Preparing for Shortened Academic Terms: guide, workbook, and spotlights

Achieving the Dream developed this guide, accompanying workbook, and college spotlights to support the growing number of institutions across the country that are shifting to scheduling courses in shorter academic terms. This guide is shaped by the experiences of colleges that have made this transition. It is intended to be used with cross-functional college teams as they explore and plan for a transition to offering flexible term courses. The guide and workbook include tips and best practices from colleges as well as resources to help get institutional teams ready for this transition. The accompanying workbook divides the planning into five phases of work:

  1. Decision Making
  2. Purpose and Case Making
  3. Strategy
  4. Academic Planning
  5. Support Planning

Each phase includes activities to help colleges address:

  • key decisions
  • required stakeholders
  • important data and strategy questions
  • communication planning
  • required training/professional development
  • planning for critical next steps

The workbook also walks colleges through key structural, process, and attitudinal changes that may need to occur during academic course redesign and student affairs changes that will support students in a transition to shorter academic terms.

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