Spring is Finally Here, Get Ready for Summer and Fall

Although we are just in the thick of the spring semester,students next week will be asked to plan their classes for the coming semester. This year we have the added choices offered by Wesleyan’s Summer Session, which runs from June 7 – July 9. The program not only promises opportunities to take required classes (like pre-med staples Calculus and Organic Chemistry) in small courses with great faculty, but it also includes studies in financial analysis, economic theory, photography and fiction writing. I am particularly excited about the “Institutes” that combine two related classes: Computer Science and Experimental Music; Cultural and Biological Approaches to Psychopathology; Acting and Directing. Students will receive two course credits for completing the Institutes in the early part of the summer. See http://www.wesleyan.edu/summer/courses.html for more information.

The curriculum at Wesleyan is always evolving, and I recently received lists of new courses from our Divisional Deans.

  • Biol 173: Global Change and Infectious Disease — Fred Cohan is currently teaching this new Gen Ed course, which comes out of his research interests in the evolution of bacterial species (and involves a significant dance component!).
  • Chem 378:  Materials Chemistry and Nanoscience — Brian Northrop’s research is directed at understanding molecular interactions and self-assembly processes that might be used in nano-scale devices – e.g. molecular sensors or motors.
  • Psyc 392: Behavioral Methods in Affective Neuroscience- Charles Sanislow is currently teaching this course linked to his research in post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and other affective disorders.

Assistant Professor Laura Stark, Science in Society Program, has proposed a course called Reading Medical Ethnography (a study of different ways of approaching the study of health and illness); Professor Ann duCille has proposed an African-American Studies class called Love in the Time of Slavery (drawing on songs, poetry, fiction, and examining representations of love, intimacy, and marriage in early African American literature); Assistant Professor Michael Nelson, has proposed Government, Global Environmental Politics (which covers a variety of environmental issues, along with the design and use of international institutions for managing cooperation and conflict on these issues). The Center for the Humanities will be sponsoring a group of courses examining Genealogies of Reason, with seminars on ghosts of the Enlightenment and the history of human rights.

I’ve developed a lecture course for the fall called The Modern and the Postmodern. We’ll read literature, philosophy and critical theory to try to better understand how the idea of the modern came to inform our sense of ourselves and of our history in the West.

The curriculum has been evolving and will continue to do so. We can thank our scholar-teacher model for that! It’s through their scholarship and creative practice that our professors develop new ideas that energize the classroom, and we are all the better for it, in every season!

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