Department News

New term allows for diverse classes
  • By Connor Moriarty
  • CAS Intern
  • JRN '16

As one of the largest departments in the College of Arts & Science, students and faculty of the Department of Media, Journalism & Film (MJF) are fully utilizing the extra three weeks of winter break.

According to the Department Chairman Richard Campbell, MJF offers a total of 26 courses and programs, more than any other department in the College of Arts & Science. They range from sports reporting classes to immersion workshop trips to New York City and Hollywood.

Offered classes can be both on campus and online, giving students flexibility to enjoy their longer winter break while fulfilling credits at the same time. Campbell supports the still new J-Term and points out the unique opportunities that it brings along, especially for MJF.

“[J-Term] is a great way for us to experiment with new courses and programs,” Campbell said. “…It provides various other opportunities like giving students a chance to catch up with their credits.”

Before the first extended winter term, according to Campbell, it was predicted that about 1,000-1,500 students would show interest in J-Term courses. By the time January came around, more than 3,000 students were enrolled in MJF classes.

This popularity and demand for the courses showed Campbell that there was a much larger opportunity here than expected, therefore allowing further experimentation with classes that may not be offered during the regular term.

The entertainment industry workshop Inside Hollywood run by Professor Howard Kleiman, for example, was previously only offered during the summer. But thanks to heavy demand, a second trip to the West Coast is now offered during J-Term, providing workshop access to twice as many students.

NYC Media

Similarly, MJF offers a workshop called New York City Media run by Senior Lecturer Patricia Newberry. NYC Media gives students experience with media in the Big Apple and is only offered during the winter term.

Thanks to this extended break, students can now spend three weeks of their vacation studying in the country’s largest city.

But perhaps one of the most popular additions to MJF’s curriculum due to the extended term is the offering of online courses. Specialized Journalism (JRN 350), for example, differs depending on when it is being taught and who is teaching it.

This winter, two versions of the course are offered, Photojournalism, taught by Professor Sacha Bellman, and Sports Reporting, taught by Clinical Professor Joe Sampson.

Specialized Journalism, along with various other online journalism and assorted media and film courses, have been well received due to the unique things they can offer according to Campbell. Sampson’s Sports Reporting class is no exception.

“Online classes give students and faculty the ability to do classes that may not be feasible during the full semester term,” Sampson said. “For example, I don’t think I could teach Sports Journalism over the span of 15 weeks. But three condensed weeks is perfect.”

According to class evaluations, Sampson’s online course received positive feedback from last winter. According to Campbell, such feedback is similar to the dozens of other classes offered over J-Term.

These various courses and workshops offered during the winter term come at high demand according to Campbell, therefore allowing MJF to make more money to use for updated equipment and facilities. Before the existence of J-Term, money flow this time of the year was non-existent.

“We are able to use this money for departmental development of specialized courses and workshops, to update equipment, and even for scholarships,” Campbell said.

Such scholarships give more future students the chance to partake in these very opportunities that are raising the money over J-Term in the first place.

Overall, Campbell and other professors in the department remain positive about the extended term going into the second year of its implementation. Compared to last year, more classes are offered and more students are enrolled.

“It is one of the best things the department could have asked for,” Campbell said.