- 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. For example, 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?
- How are courses chosen?
Undergraduate 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 in February.
- 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.
- Does teaching a Themester course release me from departmental duties?
No. Your Themester course should be integrated into your departmental duties.
- Is it possible to include a joint-listed undergraduate/graduate-level course?
Yes. We welcome course titles that have undergraduate sections. An undergraduate section combined with a graduate section under the same course title is acceptable.
- Are course proposals from graduate students welcome?
Yes, but as with faculty, any Themester course taught by an assistant instructor should be integrated into existing departmental duties. Themester does not provide additional funding to pay assistant instructors. Assistant instructors should work with their departments to offer courses that meet departmental needs.
- 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.
- What is the co-curriculum?
The co-curriculum refers to programming that supports the curriculum. Programming includes 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.
- How much can be requested from Themester for co-curricular programming?
Requests can be modest (<100) or more substantial. Most proposals ask for $2,000 or less to help cover specific expenses that are outlined in the proposal. Some departmental contribution is expected. Ideally, Themester would not be not the sole source of funds. Please consult with Themester coordinator Tracy Bee (email@example.com) if your request is more than $5,000.
- Will Themester staff provide support to organize my event?
Themester does not have the capacity to coordinate or organize the events submitted in proposals. It is assumed that the individuals, groups, and departments submitting the proposal take on that responsibility. Themester grants wil be transfered to a university account for organizers to manage.
- When does planning occur?
Most planning occurs during the academic year prior to the fall in which a theme is presented. Planning for Themester 2022 is taking place now during the 2021-2022 academic year with the program to be presented fall 2022.
Planning for Themester 2023 will take place during the 2022-2023 academic year, with the program to occur during the fall 2023 semester.
The Advisory Committee will meet approximately three times in the fall and four to five times during the spring. There are additional, but minimal, one-off events such as meetings with community partners and promotional brown bags.
- Is the advisory committee responsible for programming?
- Advisory Committee members often choose to take on course or programming responsibilities but are not required to do so. Most programming is submitted as proposals to the advisory committee for review.