McLennan Community College offers “minimester” courses during the winter, but Baylor does not. That needs to change.
A great number of universities offer full-credit courses in a condensed time frame during Christmas break.
In the Big 12, for example, Kansas State University offers classes that are scheduled exclusively during Christmas break.
Offering such classes would not be a radical departure from existing Baylor policies. Baylor already has minimester-like courses available between the spring semester and the summer semester.
These courses are arguably less convenient than a class during Christmas break would be for many students, given that many students go home for summer and start some form of employment, something that many students do not choose to pursue during Christmas break.
Baylor has prided itself on having a great relationship with McLennan Community College and there is no reason that we cannot emulate them in this respect.
While McLennan Community College’s minimester provides some opportunities for Baylor students to pursue classes they need.
The nature of a community college prevents the availability of many upper-level classes, thus limiting the potential gain for Baylor students.
If Baylor was to offer classes during Christmas break, it would circumvent this problem and the hassle of transferring the credits could be avoided.
If anything, this proposed system makes things easier on the University as well as for students.
In addition, informally relying on McLennan Community College for Christmas break course offerings prevents graduate students from taking classes at all.
As mentioned earlier, Kansas State University offers condensed classes during Christmas break, but under their plan, graduate courses are available.
This allows non-traditional students and others to pursue graduate degrees in a condensed time frame — an incredibly valuable opportunity for many adults with families or employment-related commitments.
Given that much thesis work is done independently or through communication over e-mail, is there any compelling reason why credit for thesis work could not be offered during Christmas break?
Many graduate students work on a thesis during break anyway, so offering credit during Christmas break for this work seems like a natural extension or the status quo.
Obviously this whole argument is contingent on students wanting to pursue educational opportunities over Christmas break, but the existence of “minimester” classes at McLennan Community College, which is significantly smaller than Baylor, would seem to indicate that this is a sustainable model.
The revenue generated by tuition paid by students taking the classes could be calculated in such a way that would largely offset the costs.
Given that some maintenance and other facility-related expenses would still be accruing during Christmas break, offering courses during the break might even help to offset these costs as well.
There might be something that this editorial board is not able to see without looking at enrollment numbers, but there are seemingly very few downsides to offering courses during Christmas break.
The benefits to all Baylor students — both graduate and undergraduate — are quite clear.
We all know that we’re not supposed to do something just because others are doing it, but in this case, just because other schools have started offering these courses before Baylor did does not mean that Baylor shouldn’t.
Emulating their models might prove profitable to Baylor and the community at large.