The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Despite interest, few J-term offerings

By Daimon Hardy

This upcoming January term has only one college-sponsored study-away program, an Environmental Studies class with the University of Minnesota in Jamaica, which is a significant decrease from the eight study-away offerings last January. During January term “students and faculty may arrange to do independent projects or internships for 1 or 2 credits,” Registrar Jayne Niemi said. “Some individual faculty members, departments and groups of interested faculty may set up credit for off-campus study.”

In January 2009, there were a total of eight courses offered by Macalester faculty, which included a classics course in Rome, environmental studies in Jamaica, geology in both the Bahamas and the Galapagos Islands, history in Russia and psychology in Australia. Two of the eight courses were offered through the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs, a group of 16 colleges and universities that offers study away programs to the students of member schools and sent Macalester students to programs in Ecuador and Bangladesh.

Over 90 students studied away in last year’s eight programs.

So is it a drop in student interest that has led to the major decline in the January term course offerings? Dan Hornbach, the chair of the environmental studies department, said he does not think so and pointed to another factor to explain the drastic decrease.

“I think J-term offerings are difficult for faculty to put on,” Hornbach “I think J-term offerings are difficult for faculty to put on,” Hornbach said. “They are not compensated. Faculty are also quite involved in their scholarship and use this time to get ‘caught up’ on things they haven’t been able to complete during the semester because of the teaching.”

Hornbach said he is planning to use the time between fall and spring semesters to get “caught up,” and along with Professor Kelly MacGregor of the Geology Department, he will work on a report for a grant that has supported four Macalester students.

Chair of the classics department Beth Severy-Hoven agreed with Hornbach’s assessment of the challenges that J-term poses to faculty.

“There are a small number of departments who do the heavy lifting in this area, and they all ran at least one last year if not more,” Severy-Hoven said. “So this year we are at rest. Other programs may also have large projects . . . under way. Please keep in mind that these courses are extremely time and energy consuming for faculty members and . . . tenure/tenure-track faculty are not paid for them, nor can they count them as part of their teaching load for the year.”

Severy-Hoven and the classics department are currently in the planning stages of one such “large project”-their search for a new tenure-track faculty member.

“This requires both tenured and tenure-track members of the department to be at a conference in January . . . to conduct interviews,” which prevents the department from offering any courses over J-term, Severy-Hoven said.

Despite the limited course offerings this winter, statistics for past January term programs indicate a trend of increasing interest among students. In January 2005, 15 students participated in the one study away program offered. The next year 51 students participated in three study away programs. In 2006, there were 33 students for four programs, and in January 2008, 44 students participated in the four courses offered.

View Comments (8)
More to Discover

Comments (8)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • K

    Kylie LawrenceSep 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Itís wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this post as well as from our discussion made at this place.

  • B

    Brian BerrySep 10, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Thanks in favor of sharing such a pleasant thinking, paragraph is pleasant, thats why i have read it fully

  • S

    Stephen BerrySep 5, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!