SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island’s inaugural “mini-semester” January term enrolled nearly four times as many students as expected, the university said Thursday.
“We were hoping to enroll between 100 and 150 students,” said Dean Libutti, vice provost for enrollment management. “Instead, we enrolled 404 students and even had to turn some students away as our classes were at capacity.”
The so-called “J Term” ran from Jan. 2 to Jan. 17, during the break between URI’s fall and spring semesters, and offered 21 undergraduate- and graduate-level courses at both the South Kingstown and Providence campuses and online, in addition to nine travel courses.
Of the 404 students who enrolled, 35 were graduate students, 158 were undergraduate seniors, 79 were juniors, 82 were sophomores and 50 were freshmen. Ninety-three students studied abroad through one of the available travel courses to destinations including Belize, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and Mexico.
“During our pre-departure orientations, a significant number of seniors said this was the last time they would have the chance to study abroad,” said Kelly Watts, education abroad programs coordinator. “In their evaluations, students said they loved being with the local people, eating the local food. They said all of the things students say about standard study abroad programs, along with the greater connection to URI faculty.”
Other students used the J Term as an opportunity to get ahead by taking courses required to complete their majors. According to John Olerio, the J Term coordinator, the J Term courses included high-demand fall and spring semester general education and major courses, courses with high repeat rates, and courses encompassing specific research interests and special topics better suited for a shorter time frame.
“Students who took classes in person or studied abroad said being able to focus daily on one course really helped them learn the course content and helped foster stronger connections to other students and faculty,” Libutti said. “It was a great success thanks to a campus-wide effort and we look forward to growing and expanding our J Term offerings in the future.”
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