Wheaton College has begun registration for its newly announced Summer Session, an intensive four-week program of summer courses at the college.
According to Associate Provost Gail Sahar, many Wheaton students already take summer classes and around 700 credits have been transferred to Wheaton from summer courses over the past nine years. Sahar and other faculty began to think it would be beneficial for Wheaton students to have the chance to take summer courses with Wheaton’s own faculty.
It took a great amount of research to establish the cost of these courses, which has been set at 2,050 dollars per student. In certain cases, students can expect to pay more due to other associated costs.
“Frankly, these courses are a bargain, especially in comparison to normal academic year tuition at Wheaton and other high quality liberal arts colleges,” said Sahar. There are no available scholarships this summer, but students taking two or more courses may be eligible for aid through federal or private loans.
This summer, four classroom courses will be available, running from May 20 to June 14, along with one online class, which will not require students to be on campus and will take place between July 1 and Aug. 9.
The most common credits that students choose to obtain during the summer are statistics and natural science, both of which will be offered this summer in the form of MATH 141: Statistics, with Professor Rachelle DeCoste, and PHYS 160: Geology, with Professor Geoff Collins. The summer Geology course will be beneficial, as it is a good time to do field work that may not be possible during the normal academic year.
The other two classroom courses will be HISP 198 with Mary Beth Tierney-Tello, an intensive review of Spanish, and REL 142 with Barbara Darling-Smith, Religion and Sexuality, chosen because it typically has a long waiting list and is part of a Connection.
“It’s a great idea,” said Jennifer Gibson ’14.
“Having the option to take courses over the summer, requirements in particular, [could really benefit] students in the long run. Especially those with heavy course loads every year,” she added.
The final course being offered, Infographics and Data Visualizaiton, will be an online class jointly taught by Professors Josh Stenger of the English department and Tom Armstrong of the Computer Science department.
“They are two creative professors who really wanted to experiment with the possibility of running an online course that is highly interactive and consistent with the value we place on high quality teaching,” said Sahar.
As this is Wheaton’s first foray into summer courses, faculty wanted to provide a wide array of classes that fit multiple disciplines. And because it is a pilot program, it will allow faculty to assess student interest in future summer sessions.
“I think that’s an awesome thing; they should widen up the course schedule for future summers,” said Ashley Vertente ’14. “Other schools offer it and we should, too.”
The idea of intensively focusing on one topic for four weeks with a Wheaton faculty member has created significant interest among the student body. “And, of course, the Wheaton campus is beautiful during the summer,” said Sahar.
Depending on how the summer program goes, faculty members are considering offering courses over winter break as well. The challenge here, according to Sahar, is that it is difficult to fit in enough hours to make such a course eligible for full credit. Yet Sahar states that she would welcome student interest and input on the prospect of such a program.
For more information on the Summer Session, including course descriptions, tuition information and registration, visit wheatoncollege.edu/summer-session