The Oracle

J-Term changes uncovered for ’17-’18

Shylie Burleson-King, Reporter

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Many students were befuddled when, at the start of the academic year, news arose that J-Term was now meant to be paid for. Though mutterings had been floating around, it was finalized this year due to financial pressures and faculty support.

“I didn’t know it was happening until I got here,” first-year Soren Kremer said. “I don’t really get it, I mean why?”

Hamline had many reasons to explain this change to J-Term, while it had been viewed by students in a negative light there were positive outcomes just around the corner.

“Essentially it had become financially unviable to give students a full course expenses with no revenue,”  John R. Matachek, Provost and Chemistry Professor explained. “Raising prices of education made it so Hamline had to raise their financial aid to keep our curriculum affordable.”

According to U.S. News tuition in the last twenty years has risen 157% for private universities.

“Neighboring schools have already done the same,” Matachek continued, “And we discussed many alternatives, like eliminating J-Term all together, or shortening it. Possibly even making it the cost of full tuition.” These discussions have been going on for many years, but in 2015 is when they started working on the ‘new J-Term’.

“We were reluctant at first, students and faculty alike always enjoyed it so immensely.” Matachek said., “But as time went on the less and less viable it was for the University’s financial well being. Plus, there was discussion on the student’s best interests. Many students were taking unnecessary credits they simply didn’t need that wouldn’t further them in life. All these things were discussed when we made the decision.”

While room and board for students taking classes, and those who are not, will still be free of charge, many changes were made to J-Term.

“It’s a long tradition at Hamline, so cutting it seemed out of the question,” Matachek said, “And paying full tuition would be impossible for many of our students. So we compromised, making it half the price of a normal term with no charge for room and board. Faculty also has a responsibility for the amount of classes they must teach every year…J-Term used to be able to make-up part of those courses, but now those teaching J-Term courses are teaching an extra course outside of the mandatory ones.”

While many questions still lay ahead for J-Term and it’s future, this is most likely not its final form.

“We’re going to see how it goes next year, and see if it’s sustainable,” Matachek said. “We may end up eliminating it, which is frankly what most schools have done. It’ll evolve every year, working with students responses and faculty.”

The ideas that came into creating the new J-Term classes, policies and arrangement were first brought to students attention last year in a survey.

“The input was extremely helpful from last years survey,” Matachek said. “We will still need a lot more input from students.”

Another discussion about J-Term was if it had strayed from it’s original intention to expand students learning outside of their major.

“There were beginning to be mandatory classes popping up in J-Term,” Matachek said. “J-Term was designed to be a liberal arts kind of term where students could work on things outside of their majors… and it was straying from that. With the new setup no mandatory major classes will be offered in J-Term, how it was originally intended. We want a return in that direction.”

Matachek’s final comments were on the students.

“The students will literally be voting with their pocketbooks… on whether or not we keep J-Term. We’ll be very interested in what they have to say about what courses they want offered.”

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The student news site of Hamline University.
J-Term changes uncovered for ’17-’18