New Winter Term Offers Expanded Opportunities for Students

January 26, 2021
Program director Sarah McKinnon in front of laptop
Dr. Sarah McKinnon's course, "Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Health Professions Student," generated a lot of interest.

Students looking to participate in travel study experiences, take courses outside their program, or increase their interprofessional education knowledge began having more options this year.  

A new three-week winter term, launched in December, follows strong support from student leaders and academic program leaders when the idea was first presented two years ago. “We saw it as a way to provide students with a number of elective opportunities that wouldn’t interfere with their normal academic schedule,” said Dr. Peter Cahn, associate provost for academic affairs.  

The new term, he said, solves the issue of students missing classes while doing travel study and then needing to play academic catchup upon returning to campus. In addition, the winter term has the potential to include interprofessional activities, options for uniprofessional electives, and additional clinical and academic support without making full semesters busier. 

While travel was off the table this year due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the new term offered an online course led by the occupational therapy department: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Health Professions Student. With a teaching team led by Dr. Sarah McKinnon, an assistant professor and director of the post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, the interprofessional three-credit course was developed with the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. 

“With the topic so prevalent now, we thought it was great for everyone to have an opportunity to take it,” McKinnon said, noting that students in three direct-level programs signed up for the course that was modified to present the same information in half the time. “It was a way for them to be immersed in the topic without being distracted by their regular courses, and it’s another way to focus on something we’re all striving to improve at the IHP, in practice, and society.”