Intersession courses provide study opportunities abroad

by Mike Oakes

The conversion to semesters last year drew little more than criticism from most University students.
Some contended courses spanned too lengthy a time period, work loads were greater and stress was higher.
Enter the May intersession.
Offered for the first time last May, the three-week course period was available for undergraduate, graduate and non-degree students in each of the University’s 24 colleges.
The program is designed to give students an opportunity to gain a credit or two in a short period of time without diving too far into the summer.
A total of 2,724 students took advantage of the intersession: 1,687 undergraduates, 749 graduates and 288 non-degree students. The College of Liberal Arts was the most represented school, enrolling 943 students.
On the semester system, classes end in early May, a month sooner than the quarter system allowed. The gap in time before summer session is what prompted the initial idea for an intersession.
Craig Swan, University vice provost, sees the intersession as a good opportunity for traditional college students to experiment with nontraditional classes.
“Here was this period of time to do special and creative things that didn’t fit so easy in an original semester,” Swan said.
Some of these special and creative opportunities last year included six global seminar options in conjunction with the Global Campus.
A total of 147 students went abroad last May for three weeks. Some went to London to study Shakespeare, some to Paris to study Gothic architecture.
Lynn Anderson-Scott, global seminar program director, is excited about the Global Campus’ association with the intersession.
“The seminars are a wonderful opportunity to give students a chance to work closely with faculty,” she said.
Anderson-Scott expects seminar enrollment during the next intersession to be up 50 percent because of an additional three seminars abroad.
Anderson-Scott contends the seminars provide a great opportunity for freshmen and sophomores and will give younger undergraduates a taste of study-abroad life without being thrown into a four-and-a-half month term.
“Even (by going abroad), this is a way of getting involved and attached with the University,” Anderson-Scott said.
The success of the University’s first intersession, however, was accompanied by some confusion.
Registration for the May term was tied with spring semester, but was not part of the spring tuition band. Tuition for the May program was billed separately from the spring session.
“It was sending mixed messages,” explained Swan.
To clear up confusion, registration for this year’s intersession will accompany summer session registration.
“We will think of intersession as a term with summer session,” Swan said.
Jack Johnson, summer session director, is pleased with the first-year’s enrollment statistics which, he said, are very promising.
“We look forward to a great intersession this year,” he added.

Mike Oakes welcomes comments at 627-4070 x3216.