J-Term at Hastings College enters 49th year

During what was initially known as Interim and now called J-Term, Hastings College students have spent the month of January studying one course. This feature unique to the College’s academic program, begun 49 years ago, allows students to complete internships, participate in study tours abroad and delve into a course with a depth difficult while juggling other coursework.

Below is a partial listing of the 2015 J-Term courses.  For more information, contact Alicia O’Donnell at aodonnell@hastings.edu.

Off-Campus Courses

The Natural Biology of South Africa                                                          Instructor: Amy Morris

Location: South Africa (17 days)

Few areas of the world provide the opportunity to view the variety of iconic megafauna as closely as South Africa. The active study tour of natural biology of South Africa will provide students the opportunity to explore the interaction between animals and their environment in real bush conditions. Starting in Johannesburg, the group will begin the trek of the World Heritage Site of the Drakensberg Mountains, observing and documenting the ecosystem by foot through the rugged wonderland of northeast South Africa. Upon arrival in the iconic Krueger Park, the class will camp among free-roaming game, where three days of wildlife tracking on foot will be complemented with game drives. The course will conclude in Cape Town, where the students will climb Table Mountain, visit the winelands of South Africa’s emerging grape industry and conclude with a final day on the beach. This is an active adventure for individuals in strong physical condition and will have some rugged accommodations.

Educating in a Multicultural Society                                  Instructors: Kass Remp and Lisa Smith

Location: Jackson, Mississippi (7 days)

This course is designed to explore and develop skills necessary in the development of transformational learning environments that provide every student an equal opportunity to develop to their full potential. This includes developing a comprehensive understanding of how to prepare students for increasingly intercultural communities; recognize the unique perspective of each individual student; and creating cultures where students are critically aware and who participate in actively ending oppression of all types. In addition, this course will include a close and critical examination of educational practices and their impact on student learning.

Culture and Civilization of Spain                                        Instructors: Pedro Vizoso

Location: Spain (20 days)

This course is focused on the multicultural nature and composition of Spanish civilization and its influence in the world all along the history. Participants will be living for a period of almost three weeks in the cradle of the Hispanic multicultural world, Seville, which was the heart and the administrative center of the Spanish colonial empire during 16th and 17th centuries. This course will provide a unique opportunity for students of Spanish to immerse themselves in the diverse cultural reality of a country and its language.

On-Campus Courses

The Eternal Bad Boy: Satan in the Western Imagination                                    Instructors: Dan Deffenbaugh

Drawing on the provocative work of historian Jeffery Burton Russell, this course will examine the role that Satan played in the Western literary and artistic imagination. Students will first study how the idea of the devil developed from a relatively innocuous adversary in early Jewish tradition to the ominous Prince of Darkness in later Christianity. Selections from classics by Dante, Milton, Marlow, Dostoyevsky and C.S. Lewis will be supplemented by portrayals of Satan in Western art from the Middle Ages to the present.

P is for Puppet                                                                                  Instructor: Annette Vargas

This hands-on course introduces students to the fascinating and enchanting world of puppetry. Students will learn how to construct and manipulate several styles of puppets including finger puppets, sock puppets and shadow puppets as well as designing and creating their own Muppet. Students will then use their own puppet creations to perform an original puppet show at the end of the term.

Comic and Graphic Novel Story Telling and Illustration   Instructor: Bob Hall, Distinguished Visiting Professor

This course will introduce students to the landscape of comic and graphic novel creation. Students will work on devising a story, whether fictionalized or biographical using their own experiences, and then shaping and illustrating that story. Although there will be instruction in drawing, the emphasis will be on story-telling.

We Got Game: The History and Evolution of Basketball                                                Instructor: Michella Marino

This course will be an interactive exploration of the history of American basketball from its inception in western Massachusetts by Dr. James Naismith and Senda Berenson, to the current standardized national game played both at the collegiate and professional levels. Students will study how and why the game evolved to its modern form and the influence the sport has had on society and in turn has been influenced by society. The class will step out of the classroom and onto the court to play the game utilizing its original rules.

Sculpting the Vessel                                                                                                Instructor: Tom Kreager

This class will focus on the blown form as sculpture, not as a vessel. Various techniques will be used to alter blown forms including sculpting with torches, molds, combining casting and blowing, working with inclusions and other techniques.

Art & Science                                                                                                            Instructor: Turner McGhee

The “Arts and Sciences” are not necessarily separated disciplines, as Leonardo da Vinci proved. Darwin’s drawings from The Voyage of the Beagle are spectacularly beautiful. This course explores the art of the naturalist. It is a studio course for those who have some previous drawing experience.

Applied Communication Education: Videogames as Learning Tools   Instructor:  John Perlich

This course provides a critical approach to the evaluation of computer/videogames as teaching tools within the Communication Studies discipline. The course brings together perspectives on culture, instruction and communication. Students should come away from the class with an understanding of the utility (and deficiencies) of this medium, as well as insights into educational impacts of interactive entertainment and communication. Games discussed will be (loosely) organized around five genre defined areas of computer games: storytelling, strategy, simulation, sports and first-person games. The pre-requisite for this course is at least one Communication Studies class.

J.R.R. Tolkien                                                                                                Instructor:  Ben Waller

This course is an exploration of the sources, language, mythology, themes and interpretations of Tolkien’s major fantasy works, including The Lord of the Rings.

Classical Mythology                                                                                     Instructor: Billie Cotterman

In this class, students will learn about the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans through ancient literature (drama, comedy, poetry and dialogues), and modern interpretations (movies, literature, comics). The class will also discuss why classical mythology is still so prevalent.

Book Production                                                                  Instructor: Patricia Oman and Emily Bennett

Have you ever wondered how books are made? In this class, students will simulate an actual press working environment, focusing on the production side of book publishing, with students serving as proofreaders, typesetters and project managers. Students will learn advanced features of Microsoft Word, InDesign and Photoshop to produce hard copy books and e-books.

Clash of the Generals I: Ancient Warfare            Instructor: Michael Ibeji, Distinguished Visiting Professor

Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Hannibal: three great general from history who never faced each other. But what would have happened if Alexander had faced Hannibal on the field of battle? Now students can find out. Clash of the Generals is an intensive interactive crash course in the history of ancient warfare. Each student is required to present a series of battle plans designed to defeat the other generals on the course. These are fought out in Rome: Total War to see who might have won if Hannibal or Alexander had ever gone up against the other greats of the ancient world.

Clash of the Generals II: The Horse and Musket Era          Instructor: Michael Ibeji, Distinguished Visiting Professor

How would Alexander the Great have fared at the Battle of Waterloo? Could Field Marshall Alexander Suvarov, the most successful general in history, have defeated the Emperor Napoleon if they’d ever met in Italy? In a week of intensive seminars, students shall address these questions by breaking down strategies and tactics of eight of the most successful generals in history. Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions and simulations, and the interactive nature of the course is used to match each general to a student who best fits his tendencies. Then, each student is required to present a series of battle plans designed to defeat the other generals on the course. These are fought out in a battlefield simulator (likely Napoleon: Total War) to see whether Robert E. Lee could have outfoxed Napoleon or if Wellington could have held his ground against Alexander’s charge.

CWII: The Next American Civil War                                                                       Instructor: Bob Amyot

Starting with the political science research on what causes civil wars and wars of independence, students will look at the political trends of both the mid-1800s and the present day to test those theories in the American context. Students will use statistical and cultural data, some gathered by students themselves, to forecast whether, or under what conditions, the US could face a second civil war. The course will be supplemented with novels and films that explore how civil war could again be a reality on the American continent.

Goulash Politics and the European Union: The Rise of Extremism in Contemporary Hungary                 Instructors: Rob Babcock and Ingrid Bego

This course introduces students to contemporary Hungary and the issues that it is experiencing as a post-communist country as well as a recent member of the European Union. The larger goals of this course are to enable students to understand the role of history on current political events and to understand the intent and function of the European Union. Does Hungary’s historical past affect its current ideological and political life? How does the European Union, a modern supranational institution, interject with domestic and deeply rooted norms and values? The course will begin exploring these questions by first presenting and discussing the historical origins of Hungarian nationalism and the Hungarian state, and then navigating the current political scene in Hungary, especially vis a vis the European Union. By the end of the term, the student would come away with an understanding about the role history, rightly or wrongly remembered, plays in European nationalism, and an understanding of the structures, effective or not, of the European Union.

Exploration of the Culture of Intolerance among People of Different Ethnic Groups around the World                                                                                                                     Instructor: Moses Dogbevia

The class is to explore the various factors that contribute to the culture of intolerance exhibited among people of different ethnic backgrounds or racial groups and to generate a discussion forum for the possible ways the culture of tolerance could be promoted in a community such as the Hastings College campus.

Inside the Newsroom                                                                       Instructor: Sharon Brooks

The HBO series “The Newsroom” is Aaron Sorkin’s peek inside a fictional contemporary television newsroom. Students will compare the themes presented in the series to what happens in actual news operations and how that process is likely to continue to change.

Dracula in Fiction and Film                                                             Instructor: Antje Anderson

Everyone knows about vampire stories and vampire movies – but how many have read the original Dracula and tracked its progress through the classic movie adaptations? The class will read and discuss the original novel as a prime example of the Victorian Gothic and of the Victorian novel. It will then follow this up with an analysis of the films that feature some of the most famous movie Draculas (e.g. Max Schreck, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Less, Klaus Kinski and Gary Oldman) as a way to talk about the history of the “vampire movie” as a genre. Disclaimer: There will be opportunities for students to do individual projects on other novels and movies, but the class will not read anything from the Twilight series, Anne Rice’s novels or other new vampire fiction in class.

Organizational Communication                                                                  Instructor: Kittie Grace

Students will study the role of communication in organizations. Units include organizational networks, personality/leadership styles, power/status and ethnographic study of organizations. Students will observe organizations by watching episodes of “The Office” and will help organize and host a campus event.

“It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”                                                          Instructor: Ann Auten

No matter what one chooses for a career path, all adults will interact with children. The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” illustrates the fact that children are one third of our population and our future. This course will teach basic skills and strategies to work effectively with children. Work from authors such as Bill Cosby, Stephen Covey and Jim Fay will be included in this as well as field experiences with children in a variety of settings. This course is for education and non-education majors.

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.

Saxophone!                                                                                                   Instructor: Debra Rhodes

In addition to learning to PLAY the saxophone, students in this class will study the sordid historical background and social ramifications of the instrument. The class will study and listen to recordings of major saxophonists from all genres of music. It will also address the basics of music reading, so no prior musical experience is necessary. All equipment will be provided.

Bell-ievable                                                                                        Instructor:  Byron Jensen

Whether used ceremoniously or placed in someone’s hands, bells have accompanied practically every type of human endeavor since 2000 B.C. This course explores the history of bells incorporating the Winston Jones Collection of Bells at Hastings College and involves students performing handbell music using the college’s five octave set of Schulmerich bells. The preference is for students with some music reading skills, but the class is open to everyone willing to learn how to read music.

Learn to Play the Piano in Three Weeks                                                    Instructor: Jonathan Sokasits

Learn the basics of playing the piano without prior musical instruction. Students will play in both popular and classical styles and learn note-reading, basic music theory, harmonization, improvisation and composition.

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.

Discovery of New York Music Theatre      Instructor: Robin Koozer, Ruth Moore and Charles Smith

This course is an introduction, history and experience of American Music Theatre. Field experiences include travel to New York City to attend six Broadway productions/workshops.

Moneyball Revolution: Football & Basketball Analysis                                       Instructor: Mark Zajack

Michael Lewis’s 2003 best-seller Moneyball propelled statistical analysis in sports into the mainstream. The revolution has since spread from baseball to other sports, including both football and basketball. This course will explore the potential of statistical models to predict success in football and basketball. Students will gain experience collecting, organizing and analyzing data.

The Psychology of Language                                                                     Instructor: Jeri Thompson

This course allows students to examine the cognitive psychologist’s methods of study and perspectives on the complex mental processes used in written and oral language comprehension (listening and reading) and language production (speaking and writing). The class will briefly discuss the development of language in children and a third mode of linguistic communication, American Sign Language. Also addressed will be evolutionary factors (are humans the only ones with language?), physiological factors (how is the brain involved in language?) and social factors (how is language used to accomplish social fuctions?)

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                                                              Instructor: 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.

Understanding How the Brain Works        Instructor: Lorraine Edwards, Distinguished Visiting Professor

This course will be taught at the basic level and will incorporate principles of electrophysiology, neurochemistry and neuroanatomy to understand how the brain works. Students will have the opportunity to experience electroencephalograms, nerve conduction studies and computerized tomography of the brain.

Welcome to Middle Earth – Adventure and the Wonder of Landscape             Instructor: William Beachly

Since mythic time, landscape and adventure have been fast companions. Yet today we are set apart from the variety and mystery of the lands beneath our feet, and we know them not. What generated their form? Where can one find the elders at the heart of the middle world? And what will the future bring as we are, aware or not, its new makers? How, also, is the landscape involved in our making and the stories we tell each other here in Middle Earth (aka the Central Great Plains)? Only the boldest would venture there in the depths of winter, but wonders abound nonetheless. Do you dare?

The Twilight Zone                                                                                        Instructor: Neil Heckman

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is the area which we call The Twilight Zone.Rod Serling, creator of “The Twilight Zone” series

This course will be based on this series which currently runs in syndication on the SyFy channel. Students will be expected to view and analyze episodes from the original series and write screenplays. Students will work in teams to create their own “Twilight Zone” episodes based on their screenplays.

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                                                            Instructor: Carol Meyer and Dallas Wilhelm

Students will compete in weird, 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.

Food and Social Movements                                               Instructor: Jean Heriot and Laura Logan

In this course, students will utilize a variety of learning strategies to study food and social movements, including service learning, films, readings and field trips. Students will examine several twentieth century social movements related to food, including labor movements, the organic food movement, the sustainability movement and food-related social movements meant to address social issues such as poverty, global inequalities and health.

Learn to Play Mah Jong                                                                   Instructor: Hilary Watter

Mah-Jong is a game that originated in China. There are several versions: Chinese, Japanese and American. All three versions will be studied, learned and played. Mah-Jong is a game of skill strategy and calculation yet it also involves a certain degree of chance. Come join us as we learn to play this ancient Chinese game that is making a revival throughout the country.

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