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Summer term to serve a wider range of students in 2018

January 25, 2018 By Dean Robbins

Emily Arthur (left), assistant professor of art, talks with student Blaine Wolff (right) about his print during a Relief Printing course in the Etching Studio in the Mosse Humanities Building during summer term 2017. Photo: Bryce Richter

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is kicking off a new stage in its effort to make Summer Term even more valuable and accessible.

UW-Madison began revitalizing the summer experience in 2016 with a significant increase in scholarship funding. The goal was to encourage more students to take advantage of accelerated summer courses so they could graduate on time and avoid the expense of extra semesters. In response to student surveys, the university also expanded the number of online courses, hands-on courses, and high-demand courses, as well as offering innovative new learning experiences.

As a result of these changes, total credit hours taken during Summer Term increased 18 percent over the past two years.

Building on these successes in 2018, UW–Madison will serve a wider range of students during the summer months. Current undergraduates, incoming freshmen, students visiting from other institutions, high school students, and others will benefit from the university’s world-class resources.

“This summer, UW–Madison will open its doors to a much more diverse group of learners,” says Provost Sarah C. Mangelsdorf. “Along with enjoying one of our wonderful Madison summers, they will be able to advance their academic careers and develop professional skills in a variety of new programs. We expect these changes to make campus a much busier place from May to August.”

Kaoru Ro, Jingxuan Tang, Fahad Alshaiban, and Ivan Wuduring (left to right) plan out an assignment during an International Student Summer Institute class in 2017. Photo: Bryce Richter

The activity will start earlier than ever in 2018. A new four-week session from May 21 to June 17 will offer Summer Term courses right after spring semester ends, providing a convenient option for students who can’t fit a later session into their summer schedules.

Last summer, UW–Madison created the International Student Summer Institute for first-year international students, who arrived before fall semester to take English classes and make connections on campus. The university will expand the successful program in 2018 and establish a similar early-start program for first-year mechanical engineering students, the Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch.

Another new option allows high school students interested in the arts to take a three-credit course while living on campus. They can jumpstart their college careers with the School of Education Precollege Summer Arts Intensive, which makes connections among theater, visual arts, and dance.

The university has also encouraged schools, colleges, and departments to serve both current and visiting students with creative course offerings. For example, Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems will use drones to teach aviation, entrepreneurship, and artificial intelligence. The School of Human Ecology and the College of Engineering will collaborate on Design Innovation in the new, state-of-the-art UW Makerspace. Students will work on interdisciplinary teams to create original products, using high-tech tools and testing prototypes in the field.

The 2018 schedule will increase the number of online courses, based on student surveys indicating a preference for flexible options. New online offerings include American Dreamers, which analyzes works of art about striving for success; and Science of Food, which explores recent food controversies.

Last summer, more than 600 students received $500-$1,500 scholarships through the Undergraduate Scholarship for Summer Study. UW–Madison will continue to make Summer Term financially accessible to as many students as possible with both this scholarship and the Transfer Scholars Summer Award. The WISCIENCE Entering Research Summer Scholarship Program will expand after a popular pilot program in 2017, and a new program called Summer Housing Boost will help eligible students with the cost of campus housing.

“The university will benefit from having more students on campus with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives in summer 2018,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “And with continued enrollment increases, UW–Madison can make more efficient use of its resources, operating closer to capacity during the summer months.”

Enrollment for Summer Term opens April 2, and the course guide is now available at The website also has information about programs, fees, housing options, and summer jobs.