Winterim courses can benefit both students and professors

Before deleting your email inbox, make sure to check out what the university has to offer

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Photo by John Mattison

Snowball fights, hot chocolate, decorating the Christmas tree and spending time with family.

This sounds like a typical winter break for any college student, but UW-Eau Claire students have started to receive emails on winterim course offerings, which have caused a mixed reaction among students. Some say the emails are too numerous, others think they’re helpful.

Doug Matthews, the chair of psychology department at the university, said there are four reasons he sends these emails to students.

“The emails allow students to know what their university has to offer,” Matthews said. “There are fewer faculty with budget cuts, which means there are not as many general classes that are available during spring/fall semesters.”

He said one of the priorities at the university is to push students to graduate in four years by offering Winterim and summer courses that enable students to get ahead in their coursework.

Matthews also said each department benefits from teaching these Winterim and summer courses.

“A portion of every student’s tuition is put towards different departments within the university,” Matthews said. “Along with departments benefitting from offering these courses, the professors also have the opportunity to be paid more when they teach a course.”

However, receiving a plethora of emails may cause students to ignore them or delete the email without reading it. In order to help spread the message without using emails, Matthews said he encourages faculty members to talk about the offerings within their classrooms.

Nichole Miller, music and theatre arts department associate, said advertising these courses has motivated students to take Winterim courses in the past.

“I think it’s been helpful with advertising the class offerings,” Miller said, “and we’ve noticed that the more online classes we offer, the better the enrollment is.”

Last semester Matthews and other psychology faculty hung posters around the dorms to attract students to their summer courses, which has brought a 52 percent increase in enrollment.

Senior elementary education student Stephanie Cisewski said getting the numerous emails can be annoying at times.

“I prefer to relax and take time away from ‘school’ when I’m on winter break. If you need credits, though, I definitely would take a winterim course to stay on track,” Cisewski said.

Cisewski recommended a different approach to provide students with information for winterim classes. She said the university should send out one email containing a link to a list of all winterim courses offered for every major.

“This would make it less stressful than receiving emails about courses that have nothing to do with my major,” Cisewski said.

Until these conversations are started, students may have to receive the extra emails regarding their winter and summer academic plans.