School’s out for summer?

By Brody Foster

For many students’ summer is a time of rest and relaxation but for others summer is an opportunity to catch up on classes they failed, get ahead on degree plans or take on a new challenge.

Registration for summer courses opens in early April and some students are finding the options for classes can be scarce. Taking courses at a community college such as CNM, may be a viable option.  

UNM’s summer session lasts eight weeks and includes breaks for Juneteenth and the Fourth of July. 

The schedule isn’t yet complete but for example, the Department of Communication and Journalism is offering only eight classes, all online and none in the multimedia journalism concentration, at the time of writing.

Sarah Volden, an academic adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she would like to see more options in the summer. “I do wish we had more options …like we have in the fall and the spring, because this really helps students get ahead,” Volden said. 

Looking over the current summer schedule, Volden said she was surprised to see so few required courses available for multimedia journalism and strategic communication majors.

Nationwide, only 41% of students at public four-year colleges will finish on time, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At UNM that statistic is even lower at 33% of students finishing in four years.

So, the summer classes can be important for students to stay on track and graduate in four years. 

UNM is following a trend along with other four-year universities, which sees less importance being put on summer courses. 

In a survey done by the Association of University Summer Sessions, they found that the average number of summer courses that four-year universities were offering actually fell between 2014-2017. 

Universities are trapped in tradition as summer is traditionally spent away from the classroom and more on family vacations, for teachers and students alike. 

This leads to many major universities overlooking the importance of summer courses.

Some students look to Central New Mexico Community College to offer things they can’t find at UNM, such as Interpersonal Communication which CNM offers in-person this summer, but UNM does not.

CNM, like other community colleges, also offers a cheaper alternative for students to complete their general education courses or get ahead on their degrees. 

But there are pitfalls.

“Sometimes CNM will have a different course number and maybe we can’t accept it, because UNM’s saying no this isn’t quite the same,” Volden said. 

Austin Preston, a junior at UNM, was thwarted in his effort to get ahead in his engineering degree, when he took a coding class at CNM that didn’t transfer over.

He thought taking summer classes would put him on the fast track, but he ended up spinning his wheels.

“I think UNM needs to offer these classes for students and make them more accessible, so UNM students don’t have to go to CNM for summer classes and try to transfer,” Preston said.


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