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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Half of JBS programs cut

Published: April 9, 2010
Section: Front Page

Four of the eight available summer 2010 Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs have been canceled due to a lack of participants. The number of students who applied to each canceled program was not released.

Beacon Hill Summer, Collaborative Theater and Theatrical Essay, Ethnographic Fieldwork and Pathologies of Criminal Law: Restoring Justice did not receive the eight applicants they would need to run. Earlier this fall the JBS committee, which includes professors, administrators, representatives from financial services and Hiatt career center as well as students, decided that each program would need a minimum of eight students to take place.

JBS was a proposed by the Curriculum Academic Restructuring Steering Committee last spring in order to reduce overcrowding on campus by having students take a semester off during the typical school year after completion of a JBS, as well as entice prospective students with experiential learning.

The original intention of JBS was to make it a requirement for the classes of 2015 and onward if the pilot JBS programs were successful. It is unclear whether this will continue to be a consideration. However, the JBS program, as a whole, is not in danger of cancellation Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe said.

Info sessions specific to each program were held last semester and the original application deadline was extended by a week to give students ample time to apply. JBS manager Alyssa Grinberg declined to comment on this matter.

Professer Eileen McNamara (JOUR), who would have taught the Beacon Hill Summer, felt that interest in the program was not the problem but simply the logistics of actually participating. “We’re in difficult economic times, and most students did not seem to want to take a semester off to do JBS and, if not, ask their parents to assume a large financial burden to do it,” she said. “ More than eight students talked to me and Professor Farrelly; content wasn’t the problem.”

Jaffe said the reasons for the low number of applicants are unclear and will need to be evaluated. “[A]s to the future, we will review the experience from this year, talk with students about why they did or didn’t sign up and renew our marketing efforts in the fall,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot. “I am, of course, disappointed that more students did not sign up, but that is why you run a pilot program, to find out what works and what doesn’t.”

McNamara is optimistic about the future of JBS, “We’re committed to trying to do it again, maybe during the academic year by incorporating it into the academic curriculum. We’re not giving up,” she said.

Professors for the other three programs were not available for comment by press time.