Imagine that instead of that same old auditorium in Angell Hall, your “lecture hall” is the Rocky Mountains. Unwinding after class doesn”t mean flipping through the channels only to find reruns it means going down to the Hoback River for trout fishing.
Or maybe the lecture halls are the scenic woodlands of New England. Instead of walking past towering Haven Hall construction, the paths lead past towering New Hampshire trees.
No, this is not just mindless dreaming. The University has some unique classes that don”t take place in Ann Arbor. During the spring and summer terms, the University offers field classes in three departments.
There are three geology classes at University-owned Camp Davis, biology classes at the University of Michigan Biological Station, and the New England Literature Program at Camp Kabeyun in New Hampshire.
Camp Davis, established by the University in 1929, is located about twenty miles south of Jackson, Wyoming.
“The geology of the Rockies offers a great opportunity to learn a wide variety of aspects in geology, from different rock types to the architecture of mountain ranges,” said Prof. Josep Pares, an instructor at Camp Davis.
“For most of the students this is the first chance to see “real rocks” in nature, as a complement to the laboratory classes in the department,” he said.
Camp Davis is home to three courses: GS116: Geology of the Rockies, GS440: Geology Field Course and GS441: Environmental Geology.
Established in 1909, the UMBS is located near Pellston and Cheboygan, on the shores of Douglas Lake. Students can choose from numerous courses (14 overall) in biology and natural resources. The UMBS offers access to a variety of biological habitats. Some classes go on day trips to other areas of Northern Michigan, like Sugar Lake or Lake Superior.
A course at UMBS “is a full immersion experience,” said UMBS Prof. Barbara Madsen. “Everyone around you is doing the same thing concentrating completely on their science. It”s a very intense and very exciting kind of learning,” she said.
Professors at UMBS come from many different colleges and universities.
Hope College Biology Prof. Harvey Blankespoor, who has worked at UMBS, praised the center.
“I have been in academics nearly four decades, and I can say without hesitation that being at the UMBS has been the highlight of my academic career,” he said.
Francie Cuthbert, professor of fisheries and wildlife at the University of Minnesota, said her course at UMBS is her favorite because “classes are small and students and faculty become like a family.”
NELP takes place on Lake Winnipesau-kee in New Hampshire, 100 miles north of Boston. Students and teachers live communally, sharing work, academic and recreation activities. Journal writing is the central NELP activity. Completion of a reading list and active discussion are also expected. NELP is an integrated academic program, but credit is given for three different courses: three credits for Eng. 473: Topics in American Literature, two credits for Eng. 317: Literature and Culture, and three credits for Eng. 324: Creative Writing.
Some students said they hoped other schools at the University would run similar programs.
Engineering sophomore Chris Kozak said that if the College of Engineering had field classes he “would definitely do it,” adding, “field experience like that is a good way to learn.”
The classes are open to all University students, although students must be accepted through an application process. Students earn anywhere from five to ten credit hours, depending on the program and term, in about six weeks.
The University provides transportation to and from the programs. But leaving Ann Arbor behind does not mean students leave homework behind. Said Madsen, “[Students] looking for a vacation are quickly disabused of that notion this place requires a lot of work.”