January Term 

Administration and faculty at Linfield College are in the process of revamping the school’s January Term program, for which some changes, such as new course offerings, are already underway for 2013.

Last spring, the school passed a new strategic plan to cover the 2012-18 academic years. Throughout the draft process, faculty and administration discussed revitalizing January Term, said Susan Agre-Kippenhan, vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of faculty.

“There are great study abroad options, but staying on campus isn’t as engaging,” Agre-Kippenhan said. “[The program] is not living up to what’s possible.”

January Term is a four-week, intensive program where students focus on a single academic course. Courses are offered on campus, as well as off campus, allowing students the opportunity to study abroad.

“Students do things during January Term that they can’t do during the year,” said Martha Van Cleave, associate dean of faculty for Curriculum, Assessment and Development.

As a way to improve the program, Linfield is experimenting with January Term in the city. These are course offerings at the Portland campus, which are open to students from both campuses.

Last year was the first year the school offered a January course at the Portland campus.

This year, two courses are being offered: Sociology of Music Sub Cultures and Genres in Contemporary Drama.

These courses are a combination of lectures and field trips.

“We hope it appeals to students living in Portland. They can live at home and take a course. It helps to minimize their costs,” Van Cleave said.

Rather than paying tuition that includes the cost of January Term, as has been done in the past, students pay per credit fee.

About 50 percent of the student body participates in January Term. The hope is that January Term in the city will increase this percentage, Van Cleave said.

Another course that is fairly new is Career Exploration. This course focuses on a specific industry that might be of interest to students.

During this class, students learn about careers in the particular focus’ field. They visit various sites, interview people in the industry, listen to guest lecturers and interact with potential employers, Van Cleave explained.

This year, the class will be focusing on sports management. Last year, it focused on the wine industry.

Linfield is also offering a course that caters to first-year students, “Your Place at Linfield,” which will be piloted this January. It is a collaborative course of academics and service learning.

“We want to help students figure out their trajectory,” Agre-Kippenhan said. “Linfield has always been engaged in the community and civic service. We felt this would be a good opportunity.”

For students interested in studying abroad, January Term 2014 courses will be announced this January.

Applications will be posted online and are due in February 2013.

All courses are open to students from the McMinnville and Portland campuses.

Students are required to have a GPA of at least 2.75, fill out general information and write an essay. They are also interviewed by the faculty leading the course.

In addition, all applicants’ names are vetted through Student Affairs.

The faculty leading the courses make the selections. Then, the International Programs Office (IPO) writes up acceptance, alternate and non-select letters, which are distributed after spring break.

Students who are not selected for the course they wanted or are placed as alternates have the option to forward their application to a different course.

Many of the course offerings consist of two subject matters, or “cross-pollination,” said Michele Tomseth, coordinator of the January Term Off-Campus Program.

“[IPO] tries to be as transparent as possible when it comes to costs,” Tomseth said.

Full-time students, who are studying abroad for the first time, have their airfare covered by the school.

However, full-time students who attend Linfield through tuition exchange or tuition remission do not have this covered.

In addition to studying internationally, Agre-Kippenhan said Linfield hopes to strengthen the program by offering additional January Term options in the United States.

In the meantime, Agre-Kippenhan said the school is looking at different kinds of models it could use to improve the program.

For more information about January Term on-campus and off-campus course offerings, visit To learn more about the breakdown of costs, visit

Jessica Prokop


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