Two classes. Seven weeks. Repeat.
Beginning fall 2021, Randolph College will launch a unique, new model that will allow students to take two courses in seven-week sessions. Believed to be the only permanent one of its kind in the nation, Randolph’s new TAKE2 program was designed by faculty to help students have a successful, enjoyable, and rewarding academic experience.
The central idea of TAKE2 is built into its name: Randolph students will take two courses at a time for seven-week sessions. Each semester will consist of two sessions. No classes will be held on Wednesdays in order to allow for extracurricular activities, community engagement, a cognitive break to study and prepare for classes, field trips, and internships.
Many schools operate on a traditional schedule, with students taking four or five courses a semester. Some schools choose to break the semester into three or four sections, often with alternating lengths and number of courses. Randolph’s TAKE2 model streamlines course distribution, while at the same time enhancing student learning: Two classes. Seven weeks. Repeat.
“In 2018, our faculty decided to question the usual model,” said Gary Dop, an English professor and member of the TAKE2 implementation committee. “We asked why everyone does the same old thing and what would happen if we designed a model that optimizes learning and meaningful living.”
The result was a curricular structure that provides time for students to focus on two courses, while balancing other important aspects of the college experience: internships, extracurricular activities, athletics, jobs, and more.
“In this rapidly changing world, colleges must be able to shift and adapt to better meet the needs of our students,” said Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman. “TAKE2 provides us with the opportunity to create a more meaningful and effective educational experience for our students. This is an innovative and distinctive approach that will revolutionize how small, liberal arts schools approach learning, and I’m proud of our faculty for their insight, talent, and forward-thinking.”
Randolph’s faculty members spent nearly two years studying, researching, and planning for this new curriculum model. They believe it will better address student needs, especially in today’s ever-changing environment.
“There’s a shift in higher education, and we can’t keep delivering the same format in the same way. The delivery system has to change to fit where the students are coming from,” said Amanda Rumore, a biology professor and member of the implementation committee.
Randolph students will still take the same amount of credits over the course of a year with the same expectations.
“But a student will learn better if each of their courses are taken over a shorter amount of time in a model that allows them to fully experience the value and depth of each course,” Dop added. “Also, students will have even more access to their professors, who will be teaching only one or two courses at a time, and to our support teams focused on helping the student be successful and get the most out of their college education. This is an experience that sets students up to thrive.”
By allowing students to focus on two topics at a time rather than spreading their attention across four or more courses, TAKE2 will improve learning and offer greater opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Randolph students will sharpen their focus, maintain a better work-life balance, and thrive within a supportive, student-centered learning environment.
Randolph had already planned to introduce its new model to the public in spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic moved most schools to temporary online learning. During this time, it has become increasingly clear to faculty and administrators how much today’s students need a program such as this.
“We believe this more intense focus on fewer courses at a time is an approach that will provide our students with far more advantages than they would have with a typical curriculum model,” said Carl Girelli, provost. “Randolph’s innovative TAKE2 curriculum is a better design for the way students learn and live—both in today’s world and tomorrow’s.”