Spring Term Offers Global Learning Opportunities
Spring Term at Alma College means the study of lizards in Jamaica, a
tour of cultural and educational sites in Argentina, the analysis of
World War II topics at the British National Archives in London, and the
examination of the natural wonders of New Zealand.
It also means an opportunity to work with a National Geographic photographer in New Mexico, an investigation of altitude physiology in Colorado, musical performances in Italy, and Michigan archaeological fieldwork.
Spring Term 2008, which takes place April 27 through May 22, is a one-month immersion in a single academic topic that offers learning experiences not typically available during the more traditional 15-week fall and winter terms.
Students visited Ecuador during Spring Term 2007.
me, the greatest educational benefit of Spring Term is the amount of
time professors and students have to devote to an academic topic — time
to travel together, time to think, time to conduct research, time to
have sustained discussions, and time to explore new ideas,” says Marc
Setterlund, associate provost and sociology professor.
“It’s an opportunity for students to get to know and interact with their professors, and for professors to get to know their students. Students often tell us they learned so much about themselves during Spring Term, and they look forward to doing it again,” he says.
Students select one course per Spring Term from as many as 40 offerings. They are required to take two Spring Term courses during their four years at Alma College, though many take three. For many students, a Spring Term travel course is the first time they have traveled overseas.
Students pose with a Scottish piper in Edinburgh during Spring Term 2007.
This year’s Spring Term offerings cover a wide range of disciplines.
Biology Professor Dave Clark will take students to Jamaica, where they will use observational and experimental techniques to study lizard species and their social organization. Highlights include trips to the Discovery Bay Marine Station and various field sites in the Jamaican countryside.
Students in Peggy Thelen’s education course with spend the term exploring the culture and educational system of Argentina. They will visit museums in Buenos Aires, the rainforest in Iguazu, and the national park in San Juan.
History Professor Patrick Furlong’s London Seminar will give students an opportunity to do research at the British National Archives. Research days will alternate with excursions to castles, palaces, cathedrals, museums galleries and Churchill’s secret underground headquarters.
Professor Melvin Nyman and Assistant Professor Mark Oemke will take students to New Zealand, including Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island. Highlights include a guided tour of a “Lord of the Rings’ filming site, the national museum in Wellington, and a hike on Franz Joseph Glacier.
Art Associate Professor Sandy Lopez-Isnardi and Communications Assistant Professor Janie Diels will provide an opportunity for students to work with a National Geographic photographer at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop and then create a documentary project at the Ghost Ranch Conference Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
Students in John Davis’ exercise and health science class will live at altitude in Colorado and take a wide variety of physiologic measures on themselves before, during and after they are at altitude. Also in Colorado, Theatre Professor Carol Fike will lead a Yoga retreat, with stops at the Shoshoni Ashram, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Naropa Institute.
Members of the Alma College Choir, led by Music Professor Will Nichols, will spend two weeks rehearsing and performing with an Italian choir in Rome, while the Percussion Ensemble goes on tour for concerts and clinics for schoolchildren in Michigan, Ontario and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Students in Professor Derick Hulme’s political science class will travel to Washington, D.C., to conduct hands-on archival research in the Nixon presidential papers at the Library of Congress.
Ed Lorenz and students will travel to the U.S.-Mexican border region to compare environmental health policy in the two NAFTA countries.
Closer to home, business Associate Professor Tom Ealey will survey the American health care system with day trips to health care providers in the mid-Michigan area. Communication Professor Micheal Vickery will investigate media strategies used by environmental advocates. Anthropology Associate Professor Mary Theresa Bonhage-Freund will conduct an archaeological field school at the Forest Hill Nature Area.
Michael Bishop and biology students will follow spring bird migration paths to the Upper Peninsula and observe research stations along the route. Education Associate Professor Nicola Findley’s “Schooling in America” course will include visits to different kinds of schools throughout Michigan.
English students will examine “Italy in England” by visiting Stratford, Ontario, for the Shakespeare Festival to view “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” two of the many English dramas set in Italy. Music professor Raymond Riley and students will travel to the Gilmore Festival, an international music festival in southwest Michigan.
Spring Term isn’t all about travel. More than two dozen campus courses offer a wide variety of special topics, from an introduction to labor economics, to an investigation of cloning and genetic engineering, to a study of Holocaust literature, to an exploration of Hispanic heroes and legends.
Courses in art, business, athletic training, chemistry, biochemistry, virtue ethics, graph theory, child language, and “Jesus in Gospel and Film” also are offered.
Posted: Mon, April 21st, 2008 at 8:35AM