An enhanced intersession this winter gives students a chance to take various classes to fulfill their degree requirements outside of the regular school year. The plan comes after months of deliberation and planning by the working group assembled under President Denise Battles’s oversight.
The college terminated the winter intersession in 2003 but began to reassess the necessity for one under the strategic plan, according to a previous article in The Lamron on March 23, 2017.
Provost Stacey Robertson expressed the reasoning behind why the winter intersession became reinstated.
“[The working group] did an environmental scan about what ... the need might be for an intersession and the interest level of students and faculty and found that there was indeed an appetite for an intersession,” Robertson said in a phone interview.
Robertson explained that a calendar committee convened to determine how to best schedule the intersession between the fall and spring semesters.
The committee passed a proposal at the senate executive committee leading up to planning the layout for the intersession, according to Robertson.
“[We realized] we did not have an enormous amount of time to prepare the specifics [so] we decided to limit that intersession to online classes and study away classes,” Robertson said. “There will be no residential classes during the intersession this year.”
A survey of students taken by the working group last August found that 60 percent of respondents were interested in taking an online class during an intersession, according to the Geneseo website.
Interim Director of Study Abroad Samuel Cardamone believes it is important for students to express interest in an initiative in order for administration to better suit students need.
“There has been a consistent number of faculty-led study abroad programs in the intersession, but it’s always been fairly small,” Cardamone said. “Creating a dedicated term will encourage more people to express interest ... when a big decision like this is made, it really requires the activation of every different layer of the college campus.”
Fifteen courses are in the current lineup for this intersession, ranging from art history, chemistry, business and communication, according to the school’s website.
In addition to previously offered study abroad programs, the school is offering a program in Cuba for the first time about race, racism and the black experiences in the Americas.
“Next year there will be a more broader array, maybe more creativity and more innovation in the classes that are going to be offered,” Robertson said. “But we’re happy with what’s being offered this year.”
The Provost’s office will be working to ensure that the program will grow into something that centers around student needs.
“I think that everyone wants to ensure that our students receive the very best educational experience,” Robertson said.
An intersession implementation team will continue to assess how to best utilize the shortened time frame, according to Cardamone.
“We are going to try to rely on pedagogical strategies that utilize a hybrid model so that some instruction is done online and some instruction is done on site at study abroad,” Cardamone said. “Maybe the time abroad may only be two weeks, but there’s still three weeks of instruction.”
Cardamone hopes to see a change in how the campus community perceives the intersession.
“[I hope to see a] cultural shift in that there’s a greater interest and awareness amongst our faculty and students to say intersession is a time I can do more coursework and have more integrative learning experiences,” Cardamone said.