By James Bonner
At the end of the fall semester, most students look forward to a break from schoolwork and a time for relaxation. However, some students prefer to take classes during the winter term to get ahead or to catch up.
During the 2019 winter term, 10 undergraduate courses were offered, according to the LIU website, including Introduction to Philosophy, taught by Shawn Welnak, Sociology of Aging, taught by Eric Lichten, and Introduction to American Politics, taught by Sheldon Rothman. The winter term ran from Jan. 7 to Jan. 18.
Welnak is the assistant professor of philosophy and director of the Institute for Study of Democracy and Liberalism. Because the winter term offers less time to teach the materials, there are challenges in teaching what would normally be a semester’s worth of information in two weeks, he said. “The first challenge is knowing when a course is going to run.” Winter term courses usually have less students. According to Welnak, “across the university they’re small, not a lot of students take winter courses.”
Welnak selected Nietzsche as the topic of discussion for his course. “On the first day of class I just had a copy of the text for everyone. I selected Nietzsche because he’s so playful, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ is like a novel and has a compelling story.” This allowed for his class of six students to be engaged through the class’ four hour time frame. Because the winter term is so short, “missing one class would be the equivalent of missing two weeks of class,” Welnak said.
Johnny Schishkoff Jr., a sophomore political science major, took Welnak’s class, and found it to be a positive experience. “A four-hour class seemed tough at first; but as it started up, the class became more fun by the day.”