China and its Discontents

January Term Plans

leave a comment

Hello All,

For those not in the SGA loop, I wanted to give the campus an update on my new long-term brainchild for the year (and into next year). I’m putting together a January Term at Trinity to be held yearly starting in January 2011. If you haven’t heard of similar programs at other colleges, January Term exists to offer 1-credit courses outside of the regular academic year. Besides regular courses here at Trinity, here’s how you could earn that credit:

  • Intensive programs offered at Global Learning Sites. Study abroad in this manner would be less disruptive than normal study abroad, and could be an easier path to academic enrichment. Plus, it would be cool, or rather, warm! Why spend January in snow when you could complete a month-long theater program in Trinidad?
  • Classes taught by students. While it is currently rare, junior and seniors can design their own pass/fail courses, obtain faculty sponsorship, and then teach those courses. A month-long course would offer far less stressful commitment on part of the student teacher, but would still provide a valuable experience. The courses could be designed around any subject – obscure academia, practical hobbies – it just needs to be approved by the Curriculum Committee.
  • Focused, meaningful internships. With academic internships soon moving over to Career Services’ responsibility and the economy bust, January would be the perfect time to step out of one’s normal semester commitments and intern in Hartford for a month. Students would work one-on-one with Career Services advisors to develop a concentrated intern experience that is more than a job-shadow or reception duties.
  • Community service campaigns. Trinity students could design and lead their own community service projects within the city of Hartford. In a time when it is difficult for the college to focus as much attention on community outreach, students could be ambassadors for the school doing work that has direct impact on the surrounding community.
  • Research projects for one’s major. Is there a burning question related to your field of study that hasn’t even been asked yet? Commission a study, design a course of experimentation, and answer it. There’s no better time to do original student research than in January without the pressures of a regular semester.

As you might have noticed, the focus of this program is to offer a meaningful experience during a time that otherwise might not be. I’m sure there are some enterprising students who accomplish amazing things during winter break, but I know that many, including myself, take most of the month as vacation. While I’m sure some students would continue to do so, I know many others want choice. A Trinity January Term would empower, engage, and challenge students to lead, take initiative, and design an amazing January for themselves that gets back to the core of the Trinity experience – intellectual curiosity.

While costs have not been fully determined, preliminary estimation would set tuition, room and board near $2500, with financial aid offered. January Term would be completely optional. I want to know how this program could serve you. Are there components you would add, modify, or scrap all together? What are the best ways to get students engaged? Please comment below, or email me at

Thanks for your interest, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Will Yale

Senator at Large

Academic Affairs Committee

SourcedFrom Sourced from: Trinity College Student Government Association » William Yale