Experiential education courses offered during J-Term 2018

Experiential education courses offered during J-Term 2018 

Dec. 20, 2017

Learning by experience is valued by the Maryville College community, and January Term, or “J-Term” as it is more commonly known, helps guarantee that students are given opportunities for up-close, hands-on experience and reflection.

Classes during this three-week academic session occur between the fall and spring semesters and typically begin on the Monday following New Year's Day. Since the length of the term is compressed, classes are longer and more frequent (generally between 9 a.m. and noon each day) for more intense and concentrated study.

Students enroll in one course during J-Term and usually earn three credit hours, which are applied toward general education requirements. Off-campus trips scheduled as part of course syllabi can last an afternoon or two weeks and can take students places as near as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or as far away as the Dominican Republic.

A variety of experiential education courses are being offered to students in January 2018, including: 

Sounds of Appalachia with Dr. Jay Clark
Presented by a professional Appalachian musician, students will experience the cultural richness of the musical traditions of the Southern Appalachian region. Students will learn about the history and traditions that influence American music and culture and become knowledgeable about the various styles, rhythms, instruments and sounds associated with the music from Southern Appalachia. Content will be presented via lectures, demonstrations, and live performances from professional artists.

Wilderness Medicine: Search and Rescue (Topics: Wilderness First Aid with Mr. Bruce Guillaume)
Imagine that someone sustains an injury during a recreational activity. How should the injury be treated and how should the individual be transported  to enable the best outcome? Unfortunately, accidents happen. This course is beneficial for anyone participating in outdoor activities. Students will gain both the theoretical and practical application of skills needed to participate effectively in search and rescues. (This course provides information needed to take the certification examination for Wilderness First Responder)

Hoof to Heart with Kim Henry
Winston Churchill once remarked that “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person.” Nowhere is this more evident than with equine assisted therapy modalities. As highly sensitive social animals who possess a profound awareness of nonverbal communication, horses mirror human thoughts and feelings and provide immediate feedback to people who interact or attempt to interact with them. This dynamic creates a rich opportunity to use the horses’ sensitivity as an avenue toward emotional growth and development for children and adults. This course introduces participants to the healing power of the horse in grief counseling and will provide hands-on experiences for personal skill discovery, effective evaluation techniques and activity ideas associated with the value and benefits of equine assisted grief counseling. The class meets both on campus, as well as the Mane Support facility located within minutes of the College. 

Greek and Roman Mythology with Ted Higgs
Designed to enhance cultural literacy through the discussion and examination of the content and nature of myth, this course will familiarize students with the characters, themes and patterns of Greek and Roman mythologies. As the course progresses, the students will develop an in-depth understanding of the nature and function of myth in human society and, by the completion of the course, have developed an understanding of the cultural context from which classical myth arose, its appearance in literature and art, and the effect it has had on Western literature, art, religion and philosophy. Activities include film analyses, a museum trip, and development and display of myth-inspired pieces of art. 

Words and the Land: Creating Literature from Nature with Kim Trevathan
Presented by the author of Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland and Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water, the course provides an opportunity to explore creative writing in different genres in response to themes or issues that emerge from thoughtful interactions with the natural world. Activities will include easy to moderate hikes in the Smoky Mountains and other areas in the region. Students will transfer these experiences into a final project of poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction and will engage in activities that promote reflection, discussion and thoughtful criticism.

Action and Advocacy with Jordan Conerty
This course focuses on working with the homeless in Blount County and explores the complex issues of hunger and homelessness. Students will engage in hands-on learning at local community agencies and will explore service motivations, community organizing and coalition building, as well as political policy and nonprofit business models. Time in the classroom and the community will provide students with the opportunity to gather information, deepen their understanding of community issues, and to challenge previously held perspectives and assumptions.

The Road to Justice with Dr. Anne McKee
Incorporating a significant regional travel component, students will focus on a particular social justice issue that affects the lives of people in the United States. Topics begin with a focus on civil rights and will include analyses related to human rights issues related to food, shelter, health care, protection from violence and other relevant topics. The course incorporates day trips, as well as six days of travel to destinations that include Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery and Nashville.

Human Relationships with Bruce Holt
Emphasizing the importance of relationships as the best predictor of life satisfaction, this course will explore the theories, research and applications that promote relationship success. Gender differences in expectations about romantic relationships will be addressed as well as characteristics of siblings, parents and platonic relationships.

Group enjoys J-Term Abroad

There is also a study abroad option for J-Term 2018: 

Dominican Republic with Dr. Frances Henderson and Dr. Doug Sofer
Diversity defines the Dominican Republic with influences of European, African, and Native Caribbean cultures. Its political history reflects its complexity as reflected by more than three centuries of colonial rule that finally let to independence in 1865. Over the next decades, the fragile young republic fell under U.S. political sway and experienced multiple U.S. invasions in the 20th century. This precarious political situation facilitated three decades of military rule. These historical influences remain evident today in the country’s complex cultural landscape. Long after independence, Dominicans still have an uneasy relationship with Haiti, as well as with a large population of Haitian-Dominican immigrant laborers who have been targets of racism violence perpetrated by many Dominicans and the national government, even as many other Dominicans endeavor to aid these new neighbors and help integrate them into society. Students will learn about these complex cultural influences as well as the complexity of  the republic’s social, political and economic relationships to the rest of the world and how these relations have changed over time. With emphasis on twentieth century changes, students will experience and reflect upon the Dominican Republic’s geographic and cultural diversity with emphasis on comparing life in the various cities and towns with that of life in the sugar-producing areas known as bateys.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.