Quincy University students reflect on completion of J-term during COVID-19 pandemic

Quincy University added a January term (J-term) for the 2020-2021 academic year. The J-term was offered free of charge for most undergraduate students between the fall and spring semesters and lasted for three weeks. All J-term classes for the 2021 semester were held solely online due to COVID-19.

The three-week stretch of classes started on January 4, 2021 and ended on January 22, 2021, with grades due at noon on January 25, 2021.

QU had planned to introduce the J-term in 2022, but the idea of helping students attain more credits during the current COVID-19 pandemic sparked the early release.

In a release on July 9, 2020, QU President Brian McGee, Ph.D., spoke on how the J-term can benefit students.

“Our new January term will provide a four-year student an extra four courses, the equivalent of a full-time semester, at no additional expense to the student. This is still another way that QU provides extraordinary value to our students,” McGee said.

After the completion of QU’s first ever J-term, students were eager to provide feedback to better the program for years to come.

Rachael Livingston took basic statistics and touched on how the J-term helps her college timeline.

“Taking this additional class gives me the credits to be a semester ahead and plan on graduating a semester early,” Livingston said.

Joseph Niemerg took life science and also noted that the credits he earned would help him to graduate early.

“My major typically takes four and a half years. Hopefully I’ll be able to take a J-term class every year and take some summer classes in order to knock that down to four years. Considering this was a free option, it certainly helped,” Niemerg said.

In regards to having any struggles with registration, students didn’t have any issues.  

Niemerg mentioned words of advice that he was offered when registering.

“My advisor did tell me that I should hurry to register since there were limits and the class was almost full,” Niemerg said.

Livingston related registering for the J-term to how the process normally is.

“I did not have any problems with registering for my class. It was just like registering for other classes, and it went smoothly,” Livingston said.

For the classes themselves, students expressed how they would make improvements.

“I would try to make it more known what classes were offered and have teachers reach out to their class just a little earlier because it felt like we were waiting and not knowing what was going on,” Livingston said. “But once the email was sent, it was all a lot less stressful.”

Julia Liesen completed the business ethics course but noted having a lack of options to choose from.

“I would definitely offer a wider array of classes. There were hardly any that I wanted to take,” Liesen said.

Colby Schulz who completed the life science course, noted the short gap between the J-term and the start of the spring semester.

“It would be very nice if the J-term class did not end so close to the normal semester,” Schulz said. “A little bit of a break would’ve been very nice.”

With positive results from the 2021 J-term, students touched on how they would take advantage of a summer term if it was offered with the same zero-cost format.  

“I would absolutely be interested,” said Niemerg. “Summer break is nice, but it feels like a waste of time in terms of my education. I would love to take classes through QU during the break.”

Liesen also spoke of the advantages with a summer term.

“I love to learn year-round,” Liesen said. “I would actually really like that idea.”

QU is not alone in offering a January term for its students. Elon University, Middlebury College, and New York University also do so.

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