Intersessions offers compressed-format undergraduate courses on the Dallas campus & online. During Intersessions, students concentrate on only one or two courses at a time; this focus combined with smaller class sizes than in fall/spring help enhance the potential for intensive student engagement. Faculty are encouraged to use the concentrated time they have with students to take advantage of educational resources off-campus and provide promote unique educational experiences. Some innovation funding is available to help support these initiatives.
Intersessions provides administrative oversight for Jan Term, May Term, and Summer 11-day courses on the Dallas Campus. We market and advertise ALL Dallas courses and help address student questions about enrollment, financial aid, and academic planning; however, administration of June (Summer 1), July (Summer 2), and Combined (Summer 3) sessions is conducted by departments and schools or colleges, just as in fall and spring.
Any full-time, visiting, adjunct, or emeritus faculty member can propose an Intersessions course. Proposed courses are vetted by the appropriate Department Chair(s), Dean, and the Provost before approval and addition to the Intersessions schedule.
* In a typical semester, a 3 credit hour class is scheduled for 45 hours of contact with students (final exams included). To stay as close as possible to this, SMU has adapted the following hours/schedules for each term.
Total scheduled hours for Jan Term: 48. Total scheduled hours for May Term, and 11-day sessions: 44.
Procedure for setting the schedule for all other Summer sessions varies by department and school. We recommend checking in with your Department Chair (or the chair for the department in which you plan to teach) as a first step in this process. Summer planning begins in fall, so that is the time to initiate inquiries for best consideration.
Faculty interested in learning more about innovation funding should contact the Intersessions program to discuss ideas. There is space on the Intersession course proposal form to make requests. Please note that funding is limited and awards are made at the discretion of the Intersessions Office, subject to approval by the Provost’s Office and Financial Services. All activities/expenditures must conform with university policies. Intersessions Innovation funding is limited to terms administered by the Intersessions program.
Structuring Courses for Condensed Sessions
Intersessions is not involved with curriculum development, but we can offer a few useful tips in setting up a syllabus and thinking through how to handle course meetings over a shorter session.
- Consult teaching resources available through the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).
- Use the focused time you have with students to promote experiential learning opportunities (e.g., schedule field trips or other activities that would be difficult to coordinate on a fall/spring schedule).
- Some faculty assign pre-work by email prior to the start of term. Things like reading assignments to be completed before the first day of class may help ensure that all the material fits into the condensed term. If expectations of pre-work affect the final date students may enroll (which is typically the day before start of term), please communicate this to Intersessions staff.
The Intersessions program office markets all undergraduate courses offered in Jan Term, May Term, and Summer courses held on the main campus (or online). We use both print media (posters, stake signs, swag, etc.) and digital outlets (our website, email blasts to students, social media, digital signs across campus) to do so.
Research into how students learn about intersessions indicates that word of mouth and faculty factor heavily into student’s choice of courses to take in intersessions. Consequently, we recommend that faculty help promote their courses as well. Some of the most common means of doing so include:
- If you’re teaching in the term prior to the intersession, promote your course there. If you’re not, ask colleagues in your department to help promote your course. Share a PowerPoint slide, a flyer, or a few talking points to help put the course on students’ radars.
- Include promotional information about the course on the first page of your syllabus. Go beyond the traditional course summary to draw attention to the unique experiences your course cultivates. We regularly tell students to check out course syllabi so that they are aware of what they are signing up for, so we encourage you to put your best foot forward.
- Some faculty create flyers and distribute these around campus.
- When faculty or departments post something about an Intersessions course on their social media accounts we’ll re-post it. We follow most SMU departmental accounts and will gladly follow any additional ones suggested to us. Follow us @SMUintersession on Instagram or Twitter; we’ll follow you back!
PLEASE NOTE, SMU-in-Taos and SMU Abroad are separate programs with their own administrative offices outside of the main Intersessions Office, whose focus is Dallas campus courses.