Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

July 24, 2008

Fall break added to academic calendar

A one-day fall break for students is being added to Pitt’s academic calendar this year. The University’s campuses will remain open and staffed on Oct. 13, but no classes will be held.

Student Government Board President Sumter Link said, “It’s something that other universities have that Pitt students have wanted.” Link, who took office in January after focusing his campaign on establishing a fall break, said he was surprised it was implemented so rapidly. “I’m very happy to see something move along this soon.”

Link said he’d envisioned a two-day break, but the fall 2008 calendar wasn’t flexible enough to be able to implement that for the upcoming term. “It’s a start,” Link said. “It definitely shows that the Provost’s office wants to implement this into the calendar.”

A break also is included in the fall term 2009 calendar, but marked “tentative.” University Registrar Sam Conte, a member of Pitt’s calendar committee, said, “This is really the University’s first attempt at a fall break. We’ll gauge how it goes.” He noted, however, that the bulk of the academic calendar for the 2009-10 year is tentative at this point. As for the possibility of expanding the break to two days, Conte said, “There are a number of possibilities. We wouldn’t rule that out.”

Conte said the Oct. 13 date was selected as midway between the Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays and with an eye toward when other schools schedule their fall breaks.

Link labeled the timing “perfect” — before midterms, when students are under additional stress, and at a time when homesickness may kick in, especially for freshmen. “I think people will take the long weekend to go home,” he said, noting that the period between the start of the term and Thanksgiving can be a long stretch away, especially for out-of-state students.

Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kathy Humphrey said, “This is something that means a great deal to our students, especially those who live far away. It enables them to have a nice three-day weekend in the fall.”

Of primary concern in scheduling the break, Conte said, was maintaining at least 14 class meeting days for each weekday in the semester. The Labor Day holiday cuts a Monday from the schedule and Thanksgiving break cuts a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, leaving those four days of the week with 14 class meeting dates during the term. Only Tuesday had 15 class meeting days, so classes on Tuesday, Oct. 14, will operate on a Monday schedule when students return from their fall break.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Leave a Reply