First-Year Learning Communities

Fall 2017 Cornerstone Learning Communities

Students on ropes course

Please Note: While some of the experiential opportunities with each learning community will be mandatory, others may require both permission forms and a small fee. Those opting out of extracurricular activities that require additional fees or because of extenuating circumstances will be given alternative activities to meet the learning objectives.

You will see some information in bold below some communities to let students know if a community is not an option due to possible AP or IB (higher level only accepted) exams or transfer credit.

There are seven total Cornerstone Learning Communities to choose from. For more information about each Learning Community and the courses offered, you may click on one of the following or scroll through the page.

  1. “Lift Ev’ry Voice!"
  2. Big Brother's Brave New World: Media Politics in the 21st Century
  3. Kafka at the Movies:  Film Studies and German Literature
  4. Yoga, Meditation, Contemplative Practices, and the World's Religions
  5. Bugles, Belles & Bullets:  The Fact and Fiction of the American Civil War
  6. The Explorers:  Cultural Anthropology and Global Citizenship
  7. Stretching Your Minds: Yoga and Psychology

1. “Lift Ev’ry Voice!"

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

AFN 130

African American Studies

MW

3:00-4:45 PM

Mr. Sean Palmer

3

Living in Our Diverse Nation

PSY 105

General Psychology

MW

1:00-2:00 PM

Ms. Tracy Pena

3

Understanding Human Institutions & Behaviors

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

TR

9:30-10:45 AM

Dr. Emmanuel Harris

3

Foundations

Description

Have you ever wondered why most conversations about race, ethnicity, and identity are inadequate?  Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “Why can’t I find words to adequately describe what I see every day?”  If so, join Tracy Pena, Sean Palmer, and Dr. Emmanuel D. Harris, for a semester long immersion into the topic of race through both African American Studies and Psychology courses.  From an interdisciplinary approach, students can expect to participate in cultural events and discussions that widen knowledge about African-American culture and heritage. Using a psycho-social perspective, students can also expect to examine how race and race relations in our society affect the individual.  Historical and modern day events will set the backdrop for inquiry and analysis. Finally, students can expect, and are encouraged, to bring their voice and find their voice. So, if you are looking for an engaging, critical, and innovative exploration of race and psychology, we encourage you to join us for “Lift Ev’ry Voice!"  

*You cannot choose this as an option if you have taken (and scored a 4 or better) on AP Psychology or a 5 or better on IB HL, or are transferring in credit for an introductory Psychology course.

2. Big Brother's Brave New World: Media Politics in the 21st Century

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

COM 160

Engaging Contemporary Media

TR

3:30-4:45 PM

Dr. Chadwick Roberts

3

Understanding Human Institutions & Behaviors

PLS 202

Contemporary American Political Issues

TR

2:00-3:15 PM

Dr. Julie Lane

3

Understanding Human Institutions & Behaviors

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

TR

11:00-12:15 PM

Dr. James Taylor

3

Foundations

Description

In the age of 'fake news' and social media, how do citizens engage with media and politics? Equally – perhaps more – importantly, how should citizens engage with media and politics? In this CLC, students will answer these questions with input from communications studies and political science. Students will explore the structures, systems, effects, conventions, and genres of contemporary media in Communication Studies 160. The emphasis of this course is on improving media literacy to foster critical and educated consumption of media. From political science, students will examine contemporary political issues particularly related to the rise of fake news and partisan news in the 24-hour news cycle in Political Science 202. The goal of this CLC is to foster and create critical media literacy and engaged citizens for the 21st Century.

3. Kafka at the Movies:  Film Studies and German Literature

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

GER 209

German Literature in Translation: Topics

TR

11:00-12:15 PM

Dr. Raymond Burt

3

Aesthetic, Interpretive, & Literary Perspectives

FST 110

Concepts in Film

MW

M 9:00-11:45 and W 9:00-10:15 AM

Ms. Elizabeth Rawitsch

3

Aesthetic, Interpretive, & Literary Perspectives

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

TR

5:00-6:15 PM

Mr. Zach Underwood

3

Foundations

Description

As a learning community we will explore the depths of the human soul as expressed in great works of German literature (in English) with a solid foundation in film studies. In the German literature course (GER 209) you will experience some of the best writers in Western culture to whom, with the exception of Kafka, you were probably not exposed during your high school years. In the film studies course (FST 110) you will learn to be an active “reader” of film style and narrative as we analyze how German and American filmmakers elicit an audience response in films ranging from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) to The Reader (2008). Having German literature paired with a film class will allow us to look at the adaptation and transformation of literary themes into cinematic form. You will gain a rich understanding of how art crosses both mediums and cultural boundaries. The interdisciplinary approach will benefit students both in their understanding of basic cinematic and literary concepts and their ability to critically analyze the interaction between these two artistic forms. Joint assignments will involve presentations and papers examining how each medium uses its unique tools to shape a common plot or theme.

4. Yoga, Meditation, Contemplative Practices, and the World's Religions

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

PAR 125

Great Books of the World’s Religions

MWF

12-12:50 PM

Diana Pasulka

3

Historical & Philosophical Approaches

PED 101

Yoga

MW 11-11:50

Jessica Hartmann

2

Lifetime Wellness

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

TR

9:30-10:45 AM

Beverley McGuire

3

Foundations

Description

What is the relationship between our minds and bodies? How do our thoughts and actions contribute to our sense of happiness and well-being? What is the value of yoga, meditation, and Western contemplative practices (sometimes understood as practices of prayer), and what role have such practices played in religious traditions in the past and present? This Learning Community will discuss such questions through a combination of Physical Activity and Wellness (PED 101), a Special Topics UNI focused on yoga, meditation, and contemplative practices (UNI 101), and Great Books of the World's Religions (PAR 125). In PED 101, students will learn how the mind-body connection facilitates peace and happiness both on and off the yoga mat. A full practice of meditation, physical yoga postures, and self-reflection will allow students to reshape attitudes, views, and thoughts to move forward on the path to happiness. In UNI 101, students will explore their views and assumptions about happiness, their experience doing yoga and contemplative practices, and how such practices have been understood in religious traditions. In PAR 125, students will engage in a comparative study of Eastern and Western religious traditions, reading and interpreting classic religious texts including the Bible, the Qur'an, as well as Hindu and Buddhist scriptures. Common themes and links between the courses include an examination of one's mind and body, the role that one's thoughts and actions play in one's happiness and well-being, yoga, meditation, and Western contemplative practices, the religious foundations for such practices, and how they compare to other religious worldviews.

5. Bugles, Belles & Bullets: The Fact and Fiction of the American Civil War

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

ENG 290

Themes in Literature

MW

3:30-4:45 PM

Ms. Jane MacLennan

3

Aesthetic, Interpretive, & Literary

HST 105

American History to 1865

MW

2:00-3:15 PM

Dr. Chris Fonvielle

3

Historical & Philosophical Approaches

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

TR

3:30 - 4:45 PM

Ms. Maggie Bannon

3

Foundations

Description

The deadliest war in American history is known by many, primarily Southern, names.   Some of them are “The Late Unpleasantness,” “The War of Northern Aggression,” “The Lost Cause,” The Brothers’ War,” and “The War Against Slavery.”  Whatever the name, there is little doubt that the war fractured the United States and that the time period was rife with nationalism, inflammatory language and tales of suffering and hardship.  Some of this fracture and hostility is in evidence almost 150 years later.  The literature of and about this period reflects the history and the war’s impact on both individuals and cultures.  The short stories, poetry and drama in Eng 290 will often parallel the studies in HST 105 and since we live in a historically significant area, there will be field trips as well as study of pertinent original documents. From a historical standpoint, we will examine the causes of the Civil War as well as social, military and political aspects of the war itself and its aftermath.

*You cannot choose this as an option if you have taken (and scored a 4 or better) or plan to take the AP test for U.S. History.

6. The Explorers: Cultural Anthropology and Global Citizenship 

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

ANT 206

Cultural Anthropology

TR

12:30 - 1:45 PM

Dr. Barbara Michael

3

Living in a Global Society

ENG 290

Themes in Literature

TR

2:00 - 3:15 PM

Ms. Michelle Manning

3

Aesthetic, Interpretive, & Literary Perspectives

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

MW

2:00-3:15 PM

Mr. Danny Hall

3

Foundations

Description

Using the classroom as a portal, students will investigate the diversity of different ethnicities, cultures, and societies and explore how societies create their own social, cultural, and political norms.  This learning community will specifically focus on themes of coming of age, survival, social justice, displacement, crisis and other events that help to shape cultural and personal identity, perceptions, and adaptations, including adapting to college life.  Through reading literature and texts, viewing documentaries, engaging in discussions, and participating in projects, students will also be challenged to enhance their understanding of their own cultures and identity, to confront their own cultural bias, and to consider their roles as global citizens. Students will engage in a service learning project with our local refugee resettlement agency, and background checks will be required to participate. Students will be sent instructions regarding this process over the summer 2017; there is no additional cost.

*You cannot choose this as an option if you have taken (and scored a 5 or better) or plan to take the IB HL exam for Anthropology.

7. Stretching Your Mind (THIS SECTION IS FULL)

Courses:

Course

Title

Days

Time

Instructor

Hours

Course Description

PED 101

Yoga

MW

10:00-10:50 AM

Mr. Christian Barnes

1

Lifetime Wellness

PSY 105

General Psychology

MWF

9:00-9:50 AM

Ms. Elaine Hogan

3

Understanding Human Institutions & Behaviors

UNI 101

First Year Seminar

TR

9:00-10:15 AM

Ms. Leah Colvin

3

Foundations

Description

How can we achieve balance in our lives? What can we do to enhance our health in every aspect; mind, body, and spirit? How does our environment influence our choices? How can we develop behaviors that will serve us well as we age? This Learning Community seeks answers to these questions and many more through the combination of General Psychology (PSY 105) and Physical Activity and Wellness (PED 101) with a concentration on Hatha Yoga techniques. In the PED 101 class, students will receive an introduction to the various aspects of Yoga, including Hatha Yoga postures, breathing techniques and deep relaxation. They will also develop their skills as informed health consumers and engage in the application of healthy choices regarding fitness, nutrition, personal safety, stress management, and weight management for the purpose of wellness, chronic disease prevention and improved quality of life. In PSY 105, students will be provided a sampling of the major subject areas of psychology, with an emphasis on the general principles and methods of psychological study. It is hoped that, as they explore the wide range of psychological research and learn the disciplines of yoga, students will increase their own self-awareness and their understanding of the determinants of their own behavior.

*You cannot choose this as an option if you have taken (and scored a 4 or better) on AP Psychology or a 5 or better on IB HL, or are transferring in credit for an introductory Psychology course.