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Aerial shot of Ayres Hall and the campus in the snow.

More than 2,700 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students took a class during this year’s winter mini-term at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This year’s enrollment is a 27.1% increase from last year’s winter mini-term and a 128.8% increase from the first mini-term, held in 2022.

Winter mini-term is an academic period that runs for three weeks between fall and spring semester. It offers an entire course, allowing students to catch up or get ahead in their program. UT is a national leader in personalized approaches to student success, offering innovative programs like winter mini-term to enrich the student experience and improve outcomes.

Erin Darby is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies. She taught Religion and the Workplace during this year’s winter mini-term and enjoyed reimagining the class while working closely with her students.

“Winter mini-term provided me an opportunity to think creatively about my class and focus on the most important learning objectives,” said Darby. “The term can be an intense experience, but the timetable enables the class and instructor to get to know each other. My students impressed me with their responsibility in completing the material and their thoughtfulness as they commented on each other’s ideas and collaborated to improve each other’s work.”

Darby thinks her students also benefited from the term, as they were able to leverage its flexible schedule to complete their degree requirements.

“Students in my class were meeting so many different needs,” said Darby. “Some wanted a concentrated online experience that might better integrate with their work schedules. Others needed additional credits to graduate, and winter mini-term gave them an opportunity to march across that finish line. Still others were able to introduce flexibility into their overall degree program by taking some of their Volunteer Core requirements.”

Students surveyed about winter mini-term gave it high marks, praising the condensed format and strategic use of winter break to allow students to catch up or get ahead on their academic progress.

Vice Provost for Student Success Amber Williams hopes students continue to use the term to meet their academic goals.

“I am proud to see the continued growth and resounding success of winter mini-term,” said Williams. “This initiative stands as a testament to UT’s leadership in personalized approaches to education and helps ensure our student scholars not only reach but exceed their academic aspirations.”

For more information about winter mini-term, visit the One Stop website.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,