UW-Madison will offer a few three-week classes in January, experimenting with a small-scale “winterim” term that could grow in future years, said Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning.
The idea of offering classes during the typically dormant month on campus arose last school year as part of discussions about “educational innovation,” a term interim Chancellor David Ward used to describe how the university can operate more efficiently and creatively in a time of diminishing state funds.
A survey answered by about 2,500 students indicated a strong interest in adding classes over the holiday break.
In subsequent research, university officials discovered the second semester technically begins in early January even though classes begin in early February. They also discovered that, in past years, the university has sporadically offered a few condensed second-semester classes in January, Brower said. The university plans to do so again this coming year, although the courses have not yet been chosen, he said.
Under the current academic calendar, winter break is about five weeks — from the end of December to the end of January, and UW-Madison students have to take courses at a different UW System campus if they want to squeeze in credits during January.