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Loyola University New Orleans Launches J-Term

By Loyola University on Tue, 12/15/2020 - 16:28

All coursework will be related to topics of diversity, equity and inclusion

(New Orleans – December 14, 2020) At a critical time in our nation’s history, Loyola University New Orleans launches its first-ever optional J-Term, with all coursework related to topics tied to race, equity, and inclusion. The J-term offers a wide variety of interesting classes in an immersive learning environment during a two-week session from January 4 through January 15.

The program has been carefully designed to help students study social issues intensively from the perspectives of different disciplines, and is offered free to all currently enrolled undergraduates, who will receive three college credits upon completion of the voluntary program.

“Given the disruption caused by the pandemic, we wanted to give our students a chance to catch up or get ahead on classes during the winter break. The new January term gives us a meaningful way to keep our students moving forward and on track toward graduation, while providing them a critical look at issues facing us all today,” said President Tania Tetlow. 

The brief January term, known in higher education circles as “J-Term,” helps the university to live out its Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence and creates an incubator that quickly adds significant new additions to the curriculum that respond to student calls for more diversity in course offerings, said Carol Ann MacGregor, Vice Provost. 

The J-Term also allows Loyola to offer to undergraduates some courses taught by faculty who traditionally only teach in graduate and law programs. More than half of the courses are offered by Loyola faculty who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

Students will tackle meaty topics such as race and mass incarceration, the “own voices” movement in young adult literature, race and justice in literature, experiences and representation of people of color in the media, health disparities, diversity in science (“Why aren’t there more women and people of color in STEM fields?”), the Say Her Name movement, Black Heroes and Black Respectability politics, forms of difference in the Middle Ages, and environmental justice and equity – particularly, here in New Orleans.

The courses, offered at the undergraduate level, span different subject areas and are offered in different modalities—some online, some HyFlex, some in person. Many are electives and some, where noted, meet core requirements as experimental offerings.
During the pandemic, the two-week session can help any students in need of an additional class to catch up or get ahead. Students tightly bound by courses related to their majors will have an opportunity to pursue a timely and relevant elective connected to their interests.  

Each course for the new program was hand selected by a committee that included Cheyenne Williams, chief diversity officer of the Loyola Student Government Association; Loyola Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Dr. Kedrick Perry; members of the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and faculty and administrators from across the university. 

“Loyola has historically demonstrated a commitment to being an institution where social justice takes center stage,” said Dr. Kedrick Perry, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. “J-Term reflects that we don’t shy away from those difficult, yet necessary, discussions and debates that are centered on race, class, and inclusion and that impact our campus and nation.”