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HWS Adds a May Semester

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Maymester, a new intensive academic summer course beginning May 2014, is designed for students ending their first year who find themselves, for many different reasons, behind the normal progress toward a degree.

Conceived by William Smith Dean and Professor of History Susanne McNally, Maymester "is not a typical summer course, but a wide-ranging, intensive academic experience designed to support success at the Colleges," McNally says. "Maymester offers intellectually stimulating exposure to the interdisciplinary thinking central to an HWS education."

Maymester addresses several of the Eight Curricular Goals and provides expert residential support to strengthen research, analytical and writing skills. The course also provides a chance to explore personal interests and deepens each student's connection to HWS and the context in which the Colleges have evolved.

Beginning May 18, 2014, Maymester offers 24 students the opportunity to live on campus while enrolled in the new interdisciplinary course, "Geneva in Time: Environment and Society," which introduces different but related subjects for four consecutive weeks.

"In one way or another, Geneva faces many of the same environmental and social problems as the rest of the world," McNally says. "This course explores local expressions of global problems, and how those problems are interconnected."

Taught by Professor of Biology Elizabeth Newell, the first week of Maymester will focus on the Finger Lakes natural environment. Through reading and field experience, students will examine the diverse ecologies of Geneva and the surrounding areas.

Under McNally's guidance in the second week, students will use the lens of history to investigate how the food systems of the indigenous Iroquois and of incoming European settlers interacted at the local and then, tragically, at the military levels.

John Marks, Geneva Historical Society curator and adjunct instructor of history, leads the third week session, examining Geneva's increasing integration into the emerging global economic system in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In the course's final week, Professor of Sociology Jack Harris will engage students in an active sociological understanding of Geneva's present and future, through interviews, service learning projects and reflection.

"Each week will be intense," says Harris. "What we do not have in time we will make up in rigorous focus."

Students who have or will have one or more outstanding credit hours on their transcript, and who are in good social standing, may apply to Maymester.

Brochures with more information on program cost, financial aid, housing and the application/selection process are available in the Hobart and William Smith Deans' offices.

Application forms may also be picked up at the Hobart or William Smith Deans' offices. The deadline for application will be Friday, April 18 at 5 p.m.

 


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