Advertisements for Winter Session travel courses have covered the windows of buildings across campus all semester long. A number of professors have also been advertising such courses in their classes. I have been unable to escape messages telling me to travel and expand my horizons. Amongst the travel opportunities being offered over winter session is a psychology course venturing to Europe, a communication course going to Disney World and an English and theater course traveling to New York City. Hearing about all of these opportunities caused me to question how they could impact options on campus.
While such courses offer exciting prospects, they cost large sums of money that not everyone has the means to cover. Additionally, they are leaving few options for some who lack sufficient resources. I do not discount the importance of offering traveling opportunities to those who have the ability to participate. However, in the areas of study that are offering travel courses, the school should ensure that at least one faculty member remains on campus to teach a course for those staying behind.
Rather than putting such extensive focus on providing opportunities for travel that many lack the means to take advantage of, perhaps we should put more energy into developing affordable Winter Session options on campus. With some areas of study losing a large portion of their faculty to Winter Session expeditions, it would serve to reason that opportunities on campus would become more limited.
A great majority of the school’s psychology professors are participating in the class traveling to Europe, leaving few to no faculty members on campus to teach. Thus, psychology majors that are unable to travel over winter session are prevented from making continued progress towards graduation. Winter Session should be an opportunity for all to get ahead in their general studies requirements as well as the requirements of their major, not simply the elite few who are fortunate enough to travel.
It is true that students in need can receive funding through the Lighthouse. However, scholarships can range from $500 to $2000 based on financial need as well as the course’s relevance to the student’s area of study. If a student is rewarded a mere $500 scholarship, they still may lack the ability to cover the difference. Making up the difference is a large concern when the cost of travel courses can range from approximately $1000 to $3000.
Ultimately, it is my opinion that in its attempt to encourage national and global exploration among students, the school is simultaneously leaving behind a large portion of the campus population. While I believe travel courses are a great opportunity for students and should certainly still continue to be offered during winter session, more alternatives should be offered for the majority who are unable to take advantage of such opportunities. We should make an effort to compensate for the faculty that’s traveling and still offer courses on campus for those in majors traveling over Winter Session.