Marquette offers inaugural J-Session


Photo by Wire Stock Photo

The university announced an increase of $1,330 for tuition during the 2017-2018 academic school year Jan. 23.

For the first time, Marquette is offering J-Session, or January Session, as an additional option for students to take classes outside of the traditional fall and spring terms.

This inaugural J-Session will run from Dec. 19, 2016, to Jan. 14, 2017, and will offer four online courses and two study abroad courses.

“The overall goal of the January Session is to enhance student opportunities and to promote degree completion,” Dr. Kristy Nielson, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

The J-Session may prove especially useful to three types of students according to Dr. John Su, vice provost of academic affairs.

“Students interested in graduating a semester early by taking advantage of a combination of summer term and J-session courses,” Su said. “Students who have fallen behind their planned graduation timeline, and who can use J-session to catch up; and students whose curricular requirements preclude the opportunity to explore passions outside of their discipline.”

For the pilot year of the program, Marquette is offering six total courses. The four online courses will include ENGL 2010 Literature and Genre; Crafting the Short Story, PHIL 2310 Theory of Ethics, PSYC 3840 The Psychology of Happiness and PURE 1800 Public Relations Principles. The two Marquette faculty-led study abroad courses are HIST 4951 Cuba and the Caribbean: Historical and Contemporary Developments in Cuba and THEO 2951 Theology, Violence and Non-violence in India.

There are no on-campus classroom options  but with enough student demand, Nielson and Su say they hope to expand the J-Session.

“We do hope to the grow the program with an even wider array of courses that meet these same goals over the next several years,” Nielson said. “I can say that we already have enough students enrolled to exceed our expectations for the first year, so it’s going well and seems popular so far.”

Connor Gwinn, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, said he can see the benefits of the J-Session by imagining being a senior in desperate need for more credits to graduate. He said it concerned him there were no classroom sessions, but added that he can see the J-Session’s potential to help busy students like him get ahead and free up their schedules.

“Even if I didn’t need to, in the past I’ve taken summer courses just to stay ahead of the game and make room in my schedule during the year for other service activities or other programs on campus,” Gwinn said. “Whereas if I had a full load, it can be kind of hard to fit in all of those things, and taking a little bit off during those J-Sessions could open up a lot of doors.”

From a study abroad perspective, the J-Session offers many opportunities.

“This allows us to enhance short-term, intensive internship or study abroad opportunities for early or culminating student experiences, where the student may not be able to spend an entire semester or summer doing it,” Nielson said.

Ris Baumhardt, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, expressed interest in the study abroad opportunity the J-Session provides for those in strictly-structured majors.

“I actually really like this option because with my particular major and some other majors, I’m not allowed to study abroad during the summer or full school year terms. So this, a time to study abroad over a break, would be really great,” she said.

Other universities have programs similar to the J-Session like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s version, Winterim.

“Having it at Marquette allows our students to have some of the same advantages that other schools provide,” Nielson said.

Tuition for the J-Session will be charged per credit for the summer tuition rate, $710 per credit hour. Students can still register for J-Session classes through CheckMarq. According to Nielson, the enrollment numbers are encouraging.