BSC Office of Communications

News from the Hilltop

Jan. 6, 2012

BSC's January Exploration Term offers students rich learning opportunities

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The January Exploration Term at Birmingham-Southern College gives students an exciting change of pace: new projects on campus that address a variety of interests, chances to go global with faculty members, creative research, internships, or opportunities to do independently contracted study experiences across the state and nation—all for academic credit.

Among this year's offerings, eight students are traveling to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to examine the relationship between film festivals and independent cinema. Twenty students are traveling to Ghana, Africa, for a collaborative Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action/education department service-learning initiative aimed at teaching English as a second language to schoolchildren. Locally, students will be working in the Woodlawn and West End communities with local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and residents to learn about the history of the neighborhoods, understand current realities, and serve alongside these groups.

Another 100 students are traveling to Germany, Ecuador, South Africa, Czech Republic, Spain, England, and other countries for individual or faculty-led projects. Currently, more than 1,000 BSC students are enrolled in the month-long Exploration Term.

Birmingham-Southern students have many new projects to choose from this year, both on- and off-campus, including "Reading from the Bones: An Introduction to Human Osteology", "Berlin and Prague: A Visual and Performing Art Experience", "LOST: My Religion", "The History of Rock", "Gender and War: Men's and Women's Roles in Combat and on the Homefront", "Why Do Things Stand Up?: The Art of Structural Engineering", and "Sticks, String, and Spindles: The Art of Knitting, Spinning Yarn, and Fiber Preparation".

The college changed the name of its January term from "Interim" to "Exploration" last summer to coincide with its new Explorations general education curriculum. The curriculum was developed around five learning outcomes that embody a liberal arts education and prepare graduates to be successful in meeting the challenges of the contemporary world.

"All students may enroll in one Exploration Term project each January for academic credit," stated Katy Leonard, director of contract learning at BSC. "Students under the new Explorations curriculum are required to complete a minimum of two Exploration terms, although they may take one each year they are enrolled at Birmingham-Southern—and we hope that they will."

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