Faculty Notebook: Hammonds Discusses Renaming OWAW

Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds has acquiesced to pressure and agreed to change the name of the Optional Winter Activities Week, she said at yesterday’s Faculty meeting.

One of her ideas for the name of the final week before the beginning of the spring semester sounds a bit like a popular morning drink.

“Another option that has been presented is OJ-Term,” she said, “for Optional January Term.”

After some faculty members chuckled, Hammonds paused.

“OK, some of you are laughing, so we’ll continue to work on that,” she said.


Hammonds said that a priority for the review of OWAW—or OJ-Term, or whatever—would include changing its name, which she said is currently pronounced like “Oh-Wah.”

“Students continue to call it J-Term, despite our best efforts to name it otherwise,” Hammonds said. “We’ve lost that battle.”


Hammonds presented a positive review of this year’s inaugural OWAW at yesterday’s Faculty meeting, but a couple professors suggested that the College provide more constructive course offerings to reach out to those more ambitious students.

Computer Science Professor Harry R. Lewis ’68 questioned the report’s dependence on certain student accounts.

“The one part of the report that troubles me quotes students hanging out with friends,” Lewis said.

According to Lewis, although students ought to relax during winter break, students who enjoyed their downtime are not necessarily indicators of the quality of OWAW.

He also said that in its review of OWAW, the College should have set a higher standard that expected students to do something more constructive.

Acknowledging that the College is on a tight budget to structure anything, Lewis suggested setting up a reading list for students.

“I do think that over time, we should think hard about what we would really students to do,” Lewis said.


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