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Indiana University Bloomington

Fall 2017  Diversity Difference Otherness

Frequently Asked Questions

Current Theme

What is this year's theme?
The theme for Fall 2017 is " Diversity Difference Otherness."

The 2017 theme seems very broad. Wouldn't many courses or activities fit?
While very many courses and activities touch upon issues of diversity and difference in some way, a course or activity should explicitly and thoroughly focus on some aspect of the theme.

How do I participate in Themester?
Please see our suggestions on how to get involved.

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General Questions

Who produces Themester?
Themester is an initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty, staff and students in the College spearhead the planning process, but the College also partners with indviduals, groups and offices across campus and in the community in creating co-curricular programming each Themester.

When does Themester occur?
Themester is a fall program only. For this reason, spring and summer courses and events cannot be included. The one exception is Intensive Freshman Seminars, which take place in August to introduce freshmen matriculating in the fall to life at Indiana University.

How are themes chosen?
Themester utilizes the expertise of the faculty. The College sends out a call for proposals to its faculty members who are encouraged to work together across departments to create multidisciplinary proposals. Some of these proposals extend beyond the College. In 2010, College faculty partnered with the Office of Sustainability to create a Themester focusing on sustainability issues.

The College Undergraduate Education committee chooses from the plans submitted. Several considerations go into deciding on the theme.  Do the College and the University have the resources to adequately address the theme? Are there multiple ways of looking at the theme?  Will the theme allow a discussion across disciplines? Will the theme engage students?   Does the theme address important issues?

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How are courses chosen?
Courses are identified by College departments and programs or submitted by individual faculty members and vetted by the Themester advisory committee. Courses must engage the theme.

When are course proposals accepted for Themester?
To more efficiently utilize the Themester advisory committee's time and energy, courses are accepted and reviewed during two periods. The early deadline occurs in October. The second and final deadline is February 1.

Do new courses need to be developed for Themester? What types of courses are acceptable?
A successful course proposal could present a regular IU course that happens to fit the theme or a regular course that is reframed to fit the theme. Sometimes departments choose to offer a relevant spring course in the fall. Many College departments also allow new curriculum to be tried with a revolving topics course ( “Topics in ….”).   Interested faculty members should talk with their department chair and work within their department’s needs; the College cannot contract for courses above and beyond your regular load.

What does a course proposal entail?

  1. An introduction explaining how the course fits the theme or would be framed to do so,
  2. A syllabus or hearty description of the class that includes course objectives, and
  3. A one-to-two-paragraph course description that we can use for promotion to students. The description should briefly touch on how the course relates to Themester.

Does teaching a Themester course release me from departmental duties?
No. Your Themester course should be integrated into your departmental duties.

Would Themester be interested in a course in my field?
All departments and programs in the College are welcome to submit courses. Honors College courses, which count in College requirements, are also welcome.

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What is the co-curriculum?

The co-curriculum refers to activities such as film screenings, lectures, exhibitions and workshops that engage the theme and complement the Themester curriculum bundle.

When do you accept proposals for co-curricular activities?
Themester begins accepting proposals once the preliminary Themester curriculum bundle is established. The first calls co-curriculum proposals will go out in early December. The priority deadline for funding is in mid-January; if funds remain there will be a second deadline in March.

Who can submit a proposal for co-curricular activities?
We especially encourage faculty members from departments and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences to submit proposals. Proposals from community groups, units of the University, and registered student groups are also welcome.

What is the College seeking in proposals?
Proposals must fit the theme. The College will also seek diverse programming in order to serve diverse populations. Themester is an initiative to engage undergraduates and the bulk of programming will benefit undergraduates in some way. Some of the successful proposals last year engaged multiple audiences. For example, a proposal for a visiting scholar might include a discussion in a Themester class, a colloquium with IU faculty members, and a public lecture, or some combination, as long as undergraduates are a primary focus.

Programming might include lectures, panel discussions, colloquia, workshops, art exhibitions, film screenings and creative performances. Multidisciplinary proposals with support from other departments or units are encouraged.

Any proposed visiting speaker should possess scholarly, creative or professional credentials. Student-run events require a faculty or qualified staff mentor.

How do I submit a film proposal to both Themester and IU Cinema? How do I schedule my Themester-related film at IU Cinema?
IU Cinema has its own approval process with a deadline in February, approximately one month after Themester's January programming deadline. We recommend that you submit to Themester by the January deadline rather than waiting for IU Cinema approval. If you are approved by Themester, this will strengthen your IU Cinema proposal.

When should I schedule my Themester event?
Timing of an event should take into account religious holidays, campus events such as homecoming, community events such as the Lotus Festival and the realities of student life. A dearth of campus space makes scheduling events during weekdays challenging. Most Themester events are scheduled in the late afternoon or the evening during the week.

While some overlap will be inevitable, we wish to avoid conflicts between Themester events as much as possible. A tentative calendar will be established and posted as events are (tentatively) scheduled. In the meantime, please contact Tracy Bee at the Themester office (812 856-7183) to discuss.

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Undergraduate Symposium

What is the Themester undergraduate symposium?

The undergraduate symposium will showcase undergraduate research and creative projects from Themester classes. It is an opportunity for students to share their work and ideas with each other and with faculty through posters, presentations, and discussions.

Who can submit a proposal for the undergraduate symposium?
Students who take part in Themester courses or organize Themester events are welcome to submit proposals for presentations. All students are welcome to attend. Information about the symposium will be posted on the Themester calendar. Please view the Themester 2011 program.

Why does the College host an undergraduate symposium?
The symposium showcases undergraduate work from Themester classes. It gives students in Themester courses an additional opportunity for intellectual engagement with the theme while providing them with the experience of presenting their academic and creative work, giving and receiving feedback, and networking with faculty members and other students. Presenting at a conference is an academic accomplishment for which students can be proud, but it is also an opportunity to practice skills needed for professional and advanced academic careers.

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If you have questions, please write Tracy Bee at