As fall semester begins at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chancellor Rebecca Blank took time to reflect on an exceptionally successful summer. In a post on her Blank’s Slate blog, the chancellor described recent innovations that have made Summer Term more valuable and more accessible for students.
UW-Madison reorganized Summer Term two years ago, adding more high-demand courses, more online courses that accommodate busy summer schedules, and more hands-on learning experiences that prepare students for future careers. As Chancellor Blank points out, students have responded by enrolling in record numbers.
In summer 2017, the university provided new opportunities for a wide range of learners. The WISCIENCE Summer Research Scholarship helped undergraduates pursue their dream projects with UW faculty mentors. More than 700 students received an Undergraduate Scholarship for Summer Study, and the Transfer Scholars Summer Award gave spring transfer students a chance to work toward their UW-Madison degrees. These scholarships allowed more students to capitalize on one of Summer Term’s key benefits: staying on track to graduate in four years, thus avoiding the expense of an extra semester.
Chancellor Blank notes the increasingly diverse student population during Summer Term. For example, the new International Student Summer Institute drew first-year international students, helping them improve their academic English skills before fall classes began. The chancellor promises more programs for diverse audiences in 2018, including first-year students, transfer students, high school students, and undergraduates from other institutions.
More flexibility for 2018
Chancellor Blank sees Summer Term as a way to make student schedules more flexible. With the ability to take courses over three semesters, they can participate in study abroad or internship experiences during fall or spring terms without falling behind in required coursework.
“If students experience a health problem or family crisis that leaves them short of credits during the regular term, summer courses can help them catch up with their cohort,” she says. “We want students to graduate on time whenever possible. That reduces debt and moves them into their careers more quickly.”
Summer Term 2018 will offer even more flexibility, thanks to changes in UW-Madison’s academic calendar. A new four-week session beginning on May 21 will give students more options for scheduling courses that conveniently fit into their summer plans.
The 2018 Summer Term Course Guide will be released on Jan. 5. Enrollment opens on April 2 for current UW-Madison students and on April 9 for visiting students. See here for more information.
“If you thought summer 2017 was good at UW-Madison,” says Chancellor Blank, “just wait until next year.”