Taylor University looks a little different in January.
While many students will stay home and enjoy an extended winter break, others return and will likely be taking one course which they will complete over the span of just one month.
J-Term is a great chance to take unique courses that would not normally be offered in the fall or spring. It also provides an opportunity to experiment with classes that are fun or traditionally out of the wheelhouse of many students.
It also allows faculty to teach on some of their passions.
Natalie Bussell, operations manager for Taylor University online, teaches yoga as a kinesiology credit this J-Term.
Bussell started doing yoga by herself about six years ago as a form of exercise. Reflecting on her experience, she realized that her anxiety and stress levels had reduced as a result of practicing yoga.
She has been teaching others as a licensed yoga therapist ever since, but 2022 was the first year Taylor offered yoga as an accredited course.
“I think they (students who take Bussell’s class) walk away knowing themselves a little bit better and getting to know their bodies a little bit better,” Bussell said.
While some students will be practicing yoga during J-Term, others will be getting a chance to learn more about audio and visual skills as they take Audio Visual Technologies in the Church.
This course is taught by Michael Fletcher, media services lead analyst. Fletcher started teaching this class around 2005. It started as a course designed for the worship arts major but has since been opened up to include students from any major.
Students who take this class will have the opportunity to help out with media functions for chapel services and will receive hands-on experience as they engage behind the scenes.
The main goal of this course is to give people the basic skills to help out with audio and visual technologies involved with running a church service.
“It doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of knowledge of being able to turn on the system, whether it’s sound or be(ing) able to get lyrics up or something like that. It’s good to have a little bit of base knowledge on this,” Fletcher said.
There are, of course, many other classes being offered this J-Term, but for more adventure-seeking students, there are also plenty of trips and study-abroad opportunities during the month as well.
The Film and Media Arts Department offers a course in which students receive course credits to travel to Park City, Utah and attend the Sundance Film Festival.
Those who are not film and media arts majors can still partake in this course, instead receiving credit for the foundational core aesthetic literacy requirement.
Senior Cullen Carrera went on this trip last year and has fond memories of his time at the festival.
His favorite part of the trip was when they met with the Windrider Forum, a group of Christian colleges and seminaries that go to the festival together and facilitate thoughtful conversations.
“I rarely have seen a group of Christians engage in society and culture with such a humble manner,” Carrera said.
Another trip offered during J-Term is the Literary London trip which meets students’ foundational core credit for literature.
This study abroad experience allows students to travel to London and several other locations in the United Kingdom that shaped the British literature they read and engage with on the trip.
Junior Grace Johnson, who is currently studying at Oxford University, loved her time on the Literary London trip.
“It was so much fun to visit all the places that are special to me as an English major,” Johnson said.
While Literary London is certainly special for English majors, all majors can experience the arts and views of London.
J-Term trips and classes give students the chance to broaden their horizons, whether they are overseas or not.
January may not see as much life on campus as the spring or fall semester, but students are able to make lifelong memories whether they’re on campus, on a trip or enjoying their extended winter break.