Next year, Drake University will try something new: a January term. This is a two-and-a-half-week session from Jan. 7 to Jan. 25. Students will have two weeks for Christmas (break starts on Dec. 15), and then J-term pupils will return to Drake. Instead of focusing on several classes, students will focus on a sole class.
For this J-term, volunteer professors have created class ideas — some from faculty, others suggested by students — and after some deliberation, there’s an official J-term experience list with 35 courses. Associate Provost Arthur Sanders explained that some of these courses may be dropped.
“At this point, I am confident we will have one course added that is not on the list,” Sanders said.
These classes will be crash courses in the ultimate sense of the word, but there are benefits to taking a J-term class.
One benefit is the low cost. It’s divided between fall and spring semesters and added to your tuition. There’s one course (immunology lab) that’s worth four credits instead of three. Participants in this course will pay for the extra fourth credit. However, this lab is not required for the immunology course, and the lecture is not required for the immunology lab.
However, room and board is not included in tuition, so students without housing in Des Moines will pay to stay on campus during the J-term. Participants will stay in Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall.
Similarly, there are extra costs for study abroad trips. The exploration of urban poverty in Des Moines and New York City involves a trip to the Big Apple instead of a full session abroad, and it will most likely cost more. The same can be said when comparing the Washington D.C. trip (for the class, “Inside Washington: The Presidential Inauguration”) with a city inside the United States to the home of the masters, which involves three countries (Switzerland, Austria and Hungary). These trips may also leave before Jan. 7 in order to coordinate travel.
Yet studying abroad is not the only opportunity that J-term is offering. There’s a course for theater that’s dedicated to the production of a full-scale play performed at the end of J-term in Studio 55 at the Harmon Fine Arts Center. More specifically, there are five subareas in this course: design, acting/directing, voice/dramaturgy, movement and technical production. There’s no prerequisite course or major requirement. However, the play that will be performed has not yet been decided upon.
There are 31 other courses available for J-term 2013. In order to see more details about each course — what the perquisites are, who will be teaching it and what will it count towards — go to http://www.drake.edu/academics/. In the upper right-hand corner, there will be a PDF link called “J-term Experiences.” Look quickly if you are interested because students will be signing up for J-term courses during the first week of March. This is for underclassmen that are required to stay on campus so they can have priority for rooms in Goodwin-Kirk Hall.
Also, there will be a fair dedicated to the J-term session. Leaders of the program will speak about the courses, residence hall options, finances and the applications. At that time there will be a complete list of options, along with cost for programs, class sizes and application procedures. The meeting will be 4 – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28 in Upper Olmsted.