Course offerings increase for J-Term

A new J-Term schedule will offer more opportunities to Mercyhurst students.

This year the school expanded the course offerings, improving the selection of classes from last year.. Assistant Vice-President of Academic Services Michele Wheaton said the success of enrollment of last year’s J-Term will repeat itself this year.

Students will have opportunities to study different subject matters. The philosophy department added a course to the core called “Philosophical Studies.” Robert von Thaden, Ph.D., of the Religious Studies department, is offering a class called “The Apocalypse to Zombie, A to Z.”

According to von Thaden, the course aims to examine how “religious and non-religious literature about the end of the world has been used by various cultures as a means to reflect upon, critique, and explain current events.” This is also the first time von Thaden has taught a J-Term class.

While students only had one option for study abroad last year, this year they can choose from programs in Belize, Spain, Costa Rica and Ireland.
“There are more opportunities and many more students are taking the chance to study abroad and experience different cultures which is really good for them,” Wheaton said.

Wheaton said the process this year has been relatively smooth. Teachers have been involved in coming up with courses that would be of interest to students. They have been looking for courses that students could use on their majors or could serve them as electives.

After the registration for upperclassman is over, Student Services will offer the available, left-over seats to freshmen. Additionally, a few more 100 level courses will be added to give the freshmen more opportunities to register.

“I usually go out and I recruit to the faculty and ask them to come up with other offerings. I anticipate that we will probably be adding other options in both J-term and spring, but they will be the lower level courses,” said Wheaton.

“That’s just so that we can accommodate seats for all of our students, because that’s paramount to get a decent offering for them to choose from.”
Wheaton takes on the job of finding classes for students who couldn’t find one on their own. If a student can’t find classes for the core, there is a possibility that there is something in their major that they are offering as well and that could also benefit them.

All these arrangements are coming along, due to the success Wheaton saw in last year’s J-Term. She was surprised by the number of students who wanted to take classes during the J-Term, both in lower and upper levels. Students who took a class during the J-Term had an average grade of B+.

“Honestly, it was all positive. I was so amazed. We had almost 80 percent of our students take the J-Term,” said Wheaton. “Even though seniors weren’t required to take it, they did take it because they thought it was kind of cool.”

Wheaton hopes that for this J-Term, things will continue to be smooth. She anticipates more travel opportunities coming along in response to to the high student interest and hopes that all students will take the courses they need and are interested in.

“We try to help as many as we can, we add whenever as we can. We normally can get students into the class of their choice or one that will work for them,” said Wheaton. “We don’t leave anybody hanging out. I will tell you that, I promise that we care about the students.”