Campus News

Updates to Winter Term 2020 Build a Robust On-Campus Experience

October 7, 2019
Hillary Hempstead
students stand in Allen Memorial Art Museum gallery during the Practicum in Museum Education class.
Students discuss and answer questions about their favorite pieces of artwork during a previous winter term in the Practicum in Museum Education class. After completing the class, students are equipped to lead guided tours of the museum. Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

New group projects and student support services enhance the on-campus experience; Deanna Bergdorf appointed to lead the program as director of winter term. 

In a strategic effort to bolster the winter-term experience on campus, 29 new faculty-led, on-campus group projects have been added to the winter-term offerings for January 2020. These additional projects increase the capacity for on-campus group project participation by 400 students. 

Along with new projects, additional structural support has been incorporated into the program. Planned activities, social events, and excursions will be available so students who are on campus can engage with the community and build connections with fellow students. A winter-term meal plan will also be available at the price of $300 and includes three meals daily from January 3 to 31. 

These updates to winter term 2020 are intended to enhance the on-campus experience and enable students to stay on campus during the January term, either through participation in a faculty-led group project or a student-proposed individual or group project.

These changes are an important part of the One Oberlin initiative that emerged from the Administrative and Academic Program Review (AAPR), says Renee Romano, chair of the AAPR winter-term recommendation subgroup and chair of the Winter Term Committee. 

“We are taking steps to provide more support to students, to better connect winter term to institutional learning goals and new initiatives around career readiness, and to create more exciting on-campus opportunities,” says Romano. “These changes will serve to make Oberlin’s winter term a signature experience that will enable us to recruit more students, to build a stronger sense of community on campus, and to better prepare our students for their lives after Oberlin.” 

Leading these efforts is Deanna Bergdorf, the newly appointed director of winter term. Bergdorf began her role in September 2019.  

Bergdorf explains: “With the expanded offerings, we aim to provide a winter term experience that will leave students feeling more connected with each other, with the campus, and with the Oberlin community.”

To support first-year students, Peer Advising Leaders (PALs) will play a key role in guiding students through their winter-term plans. Students of all class years will have access to support through advising sessions in the Office of Winter Term during the fall semester. Every Wednesday, group advising runs from 2 to 3 p.m., and individual advising sessions are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Bergdorf encourages students to take advantage of the advising sessions. ‘‘Dream big about what you'd like to do during winter term, and we will help you make it happen. Alternatively, for students who are struggling with identifying a concept for their project, or those who feel lost in the logistics of project planning, please visit our office. We will help you find your way.’’

New On-Campus Winter Term Intensives for January 2020 Include:

Bold and Cold: Winter Term Leadership. Focus on developing your leadership skills, featuring workshops by the following individuals: Professor Alan Kolb, with a session centered around his book Exception to the Rule: The Surprising Science of Character Based Culture, Engagement and Performance; Lisa Thuer, a yoga, spin, and mindfulness instructor, who will present Fit to Lead Sessions; Katie Schrader, assistant director of the Career Development Center, who will present sessions on exploring your personality type, articulating your value, building your team, creating community, and telling your story.

Writing for Everyone: Teaching Writing to People Who Aren't Writers Yet. This project introduces students to concepts in writing pedagogy and teaches them to lead exercise-based writing workshops for people with no formal writing background. Students will also read and discuss texts on pedagogy while building principles for running a vibrant, inclusive workshop. This project pairs with Holly Handman-Lopez’s Dance Community, Community Dance: Teaching Dance to Anyone to exchange classes in dancing and writing; the dancers teach dance to the writers, while the writers teach writing to the dancers.

Obiewood Intensive: Script Analysis, Treatment, Pitch. Explore the practical skills involved in telling and analyzing popular screen narratives. Students will gain familiarity with script coverage, treatments, pitching, and other relevant tools of the trade. They will also begin work on a research or creative project of their choosing. The class will feature several Skype conversations with industry professionals and screenwriters.

History at the Museum. Jointly taught by history professor Renee Romano and comparative American studies professor Wendy Kozol, the project offers an opportunity for students to learn about how museums educate the public and construct narratives about the past. We will speak with museum professionals and will visit at least five institutions, including the Maltz Museum of Jewish History, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Dittrick Medical History Center, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, and the Oberlin Heritage Center.

Sonic Arts in Society. Students will prepare for planned spring semester projects engaging Elyria Medical Center hospital system populations in creative arts-based workshops. Programming is coordinated with UH Connor Integrative Health Network and is guided by institutional leadership at Oberlin College and the University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center. Creative workshops will provide hospital staff, patients and community members with additional therapeutic opportunities to promote expression; to serve as a bridge to connect students with the opportunity to provide positive experiences to medical community members; pilot and explore the potential for further collaboration on multimodal forms of technologically-mediated expression within the medical arena; and will increase psychosocial support for health system via inclusion of academic communities and cross collaborations.

The Symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven. The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Austro-German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Professors Charles McGuire and Jamie O’Leary—along with a number of guest lecturers from the college and conservatory—will lead an in-depth examination of Beethoven’s nine symphonies.

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