale College is adopting a new academic calendar in that will include the addition of a five-day fall break for students, among other revisions.
The new schedule, which was recently approved by the University officers, will begin in 2012-2013, and will not affect the calendar for the 2011-2012 academic year.
The revisions "seek to improve the undergraduate experience while addressing some longstanding problems in the calendar," noted President Richard C. Levin and Yale College Dean Mary Miller in a letter to faculty and deans, adding, "We are grateful for the diligent work of Yale College Associate Dean John Meeske, and the advice and feedback we received from the University Calendar Committee, faculty members, and numerous administrators around campus."
Under the new calendar, the new fall term will include a five-day break (Wednesday-Sunday) in mid-October in addition to the current Thanksgiving holiday. "It has long been a concern at Yale that, particularly for freshmen, the unbroken period of 11 or 12 weeks of classes between the start of the fall semester and the Thanksgiving recess can be challenging," wrote Levin and Miller. Many other colleges and universities already have such a fall break.
Other changes include:
• The fall and spring terms will become equal in length, with 64 class days each. Currently the fall term has 63 class days, and the spring term has 65 class days. The new calendar will have 64 class days in both terms. The total number of class days each year will remain unchanged at 128.
• The first day of fall classes will always begin on the Wednesday before Labor Day, and Commencement will always be held on the Monday before Memorial Day. Currently the beginning and end of the school year fluctuate in three years out of seven.
• The freshman orientation period will be expanded. Freshman orientation will take place in two parts over two weekends — the weekend before classes begin for essential practical and academic matters, and the long Labor Day weekend for many of the social and cultural aspects of orientation.
• The period between the fall and spring terms will be lengthened by three to four days. Currently there are 22 to 24 days between terms, but that will increase to 26 or 27 days. These additional days will give instructors more time to submit their fall-term grades and give students a longer break for travel.
• The Reading Period will be reduced from seven days to five days. It is currently longer than most other colleges that have exams before Christmas.
• The Exam Period will be shortened from eight days to six days. This schedule will easily accommodate the administration of all final exams.
• Classes will not be held on Labor Day or Martin Luther King Day, but in both terms Monday classes will be held on the first Friday of the term. This will allow 13 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays but 12 Fridays in each term.
In their letter, Levin and Miller noted that the Graduate School will follow the Yale College academic calendar, while the professional schools will be free to design their own calendars as they do now.
For a detailed look at the new changes click here.
To view the 2012-2013 Yale College Academic Calendar, click here.