Intensive Learning (May Term)
The Intensive Learning Program, commonly called May Term, provides you with a distinctive learning experience in which you and faculty share academic immersion and full-time engagement with a single course.
Intensive Learning courses focus on a topic in ways that are not possible during the regular academic year. First and foremost, they emphasize active student participation. How? By moving beyond lecture to involve students in activities like debates, lab and studio work, field trips, surveys, simulations and reenactments, films, videos, and interactive media.
The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel as well as on-campus courses. Most of these are offered during a three-week term in May. You must complete one Intensive Learning course before you graduate.
This is how we do classes in May
Blake Allen, covered in mineral rich mud, jumps into the Milky Way Lagoon in Palau.
Students in front of Mendenhall Lake and Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.
Students visit Mount Rushmore on the way to a Sioux reservation in South Dakota, where they volunteered and learned about what a life of poverty is like in the United States.
Tyler Mortis displays his catch while fly fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska. His class learned about the principles of economics to the Alaskan economy and its major industries.
A local Arab helps Linnea Kremer with an Arab scarf in Jericho, Israel.
Olivia Karkenny captures a shot of a sea lion in the Gulf of California while in Mexico studying marine biology.
Laura Kielek and Alex Difelice at the Samaria Gorge in Crete, Greece.
Dr. Leslie Warden and her class in Turkey. The students studied Anatolian culture and identity throughout time, exploring Istanbul, Hattusas and Cappadocia to question how shared space can influence the cultures of different ethnic and religious groups over millennia.
Students get dressed up and learn about the local culture in Peru.
Dr. Ivonne Wallace-Fuentes and her class get a group shot in front of the Andes Mountains in Salta, Argentina.
Kaity Diskerud is excited to see the Parthe non in Athens, Greece. The students were in Greece exploring the leisure and sport of ancient Greece.
Alex Grant holds a crab at a farm in Cochin, India.
A local camel keeper took this photo for Dr. Stella Xu and her students in the desert near Dunhuang, China, an ancient oasis town and headquarters of the Silk Road trade for thousands of years.
Students visit Xunantunich, a Mayan ruin site, in Belize.
Students take a picture in front of one the world's most recognizable buildings, the Taj Majal, in India.
Students visit The Great Wall in China while abroad with Dr. Stella Xu.
Kristin Sink and her friends cruising down the Thames River with the London Bridge behind them. The students were in England doing a comparative study of non-American education and international education.
Ariel Bettis is a bit skeptical about trying a local delicacy, a tarantula, in Cambodia.
Students visit a Lutheran church in Slovakia. They visited several countries in Europe to study the political religions of Fascism, Marxism, and Nazism.
Each year we offer 30 or more new on- and off-campus May Term courses on subjects as wide-ranging as "Urbanism in Argentina," "Forensic Chemistry," "Law and Film" and "The Science of Cooking."
From our students' cameras
As part of the Roanoke team that went to the Pacific island nation of Palau in May 2012, Alex DeLaricheliere '13, helped to conduct research on globalization and health. The long-term goal of the team's research was to provide data that would help the local government select the most effective programs to reduce disease rates and increase nutrition and food security.
DeLaricheliere chronicled her experiences in a weekly blog she shared with the campus. "We don't just want to come in, do our thing, tell them what to do, and then leave," she wrote. "We want to do work that will help us create meaningful solutions that the Palauans themselves will actually want to implement. That's the only way we'll change the epidemic of non-communicable diseases that plague so many Palauans."
2017 May Term travel courses
A sampling of this year's travel courses:
- Exploring Ghana through Service
- Tropical Ecology on a Maya Landscape
- Service-Learning and Peacework in Belize
- Pausanias' Grand Tour of Greece
- The American Tourist in Rome
- Cultural Legacies in Contemporary Peru
- Stockholm on the Water
- Desperately Seeking Dragons in Great Britain
- Emerging Adults in Thailand
- Comparative Legal Systems in the United Kingdom
- Seven Thousand Years in Malta
- Arthurian England
- Japan in the Long Twentieth Century