University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

News and views for UB faculty and staff

Campus News

UB to offer Winter Session

Winter Session will provide students opportunities to stay on track for graduation, pursue internships, study abroad or immerse themselves in an academic topic in a setting that's intensive, intimate and engaging. Photo: DOUGLAS LEVERE


Published March 28, 2013

UB will offer a Winter Session, beginning in January 2014, to provide students with expanded educational opportunities in an intensive, engaging environment.

The three-week session, to take place between the fall and spring semesters, will allow the university to enhance its academic offerings in “new and creative ways” and to provide “unique academic experiences” for students, according to A. Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

Those offerings could range from skills-based and key-concept courses that can help students experiencing difficulty stay on track to graduate, to intensive language, distance learning and immersion-style courses. Students also could pursue internships, field research, undergraduate research experiences and study abroad opportunities during the session. 

Moreover, Winter Session could provide opportunities for instructors interested in innovative teaching methods to offer course material in new, creative ways, and allow departments and decanal areas to bring in guest faculty from other institutions and industry, says Kara Saunders, university registrar.  Saunders also notes that many of UB’s peer institutions offer a Winter Session and “we are actively reaching out to these institutions to learn what has worked and, just as importantly, what has not worked during this type of instruction period.”

The academic calendar for 2013-14 incorporating Winter Session recently was promulgated by President Satish K. Tripathi. To accommodate the session, the start of the spring semester was moved to the last Monday in January, with commencement Sunday pushed back to the third Sunday in May.

The first winter session will run from Jan. 6 through Jan. 24, 2014. The spring 2014 semester will open on Monday, Jan. 27; general commencement will take place on Sunday, May 18.

In addition to the educational advantages for students, Saunders cited other benefits from Winter Session, among them:

  • A smoother startup to the spring semester. Beginning the semester after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday would allow for an uninterrupted start to the semester.
  • An opportunity to increase enrollment and revenue.
  • Greater use of university facilities and services.
  • More time for research, academic projects and course preparation for those faculty not participating in Winter Session.

Implementation plans for Winter Session currently are being developed by a steering committee and subcommittees that are considering the impacts on numerous areas across the university, including the academic calendar; course offerings; communications and marketing; billing, financial aid and revenue distribution; course scheduling, registration and grading; and university support services, such as housing, dining services, CIT and the libraries. 

Weber notes that successful implementation of Winter Session will require campuswide participation “in developing, refining and acting upon these implementation plans.”

He encourages member of the UB community to review the Winter Session website, particularly the draft subcommittee documents that are posted, and to offer feedback on the proposals to the appropriate subcommittee lead listed in the “contact and feedback” section of the website.

General questions, suggestions and/or concerns may be directed to