Plans for winter session take shape

Winter is coming. The winter session that is. 

As announced in September, Iowa State will offer a special academic session during the extended break between fall and spring semesters.

The session will feature a curated selection of courses that meet core curriculum and general education requirements and were taught by experienced instructors online or in a hybrid format during previous summer terms, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said.

"Not every course can be compressed into a five-week session," Wickert said. "We want to ensure we're offering a high-quality experience that meets existing learning outcomes and helps students get a leg up on the spring semester and stay on the path to timely graduation."

Key dates for the winter session are:

  • Registration: Oct. 26-Nov. 13
  • Classes begin: Monday, Dec. 14
  • Classes end: Thursday, Jan. 21
  • Final exams: Jan. 21
  • No classes will be held on university holidays: Dec. 24-25, Jan. 1, 2021, and Jan. 18

A list of winter session courses will be released in the coming weeks, and they'll be available only to continuing students. Students may take up to four credits during the session and will be assessed the standard per-credit and state Board of Regents-approved tuition rate based on their residency status. No differential tuition or mandatory fees will be assessed.

Wickert said students who complete prerequisite courses during winter session may take the next course in the sequence during the spring semester to accelerate their studies.

Executive planning committee named

Planning for winter session is being coordinated by an executive committee chaired by Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs. Additional executive planning committee members, and in some cases the five ad hoc subcommittee they're leading, are:

  • Tom Brumm, Faculty Senate curriculum committee representative
  • Sarah Bennett-George, Faculty Senate academic affairs committee representative
  • Shawn Boyne, office of the senior vice president and provost, chair of the academic programs subcommittee
  • Kristen Constant, chief information officer
  • Laura Doering, associate vice president for enrollment management
  • Pete Englin, department of residence, co-chair of the student life subcommittee
  • Sharron Evans, dean of students, co-chair of the student life subcommittee
  • Erica Fischer, admissions, chair of the communications and marketing subcommittee
  • Carly Manz, genetics development and cell biology, faculty representative
  • Dan Nettleton, statistics, department chair representative
  • Ellen Reints, office of the senior vice president and provost, chair of the tuition assessment and distribution subcommittee
  • Diane Rupp, office of the registrar, chair of the implementation and policy subcommittee

Compact but complete

VanDerZanden noted that students who have not taken accelerated courses in the past should carefully consider the daily time commitment that will be necessary before registering for the winter session.

"Most students enjoy the accelerated format because it allows them to focus all their energies on one subject, compared to four or five at a time in the fall or spring," she said. "However, it's important to remember that the reading and coursework for a three-credit course during the winter is the same as for a 14-week course in the spring."