Humanities Learning Communities

Anyone, no matter what your major is, can choose to participate in the Humanities Learning Community. Each Humanities Learning Community will consist of 60-125 students and two faculty members. In addition, each community will have a different theme. Each semester students will:

Attend one large weekly lecture (75 students) on a theme/topic that meets the learning requirements for the General Education (GE) C3 requirement (Humanities). Attend a weekly seminar (20-25 students) linked to the lecture to practice critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills. The weekly seminar will fulfill GE area A3, critical thinking. Additionally, while each Humanities Learning Community will focus on a different theme, each will address the social and academic transitional challenges freshmen face through the integration of first-year student transitions topics and with the support of a Peer Mentor.

Students who successfully complete the two-semester sequence will receive credit for GE areas A3 and C3.

Students can choose from the following options:

AMCS 165: Big and Small Stories that Matter: Home and Belonging in the 21st Century
Dr. Leny Strobel and Dr. Jurgen Kremer

We live in a fast-paced world that is saturated with media-mediated phenomena and yet we remain drawn to the personal, face-to-face encounters that are increasingly marked by cultural, ethnic/racial, class and sex and gender differences that are easier to ignore than engage. This keeps us from developing deeper and more meaningful relationships to each other, to place, to community, to history. In this course, we explore the ways that students can develop a quality sense of presence and attention that attends to those differences.

ArtH 160: Cave Paintings to Picasso - (Art History/Studio majors are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to enroll in the FLC)
Dr. Jennifer Roberson and Prof. Michael Schwager

This course is designed to introduce some of the major developments in art and architecture from the prehistoric through the late Medieval periods. It will focus primarily on artistic trends in Europe and the Mediterranean region but also will include sections on Asia. As the scope of the course is vast, the course is broken down into central themes that will serve as focal points for considering the form and function of art, and how it varies regionally and chronologically.

CALS 165: Race and Social Justice - (FIRST-GEN residential academic community and EOP students only)
Dr. Daniel Malpica and Nora Wilkins

This learning community will introduce students to social inequality in the United States. Students will learn how inequalities are produced, how they persist and how they can be challenged and overcome. Central to the persistence of inequality in the United States is race, class, and gender differences. The course will focus on the relationship between differences and social inequality as it affects racial minorities with a particular focus on several populations.

COMS 160: Understanding Media - (For Communication Majors only - COMS majors are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to enroll in this FLC)
Professor Ed Beebout

Students will analyze the characteristics of mass media and new media, their historical development, and how they influence our lives. This course will help students make sense of and control their media environments, as well as develop a critical approach to understanding media. Students will pay special attention to relationships between film and other media (such as newspapers, television, and the internet), and critically analyze the social, cultural, and political significance of films about media, including how these films influence how we understand media, society, and the broader world.

MLL 161: Critical & Creative-Global Culture Remix - (See Global Learning Experience for important requirement and complete Language Class Placement Checklist to ensure correct language course placement.)
John Nardine

This course is designed for first-year college students studying another language and/or considering studying abroad during their college career. MLL161A/B, "Critical & Creative: Global Culture Remix" is a year-long, 2-unit course that creates a space for students to reflect on how second language learning and contact between cultures and languages may shape their lives and identities as they become bilingual speakers and possibly live/study abroad. Students will explore concepts of identity of self and others through their own writing, art, literary texts, film, music, stagecraft, and roleplay. This learning community will provide students with an opportunity to share, compare, and contrast their experiences across languages, thus multiplying critical perspectives on second language acquisition (SLA). Offering pathways to study abroad, this course also connects academic content to preparation for future participation in SSU's International Programs. In the fall semester, students will also enroll in a language class (French 101, German 101 or Spanish 201). Students may study the language at a higher level if so placed, with the permission of the instructor.

Students interested in pursuing studies in Wine Business might also consider pursuing the French Language Certificate for Wine Business. Contact Prof. Suzanne Toczyski, for details.

ENGL 160A/B: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Identity
Dr. Tim Wandling, Sakina Bryant, and Marc Evans

What can the rich works of imagination reveal to us about our culture's fascination with science, reality and identity? This course will explore the worlds of Science-Fiction and fantasy with a focus on the question of identity. Through study of films, novels and short stories, students will explore such questions of identity as: What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to "come of age?" Are gender and even sex biologically or culturally determined (LeGuin is particularly good on this topic)? What can we learn about ourselves by studying the past (Butler, especially good on race and history) and the future (Wells, especially good on class and labor).

MUS 160: Musicking 101: A Crash Course in Listening to, Writing about, Thinking about, Practicing, and Performing Music (Required for, but not limited to, Music majors)
Alexander Kahn and Eric Cabalo

A year-long crash course in listening to, writing about, thinking about, practicing, and performing music. We will explore musical from all around the world and throughout history, and consider a variety of questions including: What does music actually mean? How do different cultures define music differently? What should we listen for in music? What are the models of listening available to us? What are the cross-cultural elements of music: How can one write effectively and engagingly about music? How can one speak effectively and engagingly about music? How can one develop strategies to most effectively practice music? How can one develop strategies to achieve “peak” performances of music? What wellness and time management strategies are most effective in leading to a healthy, happy lifetime of music-making? How does one go about making a career in music?

PHIL 160A/B: The Heart of Wisdom: Compassion and the Good Life
Dr. Andy Wallace and Jessica Hobson

This learning community is guided by the ancient concern with discovering what it means to live life well. We make two key assumptions. Students will explore different philosophical theories about what living a "good life" means and how caring about the welfare of others intrinsically (compassion, empathy, altruism) is essential to this experience. This learning community combines these assumptions in community-based service by students, which we call the kindness project.

PHIL 160C/D: The Good and Meaningful Life
Dr. Joshua Glasgow

This learning community will target students interested in issues concerning the good life. It will contain multiple modules on different topics under that theme, such as happiness, meaning in life, the badness of death, and whether we matter in the big picture (for just a few examples). This course will prime students to consider the pre-law and applied ethics concentration within the Philosophy program as a potential major and as a viable path to a rewarding future after their time at SSU.

THAR 160: Theater, Dance, the Artistic Process, and You - (Required for, but not limited to, Theater and Dance majors)
Christine Cali, Scott Horstein, Doyle Ott

Your journey through your first year in college is like a performance: filled with light and shadows, ritual, transformation, and revelation. This learning community explores the links between your own first-year journey and the power and urgency of live performance. We read scripts, watch dances and plays live and on video, and use targeted projects to create art and performance in an adventurous but safe and non-threatening way (no one is obliged to perform who doesn't want to). Along the way we critically analyze performance with the concepts of Critical Distance and Visceral Response; Myth, Ritual, and Sacred Space; Tragedy and Comedy; and Culture and Identity. How can we transform others and ourselves through live performance? How can we name and understand performance in our everyday lives?

More information

For more information on the School of Arts and Humanities, please visit their website.