In 2013, VISP began working with UW-Madison academic departments to offer thematic tracks programs. This innovative model has provided significant value-added revenue to a dozen departments housed in eight Schools and Colleges. Now with more space available in classes, flexible schedules, and support from Summer Term, many departments have begun to plan and explore potential options for developing a summer VISP Thematic Track program.
What Makes the Summer VISP Thematic Track Different?
UW-Madison academic departments hosting a Summer VISP thematic track program receive optional wrap-around services and additional support from Summer Term. This model will apply when it is a credit-based academic program designed for a group of 10 or more nondegree international students who will focus their studies within the hosting academic department during the Summer Term.
Why host a Summer Thematic Track?
- Help increase enrollment
- Generate departmental revenue
- Strengthen ties to foreign institutions
- Receive additional programming support from DCS
The Uniqueness of Summer Term
At only 4 or 8 weeks in length, summer is a more affordable option for students than a full semester or year. They're also attractive for those who want a study abroad experience while not missing out on required course sequences back home.
Unlike during the academic year when students need 3-4 courses in your department, the shorter summer sessions means only 1-2 course options should be reserved for VISP students--helpful for departments with limited seats available during the year.
Sending universities abroad often request a customized program with wrap-around services for summer students. VISP & Summer Term can provide programming support to create a comprehensive and engaging summer experience for the students.
Potential Revenue Stream
Eighty percent of the gross tuition revenue generated from students in the thematic track goes to the School and Colleges’ 131 fund account where the department resides. The department will need to work with their School and Colleges’ dean and/or budget office to determine the amount that will be transferred to the department. Summer is an excellent opportunity for academic departments to generate revenue, especially in a short amount of time.
Based on special student tuition rate, summer 2021
Optional Wrap-Around Services Available
For cohorts larger than 10 students arriving in the same session:
- Program support and management
- Supplemental program promotion
- Application and admission
- Course enrollment
- Secure housing
- Third-party payment
- Chaperone support
- General advising
- Serve as the student’s academic dean’s office
- Airport pick-up (cost share)
- ISS check-in
- Wiscard pick-up
- Cultural and social events
- Facilitate tuition capture and transfer of funds to college/school
- Program survey and evaluation
As you begin to plan for your special summer program, communicate and share updates with VISP Thematic Track Liaison Mee Her. Mee will collaborate with the Summer Term team and your department to set up regular meetings and help you navigate the process. Having VISP and Summer Term as part of your early planning process can help avoid missteps and delays. You can find more information about VISP on the following sites:
- VISP information for UW Faculty & Staff page to find our VISP Quick Facts downloads as well as FAQs for departments.
- VISP Thematic Track Program page for general information about the Thematic track program models.
- VISP Faculty & Staff Webinar Series for recordings of our past webinars on a variety of topics.
Most popular sessions for 2022
8-week session: June 20 - August 12
4-week session: June 20 - July 15
4-week session: July 18 - August 12
Other Opportunities for Collaboration
In addition to developing a summer thematic track program, we invite you to explore other partnership opportunities with VISP. Contact VISP Thematic Track liaison Mee Her to learn more.
- VISP Fall and/or Spring Thematic Track: Work with VISP to host a semester and/or academic year thematic track for international students.
- VISP + Master’s Degree Pathways : Build a pathway to your existing master’s degrees through the VISP program.
- VISP Noncredit Customized Program: Develop a short-term noncredit program with full wrap-around services for a group of international students.