Revitalized summer program offers benefits to students

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After less than impressive results from the pilot 2014 summer program, this year’s summer program appears to be promising. Only 15 students signed up last year, and only two courses were offered. This year, there are already 23 students enrolled with 15 courses from which to choose. At press time, the most coveted class included Coral Reef Ecology with 9 students and various psychology courses with around 3.

A September 2013 issue of the Catalyst reported that the net revenue for the first pilot of the summer program was $6,073 and featured what was referred to as “less than promising enrollment figures.” Provost Stephen Miles told the Catalyst that the program would have perhaps been more successful if it had been planned earlier.

“As of now, we’re calling it a pilot program because we don’t know whether or not the program will be affordable for the college,” professor of sociology and summer program coordinator Sarah Hernandez said. “We think that if it’s something that becomes affordable, then it might become an established summer program. This is the second time we’re doing it. The first time [the program] came rather late in the academic semester. It was very quickly put together and didn’t work out as well as we had hoped. This time around, the provost decided to put more support into the program and have one central person to coordinate all the work for the program.”

Hernandez noted that there are many benefits for students who choose to participate in the summer program. Some of these include graduating a semester early, fulfilling requirements not offered during the fall and spring semester, and having a lighter class load during the eventual thesis process.

“It has a lot of potential from the student perspective in a variety of ways,” Hernandez added. “I’ve noticed students in certain fields that have to take a very rigid program to be able to fulfill all their requirements for their AOC and because of their scheduling, there are some programs that they would really like to take that they have not been able to take, and having some of those being offered in the summer, it allows people to pursue their interests in the liberal arts vision.”

One of the changes that will be implemented this time around will be the ability for students to live in the dorms. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed that students wanted access to the dorms over the summer. Originally, because of it being the most affordable housing option, Hernandez suggested that students in the summer program live in B Dorm, but because of the roof work that B Dorm will be needing over the summer, students will instead be allowed to live in Dort at the B Dorm rate.

At press time, Hernandez did not know what the summer program would cost the college. “It is expensive because you’re talking about my additional income over the regular work that I do and it’s also the additional expenses of the time that the staff is putting into it,” Hernandez said. “The additional costs have been my salary and the advertising costs. The other has been an additional demand of work for the staff, admissions, the registrar’s office, and student affairs, so that’s what’s kind of bringing up [the cost].”

Students who are interested in taking part in the summer program are encouraged to register by April 30 and pay tuition and fees by May 4.

“If we’re able to keep it going for another year or two, we might be able to generate interest,” Hernandez said. “It’s like a new product. The more people hear about it and the more people try it, the more people start buying the product. I see it in the same way. I’m very excited.

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