After putting into motion long-felt internal ambitions to strengthen summer life at UR, the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering has begun taking steps to rework and bolster the offerings for students who choose to remain at UR over the summer months.
‘We want to build a sense of summer community,” Dean of the College Richard Feldman said. ‘We’re looking for student response on all of this: What kinds of things student find interesting in terms of content of courses, in terms of housing. All of this is stuff we’ve been interested in student response to.”
As part of the efforts to unite UR students during the summer, this year students will be offered housing on the Residential Quad in Gilbert Hall, as opposed to past years where students have had to live in Southside Living Center.
The Pit will be closed for renovations this summer, and Douglass Dining Center will instead be open allowing for students located on the Quad to have access to dining services that have not been available in past years. Douglass will have different options for lunch and dinner, five days a week, during the summer term.
Meanwhile, Gleason Library will also be expanding its hours until midnight to partly compensate for the Wilson Commons’ renovations.
The College is also hoping to take advantage of summer events that take place in Rochester, and is looking to increase student awareness of them.
The International Jazz Festival, for instance, takes place on the same street as the Eastman School of Music in June, along with several other opportunities unavailable to students during the rest of the year.
The College is also hoping to expand course offerings for the summer academic session.
‘Pre-med [courses are] offered every summer and they get enough students and they are fine, but other departments have smaller enrollments,” Feldman said. ‘[Students] can’t count on courses being offered, and we are working on viable ways to assure scheduled courses run.”
The College is also looking at alternative and nontraditional scheduling options for future summer programs.
Currently, the College has separate four and six week sessions, allowing more students to fit in courses over the summer.
Ultimately, Feldman hopes that students may be able to fulfill degree requirements over a summer semester in the future.
‘This is going to be a long term planning process, but we are looking for ideas,” Feldman said. ‘We won’t be tied to the standard timing sequences.”
The College is also looking at and assessing the costs of courses and housing over the summer. Summer tuition has traditionally been lower than during a spring or fall term something that won’t be changing this year.
Summer housing tuition is expected to decline this year, and the College is also looking at the possibility of making financial aid available as part of future summer program offerings. Pell Grants are available for summer students, but currently, full financial aid packages are not.
Most of the discussions pertaining to changing the summer program have been at the staff and faculty level.
However, the College is also working with the Students’ Association to put together focus groups to give students the chance to offer feedback and other ideas for changes they would like to see in summer offerings.
‘Many students already choose to stay in Rochester over the summer, so enhancing the summer offerings on campus can only improve the experience for those students, as well as encourage more students to take advantage of the opportunities associated with spending the summer in Rochester,” Students’ Association President Eric Weissmann said. ‘We are excited to work with Dean Feldman to help provide student feedback on plans for summer programs at the College this year. We are currently in the process of putting together a focus group to provide a forum for that feedback.”
Clark is a member of the class of 2012.