Guidelines for Jan Term On-Campus Proposals '22

Thinking of proposing an on-campus course for Jan 2022? Read this first!


Guidelines for January Term Courses

For planning purposes, the application questions may be found here.

Proposals must come through the official online form.


Instruction Time

Because January Term courses receive 3.5 units of transfer credit, at least 10 hours per week of formal classroom instruction is an absolute requirement. (Please factor in at least double time for laboratory, fieldwork and studio activity.) The ten hours of formal classroom instruction does not count preparation, writing essays, viewing films, etc. The last point deserves repeating: viewing of films, like reading in preparation for class, should not count as class time.

Normally, January Term classes meet four days per week, though that is not an absolute requirement. Justified exceptions to this schedule may be approved by the January Term Committee. Classes meeting five days per week may be held in any time slot, though the late afternoon time for those classes is often unpopular with students.

The course proposal form includes a section on time preference and room needs. If space allows, more extended time slots for studio or lab courses may be arranged by calling the Jan Term Office and the Registrar. Media rooms and computer labs are always in great demand, and we try to assign them on a first-come basis provided you need ALL the technology in the room. The Registrar's Office does their best to match instructors with the best possible room for their class, but you should plan on being as flexible as possible.


Upper & Lower Divisions

For a class to be listed as upper-division it must meet particular standards developed by the Curriculum Committee. Upper-division courses are characterized by at least two of the following criteria:

  • Require college-level prerequisite classes.
  • Focus on a particular topic or require an in-depth study of a subject rather than a survey or introduction.
  • Require that the necessary introductory study has been completed.
  • Demand a readiness and maturity characteristic of students with successful prior college experience, with skills in reading, writing, and discussion of demonstrable rigor and complexity.
  • Include course objectives that entail high levels of cognitive, affective or psychomotor achievement.

Each instructor offering a lower-division course is asked to reserve at least five places for first-year students. First-Year only classes are welcome.


No Fulfillment of Major Requirements

Jan Term courses are intended to be non-departmental and may not be used to satisfy other requirements. A course may be given a departmental designation only by special approval of the Jan Term Committee for specific and extraordinary reasons. Hence, unless a course is approved to have such a departmental designation, a course's title should not be identical to or interpretable as being the same as one offered for departmental credit in a regular semester.

  • Course descriptions must be complete and accurate.
  • Prior January Term course student evaluations are considered in the review of proposals.
  • Travel class proposals must meet the specified criteria set by the Committee. Travel courses must be designed for early registration, usually the last week of September.
  • All courses should require a formal writing assignment and either a final project/exam or final essay. 
  • Adjunct and part-time faculty members: Please be aware that the January Term Committee makes recommendations about individual courses, but that the authorization for any part-time person to teach must come from your respective Dean. Our invitation for you to submit course proposals, therefore, does not constitute any sort of contractual authorization. If you wish to clarify your status further before submitting a proposal, please contact your Dean's office, but be advised that decisions on accepting requests by part-time faculty to teach in January often cannot be made for some months.


Guidelines for SMC Staff Proposers

Staff members are required to obtain written approval from their supervisor before submitting any proposal to the Jan Term Office. This written approval must include details on whether teaching is part of the staff person's job description. This written approval must be sent directly to the Jan Term Director upon submission of a course proposal.

The following guidelines are found in the SMC Staff Handbook:

2.11.2 Teaching by Staff

Positions Requiring Teaching

Ordinarily, those exempt and non-exempt staff positions that require teaching of regular or specialized courses are considered to be compensated as part of their base salary. In these cases, it is expected that all teaching duties, including advising, class preparation, instruction, grading and student/administration interactions, will take place during the normal workday.

All timekeeping by non-exempt staff members should always accurately reflect all working time, including staff administrative work and teaching duties time. Any work done beyond 7.5/8 hours in a workday or 37.5/40 hours in a workweek will be paid at the applicable overtime rate of the individual based on the staff position. Attendance reports for teaching must be submitted on the 5th and 20th of each month.

Staff members teaching within their staff position must seek prior supervisor and Human Resources approval before working outside their normal workday, consistent with standard College policies.


Teaching Outside the Staff Position

Staff who are qualified and have been asked to teach a course where some or all of the teaching duties occur outside the staff member’s normal work duties may only do so with the advance approval of their supervisor and Human Resources. In these situations, the teaching staff member will be appointed and compensated as a Lecturer through a separate agreement. The Lecturer status shall not change the at-will status of the staff position.

It is the policy of the College that staff devote their full effort to their primary staff function. For those staff teaching outside of their staff positions, all teaching duties, including advising, class preparation, instruction, grading and student/administration interactions, will take place outside the normal workday, or consistent with a flexible work schedule that is designed to prevent the interference of the separate duties of the regular staff position and the teaching appointment. Supervisors in consultation with Human Resources have the responsibility of determining how and whether the teaching of courses will impact the department and its productivity, and thereafter determining whether such an arrangement may be approved or can be maintained. 


Team-Teaching Protocol

Faculty submitting a Jan Term team-taught course proposal should first consult the Team-Teaching Protocol (section 2.2.4 of the Faculty Handbook) in order to ensure that their proposal meets the administrative criteria for team-teaching. 

If a team-taught course is approved by the JT Committee, the faculty members need to draft an alignment statement that shows the need for a second faculty member according to section 2.2.4 of the Faculty Handbook. These alignment statements are gathered together at the end of the Jan Term Committee's selection process and forwarded to the Vice Provost. The Vice Provost sends their recommendation to the Provost, who makes the final decision. 

For Travel proposals: Jan Term Travel courses must either be team-taught or taught by a single faculty member who is accompanied by a co-traveler. Please review the Co-Traveler Policy and Position Description here before submitting your travel course proposal. 


Course Fees

The College does not permit faculty to collect lab fees "directly " from students on their own -- fees must be billed to the students and collected by the business office. You must charge a course fee if you plan to be reimbursed for expenses such as photocopying, guest speakers, transportation, readers, rentals, entrance fees, office supplies, etc. $5.00 per student is the minimum fee. 

It may be early in your planning for you to have an exact figure in mind to list in the catalog, but please estimate as closely as you can. You will have a chance to confirm or revise that fee by the end of July. Also, please list examples of how you will use the money collected, e.g., photocopying, guest speakers, field trips, video rentals. You must save your receipts to be reimbursed, so please keep track of your expenses.

The January Term office does not reimburse faculty for the purchase of books or DVDs used in their class. If you need additional materials (books or DVDs) purchased for the library to support your January Term class, please let your subject area librarian know. They need adequate time to order, catalog and process books and media before the session begins.  If you are not sure who your librarian is, check out the SMC library website.