“Enrollment in summer programs is outstanding,” says Josh Moore, who directs the Center for Immersive and Experiential Learning Opportunities at the college. “We have 85 students enrolled in two Summer Blocks and five Summer Mods. This is nearly three times last year’s enrollment.”
Summer Blocks and Mods are taught by Beloit faculty members, with Blocks running three weeks and Mods following a seven-week format. These classes intensify learning around a single course in a shorter period of time.
The Center for Language Studies, taught this year through virtual immersion, blends innovative cultural and small group activities like virtual reality with online instruction. The program doubled its enrollment to 114 students this year, and Moore says about 90 percent are coming from outside Beloit College. This summer, the program added Portuguese, which is rising as a critical world language. Beloit alumna and experienced instructor Ligia Costa’13 is teaching two sections of Portuguese for Beloit from her home in Brazil. Chinese, Japanese, and Russian are also taught in an immersive format that amounts to a year’s worth of college study in one summer.
Moore says a number of factors contributed to increased demand for CLS courses this summer. The Center for Language Studies rolled out the John Wyatt Award for Language Immersion, a new financial award named for Wyatt, who founded CLS in 1982 and was a beloved Beloit professor of classics and comparative literature from 1971 to 1996. The award is designed to broaden access to language study and assist students who are experiencing financial challenges. CLS plans to raise additional funds around the scholarship to extend its reach.
New programs also debuted this summer that tap into the historic events unfolding around students. One, titled Writing Wherever You Are: Summer Reflection and Writing, offered two sections that filled up almost overnight. Developed and taught by Professors of English Chuck Lewis and Michael Dango, this course offers a customized tutorial writing practice that engages students’ current experiences for reflection and meaning-making. Beloit’s Weissberg Program in Human Rights and the new Channels program helped support the cost of this special interdisciplinary course.
Students whose internships and jobs were a casualty of the pandemic had a chance to turn a hardship into an opportunity over summer. As of this writing, 37 students were enrolled in The Internship Workshop, a half-credit reflection course originally intended to accompany any internship or work experience, but adapted for 2020. With many students needing to stay at home, the class allows them to take their alternate plans—such as helping with family home maintenance, watching over siblings, or starting an online enterprise—and turn those projects into an internship of their own creation.
The cost of all courses normally held on Beloit’s campus are lower this summer because no room and board charges apply. Moore says planning for summer 2020 courses was also done carefully so that many options carry enough academic credit for students to qualify for financial aid.