By Victoria Cortinas
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
When University of the Incarnate Word students register in April, they’ll have some new options for classes: a three-week, mini-semester beginning in May and five-week summer classes beginning June 1.
Advising workshops for faculty and students began this week to further prepare both for summer-fall registration beginning April 21.
Dr. Kathi Light, UIW’s provost, said the new mini-semester, five-week summer classes and reduced summer tuition rates are designed to keep more students on this campus who have opted to enroll in Alamo Community Colleges.
By examining the catalogs of competing schools such as Alamo Colleges and University of Texas-San Antonio, administrators recognized these schools offered something UIW did not: five-week courses. Until now, UIW offered only two, six-week sessions for Summer I and Summer II, and an extended 10-week session.
“So we said, let’s try and make ourselves more consistent with what the other schools are doing,” Light said.
In order to get more flexibility out of the summer, the three-week term between May graduation and Summer I was added, she explained.
“Sometimes students don’t want to go to Summer II,” Light said. “Sometimes they would prefer to go to Summer I but they can’t take as many courses as they want. This was an alternate option and possible solution to the problem.”
Although the mini-semester schedule has yet to be finalized, some of the courses being offered during the three-week term include Dimensions of Wellness, physical education, math, English, government, and a few business courses.
Courses during this three-week term will either be all morning or all afternoon Monday through Friday so faculty really had to evaluate which courses could be compressed and could still allow for students to grasp the material and complete the coursework within a short period of time.
Because these courses call for a four-hour time block during the week, one of the challenges faculty now face is developing new ways to remain engaging, as a lecture for that time period will not work for many students.
Students also will be challenged to focus during this short and intense term. For this reason, they will only be allowed to take one three-week course during the summer to ensure they do not become overwhelmed.
“The faculty are really having to think this through,” Light said. “What courses make sense in a compressed time frame? But, it’s one course done in three weeks and then if the student wants to, another course can be taken at another time. This allows more time to work or to go on vacation. It just gives us some options.”
Still in its developing stages, this mini-semester test run with slightly limited course availability is expected to provide administrators with feedback so they will be able to evaluate the results in order to expand next year.
“Our goal in the summer is to keep students moving towards their degree date,” Light said. “We want for you to advance and achieve quickly in order to be ready for that next step.”