J-Term Uncertainty Eliminated

Posted on December 7th, 2006 by

Some students had been concerned about the future of two courses that are offered in alternate January Terms: MCS-233 (Discrete Math for Elementary Education) and MCS-358 (Mathematical Model Building). Thanks to actions by the College’s Curriculum Committee at its November 29th and December 6th meetings, those two courses will continue to be offered as in the past. MCS-233 will continue to count for the mathematics concentration within the Elementary Education major and MCS-358 will continue to count for all the majors and minors offered by the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. (Background follows.)

The College adopted a policy that January courses cannot be used toward majors or minors, unless approved for a policy exemption. (My understanding of the goal of the policy was to reinforce the message that January courses are a distinct category from semester courses, equally valuable but different in kind.) This brought the two existing MCS courses into doubt. Until the recent Curriculum Committee actions, these two courses were continuing under temporary approvals with their permanent status left open. When students expressed concern about their planning, my message has always been that we would find a way forward that would not disadvantage them. The recent permanent exemptions granted by the Curriculum Committee represent such a way forward. They were granted because the MCS Department demonstrated that each of these courses would contain strong experiential components and make important of the special opportunities provided by January Term.


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