On Jan. 29, the Provost’s office released key details about module 5, leading to varying student responses.
In an email to the student body, Provost Karine Moe provided students with information including eligibility requirements for taking courses in module 5, as well as a course schedule.
Students may take up to two courses. For each semester in which they were enrolled full time during this academic year, they can take one course at no cost. This will be Macalester’s first broad-scale effort at providing students with summer classes.
The courses offered in module 5 will allow students to progress toward graduation by completing general education, distribution, and language requirements, while also helping students to earn overall credits toward graduation.
“We are using module 5 as a pilot to test some new ways of doing things,” Moe said. “We originally conceived of module 5 as a way for students who had to drop courses during the year to make up some or all of those credits, and therefore make progress toward their degrees.”
Some module 5 courses will give enrollment priority to incoming first-year students. Moe explained this is an effort to pilot a pre-arrival program.
“Many schools have pre-arrival programs like this, and we are interested in seeing if a program like this will work at Mac and if it is something we should consider continuing in future,” Moe said.
The Provost’s office hopes to discern how many enrollment slots will be reserved for incoming first-year students by mid-February.
The prioritization of incoming first-years in some courses has sparked frustration among some current students, including Macalester College Student Government sophomore representative Lola Brown ’23.
“I do not know why first-years were given certain priorities for classes, especially when the emphasis should’ve been on outgoing students needing graduation requirements,” she said.
In an email on Feb. 2, the Provost’s office sent a pre-registration survey to students, asking them to indicate how many summer classes they intend to take, as well as their summer housing plans.
“The student survey, which is live through February 12, will provide important information on the demand for on-campus housing in module 5,” she said.
At the Campus Community Conversation on Feb. 2, President Suzanne Rivera addressed why some professors are offering courses in Module 5, while others aren’t.
“There are a lot of pressures on faculty,” Rivera said. “And normally, they don’t teach in the summer. So we cannot compel them to teach in the summer.”
Anthropology chair and professor Scott Legge reflected this sentiment. Legge is teaching a module 5 course called biological anthropology; it’s one of the courses reserved for incoming first years.
“Teaching in mod 5 involves teaching outside the contract, since we only have nine month contracts,” Legge said. “The expectation on faculty is that we are doing the research we need to get tenure so we can keep our positions at the college. [Summer] is not vacation time, it’s time when the vast majority of us are doing research.”
Some students expressed excitement about module 5.
“I’m taking at least one, probably two courses, both because I’m interested and to work on requirements,” Samuel Ash ’24 said.
“Having courses over the summer also offers me a chance to fill my days with something over the constant dread of not having things to do and to motivate me to keep a daily schedule,” Amanda Gonzales ’24 said.
However, not all students plan on taking module 5 classes.
“I’m probably not going to be taking any module 5 courses because I would rather be focused on having the time to score and pursue a summer internship,” Ryan Cotter ’24 said.
Moe is also excited for module 5.
“We are excited to be offering something that is so new for our campus and seeing what we learn from this process that might be helpful as we think about the future,” she said.