Summer classes benefit traditional and nontraditional students

Thu, 2012-04-26 07:55 -- univcomm
April 26, 2012

For many students at Anderson University, scheduling classes can be a difficult task. However, with the inclusion of summer classes, some of that stress can be alleviated. Summer classes provide an extra four sessions in which students can complete credits toward graduation. The classes are also offered at a reduced rate of $350 per credit hour, which helps ease the financial burdens that many students face. These classes are offered in a variety of formats, including traditional, online, and independent study, and can help both traditional and nontraditional students earn credits toward a degree.

heliosAleza Beverly, dean of the School of Adult Learning, has been the director of summer classes since the mid 1990s. She is an advocate for taking summer classes. “It gives students a chance to jump ahead on hours or to make up hours that they have not been able to do during the regular semester,” said Beverly.

Summer classes can work for any student, even those who cannot stay at AU for the summer. “Reading courses are a type of independent study where the instructor gives the student the syllabus and then they turn the work in later,” said Beverly. They also require a GPA of at least 2.5. Tutorial classes do not require minimum GPA, but they require the instructor and the student to remain in contact throughout the summer. “Tutorial courses give more structure to the independent study,” said Beverly.

Dr. Jaye Rogers, associate professor of history, has been teaching summer classes since she started working at AU 16 years ago. However, when she began her college career, these types of classes were hard to find. “When I started college at 26, with two small children, there were no online courses anywhere,” said Rogers. “It was enormously difficult and expensive to arrange childcare to fit with my class schedule.” She is now very supportive of online classes. “They offer all students — but especially nontraditional students — a way to fulfill academic requirements while also juggling their many other responsibilities.”

Rogers also enjoys the opportunity summer classes offer to get to know her students in a more personal way. “I find that I get to know a little more about my students during summer courses because a face-to-face class that lasts four weeks is a little more intimate,” said Rogers. “We are all just more relaxed, and that allows all of us to be more engaged in the classroom.”

Summer classes also offer many benefits for traditional students, many of whom may have a hard time finishing their major in just four years. Summer classes allow them to lighten their schedule during the school year or to add another major or minor before they graduate. Many students are even able to graduate early because of summer classes. Christie Combs, who majored in accounting and minored in finance and management at AU, was able to graduate early in December 2011 because of the summer classes she took throughout her college career. “It would have been nearly impossible to graduate in three and a half years with 150 credit hours without taking summer classes,” said Combs.

Graduating early is typically a significant reason for students to participate in summer classes, and many may complete internships for credit in the summer. Scheduling hours to complete an internship with a business is often easier in the summer, and for some students this may even lead to a full-time job.

“The internships I did over the past summers for credit led to my internship last summer, which eventually helped me obtain my current full-time job,” said Combs. She now works for Defense Finance and Accounting Services, where she interned during the summer of 2011 and worked part-time during her final semester at AU.

Summer classes can be scheduled with the registrar through May 7, the first day of summer classes.

— Marissa Phillips is a junior from Brookville, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Phillips is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.