Dialogues of Innovation: The January Term

Students attend presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Formally titled the Dialogues of Innovation, but more commonly known as the January Term, or J-Term, this mini-term is all about creative learning through special projects, study abroad and internships.

The Dialogues of Innovation is a specially designed educational component that provides intensive and innovative learning experiences outside the traditional academic setting. The goal of the Dialogues of Innovation is to provide students with exciting experiences that expand and deepen their understanding of their major, or another field that interests them.

The January Term

During the four undergraduate years, students will successfully complete one course in each January Term that will focus on innovative ideas, topics and experiential learning opportunities. The J-Term curriculum consists of a variety of interdisciplinary offerings and also includes opportunities for internships, workshops and other forms of experiential learning.

Students have had the opportunity, during the J-Term, to take such imaginative classes as:

  • performing an off-Broadway production in New York City.
  • studying and attending the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C..
  • interning with the ESPN X Games in Aspen.
  • learning how to start a business on a shoestring budget.
  • studying the connections between humans and the Atlantic ocean.
  • discovering what it’s really like to be a teacher in the school system.

Symposium on Innovation

During the January Term, the university offers a Symposium on Innovation, which includes theorists and practitioners who are actively involved in creating new ideas, approaches and practices in their respective fields. Students are able to interact with influential and innovative speakers on campus during this time. Past speakers and topics include renowned futurist Andrew Zolli, who spoke with students about exploring the road ahead through excellence and innovation; Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, Inc. Blake Mycoski, who shared with students ideas about how they can make a difference in the world through business and other endeavors; respected author and Professor of Politics and African American studies Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who discussed the significance of race in U.S. politics; and political analyst Daniel Silke, who engaged students in a dialogue about emerging democracies in South Africa.

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