(Update: The Board of Regents voted to approve this proposal at its Feb. 16 meeting.)
In an effort to better support the mental well-being of University of Michigan students and faculty, university leaders have proposed extending the break between fall and winter terms for the 2023-24 academic year by an additional week.
The proposed changes would move the winter term one week later on the calendar so that classes begin Jan. 10, 2024, instead of the currently scheduled date of Jan. 3.
The calendar shift would mean that final examinations would end May 2, 2024, and commencement activities would move from the last weekend in April to May 3-5, 2024. The fall 2023 term would not be affected.
The Board of Regents will vote Feb. 16 on the updated academic calendar.
Provost Laurie McCauley said the proposed changes are the result of comments from members of the campus community that more time away from campus between terms would better support mental health and well-being.
“The University of Michigan prides itself as offering a rigorous academic environment, but that also means that everyone works hard throughout the term,” McCauley said. “The feedback we’ve heard from students, faculty and staff around well-being gave us pause and led us to wonder if there was more we could do with the academic calendar to address these concerns.”
In September 2021, U-M adopted the Okanagan Charter pledging a commitment to take a holistic and sustainable approach to becoming a health-promoting university. That has included new collaborative efforts like the Well-being Collective to promote universitywide approaches to supporting mental health and well-being.
In her action request to regents, McCauley wrote that the revised calendar ensures the university still adheres to the federal definition of a credit hour, along with minimum standards for providing direct faculty instruction to students.
The calendar also has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate faculty and administrative groups and meets established campus guidelines.
Why not start the Winter term on a Monday (January 8) instead of the middle of the week? This is how too many students think: I would only miss 1/2 of a week, so I will show up after the weekend. This is a problem because the first day of the term is critical, since we present our course policies then.