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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Jaffe announces new JBS objective

Faculty welcomes pres at first meeting

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: Front Page

PHOTO BY Nate Rosenbloom/The Hoot

The Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) and related experiential learning programs have abandoned their attempts to direct students off-campus and help relieve campus crowding, one of the two primary goals of the program when piloted by the university and faculty in academic year ’08-’09. The JBS programs will remain a university priority for their academic value.

The undergraduate faculty “believes in experiential learning because students can learn more efficiently, think more critically and deeply in many instances,” Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe said at yesterday’s faculty meeting. The gathering was President Fred Lawrence’s first as leader of the university; he addressed the packed assembly as his “colleagues.”

JBS will still be useful to the university for attracting students who seek the opportunities these programs can facilitate or hear about off-campus possibilities, “thereby encouraging people to apply,” Jaffe said.

Campus “overcrowding” has been an agenda item on faculty meetings for a couple years, and JBS attempted to have students either take a semester off after their summer program or have a fall or spring program that is housed off of campus.

“But [incentives] to students to not be on campus haven’t worked out,” Jaffe said, adding that “crowding is still something we really need to address—but we will no longer be using JBS to meet that goal.”

At the meeting, faculty debated the proper place of the program, and sought to capitalize on what successes the programs have had to use as a marketing tool for potential students.

The administration now believes that with the separation between getting students off campus and JBS academics, the programs and related summer immersions can now be less expensive for students.

Jaffe also said that proposals for future JBS programs are still being proposed and accepted, especially with the cost issue and off-of-campus incentive less of a priority.