Interim Program Description
At a time during the late 1960's when many colleges and universities rushed to abandon the core curriculum in an effort to give students more intellectual freedom, Wofford was determined to maintain its traditional liberal arts framework, and has done so with nationally recognized success. However, it was felt that there should be some brief time during the year when faculty and students could enjoy non-traditional learning together. Thus, the academic year at Wofford is divided into three parts: a fall semester of four months; the Interim, which occupies the month of January; and a spring semester of four months.
In the semesters, students and faculty take part in an educational program that seeks to embody and build upon the best accepted and proved traditions for offering and obtaining a liberal arts education. While that itself involves substantial use of new materials and new approaches at Wofford, innovation and experiment are the keynotes of the Interim. The Interim permits and encourages teachers and students to explore the new and untried, and in doing so to run risks that could not be justified in the semesters.
Further, the Interim frees teachers and students from many of the usual class commitments of the semesters and permits each to concentrate for a month on a single study project of his or her choosing. Interim projects are designed to move beyond traditional classroom courses and teaching methods, to consider important topics in relevant ways and places, to observe issues in action, to develop capacities for independent learning, and to encourage the responsible self-direction of educational development.
Upon successful completion of an approved Interim project, the student is awarded four hours of credit toward graduation. The grades of H (Pass with Honors), P (Pass), and F (Fail) are used in evaluating students' work and accomplishments in most Interim projects, and this system, together with the general philosophy of the Interim, allows students to participate in projects in which they have interest but not full background, without incurring great risk of damaging the over-all picture of their academic performance in that such grades do not affect grade-point averages.
But in some few projects, where appropriate, traditional A-F letter grades are used, and in such cases the grades are included in the calculations of the students' grade-point averages.
During Interim, Wofford College ordinarily offers several opportunities for off-campus study which require travel. These programs include travel to or beyond the United States. Such travel inevitably involves risk – accident, injury, illness, civil unrest, and other unforeseen circumstances – which neither those who sponsor travel nor those who travel can control. Participation in such an off-campus study program is purely voluntary on the student’s part. As a condition for participation, Wofford requires that student travelers and their parents read and execute liability releases and other documents which acknowledge, accept, and assume all risks. Wofford also expects that students and their parents will use their own due diligence in informing themselves of current global conditions and in determining whether they wish the students to engage in travel to given sites.