PLANS to introduce a week-long midterm break during the first semster have been dismissed by the university. A proposal for implementation of a break during the autumn semester was discussed by the university’s First Year Committee in efforts to structure the first semester in a similar manner to that of the second semester, which is seperated by a two week break.
It was suggested that there is a necessity for a break between teaching weeks during the first semester however concerns were expressed about how the current academic structure would be affected if the proposal was introduced. Members of the committee acknowledged that a week-long break could cause difficulties for students who undertake professional placements before which they must fulfull particular academic requirements.
Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, affirmed that there would be no time period available during that semester where a midterm break could be effectively implemented. “Just simply doing the sums of when the CAO results come out and when first years start, [we have] the twelve weeks of tuition, the week study break and the eight or nine days of assessment. I cannot find within that the required week.” Dr Butler insisted that the university “are not going to teach eleven weeks” for the sake of including a single week break.
Drawing comparisons between the academic structure of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and UCD; Dr Butler affirmed that post-Christmas exams “are not an option,” believing that “it delays the start of the second semester [and] it doesn’t take [into account] closure of the first semester.” He conceded that “nice and all as it would be I do not see there being a midterm break for the first semester…. that does not seem to be a feasible option at this point.” However he acknowledged that “if there was [an option] I think we’d implement it.”
Students’ Union (SU) President, Aodhán Ó Deá expressed uncertainty about the introduction of a midterm break, stating that “it is extremely unlikely that it would happen next year because the year is pretty much planned out”, due to the structuring of teaching weeks and exams. Supportive of the proposal, Mr Ó Deá described it as “not a bad idea”, but was certain that “it’s definitely not going to come through for next year”.
Since the introduction of Horizons in 2005, all undergraduate degree programmes have been semesterised and modularised, causing the previous three week midterm break in the second term to be shortened to two weeks. It was proposed that the introduction of a midterm break would create continuity and regularisation in both semesters.