While summer semesters are traditionally filled with general education courses and geared toward newer students, the administration has worked to build a class schedule that will benefit upper-classmen as well to help them take the courses they need.
“UVU has a lot of momentum, and I think administratively they understood that and they know that summer semester is a way to help students and a way to serve students, to help students graduate,” said Tiffany Evans, director of summer semester at UVU.
After analyzing enrollment data from the last several years, department chairs and deans worked together to find out what changes needed to be made to the summer courses so students could use them to their advantage.
“We’ve looked at our bottle-neck courses and programs that are landlocked, we’ve evaluated high demand classes, looked at waitlists, and looked at the student needs,” Evans said. “They’ve really looked at a lot of factors to create the most effective summer schedule that best serves the students.”
This push to improve the summer semester is a natural evolution to the growth the school has experienced since becoming a university in 2008.
Now the administration is trying to communicate the benefits that summer semesters have for students.
Studies show that students who attend a summer semester during their collegiate career are about 11 percent more likely to graduate, many of them benefitting from the small class sizes characteristic of the summer blocks.
“Summer semesters are better. I’ve seen the success of my students personally, and I’ve seen that they like it a lot better,” said Terrell Wyche, academic advisor for Biology.
The goal of having a more proactive summer semester is to help students graduate sooner. Counselors recommend an average of 15 credits a semester for a student to graduate within four years. Managing a full school load is often not possible because of work and family responsibilities, a problem for many students at UVU.
Administration is hoping that students will take advantage of these changes to the summer semester to help shoulder the burden of those credits students may have missed during the fall and spring.
“I attended summer semester because it offered everything that I needed to be successful in my education,” said alumna Jessica Awtrey who used the benefits of summer semester to complete her philosophy degree within four years. “For students that need to work or have families, it’s crucial that UVU is on the front end of providing that kind of flexibility.”
Keeping students within their four-year goals not only helps the university as it tries to meet Utah’s Big Goal, but the administration hopes to help students keep educational debts down by moving them through their studies faster.
With the drop in enrollment this year and the controversies surrounding state funding, administration is trying to help students by addressing their educational needs.
“I think students need to take seriously, even under the conditions of enrollment and different things, that this is an opportunity,” Evans said. “I think UVU is the place. UVU is becoming a destination campus. Look at the growth. This is just another component to serve our students.”