The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Extending J-Term pilot will allow program improvements

How did you spend your January term last year? Building a chair in woodworking class? Bird-watching in the Galapagos? Sleeping on the couch?

According to the faculty, you should be able to continue to enjoy these activities as a part of the J-Term pilot program, which was set to expire after this winter, until at least 2017.

Although the first three years of J-Term haven’t always been sunshine and rainbows, the longer trial period will give the faculty and administration a better understanding of what needs to change before it is implemented as a permanent program.

Since its beginning, the program has been very exciting for faculty and students alike with opportunities ranging from Bloodstain Pattern Analysis to UK: Oxford Fantasy Writers.

“As an incoming faculty member, I was really excited Guilford had a J-Term,” said Karen Spira, assistant professor of foreign languages. “I have heard many stories about exciting, intensive experiential learning opportunities that Spanish professors have developed at other institutions.”

Another benefit of J-Term is that it has also opened the door to experiences that many students wouldn’t have access to at other times of the year.

“We wanted to give students who couldn’t normally do study abroad or study away things a chance to do a shorter one,” said Dave Dobson, clerk of faculty and professor of geology and earth sciences. “For CCE students in particular, they are not often able to take a full semester or summer but they might be able to do a trip of two or three weeks.”

It would be a shame to lose these opportunities for students, and J-Term is uniquely positioned to fill this need.

However, J-Term is by no means perfect. Students and faculty have both expressed concern that the prices of some experiences are too high for all students to be able to partake.

“For me, there’s a concern of equity,” said Spira. “If we’re going to have this really exciting component of the Guilford curriculum, I think that it’s important that all students can access it.”

Many faculty members already find it difficult to manage all of the courses they have to teach the rest of the year.

“We have to offer classes in the summer, and we have to offer classes in the evening, so many of our faculty work evenings and teach summer school,” said Chair and Associate Professor of Business Betty Kane.

Asking professors to design and teach a J-Term course on top of that only exacerbates the situation.

By extending the trial period and opting to not implement J-Term as a permanent program as of yet, the faculty will allow the program to be more closely studied.

In the long run, this means that the faculty will be able to make a more informed decision in 2017 when it comes time to decide whether or not to keep J-Term permanently.

Also, changes can be made to the program in the meantime to address many of the faculty concerns.

If a decision had been made now regarding the future of the program, it is likely that a strong consensus could not have been formed. The faculty would have had to choose between two less than stellar options: cancelling a very interesting program or implementing a program still riddled with problems.

“I don’t think the faculty was ready to do that,” said Kane. “And I think, to the credit of the Clerk’s Committee, that they thought that this is the best way to extend and really assess it.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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