Dialogues Course Descriptions

2013 fall Dialogues Course Descriptions

Dialogues of Belief and Reasoning

DBRA 100
Historical Issues: The Search for Knowledge
Greaney

This course will examine, compare, and contrast the various religious and philosophical perspectives from ancient to modern times in the core readings of “The Dialogues of Learning- Level I”. These historical texts address timeless and universal issues: the meaning of life, identity, the nature of virtue and ethical behavior, and understanding the natural world and our place within it. We will also study the search for knowledge, how the ideas that we have attained, and how mankind has tried to develop, store, and share that knowledge from antiquity to today.

DBRA 100
Rude Democracy
Lewis

This dialogue course will survey the rhetoric and debates that have shaped and formed democratic institutions throughout the history of the West. Represented in the “Dialogues of Learning—level I,” the course will analyze the lives and ideas of historical figures that have contributed to the democratic process, and as a result, have contributed to societal progress. By examining the choices of statesmen in relation to their belief systems, students will understand these major historical figures in the context of their cultural, religious, and political outlook. The course will focus on the students’ ability to recognize the significance of choice and the foundations from which people make rhetorical and political decisions. Students will be expected to examine the consequences of decisions by historical figures and analyze the person’s thought process in light of their worldview. Emphasis will be given on student evaluation and assessment of their own understanding of rhetoric, debate, democracy, and history. In addition, the course will function as an introduction to the main theories of political and social philosophy. We shall examine the ancient flourishing of the Athenian Empire, the Republic of Rome, The Development of Parliamentary systems in Europe and the Americas.

DBRA 100
Demons and Deities in the Movies
McCorry

A study of religious themes and archetypes in the cinema. Angel, devils, ghosts, and gods, have been the subject of literature and artistic expression throughout history. They are universal, showing up in all world cultures and as such may be referred to as “archetypes.” Our attraction to the supernatural is stronger than ever and this is certainly evident in today’s cinema. Film often reflects our experience but by examining that reflection our beliefs and behaviors may be challenged and shaped for our future. Demons and Deities in the Darkness will examine current and classic films supported by cinematic and theological essays, as well as Belief and Reason readings. Together we will question why we willingly gather in the darkness, seduced by flickers of light, which lead us into the unknown.

DBRA 100
The Garden of Good and Evil
Murphy

“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing,” said Edmond Burke. This course will explore good and evil from a moral and civic perspective. It will consider the perception that something accepted in one culture is taboo in another by examining how good and evil affect our perception and cognitive reasoning. It will study the influence these themes have on the persuasive nature of the media from a historical perspective.

DBRG 200
Iconic America
Simpson

This course will explore the concepts of belief and reason through American Icons. It is an in depth study of individuals and corporations that have made a impact on American culture. Students will learn about icons such as Walt Disney, Oprah, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs.

DBRG/DSL 300
Magic, Science, and Religion
Hall

This course will examine the similarities and differences between Magic, Science and Religion. All are part of the human quest to understand, and ultimately, to manipulate and control the natural world. The thought processes and reasoning are similar in all three. A question or goal is posited; there is then “experimental” intervention to attempt to achieve the goal; the result is observed empirically, and its utility in attaining the goal is assessed. All three have become institutionalized, and allowed to be transmitted through generations, because they work, or at least are perceived to work, in giving humans better control of the natural world.

DBRGE 200
Why Tragedy
Aiello

Why Tragedy will examine tragedy through dramatic expressions of the tragic experience in plays and films, as well as through analysis of tragic events, such as the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, to seek an understanding of the nature and effects of tragedy. Through readings from literary, historical, cultural and philosophical perspectives, the course will attempt to answer such essential questions as the role and purpose of tragedy in our lives, how it is perceived and understood, how it relates to society as a whole and how we can play a part in coping with tragedy. Plays, films and readings will range from the classical to contemporary eras and will possibly include works or selections from works, such as Aristotle’s Poetics, Sophocles’ Antigone, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Hegel’s Aesthetics, Miller’s “Tragedy and the Common Man” and Death of a Salesman, Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and Woody Allen's Match Point.

DBRGE 200
Greek Myths: Mortals and Immortals
Goldstein

In this course students will discover the exhilarating world of Greek mythology, a landscape filled with stories of the superhuman, the passionate tug of war between gods and goddesses, mortals and immortals. This is an imaginative journey in which love stories are intertwined with monsters and beasts, witchcraft and sorcery. Students will learn to read and interpret mythic metaphors, symbols and analogies, and be invited to ask: what’s myth got to do with it?

DBRGE 200
Happily Ever After
Unger

There are many ways to teach people how to be good: commandments, the promise of religious reward, and philosophical reasoning. However, we are also infused with our culture’s morals through folk stories. In fact, for centuries, many children have first learned what is morally right and wrong from fairy tales. Each fairy tale works to reinforce or defy commonly held beliefs and values, with often great rewards for good behavior, and a horrible end for the evil characters. These messages are usually hidden in metaphors. In this course, we will analyze fairy tales from a variety of perspectives, taking our inspiration from the Dialogue readings. We will use the fairy tales written down by the Grimm brothers, compare them to the works of philosophers and religious leaders, and reflect on what these stories teach us about character building, punishment and reward, acceptance, and the potential for change.

Dialogues of Justice and Civic Life

DJCAE 100
The Presidency on Film
Aiello

This course will examine the nature of the presidency through contemporary films. Thematically the course will cover two areas. Through the genre of the biopic (biographical film) students will view films based on the lives of two modern presidents: George W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s W and Richard Nixon in Stone’s Nixon, as well as Ron Howard’s Frost / Nixon. By examining critical essays devoted to the films, as well as listening to guest lecturers, such as Lynn’s Dr. Robert Watson, students will not only be able to learn the biographies of these presidents and the key events during their presidencies, but also discover the authorial and directorial voices present in the film that reveal particular perspectives, both positive and critical, on the lives of these presidents. Secondly, through humorous and serious dramas, such as Fail Safe, Dr. Strangelove, Primary Colors, Dave and The American President, students will examine the pressures, both political and personal, placed upon the president in these fictional and historically based fictional films. The theme of the ideal president will be juxtaposed with that of the president who falls prey to corruption. An effort will be made to show students that the president, as with all of us, is subject to forces that will lead us away from our ideals, as well as inspire us to greater meanings and roles in our lives.

DJCAE 100
Murder They Wrote
Deering

“In this class you will explore important questions of life and death!”
Through core readings, students will explore the concepts of freedom, justice, and equality in the United States and in other cultures and societies. They will examine and evaluate the challenges of equality and inequality, freedom and oppression, justice and discrimination from a historical, American and global context. Finally, they will assess through critical reflection their own values and responsibilities in terms of civic engagement and citizenship. In the second part of the course, students will explore how other societies, historically and globally, have viewed murder, suicide, and capital punishment.

DJCAE 100
Eternal Struggle for Freedom
Fleisher

This course will compare and consider how vital national and global issues are at times reflected in fictional and historical narratives. The course will draw upon relevant non-fiction and fictional literary and multimedia works to enhance the students’ understanding of the core readings. These literary, audio, and visual works will facilitate the students’ ability to integrate the core documents and readings into their developing world-view of justice and civic life.
Artistic works, in conjunction with the core readings, will be used to help students better understand how historical documents have been woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Compelling and thought-provoking works, juxtaposed with the core readings, will further demonstrate how discussions of race, community-oriented issues, etc., take place within our national psyche.

DJCAE 100
Poetry of Protest
Morgan

The Poetry of Protest will pair selections from the reader with poetry covering topics on war, race, and social/political themes.

DJCG 200
Voice of Women in History
Casey

One of the consequences of inequality and injustice in society is the silencing of certain voices. This course examines women’s contribution to American society and the ways in which their contributions were ignored or overlooked. We will also analyze how society has changed in response women’s voices and the resultant impact on the lives of both men and women in America.

DJCG 200
Justice and Genocide in Global Context
Hall

Issues of genocide continue to be a part of the global arena into the 21st century. There are hot-spots all around the world where genocide is an imminent threat, although violence against certain ethnic groups on a smaller scale occurs virtually everywhere. This course will explore the history and structure of genocidal conflict through the examination of some of the more prominent attempts at ethnic, religious and socio-political extinction. As part of the civic engagement component of this course, students will participate in some of the global efforts to bring awareness of, and participate in, the attempts to end genocidal conflict.

DJCG 200
Leadership in Action: A Service learning Experience
Jackson

This course will enhance the student’s understanding of leadership and its application as related to the Dialogues of Justice and Civic Life. Students are expected to apply the styles and concepts of leadership to the ideas, values, institutions and practices that define civic life. Students will do so through civic engagement and service learning. Service learning is a requirement of this course.

DJCG 200
Voice of Women in History
Kerker

One of the consequences of inequality and injustice in society is the silencing of certain voices. This course examines women’s contribution to American society and the ways in which their contributions were ignored or overlooked. We will also analyze how society has changed in response women’s voices and the resultant impact on the lives of both men and women in America.

DJCG 200
Great Events in History
Watson

Certain individuals and events have shaped history in profound ways. In this course, you will discover how historians make sense of the past, often with little information and mindful of the biased accounts that are passed down from the winners of history’s wars. We will uncover how history is often quite different from the version you read in high school textbooks; namely, it is much funnier, chock full of unlikely coincidences, and far more scandalous. Our main focus with be to explore the causes and consequences as well as the “story behind the story” of one dozen momentous events from history, using the dialogue themes of the long struggle for justice and the challenges of civil society. So, bring a healthy dose of skepticism and curiosity to class... and be prepared to be surprised.

DJCG 200
Justice at the Margins
Wright

Justice at the Margins probes the core issues of justice and civic engagement with respect to marginalized, disenfranchised and /or “voiceless” individuals, groups and communities. Human rights provide the context for addressing the topics of discrimination, oppression and denial of justice. Environmental issues and animal rights also are included in our consideration of the ‘voiceless’ – as the Lorax of Dr. Seuss queries: who will speak for the trees. Primary and secondary readings as well as films, documentaries and service learning provided the basis for our dialogue about Justice at the Margins.

Dialogues of Quantitative Reasoning

DQR 100
Personal Finance
TBA

This course emphasizes a practical approach to problem solving using quantitative reasoning in the context of personal finance. Students will learn, develop, and apply traditional college level mathematics skills to make sound financial decisions. In addition, students will gain an enhanced sense of financial literacy and responsibility to help contribute to their financial success. Topics will include: personal budgets; managing and using credit; housing options; vehicle decisions; time value of money and savings; and investment fundamentals.

DQR 200
Numbers in the News
Bagnoni

This course emphasizes a practical approach to the fundamentals of statistical reasoning and analysis, probability theory, and exponential modeling through the analysis and discussion of current news reports in both the print and television media. Relevant applications engage students while underscoring the essential uses of these mathematical concepts in every-day life and as expressed in the media.

DQR 200
Quantitative Reasoning
Beaulieu

This course emphasizes a practical approach to the fundamentals of statistical reasoning and analysis, probability theory, as well as exponential and logarithmic modeling. Relevant applications engage students while underscoring the essential uses of these mathematical concepts in every-day life.

DQR 200
The Games We Play
McCallister

This course emphasizes a practical approach to the fundamentals of statistical reasoning and analysis, probability theory, and exponential and logarithmic modeling. Relevant applications from games, sports and news articles engage students while underscoring the essential uses of these mathematical concepts in everyday life.

DQR 200
Predicting the Future
Weissman

Statistics has become an accepted part of our everyday lives where numbers surround us and catalog what has happened over time. Whether the numbers tell us how our favorite team or player has performed in the past, or how the economy is doing, we have become accustomed to having the numbers at our fingertips. In our course, students will learn how to use historical numbers to see what the past infers about the future. The areas covered apply to our personal lives as well as to professional and business models. Students will learn to identify and evaluate what the data imply and what the future may bring. They will discover which data might not produce accurate results. This is accomplished using theory, tempered with common sense that recognizes statistics as a valuable tool, though not an exact science.

DQR 300
Environmental Sustainability
Tebes

This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to environmental issues, problems, and policy, with a focus on an economic perspective. A unified and integrated treatment of science and policy is emphasized in order to be informed and active participants in designing and implementing policy solutions to local and global environmental problems. The unifying theme of this course is that of transforming cultures from a state of consumerism to that of sustainability. Readings will draw from a variety of disciplines emphasizing said theme and include the following: management priorities; the role of education for sustainability; cities of the future; the role of religion in shaping world views; media literacy, citizenship, and sustainability; as well as the power of social movements.

Dialogues of Scientific Literacy

DSL 100
The Animal Kingdom
Halloran

The genesis of the animal kingdom goes all the way back to the big bang. The processes which shaped the early universe, ultimately shaped the solar system and the Earth. The unique position and composition of the Earth led to the creation of the six kingdoms of life on Earth; including our own animal kingdom. This relatively recent taxonomic group, through the process of natural selection, expanded rapidly to become the living animals of the present including our own species. Throughout this course, we will examine how animal behavior is a reflection on the physical laws of the universe. We will explore how our Earth is delicately balanced for the life that it contains and how the smallest change would disrupt that life. We will discuss the human species as a biological organism and a member of the animal kingdom, subject to the same physical laws that govern all of biology and the physical universe as a whole.

DSL 100
Science Serving Humanity
Lucas

Science has the answer to most of the “Big Questions” we face today. To examine the progress man has made in society you only have to look at the technological progress to see the improvement in “Quality of Life”. This course has a “hands on” approach to the beginning of the universe by examination of the stars and planets, rocks and minerals, fossils, and machines to demonstrate the progress man has made in understanding planet earth in the universe. Students use the tools of science like telescopes to look at the planets, microscopes, computers and other equipment to re discover and understand early scientists, scientific method and their discoveries. At the conclusion of the course the purpose of man on earth will become apparent and the ways science serves humanity to protect the planet.

DSL 100
Technology and Human Ecology
Villaverde

This course focuses on the symbiotic relationship between human evolution, technological development and the environmental states. It concentrates in the investigation and understanding of the impact of the environment on human nature and as its evolution. It will also examine the role of technology as an environmental factor as well as an evolutionary trait or characteristic. Students will gain knowledge of the Scientific Methodology as well as in the technology used in science to assess humans and their environments.

DSL 100
Seeing the World through Scientific Method
Wojcik

Students will be creatively motivated to discover their own scientific curiosity through the applications and understanding of the scientific method.

DSL 200
Is Your Health Care System Sick?
Ceccoli

This course is designed to evaluate the essential principles of “Science” and its influence on “Democratic Society”. We will concentrate on the Science of Public Health in the 21st Century and attempt to answer the question “Is our Public Health System Sick”? As such the course introduces contemporary science themes related to public health, science education and science funding into our public dialogue with the hope of expanding our understanding of their importance in our daily life. The course is not designed to convince the student that one or another side in the social and political debate is correct but instead, give them the necessary background to understand the science behind the issue and make informed decisions of their own.

DSL 200
Alternate Energy – Alternate Fuels in Today’s World
Lucas

This course is an introduction to the history and technological development of energy, its use, its origins and its status on the planet. Topics include: Sources of energy, Biogeochemical cycles, Power and how we got addicted to oil, Alternate energy sources for living and for transport, Production from different sources and Quality Control, Sustainability. and Job potential. Specific projects covered are the following- a) photovoltaic, b) wind generated power, c) water generated power, d) watts, voltage, amperage, the power grid and storage of energy, e) Bio-diesel from seeds and algae f) Propane, methane, hydrogen as power sources g) alcohol production from cellulose h) steam engine power and i) hydroponics. We will finish with how the concept of sustainability and the value of earth’s resources coupled with technology and modern science is helping to provide new solutions to energy demand and still maintain sustainability for future generations.

Dialogues of Self and Society

DSSA 100
Futuristic Society
Allen

In this course we will explore historical and contemporary utopian ideals and attempts to realize them. Students will be challenged with developing and communicating their own imaginative thinking about the future and the ideals and laws that most effectively create a society that embodies them. Comparisons made between students’ concept of Self within this futuristic society and students’ understanding of their influence on their indigenous society, will allow for stimulating dialogue and debate during class meetings.

DSSA 100
Ethical Dilemmas “Down in the Tremé”
Bauberger

This course will explore the idea of a collectivist versus an individualistic culture along with basic theories of self-development. The themes of community, individualism, resiliency, tradition, and values & ethics will be explored in relation to the Emmy winning HBO show Tremé. The series explores Tremé, a historically significant location for the African-American population, and follows the community as its residents attempt to rebuild one of the oldest neighborhoods near the French Quarter. Individual characters delve into their traditions and their values in order to find a resilience that they never knew existed. Through ethical discussions revolving around community in post-Katrina New Orleans, students will explore how traditions help keep a community alive.

DSSA 100
Self as Learner
Wharton, Bauberger, Evans, Goudreau, Marold and Knight

Self as Learner has been designed to introduce students to the theory of multiple intelligences and the relationship of cognitive potential to learning. The course provides students, through lectures, various inventories, and working with the support of faculty, an understanding of their cognitive strengths and the sensory modalities that will assist then in the way they approach their courses, choose and appropriate college major, and ultimately, a career.

DSSA 100
Social Media
Goudreau

Facebook Nation: The Self and Social Media will examine the different personas and identities portrayed in social media outlets and compare/contrast these “personas” to the students’ true identities, sense of community, and their values and ethics. Students will explore how social media has evolved and where it is going in the future. Additionally, the course will look at the positive and negative consequences of social media behaviors; including online dating, picture or file sharing, bullying, and future employment.

DSSA 100
Where the Wild Thing Are
Knight

This course will be an exploration of how we understand and get to know ourselves from our first introduction of stories as a child to taking on roles as responsible young adults. The children’s book and now movie, Where the Wild Things Are, follows one boy’s journey to understanding himself. This particular story provides opportunities for discussion on the role of imagination and fantasy in helping an individual process frustration, anger and confusion. Themes of self-efficacy, resilience, and the social construction of gender, socialized identity roles, power and leadership will be examined through this reading. Additional readings on these themes will be included in the course to supplement themes related to the SS reader and discussion topics.

DSSA 100
Me, Myself, and I: Nature vs. Nurture?
Levenson

This course will be an exploration of how we develop our identity and the influence of biology, parents, and significant events in the shaping of the concept of self. Questions examining the role of nature vs. nurture will be explored. The development of values and the moral self (who do I want to be?) will also be discussed. Themes of self-efficacy, resilience, and the social construction of gender, socialized identity roles, power and leadership will be examined through films and through readings in the book listed below to supplement the SS reader and discussion topics.

DSSA 100
Self in the Modern Family
Marold

This course will look at how American sitcoms have influenced the American family through an in depth look at ABC’s hit show “Modern Family”. Through the dichotomous relationship between culture and societal norms, we will look at how the American family has evolved since the 1950’s, partly due to popular sitcoms. A focus on the self and one’s place in the family will be discussed through the lens of Alfred W. Adler’s Individual Psychological theory, while specific themes of values and resiliency and change will be discussed through the use of Albert Bandura’s theory of social learning, Kohlberg’s theory of Moral Development and Brofenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory.

DSSA 100
Where the Wild Thing Are
Schear

This course will be an exploration of how we understand and get to know ourselves from our first introduction of stories as a child to taking on roles as responsible young adults. The children’s book and now movie, Where the Wild Things Are, follows one boy’s journey to understanding himself. This particular story provides opportunities for discussion on the role of imagination and fantasy in helping an individual process frustration, anger and confusion. Themes of self-efficacy, resilience, and the social construction of gender, socialized identity roles, power and leadership will be examined through this reading. Additional readings on these themes will be included in the course to supplement themes related to the SS reader and discussion topics.

DSSG 200
Where do I Belong: Emerging Self
Adelson

This course examines how the communities we live in influence social and individual development and emergent concepts of self and society. The course will focus on the characteristics of communities, and how these impact social relationships, participation, and meaningful connections. It will introduce students to both a historical and contemporary understanding of the structure of communities and relate this to their understanding of how their communities reflect personal values and belief systems.

DSSG 200
Global Crises: Individual Response
Krift

Food, fuel and water are essential goods and necessary for daily life yet dwindling access is placing each and every global citizen in grave jeopardy. Discover the geographic importance of accessibility and the differences in resource access and use, trace the trade routes and uncover the roots of the food, water and fuel crises. Close examination of the ongoing global impact on the environment will be included as this has played a significant role in the perpetuation of the food, fuel and water crises. Incorporation of key concepts and theories from development, geography and International Relations will further perspective. Recognizing the difference in resource use by individuals living in the world’s regions will provide a better understanding of one’s role as a consumer perpetuating the food, fuel and water crises. Gaining an appreciation of one’s previous role in furthering these crises will lead to individual action and response. Students will devise an action plan to make a personal impact on these crises.

DSSG 200
Your Beliefs, Your World
Schear

The purpose of the course is to explore how individuals create a political identity and how that identity relates to the self and society readings, major political parties’ platforms and the belief systems associated with the various political parties. Students will participate in research-driven debates and presentations in order to increase their knowledge base and understanding of where they stand in relation to the major political ideologies.

DSSG 200
All Alone is All We Are
Seifer

This course will define society and its relation to personal growth and insight of the individual through the understanding and synthesis of existential literature and music lyrics. In this course students will analyze, identify and create answers to the simplest and most abstract questions; what is my meaning and purpose in life and society? Students will demonstrate their command and understanding for existential philosophy and its eternal link with literature and music. Students will demonstrate understanding for the nature of one’s self and the process of developing insight, growth through their personal existential struggle while defining his/her own purpose and meaning in life and society. Finally, students will identify their understanding of the meaning of being human in modern society.

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