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Miami surveys winter term course options

By Melissa Girgis
On November 12, 2012

Wednesday, Miami University will send a survey to students asking what classes students would like to see in the new winter term next year.

According to Michael Kabbaz, associate vice president of enrollment, the development of the winter term has been a collaborative effort involving Associated Student Government (ASG), faculty and staff from all academic divisions.

Nick Miller, ASG's secretary for student affairs, said the importance of student involvement in the process, especially in deciding the final course list cannot be underemphasized.

"This is the students' opportunity to put their footprint down and say what they want for this to be successful," Miller said.

According to Denise Krallman, director of institutional research, information about what students would like to see included in the winter term will be collected via a short survey of 10-15 questions that students will receive through their Miami email Wednesday. The questions aim to gather data about such things as the likelihood of students registering for courses, the campus they would prefer to take courses on, campus resources that should be available during the winter term and reasons why students would not be interested in taking classes. The finalized class list should be available in early spring when classes resume for second semester.

Some proposed study abroad options include an American global perspective class in Berlin, Germany and London, England an introduction to American studies class in Washington, D.C. and a class on movies and politics at the Sundance film festival.

Again, since the winter term is designed to meet students' needs and interests, Krallman and Kabbaz said they highly encourage all students to contribute their opinions through the survey.

"The more students participate in the survey the better we can deliver what they want." Kabbaz said.

Kabbaz said adding the winter term boasts many benefits such as allowing instructors to try out classes that students have expressed interest in as well as providing extra time to fit in a minor, undergraduate research, or Miami plan courses. Others who are not looking to add extra courses may simply appreciate the chance to spread out their course work and lighten their workload during fall and spring semester, or even just enjoy a longer winter break.

Kabbaz said the level of excitement and engagement of faculty regarding the project has been extraordinary.

"Faculty have come to us asking, 'Could we do a course like this?' 'Could we do a study abroad?' They have been very proactive about coming to us," Kabbaz said.

According to Miller, students who would like to keep up with how the planning process for the term is going can visit for access to the academic calendar as well as documents discussing planning and implementation.

Junior Zoology major, Erin Collin, said she is enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by the addition of a winter term as well as being able to contribute her input through the survey.

"As a non-pre-med Zoo major, I would really like to see some classes that weren't so geared towards pre-med," Collin said. "Maybe [another type of course] that covers other topics within Zoology to allow us to go more in-depth with our personal interests."

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