Intersession. What’s That???


I’ve got to be honest guys. This is my least favorite time of year.


The holidays are over, it’s getting cold, and life on campus is…well…dead. I miss the hustle and bustle of student activity on campus, and I miss seeing the students who work in our office.


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When people ask me to describe Grove City College, I use phrases like “faith seeking”, “strong community”, “driven, ambitious learners.” All words that describe people, not a place. Without students, the College is just bricks and grass.


As I was sadly staring out of my office window the other day, I spotted a young man with a backpack walking on campus. I suddenly lit up and yelled to the rest of the team, “Guys there’s a student on campus. You know what that means? Intersession!”


You’re probably thinking, intersession? What’s that???


I’m glad you asked. Intersession is a two week period in between semesters (January and May), during which students can focus on one class. This is an optional opportunity for students who are trying to make room in their normal semester schedules. Often students who are completing a double major or minors will take advantage of these courses which meet for four hours Monday-Saturday during the two week period. Most of the classes offered are either popular classes for the general education requirements or classes from the Humanities Core.


Sometimes professors will offer unique classes that are not offered during the normal semester.  Here are just a couple being offered this January Intersession:


Global Austen”—are you an Austen lover? You need to take this course if you are! The class, “studies five of the six complete novels of Jane Austen and places those works in multiple historical contexts: the Intellectual background of the Scottish Enlightenment; eighteenth-century epistolary and Gothic novels; and the Romantic-era poets who were Austen’s contemporaries” (from course description). The class is taught by Dr. Moore, an expert in 19th century British Literature.


Essential Literature for Biologist”—are you the type that loves both the sciences and the humanities? This class will feed both your literary and scientific curiosities. Taught by Dr. Barton, who specializes in genetics and disease ecology, “this course is designed to introduce students to the seminal works that serve as the foundation for the broad sub-fields of biology. Students will read 12-14 books (or excerpts from books) and critique these works in terms of their contributions to both modern biology and contemporary society” (from course description).


When I was a student, I took Civilization: Speculative Mind, one of the Humanities Core classes, during a May Intercession. Speculative Mind is the class that studies all of the current worldviews and analyzes them. The class required me to think deeply about my own worldview and come to solid conclusions about what I think and believe. I was really grateful that I didn’t have to interrupt my thinking on this topic to address concerns that I would have during the normal semester such as material from other classes or meetings for the clubs and organizations I was part of. That class shaped the way I think about my relationship to God, man, and creation.


As a students, Intersession was a great way to make space in my schedules for more classes and an opportunity to focus on a particular subject. For me now, it means that life is restored to campus!


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