The Office of Winter Term coordinates preparation for winter term and supports the work of the Winter Term Committee. Oberlin provides a winter term of four weeks in January to encourage and enable students to discover the value of self-education.  This term affords students an opportunity to devise and pursue programs of independent study or research and to undertake, individually or with a group, on- or off-campus, other projects of educational value that the structured curriculum during the academic year cannot accommodate easily.  Winter term provides an opportunity for variations and supplements to the usual course offerings, with an emphasis on experimentation and creativity, intellectual independence, and personal responsibility.


Please Note:  A link to the online Winter Term registration application will be posted here shortly.  


  • A History of Oberlin Athletics
  • Aikido Winter Term Intensive
  • Angel’s Bone
  • Angels in America Bootcamp
  • Bach Aria Project
  • Basic Open Water Scuba
  • Black Friary Archaeological Project in Ireland
  • Body Mapping – Everything the Musician Needs to Know About the Body
  • Chamber Music and Disaster Relief
  • Dance Intensive with Nora Chipaumire
  • Extraterrestrial Landscapes
  • Greek Intensive
  • Intensive German
  • Intensive Introduction to Russian
  • Latin Intensive
  • LaunchU/Creativity and Leadership
  • Letterpress Printing
  • Papermaking and Book Arts Through Culture & History
  • Practicum in Museum Education
  • Solidarity Work in El Salvador
  • Winter Term –Birthright Israel
  • Winter Term in Brazil
  • Winter Term in Costa Rica - Cloud Forest School
  • Winter Term in Guadalajara
  • Winter Term in Nepal - May Universe Academy
  • Woodblock Intensive Workshop

*More offerings will follow, through October. Brief project descriptions are included below. For more information, or to express your interest, please contact the group project director or sponsor.

A History of Oberlin Athletics
Contact: Gordon Hylton, Professor of Law and History, University of Virginia, OC '74
Email: ghylton@law.virginia.edu 

This course will be taught in a seminar format and explores the history of athletics at Oberlin College from the post-Civil War years until the present.  Although Oberlin is not today thought of as an athletic powerhouse, it played a significant role in the development of American college sports, especially before 1930.  Equally important, Oberlin arguably did more than any other college to facilitate the development of physical education as a college department. 

In its early history, a number of historically significant athletes, coaches, and executives participated in Oberlin athletics.  Early Oberlin baseball players included Ban Johnson, the founder of the American League; Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first black major league player; William Davis, arguably the greatest black pitcher of the 19th century; Lee Richmond, the first major league baseball pitcher to pitch a perfect game (in 1879); and Clay Fauver, Bill Garfield, Marvin Hawley, and Cy Vorhees, all of whom played in the major leagues before 1903.  In football, the legendary John Heisman played and coached at Oberlin in the 1890’s, and post-World War I Oberlin football star Herb Henderson played in the NFL in the early 1920’s.  Although she is all but forgotten, Delphine Hanna, the first director of women’s sports at Oberlin, is one of the most historically significant figures in the history of women’s athletics in the United States.

The instructor is a 1974 graduate of Oberlin, who played varsity baseball from 1971 to 1974 and participated in a wide variety of intramural sports.  Professor Hylton was also the sports director of WOBC in 1973-74.  He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1977 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1986, and currently teaches at the University of Virginia Law School.

The reading assignments on the syllabus appear extensive, but no one is expected to read every recommended reading.  There are no papers or tests, but each student in the seminar will be encouraged to do research in some aspect of the sports history of Oberlin.  Reports on research will be presented at the final class on January 29. 

Aikido Winter Term Intensive
Contact: Ben Hamilton
Email: bhamilt2@oberlin.edu

Timing, Coordination, Balance...simple concepts that every martial artist knows take years to master. Aikido will be mentally and physically challenging, but you should not feel intimidated! The Winter Term course is designed for complete novices and experienced martial artists alike, whether you’ve never been to a gym before or if you’ve just defeated an entire ninja clan on your own. Our course centers on basic techniques so that those with no experience can learn the basic movements and footwork while those with more experience can work on more advanced and subtle concepts necessary to mastering the simplest techniques.

Angel’s Bone
Contact: Christopher Mirto
Email: cmirto@oberlin.edu

Oberlin Conservatory alum Dun Yun wrote the opera "Angel's Bone" which won last year's Pulitzer Prize in Music. We will present the Midwest premiere in association with Cleveland Opera Theater's New Opera Works festival. The piece provides roles for twelve to fifteen students, and an orchestra of ten. It also provides opportunities for designers and management interns. We will also bring in the composer and librettist for workshops with the Creative Writing Program in the College and the Composition Department at the Conservatory.

Angels in America Bootcamp
Contact: Matthew Wright
Email: mwright@oberlin.edu

This project will serve as the dramaturgical research foundation for the Department of Theater's production of ANGELS IN AMERICA, to be produced in April 2018. During this period, students will enter into deep research and create basic choreography for the transitions of this epic production. Limited to those who have auditioned for and been accepted into the cast and staff of the production.

Bach Aria Project
Contact: Kendra Colton
Email: Kendra.colton@oberlin.edu

The Bach Aria Project, which takes place in Boston, Massachusetts from Jan.4-22, 2018, will focus on the obbligato arias found in Bach’s sacred cantatas. One week of intensive coaching sessions with Emmanuel Music experts will be followed by a week of outreach concerts in the greater Boston area culminating in a final concert in downtown Boston. Students will also perform side-by-side with the professionals of Emmanuel Music Inc. in their 47th season of weekly cantata performances.

Basic Open Water Scuba
Contact: Jill Medina
Email: jmedina@oberlin.edu

Scuba Schools International Basic Open Water Dive is a globally recognized certification program. It is the best way to begin your life-long adventure as a certified scuba diver. Personalized classroom and academic training is combined with in-water practice sessions to ensure you have the skills and experience required to become truly comfortable underwater.

Dance Intensive with Nora Chipaumire
Contact: Ann Cooper-Albright
Email: aalbrigh@oberlin.edu

International Dance Artist/Activist Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe/NYC) will teach a dance intensive on campus from January 16th-26th, 2018. There will be two classes per day, one in the morning (10:00-12:30) which is movement based and open to a lot of people with a range of experience for half credit; and one in the afternoon (2:00pm - 5ish) that is a composition/ repertory workshop. Students who take both sections will receive full credit. We will begin the Tuesday after MLK day, run through Saturday, take a break on Sunday, and then run M-F with a public showing/ lecture demonstration on Friday afternoon.

Extraterrestrial Landscapes
Contact: Bruce Simonson
Email: bruce.simonson@oberlin.edu

Each of the dozens of large rocky and icy bodies throughout the Solar System has a surface landscape sculpted by a unique mix of meteorite cratering, volcanic eruptions, tectonic faulting, rivers and glaciers flowing, ice melting/refreezing, etc. We’ll meet several times each week to survey these processes via lectures plus examining relevant samples (e.g. meteorites) and maps (e.g. of the Moon). Each participant will then choose a well-imaged object like Mercury, Vesta, Europa, or Pluto to research in detail for a final PPT presentation to the group. No prereqs, but preference will be given to students who have already taken GEOL 120 or equivalent.

Practicum in Museum Education
Contact: Andria Derstine, Allen Memorial Art Museum
Email: Andria.Dersteine@oberlin.edu

In existence since 1990, this intensive training course (CRN 3275) is taught by the AMAM's Curator of Education. Students are introduced to a range of theories about museum education; research the collection; practice public speaking; learn practical aspects of conducting tours; study museum and alternative education methodologies; and are introduced to AMAM staff and outside professionals to learn about museum and arts-related careers. Many participants become AMAM docents and continue to careers in the museum field, in areas such as education, curatorial work, or interpretive technologies -- making this course and subsequent volunteer work a critical source of pre-professional experience.

Papermaking and Book Arts Through Culture & History
Contact: Aimee Lee
Email: aimeeslee@gmail.com

In this studio intensive, students make books and paper by hand in the context of global history and culture, taught by artist and award-winning author Aimee Lee (OC ’99). With Asian and Western techniques, students process plant materials to make paper, decorate it, and bind it into books They organize an exhibit of their work at Mudd for the campus community. Field trips include Morgan Conservatory and Zygote Press in Cleveland and Special Collections at the Main and Arts libraries. An excellent introduction to book and paper art and their connections to history, culture and materials studies, science, and technology.


Body Mapping – Everything the Musician Needs to Know About the Body
Contact: Alexa Still
Email: astill@oberlin.edu

Musicians move for a living. All of the sounds we make are produced by some sort of movement, yet most musicians are not taught how the body actually works in movement. Body Mapping is a tool that musicians can use to enhance performance, maintain wellness, and prevent injury and discomfort. Students will explore basic Body Mapping principles include learning how to use bones and muscle efficiently, identifying common Body Mapping problems that instrumentalists and vocalists have and how to solve them, uncovering global relationships between arm/leg use and breathing, discovering tools for increasing inclusive awareness and strategies for self care.

Winter Term Greek
Contact: Kirk Ormand
Email: kirk.ormand@oberlin.edu

Learn Ancient Greek this January! This course takes you through the syllabus for Greek 101, from start to finish; students who successfully complete the WT course may sign up for Greek 102 in the spring. The course is intensive. Students can expect to meet twice a day, 5 days a week, for three weeks. By the end, students will be reading passages from Herodotus; by the end of Greek 102 in the spring, students will read selections from a Greek courtroom speech.

Winter Term Latin
Contact: Ben Lee
Email: ben.lee@oberlin.edu

Learn Ancient Latin this January! This course takes you through the syllabus for Latin 101, from start to finish; students who successfully complete the WT course may sign up for Latin 102 in the spring. The course is intensive, and moves at a fast pace. Students can expect to meet twice a day, 5 days a week, for three weeks. By the end, students will be reading passages from Cicero and Catullus; by the end of Latin 102 in the spring, students will read selections from Ovid, Petronius, or other Latin authors. 

LaunchU/Creativity and Leadership
Contact: Bara Watts
Email: bara.watts@oberlin.edu

IMPACT YOUR WORLD. LaunchU is Oberlin’s signature business start-up program! Learn what it takes to grow an opportunity into a sustainable business, non-profit or social enterprise. You will gain powerful tools and skills that enable you to see opportunity, marshal necessary resources, build your action plan and execute for success. Visiting guests and trips into Cleveland will introduce you to entrepreneurial ventures and resources in the region. Whether you want to start your own enterprise or you want to just have fun while learning life skills (that will make you invaluable in the “innovation” economy), you will work hard and have fun exploring how you could “change the world” and drive positive IMPACT.

LaunchU culminates in a Pitch Day on Saturday, March 10, 2018, where select participants compete for investment capital, expert coaching, and practical support. The 2018 program is now accepting applications. The application deadline is 11:59PM, November 10, 2017.

 Need help with your idea or proposal? Contact us at creativity@oberlin.edu or 440-775-8567 with any questions. Link to application:


Letterpress Printing
Contact: Ed Vermue
Email: evermue@oberlin.edu

This project will offer intensive, experience-based instruction for students in the operation of two types of hand-operated presses, moveable type, and linocuts. Students will become familiar with the processes, problems, and artistic advantages of relief printing. Under the guidance of experienced printers, students will design and print projects of their own and contribute to a commissioned project for the entire class. Some binding instruction will be included. This project qualifies as the practicum component for the new Book Studies Concentration. We will operate 6-7 hours per day in the Main Library with an expected duration of three weeks.

Solidarity Work in El Salvador
Contact: Keara Scallan
Email: kscallan@oberlin.edu  

OSES organizes an annual Winter Term trip to the community of Santa Marta, El Salvador. A student-led group of approximately 8–12 participants spends the entirety of Winter Term living in home-stays, learning about the community’s history, and participating in community organizations.

Oberlin Film Production Intensive in Texas
Contact: Jingyuan Wang
Email: jwang4@oberlin.edu

This group project will take Oberlin students to Texas for producing an approximately 10 minutes short film. This film will focus on humanity during wartime. We will provide Oberlin students not only a great film-making experience, but also a chance to appreciate human spirits in a creative way. First, we will spend fifteen days in Texas for pre-production and field shooting. Then, we will come back to Oberlin and spend the rest of the time as a group to finish the editing, color grading and sound design.

Winter Term in Brazil
Contact: Professor Jay Ashby
Email: jashby@oberlin.edu  

Winter Term in Guadalajara, Mexico
Contact: Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón
Email: sgutierr@oberlin.edu

If you are looking for a way to advance a semester’s worth of classes in the Spanish language sequence, the Winter Term program in Guadalajara might be a great opportunity for you. The Instituto Mexico-Americano de Cultura (IMAC) has been hosting Oberlin students for the winter term period for 37 years!

Chamber Music and Disaster Relief
Contact: Peter Slowik
Email: peter.slowik@oberlin.edu

Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala
Contact: Charlotte Price
Email: cprice@oberlin.edu

OSSGUA leads a trip to an indigenous Mayan, returned refugee community in Guatemala called Copal Aa La Esperanza. We learn about the genocide of indigenous Mayans from 1960 to 1996, and how the people of Copal Aa returned to Guatemala and founded their community. We learn about the oppression they still face today and how they fight for environmental rights, women’s rights, education, and justice for perpetrators of the genocide. This trip is education so that we can return to the United States and fight the ways our government is directly or indirectly committing human rights violations against indigenous Mayan Guatemalans.

Indonesia: Natural Disasters, Culture, & Sustainability (No longer accepting applications)
Contact: Prof. Jennifer Fraser

This Winter Term trip explores the cultural engagements with, and responses to, hazards in the environment that turn into disasters. How do communities interpret, understand, and rationalize so-called “natural” disasters and how do they make peace with living in a hazard zone? What are the ways that communities, NGOs, and scholars are working to be more alert and responsive to issues of environmental sustainability and disaster preparedness? Partnering with institutions, including Indonesia’s oldest university, Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, and Syiah Kuala University and the International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean studies (ICIAOS) in Banda Aceh, the trip will pull together multiple disciplinary perspectives on disasters and environmental issues, including anthropology, religious studies, geology, urban planning, psychology, sociology, and the arts.

Oberlin Hillel – Birthright Israel
Contact: Talia Rodwin
Email:  Talia.rodwin@oberlin.edu

Oberlin College in Nepal - Maya Universe Academy
Contact: Bikalpa Baniya
Email: bbaniya@oberlin.edu 

Oberlin students will work with Maya Universe Academy which is Nepal's first free private school. Maya Academy is organized and supported by a substantial collaboration between parents of students, and the enterprising individuals who envisioned it. Parents pay the school fee by working in the school's field for two days a month. The school also makes a small earning by providing volunteers with food and lodging for $10 per day. Maya is a community helping itself, rather than a traditional top-down solution to education and it is a great opportunity for participants to learn about this approach. Students will be involved in either teaching, agriculture or construction. 

Theater in London, England (No longer accepting applications)
Contact: David Walker

This 2018 Winter Term project offers a group of 12 students the chance to travel to London for two weeks to study theater in performance, principally by preparing for, attending, and discussing eight plays currently in production. The immersion in theater will be complemented by exposure to whatever aspects of London’s immeasurably rich cultural and social life you may be interested in; the goal will be to provide you with a productive balance of structured group experiences and free time, so as to allow each of you the most rewarding Winter Term possible.

Woodblock Intensive Workshop
Contact: Claudio Orso Giacone
Email: corsogia@oberlin.edu

The Woodblock Intensive Workshop is a two-week exploration in practice and appreciation of wood carved and printed images; by using a traditional set of tools, the participant will create a matrix plate able to be reproduced in a quantity of prints with a message to be spread. We will be looking at prints and their makers through daily consideration of examples from the instructor’s personal collection and also through visits to museums; still, the core of the class will be the daily communal studio time, where mutual inspiration and support can take place, and feedback for work is encouraged.