Summer@USF is the Next Big Thing at the University of South Florida. By next summer, new and continuing USF students will have the opportunity to not only register for courses offered in abbreviated summer sessions/terms (i.e. sessions A, B, C, and X-alternative calendar), but also to enroll in specific courses or programs marketed by Summer@USF. In this summer edition of The Registrar’s Chronicle, we are pleased to feature Dr. Cynthia DeLuca, Director of Summer@USF, who is confident that continuing and prospective USF students will be able to find summer courses to help them get closer to graduation and advance in their degree programs.
First, tell us about yourself and your specific interest in summer programs.
Previously, I was the Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Services at North Carolina State University. I have more than 15 years of experience in summer session administration, student services, recruitment, retention, student ethics, advising and assessment. Over the course of my career, I have been an officer in local, state, regional and national summer sessions organizations, even serving as President of the North American Association of Summer Sessions in 2012. More importantly, I believe that summer courses and programs offer students more pathways to success. Summer is an integral part of students’ academic experience. Since arriving at USF, I am even more convinced that our institution is a place where we can create innovative summer opportunities that will enhance the educational experience of every student who participates. USF has so much to offer: outstanding faculty, top notch staff, great facilities and amazing students.
What is the mission of Summer@USF?
First and foremost, we want Summer@USF to be student-centered. As Provost Wilcox said, “Key to our efforts is identifying and responding to student demand by delivering a summer schedule of classes that contributes to enhanced student progression, retention and improved graduation rates.” In addition, we want to create summer/intercession opportunities that will provide innovative experiences for new, continuing and visiting students at USF. In partnership with our colleagues in Student Affairs and academic departments, we want to make summer campus life bigger and better than ever before with more classes and student activities.
Many institutions have summer programs that feature study abroad, online courses and independent study, pre-college programs for high school students, non-degree summer enrichment and professional development, off-campus programs, internships and camps. What is your vision for promoting or packaging summer offerings or programs to the USF community and the Tampa Bay region?
As Director, my job is to explore areas for successful summer programming and reach out to the USF department which are leading the effort to discuss future opportunities. For example, I am working hand-in-hand with Innovative Education to develop a fully online Wintersession here at USF. This type of intensive session has been very successful at universities around the country, as it provides students an opportunity to catch up or get ahead on course credits, improve their GPAs, or stay on track to graduate in four years. I am also collaborating with the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence and the Colleges exploring the feasibility of a Maymester in 2015. Maymesters are three-week sessions held during the month of May, usually beginning the Monday after graduation. Summer is often a time when students want to take a break or earn money. Maymester provides the students an opportunity to do that while staying on track in school. They can take a course, finish in three weeks, and still have the rest of the summer to work, do an internship or travel.
This type of collaborative environment will enable us to continually develop and launch new programming and courses to enhance the summer student experience at USF.
Please share with our readers the initiatives you have planned that are underway for Summer 2014.
This summer we focused on creating an attractive, recognizable brand for Summer@USF and letting students know about our current strengths here. Using many different research methods, we are finding out what students need from a summer term and what they’d like to see here at USF. Together, the campus community is examining how to make Summer@USF an even more vibrant, academic experience for current, visiting and prospective students.
Angela DeBose, University Registrar