2014 J-Term courses provide unique academic opportunities

(Hastings, Neb.) – For 48 years, Hastings College students have spent the month of January studying one course. Initially known as Interim and now January term, or J-Term, this feature unique to the College’s academic program allows students to complete internships, participate in study tours abroad and delve into a course with a depth difficult when juggling other coursework.

This will be the final J-Term for Dr. Dwayne Strasheim, Professor of English and Academic Dean Emeritus. Dr. Strasheim, who will retire at the end of the 2013-14 Academic Year, served on the Hastings College Faculty when the faculty senate adopted the College’s current academic schedule — a fall semester, J-Term and a spring semester.

Below is a partial listing of the 2014 J-Term courses.

Off-Campus Courses

Photographing the American Southwest
Instructor: Brett Erickson

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico (14 days)

Learn landscape and artistic photography in Santa Fe! The highlight of this course is a private 3-day session with Eddie Soloway, one of America’s most renowned landscape photographers, at one of the premier photography centers in the United States, the Santa Fe Workshops. The class will spend 14 days traveling in the American Southwest, photographing natural, architectural and cultural wonders, and working to improve the technical and artistic quality of their photographs. Locations will include the historic Santa Fe Plaza, Ghost Ranch, Bandalier National Monument and others.

Fine Art and Golf of Florida
Instructors: Jeffery Hoffman and Tom Kreager

Location: Florida (11 days)

This is a two-part course. The first is about the art we will experience in various museums, galleries and artists’ studios. The second part will be the opportunity to experience various types of golf courses. Students will be required to keep a journal from which they will write a paper about their experiences with the focus on a particular artist of choice and one of the types of golf courses, the designer and attributes the particular designer uses.

Marine Conservation Biology
Instructors: Diane Beachly and William Beachly

Location: Honduras

A survey of conservation issues in marine biology including coral reef preservation, mangroves, sustainable fishing practices, species diversity and ecosystem threats due to climate change. Students will obtain background knowledge of oceanography, the physical environment of the sea and biotic interactions in marine communities before travel to Honduras where they will study coral reefs and have additional lectures at the Roatan Marine Institute. The students will have received SCUBA instruction prior to departure and will dive at the islands of Roatan and Utila. On the Honduran mainland, students will visit the Pica Bonito National Park as well.

Exploration of Cultural Diversity, Traditions and Historical Values of Ethnic Groups in Ghana
Instructor: Moses Dogbevia

Location: Ghana (23 days)

This course is to educate the participants about the various ethnic groups in Ghana and the rich cultural and traditional values of each group in terms of history, art, religion and social life. This course is designed to educate the participants about the cultural differences and similarities among the various ethnic groups in Ghana and also to identify the factors that enhance unity among the people and promote diversity among the various ethnic groups in Ghana.

Modernism in Ireland: History, Politics and the Arts 1900-1939
Instructors: Antje Anderson and Rob Babcock

Location: Ireland (12 days)

In this course, the class will travel to Ireland to discover Irish modernism. The course will define modernism and discuss how the political history of Ireland in the early 20th century, from 1900-1939, shaped and was shaped by the literature, the art and the architecture that Irish artists created during (and in some cases before and after) this time. Students will read Joyce and Yeats on sites that inspired their writing; study how Irish nationalists transformed Ireland into a modern state and see the places this happened; and investigate what remains of the great edifices of modernist Irish architecture, both urban (in Dublin) and rural (Counties Galway, Donegal and Sligo).

Education in a Multicultural Society
Instructor: Lisa Smith

Location: Jackson, Miss.

An awareness and understanding of the diversity present in a pluralistic society and an examination of how this diversity relates to the educational system. Various field experiences are required which involve observation and participation in classrooms of diverse learners.

Discovering Post-Communist Europe
Instructor: Ingrid Bego

Location: Southeastern Europe

During this J-Term course, students will travel to Southeastern Europe to experience the political, social and cultural environment in the newly democratized countries of the region. This course will contribute toward the students’ better understanding of the challenges of democratization, nationalism, state formation and European Union membership. This course aims to improve critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze political phenomena cross-nationally. More particularly, during this course students will visit the countries of Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. Among other things, students will attend parliamentary sessions, meet with government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations, visit historical sites and museums as well as have a chance to interact with local citizens.

On-Campus Courses

The History of Hell
Instructors: Dan Deffenbaugh and Turner McGehee

Cultures from around the world have long held to the notion of an afterlife where humans will be either rewarded or punished for their earthly deeds. This course will look at the darker side of the world beyond and how “hell” has been conceived in ancient, medieval and modern contexts, from Egypt, to Persia, to Greece and Rome, to Western Europe. Special attention will be paid to depictions of hell in literature and art. Artists have been particularly imaginative when trying to show the place of damnation. Imaginative depictions of hell have been used for a variety of purposes. For instance, they have been used to educate a largely illiterate public. They have also been used as political propaganda and as social protest.

Adventure Art
Instructor: Steve Snell

Students will collectively invent and perform an adventure in the Hastings area, while utilizing a range of tools, art-making processes and popular media in order to establish and perpetuate its meaning in a mediated format. Students will learn basic video production techniques and green screen post-production effects. Not only will students have a real adventure in the Hastings area, but they will look epic and amazing in the process.

Real Estate Principles and Practices
Instructor: Bruce Batterson

This course presents the fundamental legal, financial and business principles governing real property and real estate agency, including terminology, real estate law, interests in land, marketing, ownership, financing, sales, leases, instruments and documentation, appraisal, taxation and agency. The course will be beneficial to those considering home ownership, real estate investment or a real estate career.

Educational Leadership – Steering the Ship and Rocking the Boat
Instructor: Barbara Sunderman

Educational leaders serve in a wide variety of roles in both K-12 school settings and Higher Education. During this course, participants will consider principles of leadership and identify their own personal strengths. Participants will analyze requirements and explore opportunities for leadership in higher education and/or K-12 settings. Readings will contribute understanding of the ongoing change in education and the leader’s role in that change. Field experiences will allow class members to meet leaders in various roles in higher education and K-12 settings. Participants will leave with a personal leadership statement as well as comparative information on leadership opportunities.

North American English Dialects
Instructor:  Dwayne Strasheim

This course is an introduction to variation in American English from regional and social perspectives.

“Hell on Wheels”: Skating through Modern American History & Sports
Instructor: Michella Marino

Roller Derby is only one of three sports created from scratch in America. Born out of the Depression-era, walkathons and bicycle races, the Transcontinental Roller Derby evolved into a co-ed full contact sport by the mid-20th century. Aptly dubbed “Hell on Wheels,” Roller Derby quickly became one of America’s most popular entertainment attractions and athletic events. This course will explore how Roller Derby was both influenced by larger cultural events in modern American history and how the Roller Derby influenced the history of American culture and sports. This course will examine Roller Derby’s place in American history, utilizing a variety of traditional and creative historical methods. What better way to understand the sport and our larger culture than by trying our hand at skating? Watching games from decades past, interviewing former Roller Derby stars and checking out a modern Roller Derby bout. Let’s roll…

Roman Emperors: The Julio-Claudians
Instructor: Billie Cotterman

A general overview of the Julio-Claudian emperors (Augustus to Nero). Content of the course includes but is not limited to political social and military history; imperial propaganda in art and literature; and what makes history true or right. We will read both primary and secondary sources, including the writings of Tacitus, Suetonius and others depending on class interest. In addition, we will watch episodes from the 1976 BBC miniseries “I, Claudius.”

Instructor:  Chad Power

Students will take an in-depth look at live sports broadcasts. All aspects of production elements will be covered for converged media productions. This course includes participation with live broadcasts of HC Bronco Basketball games throughout J-Term. Evening and weekend productions are required.

History and Tradition of Jazz
Instructor: Marc LaChance

This course studies the history and cultural aspects of jazz as a way of gaining greater understanding of jazz music. Some discussion of the elements of music will be included.

Instructor: Debra Rhodes

In addition to basic concepts of scientific principles of sound and music, this course will examine tuning and temperament, musical instrument design principles, the behavior of sound and sounding bodies and instrument history and lore. Traditional instruments, nontraditional instruments, environmental, film music and “found sound” will be examined in-depth. Simple musical instruments will be constructed employing the learned principles. This class is intended for non-music majors and no prior knowledge is necessary.

Learn to Play the Piano in Three Weeks
Instructor: Ruth Moore

This course is designed for students who have never played piano (or had few lessons.) We go through an adult piano book, learning how to read notes, use primary chords and understand basic fundamentals of music, including scale/chord formulas. The final project is a recital – open to the public – at which each student performs a solo repertoire.

Guitar from Scratch
Instructor: Richard Klentz

This course is an introduction to rhythm style accompaniment guitar playing.  Students will learn to read chord charts in standard notation and guitar tablature, accompany vocal and instrumental music.  Musical styles will reflect the diversity of the instrument and will include but not be limited to: folk, rock, blues, bluegrass, country, pop, Latin and jazz.  Both pick and finger-style guitar will be taught.  Chord theory and structure will be presented.  Activities will include: listening, watching performances, discussing history of the guitar and players of influence.

Jazz Pedagogy
Instructor:  Marc LaChance

The purpose of this course is to understand the historical and cultural context of jazz; to provide an overview of jazz theory, improvisation and teaching strategies; and to provide the music educator the necessary background to be a confident and proficient jazz educator.

History of Baseball
Instructor: Jim Boeve

This course is designed as a review of the national pastime from its origins to present day. The focus will be primarily on professional baseball but will include amateur levels.

Animal Cognition
Instructor: Jeri Thompson

This course consists of an overview of philosophic and scientific research on the thought processes of various species of animals. The possibilities of animal self-awareness, problem-solving and language will be discussed in relation to human cognitive processes. The class will also consider why this comparison seems to be so important (to us, probably not to them.)

Happiness Studies – Positive Psychology in Film
Instructor: Mark Zajack

Positive psychology is the scientific study of the conditions in which individuals thrive. In this class, students will compare the portrayal of happiness in film to empirical findings of psychological research. Evidence for the positive effect of constructs such as curiosity, persistence and kindness will be explored. Class time will be dedicated to lecture, film viewing and discussion.

Humor and Joy in Healing
Instructor: Lee Wigert

The class will examine the role of humor and joy in healing and wholeness. Materials from “The Humor Project, Inc.” will be used including Making the World a Better Place; Lessons and Laughter on Living Our Live; Ho-Ho-Holistic Medicine; How to Bring Out the Best in People; Choices, Changes and Chuckles; Keeping the Faith and Keeping Your Sense of Humor; Humor as a Life Saver; and Lightening Your Load.

Cooking Chemistry
Instructors: John Bohmfalk and Constance Malloy

How does flour thicken a sauce? Why does bread rise? Why does cooked meet look and taste better than raw? Food preparation is one of the hallmarks of humanity. The processes by which we modify natural products before consumption involve huge amounts of (often very complex) chemistry. Some of these chemical processes are well understood while others may not be so clear. In this class, we will investigate the chemistry of food preparation and will experimentally examine some of these processes through the preparation and consumption of many different food items. For novices, we will teach basic kitchen skills and equipment use. We will dissect recipes and culinary techniques and investigate a number of common culinary myths and misconceptions.

Introduction to the Night Sky
Instructor:  Clyde Sachtleben

This course is designed for students who want to gain a perspective on the character of the astronomical universe. Topics will include our solar system, star birth and death, galaxies and cosmology. The observatory and local planetarium will be used for the outside activities.

The Physics of Loudspeaker Design
Instructor: Steve Bever

Students will investigate the design and operation of loudspeakers using mechanical, electromagnetic and wave propagation principles. Using measurement and design techniques presented during lectures, each student will design and construct a pair of loudspeakers for their own listening enjoyment. The last day of the course will be used to preform critical listening tests of loudspeakers constructed by the class.

Factors Influencing Marital Quality
Instructor:  Robert Kettlitz

This course explores how several factors (expectations, interaction/communication, bonding, and adjustment) impact individuals’ perceptions of the quality of their marriage.

The Culture of Competition
Instructors: Carol Meyer and Dallas Wilhelm

Students will compete in wierd, unusual cultural and sports competitions from around the globe — both ancient and current. This course will investigate what a culture’s competitive events say about the particular culture. Everything is on the table — from official Rock/Paper/Scissors to Playing Polo with the head of a dead goat (or some substitute).

Foundations in Personal Finance
Instructor:  Deb Johnson

Want to be wealthy?  Foundations in Personal Finance is a program designed by Dave Ramsey with the goal of equipping young adults with the skills and knowledge needed to make sound financial decisions.

Who Controls You? Social Media? You?
Instructor: Jean Heriot

During the first half of the course, each student and the instructor will work to get as far from all media as possible. Students will design a schedule for disengaging with media/social media and decide how far they wish to go: no television, no texts, no Facebook, no email, no internet, no cell phone? For how long? In the second half of the course, students will gradually add the media back into their lives with a great knowledge of its influence and how to use it constructively. The class will use the work of Dr. Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist who studies the influence of social media on our lives, to develop ways to critique and to use media more effectively. In the last week of the course, students will develop ways to use social media in reflecting on what it was like to disengage and what they learned. The final project about the experience may include blog posts, podcasts or videos.

As part of disengaging from the media, the class will spend three days and two nights at the St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, Neb. This retreat center has no wi-fi and no television. Cell phones only work outside. The center, set in a beautiful part of Nebraska beside a pond and in rolling hills, has a sun room with a fireplace and many meditation sites. It invites people to pay attention to the world around them in a quiet and peaceful place.

A Survey of Sacred Music
Instructor: Robin Koozer

The course will explore the various components of sacred music in the worship of today. Emphasis will be given to the development and planning of music in worship and in Christian Education. The class will include several field trips, guest lectures and possible intern/participation projects.

Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit Hastings.edu for more.

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