Popular Wintermester begins

Radford University's popular Wintermester continues to grow as the innovative program offers additional opportunities for students who are looking to earn additional credits or get ahead in their academic pursuits.

This year, 56 classes are being offered for the Wintermester term, which began Dec. 16 and runs through Jan. 13. Classes, most of which are online, are available from nearly every RU college and program.

The 2014-15 Wintermester is the second full year of the program. This year, 729 students are enrolled in Wintermester, up from 488 a year ago, said Matt Dunleavy, interim director of Academic Affairs. Forty-one of those students are from out of state.

"Wintermester is a great opportunity for students to get ahead so that they can take more advanced coursework and, hopefully, graduate more quickly and ultimately reduce the cost of their education," said Bill Kennan, vice provost for Academic Affairs. "It's also a great opportunity to get caught up."

Kennan said the emphasis of the program remains on the quality of instruction. "We do that through various faculty development opportunities, including Quality Matters, which is the cornerstone of our quality improvement strategy."

The Quality Matters Program is a national, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to ensure quality online courses and components.

Wintermester began as a pilot six-course offering in 2012 and immediately became a popular option for students who want to continue advancing toward their degrees.

Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance Kevin Ayers is teaching a sport ethics class for Wintermester and said the program is excellent for "providing students with flexibility and less restriction as compared to traditionally taught classes."

Ayers said the online classes "give everyone an opportunity to voice opinions. Some students who may not feel comfortable speaking in a classroom setting are empowered to speak and write more freely, especially on discussion boards."

RU's Wintermester was one of 10 programs recognized in the 2013 edition of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia's (SCHEV) "Innovation in Higher Education" as a program that created or enhanced opportunities to lead to more college graduates, greater employability and a strong economy for the future of all Virginians.

Dec 17, 2014