Dec. 15, 2009
January 14, 1969 marked the first day of classes for what was then called the “mini-term”, now referred to as Winter Term. Not only was Winter Term a new initiative at Elon, but it was also when the 4-1-4 academic system was introduced. About 1,300 students were enrolled in the first Winter Term semester, and today over 4500 students are enrolled. The Winter Term semester made it possible for students to get all their exams completed before leaving for the Christmas holiday, and the plan added an extra week of Christmas vacation time. As stated in 1982 by the Academic Dean Chris White, “Winter Term was designed for curricular program needs and to allow the College and faculty to offer a wide variety of special classes not offered during the fall and spring semesters.” (The Pendulum, October 28, 1982)
There have been a variety of interesting courses offered during Winter Term, such as Psychology of Life Adjustment, Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers, Types of Love in Literature, Horsemanship and Introductory Fencing, Rhythms and Dance, French drama, and much more. Winter Term also serves as a time for students to study abroad or take part in an internship. Professors are able to teach classes in more specific areas of their research and interests. Often when students participate in a Winter Term semester, they graduate on time or early due to the extra credit hours.
Over the years, Elon has used Winter Term as a time to invite notable speakers to campus. For example, in 2002 the former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, was on campus and in 2003 David Gergen participated in three lectures and David Halberstam (journalist, author, and historian) also visited campus.
Elon is proud to be one of the few collegiate institutions that offers a Winter Term semester. This short term in the middle of each school year gives students and faculty an opportunity to explore, learn, and challenge themselves in many interesting ways.