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May Term Sign Up Begins At RC


John Stang – News Editor

On October 1, Roanoke College students will have the chance to begin signing up for May Term classes.  The deadline to sign up is Dec. 1.  As usual, there are a variety of May Term courses that RC students can pick, ranging from travel courses to intensive learning classes held on campus. Some of the travel options for students include France, Uganda, Spain, Czech Republic, and many more, all of which can be found on the RC website.  Students must also act quickly because Intensive Learning courses fill up quickly. Scott Couchman, the new study abroad coordinator, said there were about 200 students who were in attendance at the study abroad fair, which gives a pretty good prediction of student interest in IL.  

“Based on what I have been hearing from faculty and students showing up for courses and students at the study abroad fair the interest seems pretty high,” said Meeta Mehrotra, the director of the intensive learning program and a professor of sociology at RC.

Mehrotra also stated that there are a few new scholarship opportunities for students who are interested in IL. The first is the Helen Cobbs International Intensive Learning Scholarship for students who are from Southwest, VA.  Students can contact Mehrotra to see if they qualify.  The other financial aid program is the Fortnightly Scholarship for IL.  Information about both of these scholarships is also on the RC Financial Aid webpage.

Most faculty leading the May Term courses plan to take an average of 15 students.  With a very limited amount of space, it is suggested that students get their applications in as early as possible and talk with professors when they sign up. The process to apply for the May Term has also been streamlined for student convenience.  For example, Mehrotra says they are trying to simplify the application process and prevent redundancy of questions and forms.  In the future, they also plan to try to make the website for May Term more user-friendly for students.

Some of the trips have been done before.  For instance, Professor Ann Genova is taking a group to Uganda.  This time the trip will focus on nongovernmental organizations and the history of the country, whereas last year the Uganda trip had more a political focus. This is also Genova’s first time at leading this May Term.  Other May Terms, such as the one going to Paris and the Greece May Term are being led for the second or third time.

Mehrotra also encourages students to come by her office or contact her if they have a suggestion for a new May Term. The May Terms are ultimately determined by the faculty, but student interest is one aspect of the decision process. She also believes that the May Terms for 2012 are pretty exciting and interesting

Of course, every student must have a May Term before they graduate, but many emphasize the fact that May Terms are very helpful to the RC educational experience.

 “May Terms get students out of their comfort zones and into another culture.  They turn other worlds from black-and-white to color.  They enable students to see and taste and feel what might have been only abstract theory in the classroom and text,” said Gerald McDermott, a professor of religion at RC who is leading the May Term to Greece.