College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Psychology Professor Sufka Teaches, Talks Winter Intersession

December 3, 2015 | By Isabella Caruso, courtesy of The Daily Mississippian

Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, & Philosophy Research Professor, NCNPR, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Philosophy, Research Professor, NCNPR, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

As the holiday break approaches and most students are planning winter break adventures, internships or jobs, others will be in the classrooms taking courses offered through the University’s annual winter intersession.

Kenneth J. Sufka, professor of psychology and pharmacology and research professor at the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, has taught winter intersession classes since 2005.

Sufka will be instructing a general-level psychology course over the intersession term. He has proven that individually, the majority of his intersession students receive overall higher grades than his regular-term students.

“Intersession courses have highly concentrated content with frequent testing, leading to better performance,” Sufka said.

Sufka said to be mindful of students, he would never attempt to instruct certain advanced courses during the intersession term.

“The science of student learning tells us that you really need to take some time off between study sessions and you do not have the luxury of doing that with a two-week intersession course,” Sufka said.

During intersession courses, students are only required to focus on one class, which can help with success because there are less distractions and interferences with attendance and study requirements.

“If you are a disciplined student, you can focus the entirety of your being on mastering the content of your class,” Sufka said.

He said winter intersession courses are beneficial for those who can budget it into their finances by getting ahead, catching up on credit hours or finally enrolling in a class that was filled to capacity during the semester.

“There is less competition for those really hard to get classes during winter intersession and also for getting into a class with a really good teacher that everybody wants to have,” Sufka said.

Intersession courses meet for three and a half hours each day for 10 days, which is the same number of contact hours during a regular semester-long term. The material for each course remains the same and no information is edited out or added in from the semester-long course.

Cynthia Joyce, assistant professor of journalism, will be teaching a course with a less traditional set-up called “Media Ethics in a Changing Landscape.” The course will take place in New Orleans for the fourth time this intersession through the Study USA program.

Joyce has constructed this course to be beneficial for students by providing a study abroad-like experience without being far from home.

“I love sharing my love for the city with my students,” Joyce said.

Instead of being in a classroom in Oxford for intersession, students get to explore and analyze the city and surrounding areas of New Orleans, focusing on finding a deeper understanding of the city through its media.

“The course keeps getting better,” Joyce said. “Students show more interest in it with each passing year.”

Noah Davis, sophomore accountancy major, will be taking a macroeconomics course during this year’s winter intersession to ensure he graduates on time.

Davis said he is not worried about the intensity level of the course or the fast-paced environment.

“I’ve heard from several people that winter intersession is very worthwhile and a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to it,” Davis said.

Davis is concerned that some students will not take winter intersession courses due to financial reasons.

“I think winter intersession courses are a great opportunity for students but the classes are way too expensive. The average person cannot afford it,” Davis said.

Winter Intersession courses will be from Jan. 4-16, 2016 and are administered by the Office of Summer School within the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education.