Financial aid meets Winter Term, maybe


DePauw is full of change right now. Between building renovations and new initiatives for the School of Music. students are unable to escape the changes around them. The most controversial changes happening now, however, are those happening to Winter Term.
DePauw University administrators have considered changes to Winter Term, but are still in conversation about the specifics. Their core goal, however, remains the melding of individual student's experiences.
"What's started is closer integration between the really good things happening at the Hubbard Center and what's happening with the academic programs," said Dave Berque, DePauw's dean of academic life.
This integration, according to Berque, helps students make the most of their four years at DePauw. Raj Bellani, DePauw's dean of experiential learning and career planning, expounded on Berque's vision.
"I hope on the day they graduate they have seven amazing choices ahead of them," Bellani said.
These choices, according to Bellani, can range from graduate or professional school, employment or to starting their own business or not for profit. Both, however, point to building an individual plan for each student. They want students to grow and develop both in and out of the classroom.
"Think of every year scaffolding on each other," Bellani said.
Both Berque and Bellani agree students must look at the entire experience starting with specialized courses that cater to their individual needs and pair them with worthwhile off-campus experiences.
In November, The DePauw, reported that a committee of administrators and faculty members had all but approved changes to Winter Term that would shorten the term to two weeks. Even though the final plans can still be revised at a full faculty conference in February, Berque outlined the current proposal. The revised Winter Term would include an option for students to take more intensive half-credit courses that can be applied to the 31.5 credits required for graduation. Another possibility is lowering required courses from three to two.
Further, the administration wants to place more of an emphasis on financial aid to support off-campus learning for all students.These evolutions are meant not to lessen the student experience according to Berque and Bellani, but rather to enhance it.
"We've benefited from student input, and we've benefited from faculty input. I think it's an exciting change," Berque said.
He believes this new proposal will make Winter Term a more integral part of student growth. Further, Bellani believes this would create more choices for students.
According to both Bellani and Berque, these choices, often hampered by a lack of financial support, will be amplified in the new proposal.