May Term mixes education and entertainment

by Betsy KnudsenStaff Writer

May Term is a way for students to take an innovative approach to learning while gaining educational experiences that are not traditionally available during the regular school year.

This year, May Term will begin Monday, April 27, and conclude Friday, May 15.

May Term is designed to be responsive of student interests as well as faculty interests. It gives students a chance to travel both internationally, domestically and to other institutions.

“It’s up to the faculty what they teach,” John Bolen, associate academic dean and registrar, said. “May Term provides an opportunity for faculty to teach a subject that they are passionate about and don’t normally get to teach. It is usually a course that is not normally offered during the year.”

For example, HUM-190-C, Supergirl Saves the World…Again, uses feminist theory, along with philosophy and mythology, to analyze the popular television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” with female protagonists.

“I decided to teach this class because I am a HUGE “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fan, and it amazes me how deep the program really is,” Assistant Professor of Spanish Tracy Dinesen said. “I specialize in Popular Culture Studies so I thought that the course would be something that would interest students, and it is a fun and unique way of using my expertise.”

All students are required to successfully complete one three-hour May Term course for each year of full-time study at Simpson.

According to the course booklet, May Term gives an intensive academic experience for all students within a single area of study, concentrating upon one academic subject. Students are given an educational opportunity based on their interests.

Professors also embrace the opportunity to teach a course in which they would not usually teach.

Some of these classes that are offered this May Term are: History of Rock and Roll, Who Did It-CSI Simpson, Monkey Trials, Mathematics of Games, Drugs and Society, Psychology of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker and Communicating with the Great Apes.

“The History of Rock and Roll was one of the best classes that I have ever taken,” sophomore Mindi Callison said. “We were able to listen to the music and learn how it came about. That was topped by our trip to the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland.”

There are 70 on-campus courses, as well as ten international travel courses and five domestic travel courses offered this May. Included in the course list are several Global Awareness classes both on and off campus.

There are also a few other cornerstone classes that can be met during May Term. The Registrar’s office is trying to make it easier for students to meet Cornerstone 6 during May Term.

Students also have the opportunity to take part in interdisciplinary study, COOP-119, which is a job shadowing class. This is designed for students to investigate career directions while earning three hours of credit. Students will observe and complete a job shadow in a specific workplace during May Term.

According to junior David Albrecht, May Term is an opportunity to learn new things.

“May Term is a combination of content and class time,” Albrecht said. “I want to be able to learn all of the valuable academic skills of May Term and still have time for other equally important May Term activities.”

Students can find the May Term course booklet that lists all the classes offered on the Simpson Web site under Academics.