RIT community experiences first intersession

A new era in educational opportunities 
arrived on the RIT campus this year, 
with students experiencing their first 
intersession term. 

Follow Greg Livadas on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A. Sue Weisler

Criminology, Social Justice and Community Action was just one of the courses offered during RIT’s first intersession Jan. 2-22. It combined classroom work with field trips in the Rochester community. The class visited the Center for Youth on Jan. 15.

A new era in educational opportunities 
arrived on the RIT campus this year, 
with students experiencing their first 
intersession term. 

Instead of kicking back on a beach or 
hanging out at home, about 200 students were enrolled in one of 13 three-week courses 
during RIT’s first intersession.

The classes were 
offered in a variety of 
formats, even a travel study course in Los Angeles. Topics included 
criminology and social 
justice, statistics, 
public speaking, clean 
energy and principles of microeconomics. 

“The students and 
faculty seemed to 
enjoy their respective roles,” said J. Fernando Naveda, director of the Office of Intersession and Summer. “And the faculty took advantage of building a course they always wanted but never could.”

Naveda expects more classes will be offered during the summer term.

“We will be offering five- and 10-week courses,” he said. “I think there are going to be a variety of courses and formats and we will encourage faculty who want to teach a three-week course. Some courses will be credit 
bearing, others not. The variety of courses 
will increase in the summer over time.”

The less formal structure of the courses allows classes to take field trips, have guest speakers and conduct experiments they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise. 

Nine students signed up for Writing 
Genre, Theory and Practice, taught by 
David Martins, associate professor in the 
College of Liberal Arts and director of the 
University Writing Program.

They met for three hours a day for 15 days, visited the archives 
at the Wallace Library and the Cary Collection 
and listened to panel 
discussions from a 
historian, photojournalist, 
chemist and psychologist who talked about different kinds of writing they do.

“So little that I did 
in the intersession is something that I’ve done before in class,” Martins said. “The new 
format encouraged me to experiment. It feels fun and doesn’t feel like a typical course.”

He said one of his students, who is majoring in engineering, was very engaged in the class. “She says all she ever gets to write is technical material,” Martins said.

“Initially, I took this course as a way to 
have something to do over the much longer winter break,” said Leslie Bowen, a third-year electrical engineering major from Frederick, Md., who took the writing course. “My 
normal coursework is mostly lecture periods and lab sections, so this course deviated as 
a part lecture, part demonstration course. There was a lot of group work involved as 
well that was atypical of my other courses. 
I was taking a full course in a much less 
stressful way. I would definitely take another 
intersession course.”

Judy Porter, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, took her 
class of 10 students to various locations, 
including a food bank, teen court, the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, the 
Center for Youth, recreation centers and the United Way. They also participated in two peace circles.

“I was intrigued by the idea of doing an 
interesting, unique class,” Porter said. “Students were able to do things that were 
not possible in the regular setting, and they could go out in the field easily without 
having other class commitments that would hinder their availability.”