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December 8, 2003

No Prerequisites

Smith's January Interterm Includes Swing Dance, Bridge and Even "Schmoozing 101"

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- After spending an intense semester in the lab, lecture hall and library, most college students are ready for a break. Smith College's January Interterm gives students the opportunity to stretch their minds -- and bodies -- in unexpected directions.

Starting January 5, some 500 Smith students are expected to return to campus after the winter holidays to participate in 44 eclectic, non-credit courses that range from "Burmese Cooking" to "Marionette Puppetry" to "Bridge for Beginners." The courses frequently position students as teachers, faculty members as students and kitchens and dormitory living rooms as classrooms.

"This is one of the things I like best about Interterm," notes Susan Briggs, who coordinates the program. "Students learn so much by teaching that they often express a newfound respect for their faculty members."

This year's roster of classes includes a few to help future graduates brave the rigors of the real world, -- including "Schmoozing 101: How to Meet, Greet and Network Effectively" and "Public Persuasion: Making Your Case in the Media." "Schmoozing," taught by two members of the college's advancement staff, is designed to put participants at ease in social and professional situations and to avoid making faux pas. "Public Persuasion" teaches students how to deal with the media, including writing press releases and conducting interviews.

An important goal of Interterm, Briggs explains, is to encourage students to try new things without risk or prior preparation. Accordingly, the only prerequisite for "Supernatural/Paranormal Phenomena" is an open mind. Co-taught by an astronomer, a philosopher and a psychologist, the class explores astrology, ESP, divination, palm readings and extraterrestrial contact. A live demonstration of psycho-kinesis -- moving objects with the mind -- is a highlight.

Smith sophomore Shengchu ("Chloe") Zhu teaches "Classical Chinese Painting." She considers Chinese painting to be "the most abstract art that balances passion and wisdom, love and calmness." Zhu has studied Chinese painting since she was 11, and she says that, while mastering Chinese painting takes several years, "... this Interterm class is, by all means, an introductory and experimental course."

Kate Lee, who has more than 15 years' experience in the video multimedia industry, teaches "Videography: The Art of Visual Communication."

"The class is open to anyone who is intrigued by the process of designing, recording and editing a video production," Lee says. "Videography provides a tremendous creative outlet, and the production process combines a plethora of creative skills -- writing, music and graphic design -- and allows producers to tell powerful and compelling stories."

Heather Neal, who returned to college after careers in advertising and massage therapy, is offering "Massage, Self-Care and Stress Reduction." She's confident the course will fill a need.

"I can't help but notice postures in students that lead to pain and discomfort," she says. "I hope to teach those who take my class how to be aware of our stress points, our posture and how we use our bodies in repetitive ways," says Neal.

Knitting, already a favorite among many college students, will be taken to the next level by Smith senior Ariadne Nevin in a course titled "Invent a Hat."

"Whether your ideal hat is wild or sedate, coax it out of your imagination," Nevin urges in her course description. Nevin has knitted "God knows how many hats," and hopes to encourage students to lay aside traditional patterns and "have a little more faith in their ability to improvise."

In addition to courses, Interterm also features field trips. Students have the opportunity to see the Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Barber of Seville" at New York's Lincoln Center as well as the provocative Broadway hit "Avenue Q." A trip billed as "Disorder on the Court" will provide tickets and transportation to see the Boston Celtics play the Houston Rockets at Boston's Fleet Center. A film series running throughout Interterm will feature faculty members and administrators -- including Smith President Carol T. Christ -- introducing and discussing their favorite films.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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