Staff Editorial

Although the six-week break is not necessarily a permanent feature of the Lawrence calendar, students, faculty and staff have had ample time to reflect on this new schedule. We at The Lawrentian have been considering ways in which the time could be better utilized by Lawrentians.
Currently, the university offers a very limited number of programs during the break, and few of these options are reoccurring. Interim programs offered at other universities provide models for how future Lawrence activities could be structured. Coe College, a Lawrence-sized liberal arts school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offers both domestic and international trips over its three-week May term. Led by Coe professors, past trips have included service learning at a Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and even an architectural history course in Sicily.
DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. offers similar programs during their January interim term including numerous international options, all offered at reasonable prices. All of these programs offer affordable alternatives to semester-long study abroad options, and they provide stimulating options for a long break from normal classes. The December 2009 trip led by Professor Finkler to southern China for a study of water quality is an excellent example of programs like these at Lawrence.
We encourage the administration to incentivize projects, special classes and trips over upcoming six-week breaks. Opportunities for unorthodox learning experiences and cross-cultural communication would be needed and welcome additions to Lawrence’s liberal arts curriculum.