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January 18, 2007
While Jan. 1 brought in 2007, Jan. 2 brought a new way for students to get closer to graduation. Wintermester, a three-week term that allowed students to pick up three credits showed great success in its first year.
"Students wanted this, they enrolled and they stuck to it," said Kerri Garcia, director of summer session and academic credit programs. "It was great."
Extended Studies offered 13 courses in eight different departments. Although many of the courses were geared toward juniors and seniors, Garcia says the lower level courses were also very successful.
"At first we were a little concerned with the 100- and 200-level classes because they weren't filling right away," Garcia said. "They ended up filling, but late."
A total of 259 students attended wintermester courses with an average class size of 20. Garcia says Extended Studies staff was worried that students would want to drop when they came back Jan. 2, but not many students did.
"All of the students were extremely positive," Garcia said. "It feels good when you put so much time into something and you find out that it really matters. We've had students come back and say, 'I'm so glad I did this. Now I can graduate in May.'"
Many students were grateful for wintermester because it will make it possible for them to graduate sooner.
"If I didn't take this class, I would have needed to take seven classes in the spring to graduate in May," said Kelly Fleischmann, a senior journalism student who took a capstone course during wintermester. "I like it because you don't have enough time to forget what you've learned before you take a test. It's really great for seniors."
According to Garcia, the first wintermester did not have any major structural problems. She says that although there were some minor glitches, none of them were serious or noticeable.
"We certainly had kinks to work out, but everybody pulled through to make this happen," Garcia said.
Garcia says Extended Studies has plans to continue on with wintermester in the future. She says she has already had inquiries from teachers who are interested in teaching a wintermester course next year.
"Next year we will be throwing the net to all open departments," Garcia said. "We really hope to see this grow."