The campus plans to increase its summer course offerings by as much as 10 percent as one way to increase Summer Sessions enrollment and help students earn their degrees more quickly.
Other strategies being explored include offering financial incentives and increasing the financial aid available for summer.
The effort to boost enrollment comes as campus leaders expect the UC Office of the President to ask Davis to increase Summer Sessions enrollment by 700 to 1,000 students. That would represent an increase of 6 percent to 10 percent over last year's enrollment of 10,462 (two regular Summer Sessions plus Special Sessions).
In recent years, Summer Sessions enrollment has been trending downward. While slightly more students enrolled in 2015, they took fewer units on average.
Helping reduce time to degree
Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor, addressed summer enrollment in a recent letter to Carolyn Thomas, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education, and Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity.
"Summer of 2016 poses a unique challenge and opportunity for UC Davis," Hexter wrote. "We have an opportunity to use this enrollment increase strategically to reduce time to completion for our undergraduate students."
Matt Traxler, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education, said his office is collaborating with deans, Student Affairs, and Budget and Institutional Analysis to develop a plan including financial incentives, course offerings, advising and student communications.
The campus may offer as many as 70 courses beyond the 700 it offered through Summer Sessions and Special Sessions in 2015.
Traxler said most of those additional courses would be upper division courses to help students meet their major or general education requirements.
Some courses to come with guarantee
Traxler's office is also working with academic departments to identify courses that would be guaranteed for summer 2016 — a commitment to students that the courses would not be canceled.
If those courses don't enroll enough students to meet the expenses of the offering department, the campus would make up the financial difference so the departments could still offer them.
A list of these courses will be available to students in two weeks.
Benefits of summer study
Summer study offers real benefits for students. Traxler said they can get easier access to courses in high demand, accelerate progress toward degrees, and experience smaller classes and more interaction with instructors. Students also report that the condensed, six-week format allows them to focus on particularly challenging courses more intensely than during the academic year, he added.
"Students can complete core courses, explore new interests and even adventure beyond campus with field courses," Traxler said.
Key to the effort to boost enrollment, Traxler said, is an effort to provide information earlier to students and advisers, who are essential partners for students' academic planning.
"We want to get them information — about summer courses, fees, financial aid and housing options — so we can make it easier for students to choose summer study and plan for it."
Dates and registration
The dates for Summer Sessions 2016 are:
- Summer Session I — June 20 - July 29
- Summer Session II — Aug. 1 - Sept. 9
- Special Sessions — June 13 - Sept. 9 (variable start dates and course lengths)
Course information will be available on March 1. For continuing students, registration appointments are available April 20, and registration begins April 25.