VUWSA Academic Vice-President Jonathan Gee has made an official submission to the University recommending that Trimester Three not be extended.
The submission follows a survey of 463 students, carried out by the association, that saw overwhelming opposition to the proposed amendments to the academic year.
When asked whether Trimester Three should be extended, 65 per cent of respondents either “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed”, compared to 13 per cent who either agreed or strongly agreed.
The University has proposed to extend Trimester Three by one week, and, to accommodate the change, cut the mid-trimester break in Trimester Two from two weeks to one.
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Under the proposed changes, the University is seeking to ensure that Trimester Three is used more efficiently, thus increasing the teaching and learning facilities available for T3 courses.
However, students and staff are concerned that a reduced mid-trimester break could see students missing out on valuable study and break time, and/or being forced to work over what would be the whole break.
Students saw the extension as unfeasible, claiming that “12 weeks for very intensive course papers would be too long. [We’re] already stressed enough”. Others expressed concerns regarding students’ time management—“It is already cutting into holiday time and makes it hard for students to work and earn money. Especially when summer is a compulsory part of their degree”.
The survey found 67.66 per cent of respondents had not studied in trimester three in the past, but at least 37 per cent were planning to study during the third trimester in the future—most in order to finish their degrees faster.
As well the proposed changes themselves, VUWSA raised concerns regarding the lack of student consultation over the issue.
The association’s submission concluded, “all in all, the crux of our submission is to preserve the student experience and well being of all those who attend VUW… it is crucial that students are not only listened to in this regard, but are also involved in the implementation process of any changes to the academic year.”
If approved, the trimester change will be implemented in 2017