Maymester Debuts: An Intense Three Weeks

If an insect can be born, live and die in three weeks, then the average Carolina student should be able to complete a course in the same amount of time.

“My friend in the laboratory says the life cycle of a flea is three weeks,” said Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education. “Can you imagine taking a course where you get to see that life cycle from beginning to end?”

Come May 15, UNC students will have that opportunity.

Registration opens March 23 for upperclassmen and March 27 for all other students interested in taking a three-week session at the close of the spring semester that will award three credit hours for one class offering three hours of instruction every day.

“An interim session really engages students intensely,” Owen said. “I don’t think summer is a really good time to do calculus or reflect on the entire works of Shakespeare. You wouldn’t want to read Ulysses in three weeks.”

The new “Maymester,” a component of the University’s 2006 quality-enhancement plan, will run through June 1 and has 500 available spaces in 24 specially designed courses for this new concentrated format, said Jim Murphy, dean of the summer school.

“There’s a real range of courses,” Owen said. “We’re being a little experimental.”

Students have the opportunity to travel to Fort Bragg, Scotland and South Carolina, for example, giving some the chance to experience life “abroad” without affording an entire semester’s worth of commitment, Owen said.

The cost per credit hour (including tuition and fees) is $165 for resident undergraduates, $170 for resident graduate students, $390 for out-of-state undergraduates and $395 for out-of-state graduate students.

Owen emphasized that these courses are ideal for those who might need to work, obtain an internship or spend time with family during the summer.

A pilot program, the Maymester is a three-year commitment for 2007, 2008 and 2009, after which time it will be reviewed and assessed.

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