Highlighted Classes from Previous Terms


Emerging Technologies – This course explores an array of contemporary topics in science. Students will examine related theories, the evidence that supports competing theories, and the implications for both further scientific inquiry and the future of the human experience. Topics that are not covered in core science classes are deliberately selected. Sample topics include Genetic Engineering, Climate Change, and Artificial Intelligence. Students will gain a rudimentary understanding of these areas of scientific inquiry and become more aware of the breadth of contemporary scientific endeavors.

Cognition and Ethics – This course is an exploration of human behavior from its inception in the brain to its expression in our society. The class examines the neural mechanisms and the moral principles behind our actions and analyzes the complexity of behavior in humans and in other animals. This course covers such topics as the nervous system, artificial intelligence, the legal system, the U.S. Constitution, mental illness and euthanasia. Students will come away with a clear understanding of the tension between biological and social models of thought and action.


Social Science and Humanities

Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, and Fascism – Is Communism dead? Is the United States Capitalist or Socialist? What about the New Deal? This advanced course will focus on both the philosophy and practice of the “Ism”s, balancing various readings from primary sources (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, etc.) with current affairs. In addition to studying original texts, we will move toward persuasive writing assignments and organized debates about the quality of life under different “Ism”s, and the consequences for countries’ political economies.

African-American Cultural Studies – This course examines the experience of African- Americans within the political, social, economic, and cultural systems of the United States. The class begins with a focus on the history of race slavery in America and progresses toward an examination of modern issues relating to social equity. Emphasis is placed on interaction with primary source documents and archival materials. A broad range of multimedia materials ranging from slave narratives to jazz music and cinema are used throughout the course to add texture and depth to the course material. Women’s Studies – This class introduces students to the experiences and contributions of women throughout American History utilizing a variety of sources, including letters, photography, music, speeches, poetry, film, advertisements, and biographical profiles of notable American women.  Students are confronted with the many issues and debates facing women in various areas of American life.  Topics include: Women in the workplace; gender roles; political issues; domestic violence; military participation; women in government; equal rights and voting; reproductive issues; crime and punishment; cultural contributions; and women in sports, literature, art, music, and film.


English and Communications

Media Studies and Semiotics – This course examines the role of mass media in the formation of cultural meaning. Course topics include: how television news selects and presents stories verbally and visually; analysis of network and newspaper political agendas in presentation of “straight news”; analysis of political advertising techniques and ethics; how advertising reflects and influences the stories presented in mass media news; how advertising represents female form and values; how television shows, magazines, popular music, and the Internet shape and reflect cultural meanings of race, class, gender, age, and self.

Post-World War II American Novel – This course situates students in the historical, political, cultural, psychological, and economic concerns of America reflected in novels from 1946 into the 21st century. Students closely analyze texts for personal, historical, and aesthetic appreciation, with special attention to the place of symbols and metaphors. Course topics range from the realities of the atomic age, Cold War anxiety, Freudian and Jungian thought, household technology and the baby boom, the rise of activist feminism and the Civil Rights Movement, and the search for American identity in a one-superpower world. Background historical research, personal response writing, and close readings and discussion of selected works are emphasized.

Comedy and Tragedy –Comedy and Tragedy is a reading- and writing-intensive survey of the two major types of Western drama, from  ancient Greece to the late 20th Century.  Among its major topics, the course explores the social, political, religious, and psychological meanings and values of tragedy, the many definitions and types of comedy, the major points in the historical development of English comic and tragic drama, and the growth of tragicomedy. Early British Literature: Monsters from Grendel to Caliban – What makes a monster?  The answer to this question has changed in the mind of the English-speaking world as culture, language, religion, and science have changed human beliefs  and thought patterns.  Through the reading of four key British texts–Beowulf, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and selections from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, we will examine the evolving concept of the monster in British literature, and the lessons it holds for human nature.  We will also trace the development of the English language through its three major periods: Old, Middle, and Modern.