Growing Summer Sessions Through Strategic Planning

Meet Durwin Long, our Senior Director for Summer Sessions. Durwin brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education and will work with the Summer Sessions team to broaden access to higher education.

Durwin Long has been named Continuum College’s newest director — the senior director of Summer Sessions — to spearhead a long-term growth strategy for the Summer Sessions at the University of Washington, administered by Continuum College.

“Provost Richards sees summer sessions as an optimal opportunity for UW faculty and departments to maximize innovative programs and courses for students. Continuum College has administered Summer Sessions for a number of years, but has never taken a strategic approach to bringing in new audiences or developing new offerings for summer,” said Sandi Janusch, Assistant Vice Provost of International & Academic Programs. “For this reason, we wanted to bring in dedicated leadership to focus on summer session initiatives year-round.”

Long, who began his position on Feb. 18, comes to Continuum College with a strong background in growing programs, outreach and fostering innovation and change at other universities.

With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Long has been involved with workforce development programs at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, served as the Executive Director of Student Services & Continuing Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was the Assistant Dean for Executive and Professional Development in the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas.

Long is eager to advance the mission of Continuum College by collaborating with the Summer Sessions team to increase enrollments. Team members include assistant directors Christopher Kemp and Sarah Mangold and administrator Riley Crain. The Summer Sessions team works with campus partners on planning, budgeting, and administering Summer Sessions courses for UW Seattle.

A key part of Continuum College’s growth strategy is using a two-pronged approach that will allow campus partners to meet the educational needs of current UW students and reach other student groups who aren’t enrolling in summer courses on the Seattle campus.

First, a new revenue-share model will incentivize colleges and schools to expand their course offerings. “Students are particularly looking for general education courses, STEM courses and so-called ‘bottleneck’ courses that might fill during the regular academic year,” said Long.  

“Matriculated undergraduate students say that they enroll in summer courses so that they can graduate on time or even early. So, we need to offer courses that will meet students' needs in future Summer Sessions,” he said.

Second, there is a real opportunity to create and grow programs online that have value to a wide range of students. “Online courses provide an access point for matriculated undergraduates who do not reside in Seattle during the summer months,” explained Long.

“Large-section courses that can be delivered asynchronously are popular, but so are courses delivered remotely via a combination of Zoom and Canvas. Of course, online or remote courses also expand UW's accessibility for high-school students and working adults,” he said.

Paired with these strategic initiatives, Long believes the university’s reputation for academic excellence and the vitality of the Seattle metropolitan area create an opportunity ripe for success.

 “Seattle is a vibrant urban area with a well-educated workforce. When you think of cities with high percentages of working adults with at least a college degree, Seattle is on that list. If you think about those individuals as knowledge workers, education is a real investment in their careers. I think that’s a great reservoir to tap into,” he said.

“Future summers offer additional opportunities for enrollment growth and the Summer Sessions team looks forward to working with campus partners on innovative courses and programs,” Long added. “Any member of this great team is happy to assist campus partners with any needs they may have regarding Summer Sessions 2021 or any future summers.”