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Online Courses

The Master of Liberal Arts program at TCU offers 68 online courses that are designed to work around your busy schedule.

Online courses offer working professionals and other distance learners the opportunity to immerse yourself in the academic experience at TCU from the comfort of your own home.


Course Listings

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

In Reading and Writing Nature, a fully online course, students will explore new and classic works of nature writing in three sections: (1) Backyard Ecology—Describing My Part of the World , (2) Celebrating Nature—Or What’s Left of It, and (3) Intersections of the Wild and the Human: Protecting Nature from Ourselves. Students will sample works by Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, and many other authors, including George Monbiot, whose recent book, titled Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, offers humans some hope for a sustainable life on the planet. In addition to the readings and minor writing assignments, students will write three descriptive and argumentative essays about nature.

Instructor: Abe Mengestu

This course explores what Africa is not and what Africa is by examining the ways in which Africa is constructed and portrayed historically and contemporarily. The perspective one has about Africa (the people, culture, the continent, its politics, economy, etc.,) varies depending on many factors. One of these factors is the image(s) one has about Africa. Images generate perceptions and perceptions in turn serve as foundation for forming perspectives that shape popular narratives. In order to understand what Africa is and is not, this course will examine images and related perceptions of Africa that are prevalent historically as well as in today’s world society—both in Africa (by Africans) and the world at large. It examines images both visual and textual of the way Africa is imagined, depicted and narrated in the cultures and societies of the Global North as well as in African literature, media, and popular culture. It will assess representations of Africa in texts, films, news, literature, media and popular culture, international donors, etc. The course aims to give students opportunity to explore how images and constructions of Africa (both inside Africa and outside Africa) have taken shape over time and what perceptions and narratives these images promoted. In so doing it will provide a context to develop a critically balanced perspective on Africa and things related to Africa, to recognize the role of images in creating popular narratives and perceptions, and to realize the importance of critically examining images, perceptions, and narratives in order to formulate one’s understanding of society and culture.

Instructor: Kurk Gayle

Students in this course will not only study translation but they will also actually translate. For example, they will learn early on how the recent winner of the most prestigious international prize for the translation of a work of fiction is but a translation novice and not even a speaker of the language she was translating from. The course has them go on to investigate theories of translation as applied to a wide range of different genres of texts and communication situations; in addition, it has them review critically the varied and most valued practices of translating. During the course, then, the students will work with one another on individual or group translation projects of their choosing. By the end of the semester, the students will be such experts on translation in society that they themselves will confidently enter their own work in a university-sponsored translation prize contest judged by a world-renowned translator.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

History books and news stories give us accounts of terrorist attacks, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution, wars, and threats of possible wars. Many people have a desire to reflect on what they can do to contribute to the cause of peacemaking and conflict resolution. This course will provide readings that will assist students in understanding strategies of peacemaking and will expose them to particular leaders in this area of endeavor.

Instructor: Tim Barth

As a widely used medicinal and recreational drug, there is much debate concerning the legal status of marijuana. Historically, marijuana was considered a dangerous and powerful drug that had the potential to become a public health menace. However, more contemporary thinking suggests it is no more, or perhaps even less dangerous than alcohol or nicotine and has unique medicinal qualities. Over half of the states in America have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, with eight (and the District of Columbia) allowing for recreational use. Despite the current trend, there are still many scientists, sociologists, medical doctors, and government officials who believe that relaxing our laws in the direction of legal usage will be a detriment to the health and welfare of our society. This course will examine the issue of legalizing marijuana from a variety of perspectives and disciplines including pharmacology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and economics.

Instructor: Lauren Kelly

This course focuses on the diverse needs of the child and family within the context of school and community. The course will examine the interplay of diverse cultures, lifestyles, abilities, and communication utilizing theoretical frameworks. There will also be an overview of family stressors that can contribute to family crisis.

Instructor: Carol Thompson

This course examines human relationships with animals across a variety of social and cultural contexts. An interdisciplinary approach is employed to explore beliefs, practices, and policies that shape the meaning, role, and status of animals in and across human societies.

Instructor: Art Busbey

Dinosaurs have held the public imagination for almost 200 years now. Beyond an intrinsic interest in animals that lived in an unimaginably distant time, dinosaurs and dinosaur paleontology figured greatly in the development of concepts of geologic time and biology from the Renaissance on and are still centered in the public’s appreciation of “science.” This course will take students through a tangled web of emergent concepts of time, organisms and ‘public relations’ through the last 300 years or so, focusing on the tangible and intangible impressions that dinosaurs have made on modern civilizations. As an online course, it’s weekly modules can only be completed on a weekly basis and thus require systematic, weekly work.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

Abortion has been a highly controversial subject in American culture since the 1960’s, and it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. This course will examine this complex issue from various angles: medical, psychological, philosophical, legal, and religious.

Instructor: Joanne Green

This class will examine the perennial dilemmas between Freedom, Order, and Equality especially as they pertain to political ideology and public policy. To understand the dilemmas, we will examine the basic structure of our government with special attention paid to the structural tensions that augment this dilemma. Next, we will look at how the dilemmas surface in contemporary debate among liberals and conservatives and how the dilemmas impact the definition of policies in the United States. We will be discussing and debating a number of current issues that pit these three valued ideals against one another to better understand the positions presented by advocates on both sides of the policy debates and to illuminate our personal positions and views.

Instructor: Carrie Currier

This course will examine China’s foreign relations from the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 to the present. We will explore the theories and concepts involved in the study of foreign policy, followed by an in-depth examination of the domestic factors shaping China’s foreign policy goals and implementation.

Instructor: Tim Barth

The field of parapsychology includes phenomenon such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, ghosts and hauntings, spirit communication, and near-death experiences. The claim by many parapsychologists is that these paranormal occurrences have been studied with rigorous research methods and that there is considerable evidence to support their existence. This course will weigh the evidence for parapsychology by tracing the history of psychical research from the dawn of spiritualism to the present day use of the ganzfeld technique. We will discuss the careers of famous psychics as well as the contributions of many noted parapsychologists. The methods and results of parapsychological studies will be evaluated in the context of the approaches used by researchers in the natural sciences. This course will address the following important issues: are testimonials useful evidence to support the existence of these phenomena; do fraudulent claims preclude acceptance of the field; can parapsychological research findings be replicated; do probability and chance help explain paranormal events; how have magicians and skeptics affected the perception of parapsychology in the scientific community and the general public. The objective of this course is to present perspectives from both “believers” and “skeptics” such that in the end, each student can make up his/her own mind as to the strength of the evidence.

Instructor: Fred Oberkircher

Human beings receive over 80% of their information about the spatial environment through vision. The mechanism by which this visual environment is revealed to us is light. It is the quality of that light, in all of its manifestations, that has inspired mankind for thousands of years. Ranging from the philosophical statement “I see”, which has more to do with the act of understanding than the process of seeing, to the psychological aspects of certain three dimensional visual illusions that work, based solely upon stored mental information on the location of our sun and the resultant cast shadows; light has both inspired and guided our relationships with the world that surrounds us. So strongly interwoven is this relationship that it passes for the commonplace. This course seeks to explore and clarify the inter-relationship between man and light. Students will combine the advantages of distance education and concentrated explorations in the TCU Center for Lighting Education to create a unique learning environment. Individual/team investigations will concentrate on the use of light and color to create sophisticated themed environments. The TCU Center for Lighting Education will be used to support the actual demonstration of and investigations into the use of various types of electric lighting devices, ranging from simple track fixtures to computer controlled fixtures that can change color, lighting position, and pattern. The course will be further enhanced by two Lighting Designers in Residence who each provides a week-long interactive lighting/learning experience.

Instructor: Donald Jackson

“The Supreme Court’s Greatest Hits” is an online course featuring student/professor analyses of selections from the most important decisions of the United States Supreme Court in the last fifty years. The topics to be covered during the term include: 1) Freedom of expression, 2) Freedom of religion, 3) Reproductive Freedom, 4) Discrimination based on gender, 5) Discrimination based on sexual orientation, 6) Pornography and the legal test for obscenity, and 7) Highlights from the criminal justice system. Student discussion leaders will be assigned to lead threaded discussions for each of the 27 cases we study, depending on enrollment, this will amount to four times during the term that a student will lead threaded discussions. Topics will run for one, two or three weeks during the term. The course will utilize a CD-ROM disk developed by Professor Jerry Goldman of Northwestern University. Installation of the disk on the hard drive of your computer will bring you the recorded oral arguments made before the Supreme Court of the United States and the oral announcements of decisions for the cases included by Professor Goldman on the disk. The disk also contains the full text of the opinions issued by the Court on the included cases.

Instructor: Todd Kerstetter

Well…was it wild? When? To whom? What tamed it? This course wrestles with these questions by surveying the history of the trans-Mississippi West from earliest human settlement to the present (possibly into the future) and considering the significance, or insignificance, of frontiers in American History. Students will read a textbook (Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher’s The American West: A New Interpretive History) and analyze the West through extensive use of websites and representations in popular culture, especially films.

Instructor: David Cross

This MLA course capitalizes on great films to investigate the lives of people who achieve greatness. Films such as Amadeus, Braveheart, Glory, Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and Schindler’s List are used as laboratories for studying the principles of greatness as played out in the lives of heroes, creators, commanders, and statesmen. Although the domains of greatness vary, from music to politics to the battlefield, many of the essential ingredients are the same. Chief among these is courage, which Ernest Hemingway defined as “grace under pressure.” (Note: Students enrolled in this eCollege course must have access to a video source, either a library or a video outlet such as Blockbuster.)

Instructor: Charles Lord

This course will teach students how to think critically about psychological research on sex, violence, and aggression. The course goal is to educate intelligent consumers of media information and misinformation, teaching them to separate scientifically valid from invalid claims that such factors as genetics, biochemistry, socialization practices, sex differences, ambient temperature, alcohol, television, movies, and video games affect interpersonal violence and aggression.

The United States has a rich theatrical and dramatic heritage often hidden in the shadow of our colonial connection to England and dismissed by the Puritan ideology and ethics that formed the basis of our government. This web-based course will explore that rich heritage through an in-depth look at the people, historical situations and the drama literature that reflected the growth of this country from our colonial beginning to its maturity as a world leader in the 20th century.

Instructor: Douglas Ann Newsom

Global communications have created an international community exposed to persuasive campaigns, some advertising and some informational. This course will examine the influence and impact of global persuasive campaigns through an analysis of the structure of the campaign process and the use of images to create familiarity and experience. The ultimate impact and influence of such campaigns are highly variable, depending on the media in which they appear and the cultural context in which they are interpreted.

Instructor: Suzy Lockwood

The course examines the various aspects of health care delivery in the United States and other countries. The course will provide the student with a critical analysis and overview of health care delivery focusing on factors impacting it’s access, quality, and cost.

Instructor: David Buyze

This course focuses on the music and cultural icon David Bowie. Bowie’s career spanned more than fifty years in the 20th and 21st centuries and his impact on music and culture is indelible. We will consider the personas or alter egos and eras of David Bowie in the interpretation and analysis of his music through text, screen, stage, fashion, art, and other cultural dynamics. In the early part of Bowie’s career, such personas as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Major Tom, and The Thin White Duke are easily recognizable, yet in the latter part of his career it is much more difficult to ascertain a distinct persona or alter ego that he is inhabiting through his music and in the genres that he is working in. In this course, we will closely analyze Bowie’s music in the interpretation of his personas and eras in considering the impact and meaning of his music on culture and the human condition.

Instructor: Katherine Polzer

In this course, we will learn why we have the largest prison population of any developed country and also the highest recidivism rate per capita. Along the way, we will see how harsh mandatory sentences and the War on Drugs has affected the prison population and how this carries over upon release back into society. We will also explore how other countries incarcerate and release inmates. Finally, we will look at what we can do in-prison and post-prison to ensure the success of these men and women.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

This course will introduce students to the field of comparative religious ethics, which compares and contrasts the ethical teachings of the major world religions. The central textbook engages this field, with a focus on the subject of peace and war. Traditions covered include ancient Greek thought, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and modern feminism. Further readings will focus on the relevance of the Ten Commandments for contemporary society, and secularist critiques of religion. Each student will choose one additional book to review at the end of the course, on a subject of interest to them, from a bibliography prepared by the instructor.

Instructor: David Buyze

This course focuses on British music and memoir as contemporary experiences from the edge in the interpretation and analysis of music, text, and multimedia as cultural and artistic production. We will focus on music artists that have arisen from marginalized or edge areas of existential and cultural, social, national angst and that have given acute expression to the human experience. We will also contemplate how British music artists have provided very different expressions on issues of social oppression and ostracism within creating a voice for personal, cultural, social, and national liberation. We will consider the primary impact of Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Everything But the Girl, Massive Attack, and Portishead through written memoirs. Through the mediums of film, documentary, and video interviews we will simultaneously consider the importance of such artists as David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and U2. We will also examine the influence of many other artists during this course.

Instructor: Katherine Polzer

This course examines the policy and legal controversies surrounding the application of capital punishment (i.e., the death penalty) as a punishment for homicide. Topics include capital punishment through history, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and contemporary problems with the application of the death penalty, focusing on race and gender. The course will also analyze the troubling nature of wrongful convictions in regards to death row inmates.

Instructor: Marie Schein

What is the American West? Is it a myth or a reality? Is it a place or a construct? This course will first explore key writers and filmmakers that have attempted to define the ideal of the American West in the 19th century. We will first examine frontier narratives and classic Western novels and representation of the old west in films. Then, we will study contemporary voices of the 20th century, including Native American writers, regional authors, and filmmakers and determine to what extent they have complicated the construct of the American West. Although this course focuses primarily on literature and film, students will be invited to explore other representations of the American West for their individual research project. These other representations may stem from photography, paintings, and/or sculptures as well as the cowboy culture.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

This course examines the many and varied interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth in American history, from the colonial period up to the present. Attention is given to conservative and liberal forms of Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, feminism, the black religious experience, and others. Theological and philosophical perspectives are considered, along with popular culture treatments such as paintings, literature, and films.

Instructor:  Kurk Gayle

This course examines the development of the concept of “female” in the West. We will review the female as the ancient Greeks and the earliest Romans did, re-constructing as best we can their notions of womanly sex, gender, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, theology, language, and literature. Furthermore, we will use our own anachronistic lenses of “feminism” and “sexism” to de-construct ideas and ideals of key figures of history who have formed our contemporary concepts of female; in other words, we will assess the feminisms and sexism of individuals such as Sappho, Helen of Troy, and Cornelia, as well as persons such as Euripides, Aristotle, and Cicero. Students engage with readings, discussions, and writing to map and to evaluate critically the concept of female in the ancient West and our contemporary relationship to that concept. Course requirements include (1) active class participation in online threaded discussions about the readings and (2) reflective academic projects to imagine positive change to the constructs of “female.”

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

After an overview of the major world religions and the historical process of secularization in the modern West, this course will address certain key topics, such as: How have religious thinkers responded to the modern critiques of religion? What is the relationship between religion and science? . . . religion and morality? . . . religion and violence? . . . religion and human rights?

Instructor: Benjamin Tillman

In recent years several studies have refuted the “pristine myth” or commonly held view that indigenous societies in the Americas had little impact on their natural environments. Rather than “living in harmony with nature” indigenous peoples typically altered their environments, often extensively. In some cases, the results of these modifications are still visible today. This course will examine the multiple ways indigenous peoples of the Americas modified their natural environments past and present. Specific themes include urbanization and settlement impact on the environment; the role of population growth and decline; environmental perception through place naming; indigenous mapping of their environments; and, environmental modification through agriculture (the creation of Amazonian dark soils, terracing, raised fields, chinampas, slash & burn, etc.). Finally, the course will analyze and evaluate current efforts in the Americas to preserve the environment by protecting indigenous lands as biosphere reserves.

Instructor: James W. Riddlesperger, Jr.

During the 20th Century and now into the 21st, Texas provided a large share of national leadership in the United States and had some groundbreaking participants in the political change of that century. In this class, we will examine ten of those political figures, including the five chamber leaders of the House from Texas (Speakers Garner, Rayburn, and Wright, and Majority Leaders Armey and DeLay), the three presidents from Texas (Johnson, Bush, and Bush), and Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark. We will also examine the politics of the 1960s and early 70s as Texas made the transition from a one-party Democratic state to a Republican-dominated state. The focus will be on techniques of political leadership and how they changed over the course of the 20th Century and into the 21st.

Instructor:  Johnny Miles

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Words do hurt as we well know because language is neither innocuous nor value-neutral, especially when it comes to the matter of group identity or the process of constructing identities, ancient (e.g. Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Samaritans) and/or modern (e.g. Native, Latina/o, Asian, and African Americans). Integral to this identity construction process are stereotypes that effectively reify the representations of “other(s)” while presuming the superiority of one ethnic group (e.g. Israel and Euro-American) over another. These stereotypes proliferate throughout culture and time via diverse media, including the Bible, itself a cultural artifact. The postcolonial perspective of this course probes the representation strategy of stereotyping to reveal the identity of “self” reflected within “other” while simultaneously ascribing an often-silenced voice to the “other.” This course’s focus on representation will enable students to identify, explain, evaluate, and critique the use of stereotypes while examining diverse media wherein these stereotypes are embedded.

Instructor: Todd Kerstetter

This course will examine events from the perspective of the complex relationships between humans and their environment from pre-literate times through the 21st century. Geographically, the course will be bounded by the limits of the present United States. During the term, we will address the following questions: How did the environment shape American history and influence various American societies? How have conceptions of the environment changed? Do humans interact with the environment any differently now than they did 600 years ago? Do some groups have better ways of interacting with the environment than others?

Instructor: Suzy Lockwood

The course will examine the state of health care in the United States and explore how quality is defined in light of it. A brief overview of the structure and processes of health care delivery will be presented followed by a review of the various methods for defining and establishing quality in health care in our society. The role and influence of health care providers (medical and insurance companies) on individual choices will also be examined. Specific issues facing society related to health care decision-making will be reviewed and then related to how and who interprets the concept of quality.

Instructor: Charles Lord

Teaches students how to think critically about psychological research on romantic attraction and close relationships. The course goal is to educate intelligent consumers of media information and misinformation, teaching them to separate scientifically valid from invalid claims about the causes and consequences of initial romantic attraction, deepening close relationships, sex differences, problems that occur within close relationships, and effective versus ineffective strategies for resolving conflicts in close relationships.

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

This course is for students who have wanted to write a novel for a long time (or who have recently come up with an idea for a novel) and who want to stop dreaming about it and start writing. Students who take this course will compose three chapters (15-20 pages each) of a first novel and do a detailed outline of the remaining chapters. Students will read selected works about creative writing, particularly about novel writing, including Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, John Rember’s MFA in a Box, and John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist.

Instructor: Michael Slattery

Our relationship with the Earth is changing at an unprecedented rate. The pace of change is accelerating not only from our advancing technology, but also from world population growth, economic growth, and increasingly frequent collisions between expanding human demands and the limits of the Earth’s natural systems. The course introduces students to controversies in environmental policy and science. The readings of leading environmentalists, scientists, and policymakers, reflect a variety of viewpoints and are selected for their liveliness and substance. Major areas of study include environmental ethics, water resources, energy, global climate change, and population.

Instructor: Glenn Kroh

Ecology is the study of the interaction of organisms with their environment. This course will explore many aspects of the ecology of the earth. The environment includes both physical (global air patterns, soils, etc.) and biotic (competition, predation, etc.) parameters. Specifically, the course will explore the paleohistory of the earth, biomes of the world, the physical forces of today’s biosphere, the dynamics of natural communities and populations, and the global effects of man’s presence on planet earth.

Instructor: Charlotte Hogg

This is a course in fiction writing, where students will be expected to produce two full-length short stories (about 35-50 pages of writing). Given the time parameters of a course, our focus will be short fiction, but if anyone is working on a novel, they can submit those pages as well. Our primary goal will be to provide each other-virtually-with a rigorous, supportive audience for our writing. To get to and through our fiction, we’ll read contemporary fiction writers and do shorter, focused exercises on setting, characterization, etc. to help us generate prose and understand how stories are put together. In addition to reading and writing fiction, primary responsibilities of this course will involve careful reading and responding to texts we read, student writing, and attending a reading in your community. While I will respond extensively to drafts and revisions, as a member of the class you’ll assume the responsibility of responding to writing by your classmates.

Instructor: Edward McNertney

The study of economics involves the learning of abstract theories about the workings of the economic system and the study of various policy tools that may be used to guide the economy toward specified targets. The course will focus on the historical development of the theories developed to explain our major economic issues, on the controversies surrounding these theories, and on the different policy conclusions that arise from the different theories. The major economic issues on which the course will focus include inflation, unemployment, business cycles, economic growth and development, international trade deficits and surpluses, federal government budget deficits and surpluses, income distribution, and globalization.

Instructor: Timothy M.Barth

Contemporary approaches to the study of mental health emphasize disorders of the brain as the source for abnormal thinking and behavior. This course examines the ethical considerations inherent in this approach as it applies to the development of new treatments. The major objectives of the course include: an understanding of the journey from basic to clinical research; a familiarity with the ethical issues surrounding animal and human clinical research; the challenges that come with industry-sponsored research; and the ethical concerns with proposed treatments for psychological disorders in the future that may include cloning, gene-therapy, and stem cell research.

Instructor: Michael Slattery

Do you have a fascination with the Weather Channel? Are you interested in a non-mathematical treatment of the principles of meteorology and climatology? In this course, you will be introduced to the excitement of weather as it happens, by working with current weather data delivered via the Internet. The course objectives are to develop a working understanding of general meteorological and climatological processes, develop an understanding of the spatial and temporal variability of these processes, and begin to understand how these factors influence the climate of a region. The course covers the composition and structure of the atmosphere, the flows of energy to, from, and through the atmosphere, and the resulting motions produced from small to planetary scales. The physical principles of atmospheric phenomena are stressed in the understanding of weather’s impact on humans, particularly with severe weather, as well as climate change.

Instructor: Peter Worthing

This course examines the causes and consequences of war and revolution in 20th century Vietnam . Concentrating on major events such as the Vietnamese anti-colonial movement, the 1945 August Revolution, Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Communism, the Franco-Viet Minh Way, the roots of U. S. involvement and the American War in Vietnam , students explore modern Vietnamese history from a variety of perspectives: Vietnamese, American, and French. Course requirements include assigned readings, book and film critiques, a webliographic essay, and participation in threaded discussion.

Instructor: D. Clayton Brown

In this course, the political, social and economic factors in the New South are examined with attention given to comparative regional history. Particular emphasis will be placed on historical interpretations, showing both the professional and lay image of the South in today’s society. The economic modernization of the South will also be a major theme of the course.

Instructor: Jeff Bumgarner

This course introduces the graduate students to the practices of terrorism-international and domestic-along with the history and motivations behind it. Particularly, the course will provide insight into terrorism from a historical, geographical, cultural, and ideological basis. Strategies to combat terrorism will also be explored. After completing this course, students will not only be familiar with a variety of terror groups and terrorist acts that have made the news, but will also have a deeper understanding of the hostilities and conflicts which give birth to terrorism around the world and at home.

Instructor: Carol Thompson

This course introduces students to the central ideas in the field of social psychology and the significance of these ideas in providing explanations for criminal behavior and related phenomena. Additionally, social psychological theory and research are examined and utilized to understand offenders, victims and criminogenic environments. The course emphasizes the integration and application of course content to understand such contemporary criminological issues as punishing and controlling juvenile offenders, treatment and control of sex offenders, victim recovery, the media violence connection, serial and mass murder, and the validity of repressed memory.

Instructor:  Jeff Bumgarner

This course will introduce students to the impact of natural and man-made disasters on society, as well as the principles and practices of modern emergency management efforts in the United States. This includes efforts in planning for disasters, mitigating disasters, responding to them, and recovering from them. An emphasis is placed on the role that FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security play in the process.

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

Students will read literature and watch films about survival of both everyday crises and life-threatening situations. They will write three papers on topics related to survival of such ordinary crises as divorce or job loss, survival in the outdoors, and the prospects of long-term survival of the human species. Students will examine factors, including personality traits, which either impede or enhance a person’s ability to survive a variety of circumstances that put his or her confidence, sanity, or soul in jeopardy.

Instructor: Glenn Kroh

Aspects of plants that make them useful to people from an economic and social perspective. The structure, chemistry, genetics and ecology of plants are examined. Products derived from flowers, seeds, fruits, stems, leaves and roots are analyzed in light of past, present and future needs of the world community.

Instructor: Gene Smith

Today’s headlines report the failure of revolutions with their civil wars, ethnic massacres, and palace coups. What constitutes a successful revolution? What lessons are there in the American experience? General Washington’s startling words in 1783 express his anxiety for the problems of American state-building and give the title to a course that will examine the origins of those problems in the protest to British Imperialism, the War for Independence, and the post-war challenges leading to the creation of the Federal structure under the Constitution.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

This course explores the highly ambiguous relationship between religion and violence. It provides an overview of situations in the world today that are examples of this ambiguous relationship. Ethical teachings regarding violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are examined. Students are exposed to authors who seek to comprehend violent behavior using explanatory theories. Responses to 9/ll/2001 written by a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim are encountered. The goal is to allow students in the course to develop an understanding of various dimensions (ethical, social, psychological, political, and theological) of the relationship between religion and violence.

Instructor: Steven Sherwood

Students who take this course will write three full-length pieces (8-12 pages each) of creative nonfiction based on incidents that have occurred in their lives. Students will read selected works of creative nonfiction and from three textbooks on writing (Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life , Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, and Mary Catherine Bateson’s Composing a Life ), and the work of the course will revolve around writing the three pieces, reading and responding to fellow students’ pieces online, and analyzing reading assignments from the textbooks.

Instructor: Dr. John Breyer

This course is a cross-disciplinary course in the natural sciences. It will acquaint you with the workings of science and scientists by examining recurring themes and selected episodes in the history of science. We will consider the nature of the scientific enterprise and how science differs from or is similar to other areas of human endeavor such as art, religion, philosophy, economics, etc. After taking this course you will have a better understanding of science and how it works and of the complex relationship between science and the intellectual, cultural and social milieu in which it is practiced. You will learn the nature of scientific explanation and the limits of scientific understanding.

Instructor: Dr. Paul King

An examination of contrasting models and standards of communication ethics. Students apply these perspectives to specific situations in politics, advertising, interpersonal communication and writing.

Instructor: Dr. Manochehr Dorraj

The last two decades of the 20th century ushered in tumultuous changes in the economic, social, and political landscape; these transformations would have an indelible impact on the emerging society of the 21st century. This course is designed to provide a forum for analysis and discussion of some of the most significant issues of global politics in the new Millennium. While the attempt is to dissect these issues primarily on their own terms, we would also discuss the challenges they pose to the United States and the global community.

Instructor: Dr. Carol Thompson

This course examines the relationship between legal institutions and social processes. Course readings and discussion will focus on the social and political nature of law; the creation and organization of law in modern societies; social functions of law; the limits of law as an instrument of social change; the legislation of morality; democracy, individualism and law; criminal behavior and individual rights; and the use of scientific information in law.