109.5 The May Experience

Created by: Jeremy Cass on 04/13/2015
Category: 1 - Academic Affairs; 00 - General
Originator: Academic Policies Committee; May Experience Oversight Committee
Current File: 109.5
Adoption Date: 04/13/2015
Reviewed for Currency: 09/26/2017
Replaces File:
Date of Origin: 04/20/2015
Classification: Faculty
In Archive? 0

109.5 The May Experience


A. Background

Furman University offers an optional three-week May Experience term following the conclusion of the spring semester. Approved as a part of the curriculum-calendar reform instituted in 2008, The May Experience encourages innovative and intensive academic experiences. The May Experience also allows for the creation of shorter study-away trips and for the addition of domestic or international travel components to any fall, spring or summer course.


B. Policy

All May Experience courses will be two-credit offerings. May Experience courses cannot fulfill any general education requirement, cannot be delivered as individualized instruction, cannot duplicate catalog courses offered during the fall and spring terms, and cannot be required for any academic major. May Experience courses may count towards interdisciplinary minors or may fulfill an elective in a major.


1.  The May Experience is one of Furman University’s standard academic terms. Tuition for May Experience courses is included in the comprehensive fee. Student participation is strictly optional. A student may take only one May Experience course during each May Experience term. Graduating seniors may participate in The May Experience that immediately follows their graduation, either by being immediately readmitted as post-baccalaureate students, or by choosing to delay graduation in order to include The May Experience in their undergraduate program.

2.  May Experience courses must be three weeks in length. All academic work for The May Experience must be started and completed between the starting and ending dates of the term.

3.  May Experience courses will conform to all academic policies and regulations in force during the fall and spring semesters, including but not limited to File 120.1, File 120.2, File 121.1, File 121.5, File 122.2, File 122.3, File 123.1, and File 128.5.

4.  Although no faculty member is obligated to teach during The May Experience, the faculty shall endeavor to offer a robust array of courses during each May Experience term. The Dean of Faculty, department chairs, the Office of Study Away and International Education, and the May Experience Oversight Committee will ensure that The May Experience receives appropriate institutional support. Academic departments should offer May courses whenever feasible. The May Experience Oversight Committee will be responsible for promoting the development of courses to be offered during The May Experience term and for ensuring, in consultation with the Curriculum and Study Away Committees when appropriate, that such courses are both innovative and intensive academic experiences. See File 190.1, File 190.8, and File 190.9.

5.  May Experience courses will typically be taught by full-time probationary or tenured faculty. May Experience course proposals must be initiated within or endorsed by an academic department. Proposals from faculty members not housed in an academic department are welcomed with the approval of an academic department.

6.  The May Experience’s emphasis on innovative and engaged learning opportunities may require use of instructors who have expertise not available among the existing faculty.  Qualifications for May Experience instructors who are not full-time faculty will be determined according to the standard guidelines for part-time and adjunct faculty. See File 157.1. Courses offered by such instructors must be assigned to a specific department and department chair for administrative purposes. Because May courses often have non-traditional assignments and off-campus instructors may not be familiar with Furman’s expectations and customs for evaluation of student work, the department chair or volunteer from that department will take special care in overseeing the off-campus instructors’ syllabi, assignments, and evaluation of student work.

7.  May Experience interdisciplinary courses will receive an MXP designation. MXP courses must be assigned to a specific academic department. This department chair will assume the duties for this course as outlined in File 111.2 and will provide the instructor with appropriate departmental resources and support.

8.  May Experience courses may be coupled with fall, spring, or summer courses. With the exception of two-credit courses in which students enroll to prepare for a May Experience course, professors should not design fall or spring courses solely as preparation for a May Experience course or limit enrollment to only May Experience students. Students enrolled in a four-credit course offered in any term cannot be required to enroll in any May Experience course. Four credit courses can be prerequisites for May courses if enrollment is not linked.

9.  Students will earn two credits for successful completion of a May Experience course, even if they are unable to complete the linked course.

10. The academic administration will review courses with low enrollment and consult with the chair of the May Experience Oversight Committee, the department chair, and the instructor about the viability of any May Experience course. Because of the uniqueness of the design of May Experience courses and the special value associated with such offerings, low enrollment will not automatically result in course cancelation.

11. Separate contracts will be issued to compensate those who teach during The May Experience. Faculty may choose with the approval of their department chair between receiving a stipend for teaching a two-credit course or banking those two-credits and applying them at a later time in a future academic year.  No more than one full course release (four credits) may be used in a single academic year, and normally these will not be applied in a sabbatical year. Under extraordinary circumstances, exceptions will be considered by the Dean of Faculty and the department chair. Courses that are team-taught will require case-by case-negotiation.