Squeezing in a Gen Ed Over Break with FLEXU


Chronicle archives

By Haley Utendorfer, News Writer


When fall break 2021 commenced, students booked airline tickets home, slept in and road-tripped across the country. However, for those who decided to register for intensive classes during the week of Oct. 11-15, they grabbed their notebooks and headed to class. 

The University of Utah offered three courses on its main campus for the Fall 2021 break: Peoples of Europe taught by Bojka Milicic, History of Hip-Hop taught by Sara Pickett and U.S. National Government taught by Seth Wright. Additional classes were offered on the U’s Sandy campus. 

FLEXU courses are intensive and flexible format classes offered to help students meet general education requirements on a timeline that works best for them. Throughout the week, the classes met five times from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., often with a short lunch recess in between. 

“You do one week of intensive classes and it’s still three credit hours like a regular course,” Milicic said. “I do cover pretty much what I would cover in a semester-long class.” 

At the U, general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree mandate students to take courses in the following sectors: upper-division communication and writing, diversity and international. For a bachelor of science, students are also required to take two quantitative intensive courses, while a bachelor of arts student is required to take two additional classes in a second language.

“I have math majors and physics majors,” Pickett said. “I’ve got people from all over the university that are really just needing to find something that gets them those final requirements, and [History of Hip-Hop] is a diversity and a fine arts requirement, so you get two Gen Eds in one week.”

As the spring semester approaches, pre-spring term courses will also be offered to those who want to get a head start on their studies. From Jan. 3-7, Cultural Aspects of Food, Dance in Culture and U.S. National Government will be held. Spring break courses will later occur from March 7-11 and include Peoples of Europe and Cross Cultural Communication.

Courtesy of Kate Barnabas, the market strategist and project manager of University Connected Learning, Noah Jackson, a student at the U, said he loved the one week intensive classes.

“This is the second one I’ve taken and I feel like I remember the material better even long after the class has ended with this format,” Jackson said. “I think that classes that fulfill multiple graduation requirements should be offered in this format.” 

Condensing an entire semester’s worth of knowledge into five days was no easy feat, but professors adapted their lesson plans to better adhere to the condensed timeline of breaks and pre-semester courses.

“Know that it is intense, it is a lot of work, you are in class all day long and doing homework all night,” Pickett said. “It is a lot, but I think the immersive factor and nature of it makes it so you live and breathe hip-hop all week. It lets you reflect on it because you’re always talking about it.” 

To learn more about FLEXU offerings and to register for their upcoming spring classes, visit their website.


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