Every winter term project must have an on-campus sponsor. Members of the teaching faculty and, under some circumstances, members of the administrative and professional staff (A&PS), may sponsor projects. The basic duties of the sponsor are to establish and publicize projects, review proposals for student-proposed individual projects, apply for group project grant money if necessary, oversee the management of that money, and submit a grade (Y, completed N, not completed) for each student sponsored.

All members of the teaching faculty may sponsor projects. Members of A&PS may also sponsor projects, with permission from their supervisors. A&PS members who will sponsor projects must request a sponsor number from the Academic Advising Resource Center (AARC); using the Sponsor Number Assignment Form available electronically or as a hard copy from the Office of Winter Term. 


A project director is the person responsible for the day-to-day progress of a project. Individual projects are typically self-directed, but may also be directed by the sponsor or another person. In most group projects, the sponsor is also the director. Alternatively, a project may be directed by a student, staff member, alumnus or alumna, invited guest, or outside specialist, typically working in conjunction with the on-campus sponsor.

When a project is directed by an alumnus or alumna, invited guest, or outside specialist, a faculty or an administrative and professional staff member must serve as the sponsor for the project. In some cases, students who register for such a project may have to find their own sponsor.

When faculty or administrative and professional staff members sponsor projects, responsibilities differ slightly depending on whether the project is proposed by a student for a sponsor's approval (usually called an individual project) or is proposed and publicized by the sponsor (usually called a group project); this category can also include projects which individual participants work separately. Another factor is whether the project is directed by the sponsor or by someone else. Follow the guidelines for sponsors, according to the type of project, and consult the winter term calendar for deadlines regarding each step.

Guidelines for Sponsors

Group Project (or a publicized project for individual participants)
  • Publicize the project by submitting the Project Publicity Form to the winter term office, and by other appropriate means. Publicized projects will appear in late October on the winter-term website.
  • Devise a suitable 24-character title to appear on the transcript, and designate a category for the project (academic study; field experience or personal growth and development; see Winter Term Academic Policy for descriptions of categories). Be clear in the use of abbreviations (if needed) so the title is understandable. The Office of the Registrar recommends that care be given to the choice of project title as the student’s transcript is a permanent record that cannot be altered later.
  • Apply for a winter-term group grant if necessary. As the sponsor, you are responsible for overseeing the finances of the project, and for submitting a report to the Committee following its completion (see /Final Report).
  • Draw up a roster of students who inquire about the project, including name, email address, Oberlin College (OCMR) box number and phone number for future communications about the project. It is especially important to notify students if a project is canceled. Note: this step does not constitute registration.
  • Sign each student's registration card, confirming that the 24-character title and your sponsor number (listed in the document "Winter Term Sponsor Numbers") are correctly entered.
  • If you are not directing the project, give the roster of participants to the director, consult with the director upon completion of the project in order to submit the appropriate grade for each student.
  • Report the grade-completed (Y) or not completed (N) – on the grade report form sent by the Registrar and return by the date specified on the form. If you are sponsoring a project directed by someone other than yourself, you are responsible for consulting with the director and each individual registered for the project and determining appropriate grades.
  • If funds were rewarded, submit a final accounting to the Winter Term Committee as soon as all budget items are available and no later than the deadline (see Applying for a Project Grant). Future funding is contingent upon receipt of this report.

Even if a faculty member does not sponsor a group project, they are likely to be asked to sponsor individual projects in their area of expertise. Faculty members’ participation in planning, implementation, and later evaluation of projects helps ensure the educational value of winter term for everyone.

Planning Your Project