Monday, May 19, 2014

“Opportunity Doesn’t Take 3 Months Off”: Early Summer School on Campus

Summer Session Brochure
Summer classes have existed on The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) campus since 1898, when Miss Viola Boddie began to teach a summer course in Latin because many of her students feared that they might have to repeat the class during their senior year.  However, the first true summer session was held in 1912, with 416 young women attending a single eight week session. The program was so popular that it quickly expanded to two six-to-eight week sessions. College president Julius Foust established the summer school program to meet a variety of educational needs, targeting college students who wanted to earn graduate or undergraduate credit or who could not attend full time; high school students who were preparing for college; wives and mothers who were interested in home economics classes; and teachers who needed advanced college courses or special subject expertise.  There were a wide range of course offerings including home economics, art, garden design, plant culture, and music.

Call for Teachers
However, the primary focus of the summer sessions was on pedagogy, reflecting the original vision of the college.  The sessions were divided into two categories, college courses and teacher training courses, with the addition of a Teacher’s Institute and a ‘Home Makers’ and Rural School Conference added at the end of July. While registration and tuition were free, attendees were required to pay room and board on campus, which was intentionally kept as reasonably priced as possible.  Summer sessions also featured special lectures, concerts and recitals, round table discussions, and “recreation and entertainment.” The college encouraged enrollment by stressing the beauty, amenities, and comfort of the campus, yet upon arrival, attendees may have been surprised to find that they were subject to the some of the same rules and regulations as the full-time students. This included “lights out” at 11 pm, a limit of one minute telephone calls, and no delivery boys in the dormitories.

Summer Session Poster
By the early 1940s, summer school attendance had fallen to the point that the college questioned the practicality of keeping the campus open during the summer. Yet, during the years following World War II, enrollment quickly grew as the summer sessions began opening enrollment to men and married couples. Men had been allowed to enroll in the Teachers’ Institute since 1914, but by the 1940s, dormitory space was set aside to allow for a wider variety of attendees. Although courses had initially been offered free of charge, in the 1940s, the school began imposing a moderate registration fee with additional expenses for room, board, laundry, and labs. The summer program continued to grow in the 1950s, with students using summer courses to raise their grade point average or to accelerate their curriculum advancement. UNCG’s summer school program remains a strong part of the college curriculum, with over 13,500* students willing to sacrifice summer fun for academic enrichment!

*2010 statistics

1 comment:

  1. This is a very excellent post and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the original artifact photos. In the summer session poster, the featured courses were in education, music, art, and home economics which proves once again that UNCG's foundation is in those areas. I hope that we continue to build, promote and enhance those programs as those are the programs that make us the best among other colleges in the state. Thanks for posting this!