NICOLE SCHWARTZ ’15
Looking to pick up an extra class credit? Are you a “Downton Abbey” fanatic? Do you really just need to get out of your house to recover from the stress of the holidays? If any of these things ring true, then January Term may be the program for you. J-Term, now in its second year, is a chance for students to take a half-credit course over winter break. In just two weeks, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 16, participants will have the ability to enrich their academic experience through interesting courses taught by dedicated professors. And with course titles like “Bible Zombies” and “Music in the 1960s”, there is a guarantee these are not what you would find during the regular semester.
This year a dozen classes are being offered, in a variety of disciplines. Classes are kept small—no more than 15 people—to encourage greater discussion between students and faculty, as well as more freedom in the way the class is structured.
The small size also allows for more time for students to venture off campus on field trips. One course, Professor Raskin’s “Health Care Access and Inequalities in the Americas” (COLL 301), will even be traveling to Nicaragua as part if their exploration of issues in health care access. While there, the class will be meeting key members of the government and health care community, policy makers, providers and stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the obstacles at hand. After looking at the two disparate settings—Hartford and Nicaragua—students will prepare a report on their experiences along with their suggestions for change.
If Central America doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t worry because there are a wide range of inventive courses that don’t require a passport. In the biology department, Professor Draper will be offering class titled “Nutrition: Food and Fads” (BIOL 119) with discussion focused on the science of health and nutrition. Students will be challenged to design their own diet plan and even be able to cook selected recipes. Those New Year’s resolutions will be much easier to attain once a clear, science-backed plan is established.
For all the struggling writers out there, Professor Papoulis will be offering a class on “Writing and Mindfulness” (RHET 227). This course will experiment with meditation exercises and practices with the specific goal of creating better, more contemplative writers.
By spending two weeks focusing on their writing, students will be able to improve their academic status. Beyond the classroom, though, the mindfulness techniques taught in this class are useful in all aspects of one’s life.
By far one of the most distinctive classes being offered this January is Professor Regan-Lefebvre’s “Downton Abbey” in Historical Context (HIST 225). This course will look to the acclaimed television series, examining the British class system and the construction and role of the “big house.” Further discussion will look at the changing role of women during the early 20th century, the British involvement in World War I and the war’s impact on society. This class is a must for anyone who loves the show, or just has an interest in history.
This is just a sampling of the classes being offered this winter. J-Term is an opportunity unlike any other to learn about something you probably would never get a chance to study in a traditional classroom setting. The professors teaching these classes are really passionate about the subjects, making the experience far more enjoyable. On top of that, they only have a fraction of the amount of work a normal class would have. J Term is also a wonderful opportunity to try to get ahead with credits or make use of the final weeks of winter break. It’s a great idea to talk to your friends and maybe plan on taking a course together.
If participating in January Term sounds like something you would be interested in, act now. Registration for the term opens on Nov. 10 and closes Nov. 25, and space is limited. Talk to your advisor to discuss the possibilities and secure your spot now.