The implementation of reading days was met with excitement by most students and hesitation by professors. However, after a year of these days off at the end of the semester, Kevin Yee, Assistant Dean of Student and Faculty Development, is looking to find out how the time off is being used.
The program was started by 2015-16 Student Body President Andy Rodriguez with the goal of helping students focus on exams and assignments without the burden of classes, tests and assignments due right before finals week. It instated the policy that on the Thursday and Friday before finals week, professors cannot hold mandatory class.
As of Friday, Yee had received 2,100 responses to the survey, but wasn’t planning on looking at the results until the survey closes.
The survey includes questions about how much of the time provided by reading days the student uses for studying, sleeping and non-academic work such as a job or volunteer work. It also asks about the student’s general opinion on reading days with questions relating to how much the student values the program and whether her or she thinks its beneficial.
“One only gets anecdotal evidence talking to the people you meet in the courtyard and in the hallways so having a bigger sample of what people think about reading days was the thinking behind it,” Yee said.
It has been sent out on social media, Facebook class pages and there’s a link on the MyUSF login page. It opened in the beginning of February and is scheduled to close on Friday. The survey won’t necessarily affect whether reading days will continue to be offered, but is simply geared toward finding out how the time is being used by students.
“I will say that a couple of faculty members have asked if there was ever any data collection done on whether students are using reading days,” Yee said. “So, I don’t know that there’s any drive out there to eliminate them, there’s not some secret committee meeting to find out what we should do about this to get rid of it. It’s more lower level than that. Faculty members have asked, a couple of them have asked, if we even know whether students are using reading days.
“We’re a university, a place of higher learning and so you want to make decisions and answer questions like this from a position of knowledge rather than just guessing. But at the same time, I will say that if people don’t like reading days, that would be a useful piece of data.”