Texts & Ideas
A menu of three-hour courses to be taken from the first year
In Self and Service, Dr. Bonnie Brown and Dr. Arthur Hochman's
course, students explore aging through readings and through
service-learning with a child or senior citizen. The course,
Brown and Hochman explains, is aimed at answering the question:
"given my major or personal aspirations, how could I use those
talents and aspirations to serve, beyond simply going to work or
graduate school?" Students craft oral and written histories
of themselves and the person they serve; one student remarked that
"the overall experience of my service was really the most powerful
aspect of this class. "Getting to work with my community
partner have me something to look forward to." Another
student echoed that his community partner, "an older gentleman. . .
really taught me a lot" while another commented that "this class
has encouraged me to go above and beyond" in my service.
Reel America is a course that focuses on a different kind of
narrative text. For many students, movies are a pervasive and
integral part of their entertainment lives. But this course
"offers students a chance to examine cultural artifacts," Dr.
Joseph Colavito explains, "and consider how they are products of
the time in which they are produced. The course functions as
a site of interdisciplinary investigation and interrogation at the
intersection of history and film." Collaborative engagement
also is developed among students as together they examine the role
that films play in their world.
For students in Dr. Harry van der Linden's course, Ethics, the
Good Life, and Society, the questions that confront students are
also personal. "What role should morality play in my life? Is
my pursuit of greater individual wealth just in a world of so much
poverty? Is factory farming cruel and unjust? When is forgiveness
appropriate? Are our wars justly executed?" The course
challenges students to examine some of the fundamental issues of
personal and social morality in both classical texts and
contemporary issues, including the "good life," van der Linden
suggests, and to "to discuss how morality is related to human
flourishing." Grounded in the belief that texts are vital to
challenging our perspectives, all three courses also suggest that
our worldview is made richer through the complications that
reflective engagement with the world offers.