What is Winter Term at Elon University?

Brrr… it is a bit cold outside, but at least the sun is shining!   Today’s Destination:  Elon post is going to talk a little bit about Winter Term.  I know it can be a confusing time for students to understand because I actually do not think there is a part on the Elon website that addresses this part of the academic year.  I have written posts about this topic in the past (“Winter Term 2010” and “What is Winter Term at Elon?” and “Winter Term Memories“) – certainly these posts are also helpful in explaining Winter Term at Elon as well.

One of the patterns that I have noticed with this blog is that many students come to this site after searching for key words like “elon”, “elon winter term”, “winter term at Elon”, etc.  Thus I always find it helpful to talk a bit about Winter Term and this year, Anthony will also be sharing what a typical day is like for a student during Winter Term.  Hopefully this will give you a better sense of what this term is like at Elon.

To provide the basics, Elon University’s academic calendar is divided up into 3 separate parts.  There is a fall semester which lasts from end of August until the middle of December.  During the semester, students will typically take 4 or more classes.  The spring semester, which begins at the beginning of February and lasts until mid-May, also has a student taking 4 or more classes.   This is a similar schedule to most universities.  What is different about Elon University is the month of January.  January is known as Winter Term or J-Term.  It is when students who are here will take just one class, five days a week for three hours every day.  It is an intensive learning experience where the student is just focusing on a particular topic.

There are a variety of classes offered at this time.  For example, a student could take “Principles of Financial Accounting” or “Corporate Publishing” or “Elementary French I” or “Introduction to Philosophical Thinking”.  These are all courses that are foundational courses required for various majors.  Thus a student could choose to fulfill a course requirement, particularly if the subject matter would be not the student’s favorite or strongest subject.

Other courses offered at this time provide unique opportunities to study subject matter (either inside or outside of the major).  Often these courses revolve around a particular theme for Winter Term.  This year’s Winter Term theme is “From the Past:  Through the Present: Into the Future.”  It is a broad theme which you can certainly see reflected in the more unique courses listed below:

  • Anthropology of Tourism [an Religious studies/Anthropology course]
  • The Archaeology of Death [an Art History course]
  • Should Cloning and Genetic Engineering Be a Part of Our Future? [a Biology course]
  • Kitchen Chemistry [a Chemistry course]
  • The Sundance Experience [a Communications course]
    • This course includes 1 week at the Sundance Film Festival in  Utah
  • Italian Comedy [an English course]
  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation [an Environmental Science/ Studies course]
  • Global Health Disparities [a Global Studies course]
  • Crafting a Meaningful Life [a Philosophy course]
  • Belief in Weird Things [a Psychology course]
  • Managing a Professional Sport Franchise [a Sport and Event Management course]

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the numerous study abroad opportunities available during Winter Term!  Many students will opt to travel during this month as part of one of the programs offered by Elon University.  Here is a small sampling – there are many, many more!:

  • Business in the Caribbean:  The Cayman Islands
  • The Call of South Africa
  • Holocaust Journey
  • Honduras:  Social Entrepreneurship
  • Field Studies of London’s Immigrant Communities Through Photographs and Words

To learn more about these programs as well as other study abroad opportunities at Elon, be sure to visit the Isabella Cannon International Centre’s website.

As I mentioned earlier, Anthony is certainly going to provide more detail from a student perspective about Winter Term in a future post.  But hopefully this provides you with a good introduction to Winter Term and some of the variety offered at this time!  Email me (cborden2@elon.edu) if you have any questions!



Winter Term 2010

Brrrr!  It’s cold today in Elon, North Carolina – a chilly 24 degrees Fahrenheit!  But it is an appropriate temperature as Elon University’s Winter Term is right around the corner.  This Tuesday (January 5) will mark the beginning of Winter Term 2010.  This year’s theme for Winter Term is “From the Past:  Through the Present:  Into the Future”.

For those that may be unfamiliar with Winter Term, it is a 1-month term at Elon University where students (if on campus) will take one class, five days a week for three hours every day.  It is a time when students will just focus on one specific topic for the month of January.  The type of courses offered at Elon vary – some courses will be options that students also might have during a fall or spring semester, such as Principles of Financial Accounting, Elementary Chinese I, Ethical Practice, etc.  However, there are also several courses that are offered that connect to the theme mentioned above and provide interesting opportunities for students.   To give you some insight into those unique courses that are offered during Elon’s Winter Term, here is a sample from 2010:

  • The Ancient Maya (Anthropology)
  • Memento Mori:  American Sepulchral Art and Architecture 1600 – Present (Art)
  • Managing a Sports Franchise (Business)
  • The Science of Forensics (Chemistry)
  • International Cinema (Communications)
  • Literature of the Terror and Supernatural (English)
  • The U.S. and Iraq (General Studies)
  • Aspects of Laughter (General Studies)
  • Crafting a Meaningful Life (Philosophy)
  • Jerusalem:  One City, Three Faiths (Religion)
  • Sociology of Popular Culture (Sociology)
  • And many more!

When describing Winter Term above, I mentioned that a student could opt to take one of those classes if he or she was on campus.  Did you know that a student could participate in Winter Term but be off-campus as well?  Winter Term is also a time where many of our students will participate in month-long study abroad programs and/or internship experiences.  It is important to note that these programs often require additional fees to participate in them.  To provide you with more insight, here is a sample of those opportunities offered to students in January:

  • Field Biology in Peru (study abroad)
  • Field Experience in Business (internship)
  • Supervised Observation and Student Teaching (internship)
  • Ireland:  Literature, Culture, and History (study abroad)
  • The Call of South Africa (study abroad)
  • India:  Science, Education, and Development (study abroad)
  • The Photographer’s Gaze:  London’s Immigrant Communities (study abroad)
  • Human Services Practicum in London (study abroad/ internship)
  • Washington Center Seminar (internship)
  • And many more!

Thus, Winter Term offers many different types of opportunities for students!  A student can be here on campus for January or they can chose to be halfway around the world – we have those opportunities.   In Admissions, we are often asked if Winter Term is mandatory and in all honesty, it is not.  However, a student’s Winter Term semester is paid for in the Fall Semester tuition (if he or she is taking a class).   In my mind, it is definitely worth it to participate in Winter Term because of the unique and often unusual subjects a student can explore – subjects that may not be available during a Fall or Spring Semester.  To learn more about last year’s Winter Term experience, check out my post from January 2009 and of course, be sure to check out my own personal Winter Term experiences!

25 Random Things About Elon

Good evening ETA readers!

Many of you have probably seen the note that is going around Facebook these days – “25 Random Things about Me”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, it is a questionnaire that you can list 25 facts or habits or goals and then “tag” 25 of your friends. Thus in the spirit of Facebook, I present to you…

“25 Random Facts about Elon”
  1. The first graduating class from Elon had only 3 graduates! (That was in the year 1891).
  2. One of Elon’s traditions is the weekly “College Coffee” where students, faculty, and staff get together on Tuesdays from 9:40 – 10:20am to eat free food and have a chance to chat.
  3. Elon’s Belk Library is open 24 hours from Sunday – Thursday (which is helpful for any last minute papers that need to be written!)
  4. The Alamance Building (which houses a number of classrooms, faculty offices, both the Bursar’s and Registrar’s offices among other things) is designed so that the front of the building and the back of the building are identical.
  5. 51 different countries are represented in Elon’s student body in the 2008-2009 school year.
  6. The Princeton Review and USAToday named Elon one of the nation’s top 100 “Best Value Colleges”.
  7. Famous speakers that have come to campus include: Jane Goodall, Colin Powell, Ehud Barak, Queen Noor, former President Bill Clinton, Benazir Bhutto, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, among others.
  8. The state with the smallest number of Elon alums is North Dakota. (North Dakota has 1 alum living there!) For perspective, North Carolina has the largest alumni population with over 12,600 alumni!
  9. Recycling started at Elon University in the late 1980s.
  10. Elon’s “Phoenix Cash” (money put onto a student id card) can be used at over 60 different off-campus locations.
  11. Through the “Burst the Bubble” program, students can TEACH other students in free, non-credit courses offered during Winter Term. Learn how to clog, study the history and culture of surfing or movie marketing – all from fellow students!
  12. In the Elon Admissions office, of the 29 staff members in the department, over 50% have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from Elon as well!
  13. Elon men’s basketball is celebrating its 100th season in the year 2009.

And more to come in my next post…

Winter Term Memories

Good morning ETA readers!

Before Elon University’s Winter Term is over, I wanted to share with you a bit about what I did during my four Winter Terms here at Elon. In a previous blog, I explained what Winter Term is as well as shared some of the different courses that are offered at Elon. And thus – here are my four Winter Terms and what courses I took:
  • Freshman Year: During my first Winter Term, I took a course called Modeling for a Global Citizen which was a higher level mathematics course that involved creating models to predict or forecast different things. For example, we used math models to predict population growth as well as looked at predator-prey models. Predator-prey models look at the catastrophic impact that having too many of predators (such as sharks) or too many prey (such as fish) can cause.
  • Sophomore Year: For my second Winter Term, I was enrolled Ecotourism in Australia which fulfilled my Experiential Learning Requirement (otherwise known as my Elon Experience). Thus I traveled in Australia for the month of January and learned about the environment and the impact that tourism has on it. I have included two pictures from my travels – the one below is a picture of the Sydney Opera House.


The one to the right is a photo of myself taking a break while rappelling down a cliff.
  • Junior Year: Math Origami was the class that I took during my third winter term at Elon. It was an interesting class that was not strictly for math majors! It was open for any major and focused on how origami can be used in multiple academic disciplines. Of course, I wasn’t the best origami artist – but I can fold a pretty good lily!
  • Senior Year: My last and final Winter Term course. For this last year, I took a course in Archaeology (From the Ground Down), which is something I have enjoyed learning about for years. We learned about what it was like to go on an actual archaeological dig from an archaeologist and also had a major research paper on a topic of our choice. I chose Pompeii and the excavation of the city in the aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.
Thus even if my four years at Elon, I took a pretty diverse and fascinating group of classes!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend ETA readers – I am off traveling next week for Elon! If you live in the Atlanta, Georgia or Orlando, Florida or Boca Raton, Florida areas, I may just see you! Elon is hosting our annual Winter Hospitality programs in those cities – definitely check them out if you live in those areas!

What Is Winter Term at Elon?

Happy 2009 ETA readers!

The start of the 2009 calendar year also ushers in the beginning of WINTER TERM here at Elon University. Now you may be wondering – what exactly is Winter Term? What type of classes can you take? Is it mandatory to participate in? In this edition of ETA, I will do the best I can to answer any and all questions about Winter Term – but please feel free to email me with other questions!

Winter Term at Elon University is essentially a 3.5 – 4 week time period where students take 1 academic class five days a week/ three hours a day. It is the “1” in Elon’s 4-1-4 academic calendar. Thus, a student will take that one class during the month of January and then have a one week break before the beginning of the spring semester.

Now, you may be wondering – what type of classes can I take at Elon? LOTS! That is one of the greatest things about Winter Term! There is such a variety to chose from. For example, say you are not the strongest math student….why not decide to complete your Statistics requirement during this time? You avoid having to learn & study your hardest subject while also juggling a communications presentation, history paper, and science lab (as you would during a normal semester). Elon’s Winter Term does offer several courses that are required in a student’s major field.

However, it is also important to know that there are other unique courses offered at this time. Often these courses are not offered for an entire semester, yet they are some of the most popular courses at Elon. For example, below I have listed several of this Winter Term’s courses followed by the academic major in which a student would receive credit in for this course. Just check out a sample of the topics offered:

  • Figurative Sculpture: Puppet Laboratory (Art)
  • The Future of Cloning and Gene Therapy (Biology)
  • Managing a Sports Franchise (Business)
  • Business of NASCAR (Business)
  • Behind CSI: The Real Science and Chemistry of Forensics (Chemistry)
  • Cinema Aesthetics (Communications)
  • Asian Film and its Literary Foundations (English)
  • Ecosystem Restoration (Environmental Science)
  • The Culture of Rock (General Studies)
  • Aspects of Laughter (General Studies)
  • Woodstock, Hippies, and Other Enduring Legacies: Music of the ’60s and ’70s (Music)
  • Psychology of Language (Psychology)
  • Acting Intensive in New York City (Theatre)

Winter Term is also a time where students often chose to participate in one of Elon’s Five Elon Experiences. For example, a student may opt to study abroad during the month of January and perhaps study “The Photographer’s Gaze” in London immigrant communities or study science, education, and development in India. Winter Term study abroad programs are quite popular at Elon with such a wealth of programs to choose from. Interested in finding out more about these programs? Visit the Isabella Cannon Centre for International Study website OR follow along with our courses as they blog about their experience this Winter Term.

Students may also desire to do internships as well! For example, an Exercise Sports Science major can work on their practicum in their field, completing at least 27 hours at 3 different agencies in the sports/health related fields. A Communications major may opt to complete their required internship experience in journalism, strategic communications, etc.

It kind of makes you want to participate in Winter Term, doesn’t it? It is important to note that Winter Term is not mandatory – but highly encouraged! As an alum of Elon myself, Winter Term was truly one of my favorite times here. As January progresses, I’ll share some of the courses/programs that I participated in as a student…perhaps I’ll even share a picture or two from back in my college days!