Transitions I: Engaging the Liberal Arts offers three hours of credit and is designed to address high level cognitive skills, such as ethical reasoning, critical thinking, and quantitative literacy, by centering on a topic of such interest. This course is purposely designed to get your college career off to a wonderful start. Students have the opportunity to choose a topic of interest from 16 different classes. Please read over the course descriptions below and choose four that you would be interested in pursuing further. We will do our best to place students in one of his or her top four choices. Please note: If you are in the Honors Program, please indicate that on the website registration form. Dr. Joe Lane will contact you about the course topic.
A recent Gallup poll indicates that 3 in 4 Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Despite much disconfirming evidence, people continue to believe that houses can be haunted, that people can communicate with the dead and foresee the future, and that the alignment of the stars at birth can influence a person's life course. In this class, we will investigate these phenomena, as well as the reasons why we continue to believe.
Instructor: Dr. Kim Baranowsky
“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) Maybe you grew up just a few miles down the road or maybe home is far from here. Either way, this community is your new home and you have a great opportunity to explore it and yourself. In this highly experiential course, you'll explore the many communities surrounding the college by attending cultural activities, doing community service, and even conducting some interviews. While engaging in hands-on community-based research and learning, you will explore concepts central to place, personal and civic identity and how that is expressed in the lives of communities and individuals, including your own.
Instructor: Mr. Travis Proffitt
Kenneth B. Clark, the psychologist whose studies on racial identity helped shape America’s historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, analyzed the role of racial identity relative to the struggle for equality. Despite progress toward said equality, race continues to define United States culture and—in the view of many—prevents the development of the “just society” envisioned by Clark, Martin Luther King, and others. Through research, debate and other class interactions, students will explore specific questions relative to this ongoing debate—a debate intensified in the presidential election of 2008.
Instructor: Dr. Jerry Jones
There are certain plays in our recent history we have marked as “great,” whether it is by honors such as Tony Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes, or by repeated performances. In many cases these same plays are the most controversial, as they get to the heart of our nation’s feelings towards race, gender, religion and sexuality. In this course we will look at some of these plays and ask ourselves: Does great theatre need to be controversial? Is there something about the theatre that lends itself to controversy? Should tax dollars be spent on these plays that spark such heated debate? How can a play be popular, and polemic at the same time?
Instructor: Mr. Jeremiah Downes
For nearly the past three decades, the Religious Right has come to play an important role in American politics and society. At the national level it maintains it helped elect Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes to the presidency. While the Religious Right has its detractors, some argue that its devotees – just because they had a life‐changing religious experience – should not have to relinquish their right as American citizens to participate in politics. This leads to one of many questions that may be explored in the course: to what extent can the sacred and secular really be separated in the American political realm?
Instructor: Mr. Robert Vejnar
This course examines the central place that the frontier has held in shaping American society and the American character, from the earliest periods of settlement up through the twentieth century. Employing literature and film, as well as historical analysis, this course examines the development of the geographic frontier and such manifestations as cultural contacts, economics, diplomacy, social character, and intellectual formulations, with an emphasis on how those factors have been portrayed and embraced in American society.
Instructor: Dr. Michael Puglisi
Motown means many things: good, solid music; black entrepreneurship; a voice for African Americans at the height of the Civil Rights Movement; a voice for young Americans in the throes of adolescence and young adulthood; the cradle of hip-hop; and, much more. This course introduces students to the music and the musicians of Motown, but also looks at the American cultural, social, and political scene in the tumultuous middle of the 20th Century.
Instructor: Rev. David St. Clair
Will explore the history of the concept of self-motivation. Will analyze barriers to self motivation and apply strategies for assuming greater personal responsibility toward what is of value.
Instructor: Dr. Eric Grossman
“All children, except one, grow up” (J.M. Barrie). The story of Peter Pan and Neverland is one that has been told, retold, sequel-ed, and set to music many times. But, why has the tale of the flying boy and the hook-handed captain always been one that we never tire of experiencing? In this course, we will explore many different retellings of the Pan story from its original play to recent stage and film productions, paying special attention to themes of adventure, friendship, justice, gender roles, racial representation and yes – growing up.
Instructor: Ms. Mary Ellis Rice
We will read the first volume of Martin’s series and a supplemental text to talk about ethics, worldview, governance, religion, violence, patriarchy, and preference.
Instructor: Rev. David Jackson
The United States uses 1500 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Where does the energy come from? How do our energy choices influence the world? Students will investigate the generation and use of energy with hands-on experiences and contemplate future energy choices. If you had twenty minutes to advise a future president of the United States about energy policy, what would you say?
Instructor: Dr. Jim Duchamp
This course will examine the current trends in hip-hop music and culture with an emphasis on the role that hip-hop plays in our everyday lives. The creative forces, originality and uniqueness of hip-hop will be examined while looking at the cultural stereotypes and the problems that may accompany the idea of a hip-hop generation.
Instructor: Dr. Matt Frederick
Are our lives stories? If so, who gets to decide how those stories are told? In this course, you will explore how cultural influences shape our lives and our stories. You will examine diverse narratives, from fairy tales that get told differently in different cultures, to the ever-present advertisements that populate our world. You'll search these sources for patterns and methods of influence. And then, by placing your own experiences into words, you will write – and take command of – the unique story that is you.
Instructor: Mr. Jim Harrison
What does it mean to be “Southern”? Are people Southerners because of where they were born, how they talk, or what they eat? How does gender play a role? How are Southerners different than non-Southerners? In this course, we will explore the various ways we define “Southerness,” from classic essays on the concept to depictions of Southerners in popular media. Whether or not you identify with being a Southerner, this course will add to your understanding of what it means to claim the South as part of one's identity.
Instructor: Dr. Tracy Lauder
Zen. Zen and motorcycle maintenance, and social media, and martial arts, and “the dude”; saltwater zen, horse zen, and hardcore zen. What is Zen? Why for the last century have ordinary people throughout America looked to zen for different questions and different answers about our short time on this earth?
Instructor: Dr. Scott Boltwood