Updated Web page, new summer offerings encourage students to 'Think Summer Sooner'

October 28, 2013  


Think Summer Sooner

"Think Summer Sooner" is a sub-campaign of "Think Summer," an ongoing initiative to highlight the benefits of studying at Purdue during the summer. (Photo provided)
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It's never too early for students to start planning to enroll in summer classes.

That's the idea behind "Think Summer Sooner," a marketing campaign coupled with a host of new University offerings that encourage students to prepare months or years ahead to take summer classes. The updated initiative, which launched last week, is a sub-campaign of "Think Summer."

"Think Summer" is an ongoing initiative to highlight the benefits of studying at Purdue during the summer.

Promoting and improving Purdue's year-round educational opportunities is part of the Transformative Education category of Purdue Moves, a series of initiatives designed to broaden the University's global impact and enhance students' educational opportunities.

In particular, taking courses during the summer helps students move quickly, flexibly and affordably in their academic careers, says Frank Dooley, associate vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. Doing so also provides students with greater flexibility to incorporate internships, study abroad and undergraduate research into their Purdue experience.

"The overall message we want students to think about is how they use their time in the summers, and use their time wisely," Dooley says.

"Of course, jobs, internships and study abroad opportunities are of priority, but absent those options, taking summer classes can be very beneficial holistically. If students spend their summers productively, they'll be more enriched as people -- not to mention that, if it helps them graduate in four years, they'll impress employers. That will open up even more opportunities."

Going forward, the new "Think Summer Sooner" website will be live during each fall semester, when it will replace the traditional "Think Summer" site.

The "Think Summer Sooner" site will include a list of 250 undergraduate courses that Purdue guarantees will be taught each summer for the next three years. The courses span offerings for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in nearly every academic department. Many of the classes are large-enrollment sections that are part of the core curriculum, Dooley says.

Making the expanded list of summer courses available well in advance is meant to make it easy for students to plan year-round academic schedules, Dooley says. The list also will ensure that advisors can provide the most updated information to students seeking help enrolling in summer classes.

The list of summer classes reflects the fact that the University has been increasing its summer offerings on the West Lafayette campus. For example, the Department of Political Science offered 40 percent more classes this summer and will further increase its offerings in summer 2014, says Rosie Clawson, professor and head of political science.

"Our instructors really enjoy teaching during the summer because classes are smaller and they are able to interact a great deal with students," Clawson says.

In addition to more summer classes, the University soon will offer year-round housing contracts running from summer through May. Meal plans also will be available starting in summer 2014. Previously, housing contracts and meal plans have been available only for fall and spring.

The meal plans and extended housing contracts will be available to students in January, Dooley says. That's when University Residences typically offers plans and contracts for the following academic year.

In addition to making these academic and housing arrangements, the University is taking steps to improve student life on campus during the summer.

For example, the Purdue Student Union Board (PSUB) soon will create a committee whose sole responsibility will be to focus on brainstorming and implementing summer activities on campus, says Heather Beasley, director of programs and recreation at Purdue Memorial Union. Additionally, this summer PSUB worked to provide additional recreational, cultural and social activities. Those efforts will continue in future summers.

"We find that students are very appreciative of summer activities and an overall enhanced summer environment, which aids them in improving and growing their social networks," Beasley says.

Efforts to enroll more students in the summer are working so far, reports indicate.

In summer 2012, before the "Think Summer" campaign, enrollment consisted of 6,666 undergraduates, who took a total of 33,830 credit hours -- or about 7 percent of the credit hours taken that fall. In summer 2013, after "Think Summer" launched, enrollment consisted of 7,027 undergraduates, who took 37,000 credit hours, or 8 percent of credit hours taken this fall.

University officials hope that next summer, credit hours taken will increase to 10 percent of fall 2014 credit hours. By summer 2018, the goal is for credit hours taken to reach 20 percent of fall credit hours, Dooley says.

"All of the University's combined efforts -- including offering advance information about summer classes, providing on-campus housing and dining options, and improving summer student life -- should combine to make summer sessions at Purdue more robust and beneficial to all students who take advantage of them," Dooley says.

"We're already seeing more interest from students in summer classes, and we hope to continue to increase summer enrollment in the years to come."

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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