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Winter Session enrollment rises

Winter Session was introduced to the University’s portfolio of academic semesters as a pilot program in January 2005. A total of 14 classes were offered, yielding a total enrollment of 303 students. Of those 14 classes, four were delivered through distance learning to a cohort of 139 students.

No longer a pilot program, Winter Session has grown and has become a standard educational element in the University’s academic year.

In 2009, Winter Session offered 55 classes, resulting in a total registration of 1,025 students, with 39 of the 55 classes delivered via distance learning to 807 students.Compared to Winter Session 2008, there was a 30 percent increase in total enrollment, and a 46 percent increase in distance learning registrants.

Many factors contribute to the program’s success according to Thomas Kowalik, director of Continuing Education and Outreach.

“The availability of distance learning courses is paramount,” he said. “Seventy-one percent of all 2009 Winter Session classes offered were delivered in distance learning format. Students can conveniently enroll and participate while living at home during the break between the fall and spring semesters.”

Another factor, said Murnal Abate, assistant director for Summer and Winter Sessions, is a focus on careful management of the schedule of classes.

“Courses included in Winter Session are carefully selected by academic departments to meet student needs for graduation requirements, General Education requirements and classes for which there is excess demand during fall and spring semesters,” he said.

The three-week Winter Session provides students with an intense, focused learning experience in a small-group setting — preferred by many as a superior way to concentrate intellectual efforts for maximum comprehension and mastery of course material, Kowalik said.

“Taking a Winter Session course also provides students flexibility in satisfying degree requirements to accommodate a study-abroad experience or early graduation, while making financial sense as well,” he said.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08