Mini-Mester Offerings Being Piloted for Fall Semester
Registration is now open for Fall 2019 Mini-Mesters, a pilot program that will offer courses worth one credit hour and meet two or three times a week for five weeks. There will be three terms offered this fall:
- Term 1: Aug. 19 – Sept. 20
- Term 2: Sept. 23 – Oct. 25
- Term 3: Oct. 28 – Dec. 3
Bonnie Ferri, vice provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development, said the goal of the new format is to be able to bundle education into smaller units and offer a sample of a topic area. It allows students to learn about something without dedicating a three-hour schedule slot to it — but, by meeting three times a week, it offers a similar intensity to a three-hour course.
Ferri sees the format as a framework that can benefit students and professors. It allows students to take short courses on both professional development and academic topics — personal finance or fluid dynamics, for example — and allows faculty members to teach in a different format. It also makes it possible for professors who typically have fewer teaching opportunities to get back into the classroom.
The mini-mester initiative emerged from feedback through the work of both the Commission on Creating the Next in Education and the Academics cluster of A Path Forward – Together. The Student Government Association (SGA) was also involved in creating the first mini-mesters, and members are excited to see their impact on academic life at Tech.
“I am thrilled to see these courses being implemented into the curriculum, because I truly believe that they have the power to transform education for all students on campus,” said Brielle Lonsberry, SGA’s educational enhancement chair. “Insights from this pilot program will aid in expanding these courses to all schools, for all students.”
Mini-mesters will also provide a new space for experimentation. More seasoned faculty can test new pedagogies, and graduate students who will one day be faculty members can take the reins in a condensed format.
“It brings flexibility for faculty as well as students,” Ferri said. “When we brought this idea to associate chairs on campus, it was one that a lot of people liked, because they see the basic framework and what they can do with it.”
SGA believes this capacity for experimentation will benefit students as well.
“We hope that as students begin to explore topics of interest, they will be able to personalize their education to better prepare them for careers post-graduation,” said Lonsberry.
For now, the fall pilot offerings include 11 courses on a range of topics. More options may be added before Phase II registration begins in August. Phase I registration for current students closes May 17.
For more information about mini-mesters and the fall course offerings, visit the SGA website.