Oklahoma Christian University’s extended winter break will begin Nov. 22 and continue until Jan. 10. Fall 2020 was the first time Oklahoma Christian had a seven-week winter break.
Before the 2020-2021 school year, winter break only lasted three weeks for students and two weeks for faculty.
Stephanie Baird, the registrar and chair of the Graduate School of Business, said the faculty plans to continue that schedule.
“It was a good thing for our students, it was a good thing for the institution, so we’re sticking with that calendar,” Baird said. “This year, what’s different is we have some classes that are the full seven weeks and then other three-week courses.”
Baird said keeping the longer winter break means courses will continue to start in early August with a later fall break than normal. However, Baird said some faculty did not mind the change.
Professor of Spanish, Tina Ware, said she liked having a shorter summer and a longer winter.
“I think a four-month summer can be very long, and I liked having it shorter because I think it’s very easy to get out of the swing of things,” Ware said.
However, Ware said the shorter summer was difficult as a parent, since she had to arrange childcare during the weeks before her daughter’s classes started.
The summer 2020 break lasted 13 weeks, a change from the previous 16 or 17 weeks of summer break. Going forward, Baird said there should be 14 weeks of summer. However, the spring semester will continue as was scheduled pre-pandemic.
During the break, students have a new option of taking a seven-week winter session course. Other options include term I and term II courses which span three weeks each and have a break in between.
Baird said she liked the flexibility of the winter session courses.
“I think it’s good for students if they don’t want to take anything at the same time,” Baird said. “You can take a term I and a term II, so you can do six hours and there’s no overlap.”
Some students have the opportunity to study abroad for three weeks in Vienna, Austria. The 2021 winter session is the first year Oklahoma Christian has offered a study abroad option.
Baird said enrollment numbers for normal winter session classes are down from last year, but it was not a surprise to her.
“I frankly kind of expected that because last year everyone was a captive audience. I think now people have been going, going, going with COVID-19, they haven’t had a ton of breaks, and people are ready to take a break,” Baird said.
Many students consider winter session courses as a potential way to graduate early. This option could result in the university losing significant amounts of revenue through housing and campus costs.
Alumna Melanie Campbell said during her time at Oklahoma Christian, taking classes over the break sounded appealing due to finances and time management.
“It was appealing to me from a financial position – I wanted to limit my debt as much as possible,” Campbell said. “I think it helped alleviate some of the stress I would have dealt with if I tried to cram too much into one semester.”
Campbell said she considered taking a Bible course at Oklahoma Christian over break, but she would have hesitated to make that choice repeatedly.
“It was nice to have that break in between,” Campbell said. “If it made sense, I would probably, but I can’t say it would be a consistent yes.”
Ware said although some students will enjoy the longer break, some students might prefer the shorter break.
“Maybe for some students a long break isn’t ideal for them – maybe they prefer not to be home that long,” Ware said. “We don’t always know the homes our students come from, so maybe being away from school is difficult for them.”
For those who choose to remain on campus, opportunities for campus involvement are still available over the break, including a Bible study lead by Kimberly Merritt and Conor Mendoza as well as exercise classes at the Dub.