Summer Term increases offerings for more students—online, on campus and around the world

With the leaves starting to change color and fall semester in full swing, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on another successful Summer Term. Aside from enjoying summer in Madison with warm evenings on the Terrace, students spent the summer furthering their academic careers.

Summer Term enrollments in 2019 were up 7 percent from last year. For many students, Summer Term has become an integral part of the Wisconsin experience.

Summer enrollment of incoming first-year students increased by 56 percent from last summer. In 2019, the inaugural Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch program invited incoming first-year students to take an online course, meet fellow students and faculty, and move in to their residence halls early. This program joins our growing list of early start opportunities, including the Electrical & Computer Engineering Summer Launch, Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch, and the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS) QuickStart Program.

Students also got a head start with the International Student Summer Institute and the UW Study Abroad Summer Launch. UW Rebels and Revolutions in Ireland is a 3-credit political science course that included guided visits around Dublin and an excursion to Northern Ireland to explore ideas central to political thinking in Ireland and the U.S., from the English Civil War to the American Revolution. Summer is a great time for international experiences on campus, too, with our eight-week summer language programs through the Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institute.

On campus, students took a broad range of courses, from the ever-popular Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory to the newer Design Thinking for Transformation. They also explored yoga and mindfulness in Introduction to Relaxation: Mind, Body and Spirit and studied American Sign Language in Communication Sciences and Disorders 424.

But not everybody can attend classes in person during the summer. Thousands of students took advantage of our growing list of nearly 300 online courses, a 25 percent increase in online enrollment from last year. Students are telling us they want more online choices, and schools and colleges are answering the call. The Wisconsin School of Business doubled their online offerings, including courses on Introductory Business Law, Marketing Management, and Fundraising and Development.

Many summer offerings focus on experiential learning and career skills. For example, our new Sports Communication Certificate through the School of Journalism and Mass Communications combines high quality journalism and marketing communications instruction with career exploration in a 12-credit package. This summer, students took two of the required courses. Learning to write for Sports Illustrated or studying the Green Bay Packers is not a bad way to spend the summer.

In addition to online and on-campus opportunities, Summer Term is becoming a time to make community connections. We offered nearly 20 community-based learning courses this summer, including Legal Studies/Sociology 694, a 3-credit internship through the Center for Law, Society & Justice. Students spent 300 hours at an agency focused on individuals who are justice-involved, at-risk, or affected by crime.

Students in Nursing 436: Summer Respite Camp Immersion for Undergraduate Nursing Students spent three weeks at an Easter Seals camp, providing services for people with a broad spectrum of disabilities while building and practicing new nursing skills.

For our Badgers coming to the end of their academic careers, summer is increasingly a time to savor one last season. Graduating students took advantage of our Summer Finish program to complete their degree with the help of a scholarship. Various scholarships have, in fact, been a highlight of Summer Term—we made more than 1,000 scholarship offers for summer study.

Thank you to the Summer Term office, faculty and staff for continuing to make courses and experiences more accessible to a wider range of students. And, thanks to our summer students who keep campus buzzing May through August—whether they’re walking up Bascom Hill, studying abroad, or taking an online course while working in another city.