Catching Up: UW-Madison plans to try a three-week ‘winterim’

2012-08-26T19:15:00Z 2012-08-26T19:16:44Z Catching Up: UW-Madison plans to try a three-week ‘winterim’DAN SIMMONS | Wisconsin State Journal | dsimmons@madison.com | 608-252-6136 | @MadDanWSJ madison.com

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.

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(3) Comments

  1. lav3735
    Report Abuse
    lav3735 - August 27, 2012 7:43 am
    Fflambeau: The U.W. has their own power plants suppling their power so it's not like they are paying another entity. Besides people working, they would still have to heat buildings in the winter months so water pipes don't freeze.
  2. Word
    Report Abuse
    Word - August 26, 2012 9:54 pm
    Fflambeau - theres a flaw in your logic. University buildings are fully operational over winter break. The students may be gone but people who work on campus are still there doing the work that makes it possible to teach during the regular semester. Payroll, purchasing, grade processing, human resources, budget management, etc. The buildings are open and operating.
  3. Fflambeau
    Report Abuse
    Fflambeau - August 26, 2012 9:17 pm
    UW should look at restructuring its entire calendar year. I doubt that there will be demand for such short, "winter" courses judging from past experience. Also, heating costs for that time of year are at their highest. Why not instead start the university 2 weeks earlier in late July and end 2 weeks earlier (early December)? Close the entire university down for the winter months all the way through mid February. Lengthen the 2nd semester (to end of June). That way, the university saves on high heating bills. The UW could still offer some courses during the "off season" but they could be short study abroad ones, or study in other parts of the country courses. More on-line courses could also be offered during the breaks.

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