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Our First Intersession

January 20, 2014

"This course is going great"
"I love this class"
"It's a Godsend"
"Research, research, research"
"I can breathe again!"

-- various comments about the intersession by students, staff and faculty at RIT

Let's face it. 

It is difficult to argue (footnote: This really doesn't apply to my friends in the philosophy department) with the statement that this academic year at RIT is a year of firsts. The first semester (in modern times), the first 50 minute class, the first Tuesday that was really a Monday (or was it the other way around?), etc. You get the picture. 

But what I was really anticipating as a first is our first January Intersession. Time for unique course offerings, time for faculty to do creative work or plan for spring semester or catch one of the nifty "Destination Intersession" workshops, time for staff to catch their breath and get organized, and time for the provost to bang out a few blog postings. Twenty some odd days where we offer unique classes for students to get back on track, to whet their appetite for the unusual, to get ahead, to explore a foreign land, or just to get away from the parents for a while. And yes we even closed campus due to the great polar vortex distortion of 2014 (Footnote: You're apt to hear me use "Polar Vortex Distortion" a lot since it is right out of a Star Trek script.)

I know it is only half-way through as I write this, but I'm calling the Intersession a success so far. We had over 200 students take classes offered by our pioneering faculty here on the Henrietta campus and over 270 if you include our global campuses. While these numbers may seem low compared to the fall semester, they have exceeded our predictions. Some students traveled to Dubai while others spent time in the Rochester jail (Footnote: As part of Judy Porter's class, really!) So here's to our pioneering faculty who were the first to offer classes during the RIT Intersession:

Alla Bailey Sidney Marshall Judy Porter
Hans-Peter Bischof David Martins Elizabeth Reeves O'Connor
Edith Hemaspaandra Jeannette Mitchell Mark Reisch
Bernadette Lanciaux Justyna Oldziej Helen Timberlake
  Bruce Pennington Gregory Trayling

But wait there's more! The fun-loving staff in the Wallace Center did a bang up job at creating an entire portfolio of interesting professional development topics ranging from faculty research topics to flipped classrooms. You can find the schedule at www.rit.edu/destinationintersession. The early feedback is clear - cheers and raves. So here's to our pioneering faculty and staff who made Destination: Intersession a huge success:

Margaret Bailey Ann Hager David Messinger
Stefi Baum Cheryl Herdklotz Jeffrey Mills
Ted Baumhauer Diane Heyden  Kelly Murdoch-Kitt
Adwoa Boateng Ann Howard Jessica Pardee
Anne Marie Canale Ken Kindler Nick Paulus 
Enid Cardinal Marybeth Koon Elizabeth Perry
Laurie Clayton Roman Koshykar Geoff Poor
Sandra Connelly Anne Marie Kuntz David Sluberski
Paul Craig Raja Kushalnagar Malcolm Spaull
Roger Easton Cristian Linte Michael Starenko
Shaun Foster Erica MacArthur Scott Vadney
Jen Freer Hinda Mandell Maureen Valentine
Tom Gasek Carol Marchetti Joe Zelazny 
Elizabeth Goins Sharon Mason  
Marty Golia Susan Mee   

I try to ask anyone (Footnote: who is willing to be seen with me) who I bump into how they are using the Intersession. Faculty who aren't teaching are using the time to write their papers or conduct their research in their labs or travel to conferences to present their work (and by the way raise RIT's reputation.) Staff are spending time to refine their expertise on some of our new systems or to finally get to that stack of papers that has been growing all fall semester. By the way, many staff have shared their observations of the semester with me and I'll be writing about their challenges in future postings. Unsurprisingly, many of us are hitting the Fitness Center to work off those calories from the holidays!

Ok, so here's my moment of Zen. The Intersession has already proven to be a terrific time of renewal, review, and refreshment and will make the start of spring semester all that much easier. Now bring on that Polar Vortex Distortion! (Footnote: My apologies to Nestor Ramos, whose use of footnotes in his articles for the Democrat and Chronicle have made me chuckle more than a few times).

Jeremy Haefner