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January Opportunities at Smith

It must be January. The Smith campus is relatively deserted, the pace decidedly more relaxed, class schedules markedly reduced, and fewer faculty members to be seen.

But for those still on campus -- staff members, faculty and a handful of students -- the January Interterm Program provides an opportunity to pursue some pastimes they can’t fit in at other times of the year.

The Interterm Program, now in its eighth year, is a series of non-credit courses taught by Smith community members -- students, staff, faculty, alumnae and associates. This year’s program, which runs through Friday, January 27, offers three dozen weeklong courses and several one-day workshops that might entice the fringe curiosities of those still on campus.

Consider some of the titles: “Handbells: How Not to Ring Wrong,” “Mythology of Wales and Ireland,” and “Basic Cooking and Special Secret Tips.” Of course, the perennially popular course “Basic Home Repairs,” taught by Stan “the-Fixit-Man” Pollack, is again crowded with enrollees.

Scott Johnson, coordinator of the Smith Outdoor Program, who will teach “Lead Rock Climbing” from January 23 through 27, says teaching Interterm courses provides a chance to work with different students that he doesn’t meet during the school year. “I love teaching J-term courses,” he says. “It’s a way to teach some more specifically creative or advanced skills to students who are interested.”

His course, which he is teaching for the second time, will guide students through top-rope rock climbing skills, a technique in which an anchor is secured above the climber and acts as protection against falling as the climber ascends a rock face. The course will also teach lead belaying techniques.

Johnson says the Interterm time frame is ideal for this type of intense training. “During the shorter Interterm course, I am able to specialize a bit more,” he says. “Once the climbing wall was built [in Ainsworth Gym], I began to get more requests for learning to lead climb. Interterm is a perfect time to be able to accommodate those folks. It took a few years to build interest. Now we have a ton of climbers at Smith!”

On deck for future Interterms, Johnson says: international mountaineering trips.

Also as part of the Interterm Program, the Career Development Office offers job-search workshops, and the Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching and Learning hosts a series of workshops.

And from January 10 through 26, the Interterm Film Series offers a lineup of thought-provoking screenings, each preceeded by discussions led by faculty members and administrators. Titles in this year’s series include Blade Runner, Burden of Dreams, and the John Sayles films Sunshine State, Men With Guns, Matewan and Eight Men Out.

For more details on the Interterm Program, consult

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