Jan Term is a unique monthlong session held each January in which every Saint Mary's College undergraduate explores a single topic in great depth and at an accelerated pace, featuring a unique blend of opportunities on and off campus. Jan Term classes are intentionally nondepartmental, to free students from feeling they should be fulfilling departmental requirements.  Students are encouraged to be bold in their choices and explore new topics. This year, five SEBA faculty participated in teaching the following JanTerm courses:

Jack Cassidy – When Worldviews Collide: Science and Religion on the Question of God
Both religion and science seek to provide answers to the “existential questions,” e.g. diverse questions of universal appeal that remain extraordinarily relevant to our personal lives and our contemporary social and moral crises: Does God exist? How did the universe originate? Why do we suffer? What is the remedy for suffering? Is there meaning and purpose to our existence? What is love? We will consider the different viewpoints on these questions of a number of authorities on science and religion, such as Albert Einstein, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Pope John Paul II, Robert Frost, Charles Darwin, and Isaac Newton. In particular, we will examine the contrasting worldviews of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, both of whom rejected the faith of their childhood and became atheists. Lewis eventually abandoned atheism and embraced Christianity. Freud did not. Our question: Why?

Kris Chase – Personal Finance for Life
How can you make sure you have the resources for a fulfilling life that incorporates your values? Wise personal financial management is one part of the answer. This course will investigate the role of finance in our personal lives: how it enables us to save for the future, draw on income we expect to have in the future, and lower the financial risks we all face. Students will investigate the role of credit, insurance, budgeting and investment in personal financial management, using tools that apply to individuals as well as companies, non-profits and governments. Using principles that will benefit you throughout your life, emphasis in this course will be on the choices faced by college students as they transition into independent lives: how to evaluate good vs. bad choices among car or student loans, credit cards or mortgages; What to do about savings, especially when you don’t think you have that much money to save; what types of insurance help you really reduce risk and protect you; what to do when your employer offers you options to save for retirement.Students will be responsible for real-world investigations of insurance, loans, savings and investment options, along with the analysis of the costs and benefits of what you find.

Tom Cleveland – Global Entrepreneurship
Inspiration is a term aptly applied to the innovation phase of entrepreneurship. The US and countries, developed and developing, see entrepreneurship as the major economic and cultural growth potential in their countries. Students will take field trips, hear speakers, and see videos of global entrepreneurship in China, India, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the US to learn how these countries are encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activities. One particular innovative tour will be a field trip and presentation by a local Oakland global tea company that is certified as a green and sustainable product. A video of their growing and harvesting the tea leaves activities in China, Laos, and Viet Nam will be presented. Another field trip will be to an international restaurant whose and owner and chef has worked for famous owners such as Wolfgang Puck and Thomas Keller (French Laundry). The local owner and chef will describe what it takes to be a global entrepreneurial restaurant owner.A field trip to Silicon Valley will be part of the global entrepreneurship program. Groups in the class will present six current Harvard Business Review articles and other published articles to the rest of the class. This will be a fast-paced course on the inspiration and perspiration needed to make the entrepreneurial innovation successful.

Asbjorn Moseidjord – Modern Financial Markets: A Multimedia Exploration
The course aims to provide a basic understanding of how modern financial markets have evolved, how they work, and their strengths and weaknesses. Particular attention will be paid to the sometimes strange and destructive behaviors that are associated with these markets. At worst, these create cycles of manias, panics, and crashes.  The course should therefore appeal to students who are interested in human behavior when large--and sometimes enormous--economic values are at stake.Specific topics included in the class are: the emergence of money and financial markets, the nature of securities (stocks, bonds, and derivatives), price determination in the markets, speculative behaviors, bubbles, manipulation and scams, successful strategies, and more. The multimedia approach taken in this course entails use of multiple avenues to develop the major themes: movies, video clips, real time access to financial markets and related internet resources, speakers, seminar style discussions, and regular lectures.  

Virginia Smith - Inspiring Women in the World of Work
Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook, recently said that “women must take responsibility for their careers and not blame men for holding them back.” We will hear from her and other voices in Education, Entertainment, Science, Medicine, Law, Politics, Publishing, Sports and more. What are the challenges women face and the rewards they enjoy? Why, in 2012, are WOMEN PAID 77 CENTS TO EVERY $1 PAID TO A MAN? Whether it’s the Amandas, the Kardashians, Hillary Clinton or Sandra Day O’Connor, let’s examine today’s world of work for women with live speakers, their written word and field trips to places where women are thriving and/or running the show, such as FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, CHEVRON, or MCGRAIL VINEYARDS. Students will keep a journal, interview inspiring women and write a final paper about these women. Click here for a recap article about this course!

For more information about JanTerm and a list of courses offered, click here.

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