PharmD students to gain two wellness days in response to loss of reading week

After the confusion surrounding a proposal to remove fall reading week for the doctor of pharmacy professional program, students will now receive two additional days off during the fall term.

Following the miscommunication in November, leading to concerns there would be no fall reading week for everyone in the faculty by fall 2019, a compromise has been made for students in the doctor of pharmacy professional (PharmD) program. The updated proposal, which was presented to the General Faculties Council (GFC) Executive Committee on January 14, would add two additional “wellness days” during the fall term to offset the removal of the break.

The faculty had been looking to remove fall reading week for students in the PharmD program so that it could meet the hours required for professional accreditation. This new proposal comes after more consultation with the Alberta Pharmacy Students Association (APSA) and pharmacy students.

The faculty held several town halls, one on November 23 and the other on December 4, to outline the problem and potential options the faculty was considering.

On December 19, 80 per cent of PharmD students (105 of 131 students) completed a survey on the proposed changes. The results showed 58 per cent of the students did not want to lose fall reading break, with 30.5 per cent supporting the removal and 11.5 per cent not having a preference.

While the majority of students didn’t want to lose the fall break, the most popular proposal for scheduling the extra days off was to have two four-day weekends in the fall term.

Ravina Sanghera, assistant dean of program operations and student services in the faculty of pharmacy, said removing reading week will allow for flexibility for the faculty when scheduling labs and seminars.

“The two wellness days will be scheduled strategically every year to minimize impact to instructors and students, and we will do it in consultation with our students,” she said.

The original proposal was made October 15 to the GFC Academic Planning Committee, and poor wording of the motion took away reading week for all students in the faculty of pharmacy. The issues of consultation of students and the wording of the motion were brought up in the meeting and the proposal was withdrawn in November.

Increased consultation was called for by Akanksha Bhatnagar, Students’ Union vice-president (academic). Bhatnagar previously presented concerns about the lack of consultation in the proposal in November, saying students hadn’t been asked specifically about losing their reading break.

During a discussion on the revised proposal, Bhatnagar said she was happy with the work that was done to find a solution that works for both students and faculty.

“It is what students wanted and the faculty of pharmacy did a beyond excellent job consulting students after we asked them to do so,” she said.

Correction – January 23, 2019: an earlier version of this article misstated the results of the survey conducted by the faculty of pharmacy. This has been corrected.

Kate Turner

Kate Turner is a first-year native studies student and The Gateway’s Winter 2019 Staff Reporter. She is passionate about human rights and is a lover of chocolate, languages, and public transit systems. When she's not writing, she can be found strategizing Monopoly moves and reading historical fiction.

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