HCC plans busy term

Summer program to expand in response to increased demand

More than 175 courses

New emphasis on once `laid-back' time

March 12, 2001|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Looking to the one time of year when classroom space isn't completely booked, Howard Community College officials are expanding their summer program with a record number of classes.

Administrators have planned for more than 175 courses this year - compared with about 150 in the summer - and have hammered out a complex schedule with overlapping sessions.

Staff members are preparing for a domino effect that will mean longer library hours, more registration, extra instructors and greater use of HCC's recreational facilities during the 10-week period.

It's a big change for the Columbia campus, where summer traditionally was seen as "a sleepy, laid-back time," said Ron Roberson, vice president of academic affairs.

"This is the biggest summer semester we've ever done," he said. "We do believe that we can run a lot more courses than we've been running."

Administrators knew they had untapped demand for classes because enrollment has risen every year, he said. But the school has little room to expand in fall or spring, when instructors are teaching in the evenings, on weekends and online.

"Summer was the logical place to look," said spokesman Randy Bengfort.

The college's new summer schedule accommodates classes - math, science and English in particular - that don't fit well into the typical five-week summer "minimester."

HCC's "Summer I" session will start May 29 and will last five weeks. The "Summer I Extended" session will start the same day and run for eight weeks. "Summer II" will begin June 13 and last for eight weeks, while "Summer III" will begin July 5 and run for five weeks.

Barbara Greenfeld, HCC's director of admissions and advising, says she thinks the change will benefit a range of students - from people looking for more time to absorb a subject to high-schoolers who haven't finished their academic year when the first session starts.

"You've got choices," she said.

HCC's summer class list had been small partly because the cost of offering a course was paid by academic divisions from what was left in their individual budgets at the end of the school year.

"Generally speaking, most didn't have that much money left," Roberson said.

This time, HCC is paying to expand the semester, which will cost about $70,000 or $80,000, he estimated.

Expanded needs

More courses mean expanded needs.

Roberson expects to hire 30 to 40 adjunct instructors - part-timers - to cover additional classes, some of which will offered more than once.

Officials plan to keep the campus library open an additional 24 hours a week to accommodate students. The bookstore and cafeteria will also need extra business hours, Bengfort said.

The admissions and advising department is gearing up for more business at a time when staff members are retooling programs and preparing for the fall.

"It's going to intensify even more," said Greenfeld, who is thinking about offering extra hours to part-timers and inviting more faculty to help advise students.

Noncredit offerings

Also this summer, adults and children are expected to sign up for a range of noncredit classes.

The college's Kids on Campus program, for ages 7 through 17, is expanding, offering a record 62 courses - and 154 sections of those classes. Last summer, officials offered 57 classes. The courses, running one or two weeks, cover subjects ranging from psychology to Harry Potter.

Director Sara Baum figured the new class about the fictional boy wizard would be popular, and so far she's right.

"That's the one that seems to be gaining the most momentum the earliest," said Baum, who put three sections of Harry Potter on the schedules that were sent out at the end of last month. "We almost have a full section on hand now."

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