By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer
Baylor’s Academic Calendar Committee is extending Thanksgiving break to last an entire week beginning in Fall 2021.
The committee recommends the schedule for Baylor’s academic year and is composed of nine faculty members. They meet and discuss topics such as the number of class days, examination days, holidays and non-academic events on campus.
Dr. Wesley Null, vice provost for undergraduate education and institutional effectiveness at Baylor, said the committee has been interested in extending Thanksgiving break for several years.
“The primary reason is that Baylor’s out-of-state undergraduate population is approximately 40% at this point, and that number continues to rise each year,” Null said. “A full week at Thanksgiving will be most helpful to out-of-state students who must travel home for Thanksgiving. The change also should be most welcome to in-state students who have long distances to drive.”
Null said the change will go into effect in Fall 2021, because the academic calendar is planned three years in advance.
“The Fall 2021 calendar was finalized and posted in Fall 2018. Baylor’s academic calendar is set three years out from the current term,” Null said. “Many institutional calendars throughout Central Texas and countless events like weddings, athletic events and major facilities reservations rely upon Baylor’s calendar, which is why the three-year planning approach is helpful to everyone involved.”
Madison, Ala., senior Noah Elmore is a student representative on the Calendar Committee. He said he thinks a longer Thanksgiving break would allow students to have more time to travel home and spend time with their family during the holidays.
“Personally, it’s something that I have been a proponent of since I got here. I think it would really take the stress off that Thanksgiving break and really let people get their travel plans in,” Elmore said. “Overall, I think it would be really good for the student body.”
In addition, Null said the committee has shown interest in eliminating fall break.
“There has been interest on the part of the Calendar Committee for the elimination of fall break, but that break has been retained primarily because, without it, students would have no break from classes between Labor Day and Thanksgiving,” Null said. “Such a long stretch, especially for freshmen, is not the best approach in the eyes of many Student Life professionals. That aspect of the calendar, however, continues to be revisited each time we set a fall calendar.”
Currently, fall break is held during the middle of the fall semester. Elmore said the committee believes it does not allow enough time for students to travel home.
“As of right now, Thanksgiving break is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and fall break is usually more central in the semester to give students a mental health break and time to go home,” Elmore said. “The general talk of the committee is that the one-day break is not long enough to warrant a lot of students to go home. So many students skip those days anyway, it would be easier on both the students and faculty to have the full week off.”
To view Baylor’s academic calendar and view any changes, visit the Baylor website.