Starting next year, students at the University of Colorado will be able to take an intensive month-long course during August — an "Augmester," as it's being called — modeled after the current Maymester program held each May.
Campus officials say they hope the late-summer program will help international students, first-generation students and others transition to life on the Boulder campus before the entire student body arrives.
Fall semester courses begin Aug. 24 in 2015.
Chancellor Phil DiStefano announced the creation of Augmester on Tuesday during his spring "town hall" address to the campus.
DiStefano also talked about progress the campus has made on goals he laid out last fall, including student success, increasing and finding new revenue streams and building the university's reputation.
Augmester should help the campus reach DiStefano's goal of increasing the campus graduation rate from 68 percent to 80 percent by 2020, said Provost Russ Moore.
The campus also is working to reach that goal by increasing first-year retention rates, which Augmester could help.
"The really important thing about Augmester is, particularly for first-generation students or students who are transferring and are not used to the big campus, it's been shown to be an incredibly effective way to transition people, rather than just dropping them into an academic year," Moore said. "'Oh my gosh, where am I going? Where is the library?' Just to start them off with learning their way around campus, finding out what it's like to be sitting in a CU-Boulder classroom, for example."
Moore added that creating Augmester will help the campus better utilize space, which is often in high supply during the summer months.
Though some details are still being finalized, Moore said Augmester will likely run for a three-week period during August.
"Significant amounts of space are fallow in the summer, which is good because we have an opportunity to do maintenance and stuff like that, but on the other hand, we do have the opportunity to better use that space during longer periods of the year," he said.
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