The deadline for new students to list their TEC course preferences is June 15;
placement notification will begin in late July.
How should engaged citizens and governmental agencies respond to epidemics?
This course traces important themes about human responses to disease from
biological and historical perspectives. In studying outbreaks from the
fourteenth to the twenty-first century, we will examine public health
efforts, vaccines, and other attempts to control and eradicate diseases. We
will consider the molecular mechanisms of microbial survival and
transmission, evaluating how pathogens have evolved with human biology and
behavior to create opportunities for disease spread. By placing history and
biology in dialogue, we will raise important questions about the constantly
evolving relationships between pathogens and human society.
Using anthropological and creative writing practices, this course seeks to deepen and complicate our understanding of contemporary landscapes and communities. Engaging with writings, class visitors, and local places, we explore the role of place in the face of global processes like migration, electronic communication, and internet communities. We consider issues of citizenship, exclusion, and those “out of place.” We investigate how place is one of many factors that builds cultural and individual identity, and we explore how writing methods and genres can change the way the writer and the reader experience and understand place.
Visual images, music, cinema, books, fine arts, television, and a vast
array of social media fight for our attention (and often our pocketbooks).
How can one engage with such an onslaught of cultural products? How does
one discern between the trivial and the meaningful? This course will
explore different works, from a variety of media, and direct students’
engagement with them in a more sophisticated manner. The goal is to have
participants recognize that consuming cultural products has an effect upon
thinking, informs actions, and can shape the sort of person one becomes
and thus how one manifests one’s citizenship.
Engaged citizenship requires the ability to interpret and participate in
the world around us. Through Hamilton: An American Musical, we will learn
how to uncover layers of meaning in the disciplines of music and politics.
Musically, we will examine how artists convey messages and how audiences
decode layers of meaning to understand art. Politically, we will study how
government texts, such as the Constitution, have been interpreted in
response to a changing world. We will close the course with the Policy
Battles, performances in which students bring together art and politics to
argue for policy changes they want to see.
As citizens, we engage not only with one another, but also with the
natural world around us. We can better understand how we positively and
negatively affect the environment if we become sensitive to its
appearances. Thus the exploration of environmental degradation and
justice, conservation, and the built world require interdisciplinary
approaches. Through art and political science, we will explore what it
means to be engaged citizens of the natural world. Students will develop
their visual sensitivity by sketching the local environment as they also
seek to witness and better understand how and why humans impact the
The connection between humans and nature is fundamental; indeed, humans
are not separate from nature. However, the structures of modern living
serve to render this connection more and more distant and discordant. This
course will explore the synergistic relationships between humans and
nature through scientific research conducted with both human and non-human
subjects. Engaged citizenship will take the form of learning about the
impacts—both positive and negative—that humans and nature have on one
another and what humans can do to improve the relationship between
themselves and nature for mutual benefit.
Using science fiction short stories, feature films, and television
episodes, we explore issues affecting humanity—and even what it means to
be human. How does the advancement of technology affect who we are? How
can we determine what is and is not plausible scientific advancement? How
does a writer whose characters are pointy-eared aliens use space battles
and lasers to tell a story about racism? What literary and cinematographic
techniques do authors use to write sci-fi? We combine the scientific and
literary analysis presenting a way for students to critically think about
and engage with issues in the modern world.
Protest in literature and in performance art has long been a fundamental
form of engaged citizenship, as individuals, singularly and collectively,
use their voices and bodies to insist on change to a status quo that
ignores the precarity of some citizens’ lives. As authors and performers
struggle to draw attention to facets of society that serve only the few at
the expense of many, readers and viewers are invited to grow in empathy
for the experiences and identities of those on the margins of society, and
are thus invited to enact change to bring relief to the victims of the
How do people who are oppressed and at the edges of society participate as
citizens? The performing arts are one way for people to make themselves
heard and create change. Using recent American works of art, this course
explores how marginalized groups have done just that. One part of the
course uses plays with themes of racial, ethnic, and sexual identity to
examine how characters from marginalized groups make their voices heard
and advocate for change. The course also investigates how jazz musicians
have asserted their identities and worked for societal transformation.
Explores the intersection between science and literature through literary
works that stimulate scientific discoveries and vice versa. The course
reviews authors such as Dante Alighieri, Jorge Luis Borges, William
Shakespeare, and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the Iliad, The Divine Comedy,
and other canonical texts. The objective is to discuss different ways of
knowing and how poetic thought stimulates scientific thinking and how
scientific thinking stimulates literature, both forming part of a
conscious, interdisciplinary mind.
Galileo Galilei is a classic example of a person who lived an engaged life. Known today for his astronomical discoveries and his struggles with the Catholic Church, Galileo also made important contributions to experimental physics, natural philosophy, the interpretation of Holy Scripture, and the philosophy of science. In this class, we will see why Galileo is often called “the father of modern science.” We will explore Galileo’s scientific contributions and recreate many of Galileo’s original experiments. We will investigate his rejection of the Aristotelian world-view and the far-reaching implications of his mathematization of nature.
This course examines controversies and popular myths through the lenses of
psychological theories of belief and the scientific method. From the
biological perspective, students examine how data are generated, then how
those ideas can propagate into widely-accepted theories. We then apply
these scientific standards to claims made in popular myths and
controversies. From the psychological perspective, students examine the
social and cognitive theories of belief and investigate ways people
typically use heuristics and bias in their judgments. Ultimately this
course encourages students to be informed consumers of information and to
think critically about how they consume, discuss, and disseminate