Tag Archive for classes

GIS Service Learning Class Shares Field Research, Projects with Community

As part of the GIS Service Learning Laboratory course, Katy Hardt '15 researched the wetlands, waterways and critical habitats of the northwest section of Middletown. Hardt and fellow group members John Murchison '16 and Catherine Reilly '15 presented their findings to the Middlesex Land Trust.

As part of the GIS Service Learning Laboratory course, Katy Hardt ’15 researched the wetlands, waterways and critical habitats of the northwest section of Middletown. Hardt and fellow group members John Murchison ’16 and Catherine Reilly ’15 presented their findings to the Middlesex Land Trust.

Five groups of students enrolled in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Service Learning Laboratory course E&ES 324 spent their semester helping local organizations learn more about land parcels in the City of Middletown.

On Dec. 1, the students presented their research to fellow students, faculty, staff, community members and community partners.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class, which included included lessons on geographic information systems (GIS) concepts and spatial data analysis and visualization.

“GIS are powerful tools for organizing, analyzing and displaying spatial data,” Diver explained. “GIS has applications in a wide variety of fields including the natural sciences, public policy, business, humanities or any field that uses spatially distributed information. In this class, students worked to solve local problems in environmental sciences.”

The students worked closely with community partners from the Middlesex Land Trust, Middletown Conservation Commission, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and others to design a GIS, collect and analyze data, and

British History Class Takes Field Trip to Yale’s British Art Center

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On Oct. 7, students enrolled in the course HIST 269: Notes from a Small Island — Modern British History, 1700 – Present, visited the Yale Center for British Art.

The class, taught by Alice Kelly, visiting assistant professor of history, toured the center’s two current exhibitions, “Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901” and “Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in 18 Century Atlantic Britain.”

“Seeing history through a different lens — art and sculpture — really aided their understanding of some of the class readings, and we were able to find a number of similarities, particularly in the Figures of Empire exhibition,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s course offers a survey of the political, social, economic, and cultural history of Britain since the beginning of the 18th century and traces the movement into modernity. Topics covered include the Acts of Union, the Jacobite Rising, the Napoleonic Wars, imperial expansion, the Slavery Abolition Act, the Industrial Revolution, the development of mass literacy, the Edwardian era, the First World War, the Second World War and the Blitz, the end of empire, the Sexual Revolution and the Swinging Sixties, and contemporary multicultural Britain. Read more about the HIST 269 course here.

Government Class Visits Local Court, Speaks with Clerk, Judges

An upper-level political theory seminar, "Citizens, Judges, Juries: Who Decides in Democracy," taught by Sonali Chakravarti, assistant professor of government, visited the Middlesex County Courthouse on April 22 to see proceedings and speak with the clerk and two judges. Students had the opportunity to talk about the relationship between the law and racial injustice, discretion in sentencing, jury nullification, and the current populist movement to change the way family law courts adjudicate custody cases. This is the first semester that this course is offered and the first time Professor Chakravarti took students to the courthouse. Pictured in the photo are (from left to right) Sam Furnival ’15, Ben Romero ’16, Ruby Lang ’17, Yiyang Wang ’15, Hannah Goodman ’16, Aiden King ’14, Deputy Chief Clerk Jonathan Field, Ari Ebstein ’16, and Hadas Werman ’14 with Professor Chakravarti to the far right.

An upper-level political theory seminar, “Citizens, Judges, Juries: Who Decides in Democracy,” taught by Sonali Chakravarti, assistant professor of government, visited the Middlesex County Courthouse on April 22 to see proceedings and speak with the clerk and two judges. Students had the opportunity to talk about the relationship between the law and racial injustice, discretion in sentencing, jury nullification, and the current populist movement to change the way family law courts adjudicate custody cases. This is the first semester that this course is offered and the first time Professor Chakravarti took students to the courthouse. Pictured in the photo are, from left, Sam Furnival ’15, Ben Romero ’16, Ruby Lang ’17, Yiyang Wang ’15, Hannah Goodman ’16, Aiden King ’14, Deputy Chief Clerk Jonathan Field, Ari Ebstein ’16, and Hadas Werman ’14 with Professor Chakravarti to the far right.

Intensive Courses, Career Training Offered during Winter at Wesleyan Session

Wesleyan President Michael Roth handed out Winter at Wesleyan cookies and informational cards to students on Oct. 17. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth handed out Winter at Wesleyan cookies and informational cards to students on Oct. 17. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

This January, Winter at Wesleyan will offer students an opportunity to get a jump-start on the new year by taking a short, intensive course for credit or participating in programs at the Career Center.

Wesleyan staff and students shared Winter at Wesleyan information at an event in Usdan Oct. 17.

Wesleyan staff and students shared Winter at Wesleyan information at an event in Usdan Oct. 17.

The Winter Session courses may be of particular interest to students seeking a lighter course load in a future term, or those working to graduate in three years. The faculty has approved four immersion-style courses, to begin Jan. 8: “Introduction to Computer Programming” (taught by Associate Professor of Computer Science James Lipton); “Sex, Drugs and Shopping: Decadence and Desire in Post-War American Fiction” (by Associate Professor of English Sally Bachner); “U.S. Foreign Policy” (by Associate Professor of Government Douglas Foyle); and “Applied Data Analysis” (by Professor of Psychology Lisa Dierker). The small classes—permitting for close interaction between faculty and students—will meet for five hours each day over the course of eight days, allowing students to complete a full-semester course in only two weeks.

Each course is offered for full credit at a cost of $2,900, and students may live in residence halls at no additional cost. An optional meal plan is available. Limited financial aid is available to students who are U.S. citizens and who receive aid during the academic year. Registration is now open here.

Non-Wesleyan undergraduates may also sign up for Winter Session courses by contacting the Continuing Studies Office at (860) 685-2005 or emailing winter@wesleyan.edu.

“I’m pleased that Wesleyan is offering students these new options for Winter Break,” said Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “We are moving forward with this small pilot program

Money and Social Change Class Awards Grants to 4 Non-Profits

From left, Matthew Donahue '14; Joy Anderson, visiting assistant professor of public policy; Anne Marie-Cannata, director of the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown; Jacob Eichengreen '13 and Marguerite Suozzo-Gole '15 gather during a "Money and Social Change" class.  The class awarded the Buttonwood Tree with a $1,000 grant.

From left, Matthew Donahue ’14; Joy Anderson, visiting assistant professor of public policy; Anne Marie-Cannata, director of the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown; Jacob Eichengreen ’13 and Marguerite Suozzo-Gole ’15 gather during a “Money and Social Change” class. The class awarded the Buttonwood Tree with a $1,000 grant.

As their “Money and Social Change” class drew to a close in mid-December, 15 Wesleyan students and their professor presented four local non-profit organizations with a surprise gift for the holidays: $10,000 in unsolicited grants.

The funds were provided to the class by the Learning by Giving Foundation, established in 2011 by Doris Buffett, Warren Buffett’s oldest sister. The foundation aims to promote the study of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy by undergraduate students, giving them first-hand experience in “the art, science and business of philanthropy.”

This year for the first time, Wesleyan partnered with the foundation through the service learning course, “Money and Social Change: Innovative Paradigms and Strategies,” taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy Joy Anderson ’89. The course is part of the Center for the Study of Public Life. Anderson leads the Haddam, Conn.-based Criterion Institute, a think tank centered around shaping markets to create social and environmental good.

According to Anderson, the course asked students to explore the question, “How do you use money to change the world?”

Peter Yarrow Sings with Dar Williams’ Music Movements Class

Folksinger Dar Williams ’89 is back on campus, teaching Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy through the Center for the Study of Public Life. On Oct. 3, the class gathered in Zelnick Pavilion to sing songs associated with the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s—"If I Had A Hammer," "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round," We Shall Overcome," and "Blowin' in the Wind" among them. Joining the class and accompanying on his guitar was folksinger Peter Yarrow, perhaps most widely known as a member of the Peter, Paul and Mary trio, as well as a political activist.

Folksinger Dar Williams ’89 is back on campus, teaching Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy through the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. On Oct. 3, the class gathered in Zelnick Pavilion to sing songs associated with the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s—”If I Had A Hammer,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” among them. Joining the class and accompanying on his guitar was folksinger Peter Yarrow, perhaps most widely known as a member of the Peter, Paul and Mary trio, as well as a political activist.

ENVS Class Makes Scientific, Artistic Inquiry of Gulf Oil Spill

Last summer, Wesleyan students journeyed to the Louisiana Gulf Coast as part of their College of the Environment class, ENVS 380, a scientific and artistic inquiry into the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The class was led by Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program.

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Students Explore Nursing Profession Through Documentary Film Course

Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies, works with Laurenellen McCann '09 on a nursing profession film April 23. Bricca is co-teaching the spring semester course "Making the Science Documentary."

Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies, works with Laurenellen McCann '09 on a nursing profession film April 23. Bricca is co-teaching the spring semester course "Making the Science Documentary." McCann's film is focused on an oncology nurse.

Baltimore native Esther McCready grew up in segregated, discriminatory world and was denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Nursing. At that time, the school did not admit “Negros.”

With help from NAACP civil rights leaders like Thurgood Marshall, she sued for admission to the university, and in April 1950, McCready won her right to attend classes.

In the spring semester course “Making the Science Documentary,” molecular biology and biochemistry major Christopher Doucette ’11 had the opportunity to interview and film McCready about being the first African American woman to attend Maryland’s School of Nursing. He also interviewed Rosetta Sands, the first African American dean in the University of Maryland’s undergraduate program.

“I asked these women about their stories and really analyzed how racial relations affected their school and working experience as nurses before, during and after the Civil Rights movement,” Doucette says. “I have always been interested in how science has been represented through both still and moving images, and this class really taught me how documentaries can be effective tools in conveying information and educating the public about pressing social and scientific issues.”

Doucette and his classmates Sarah Gillig ’09 and Vytaute Pivoriunaite ’12 traveled to the University of Maryland School of Nursing Living History Museum, where they conducted research on the history of nursing. Each student made his or her own film for the class, which was co-taught by Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies.

The science and film hybrid class, designated a Service Learning Course, is designed to introduce students to topics in the life sciences and the basics of documentary filmmaking, in order to teach students the skills and art of communicating science-related issues through visual media.

Students learn technical filmmaking skills such as composition, lighting and editing, and study science documentaries to understand functional models of non-fiction filmmaking. In complementary sessions, students learned about specific diseases, at the molecular, cellular, and human level, to develop a knowledge base that enables intellectual engagement with the nursing profession.

“I wanted students to gain an appreciation of the biological sciences at the molecular and organism level, learn about diseases like cancer and diabetes that have a devastating impact on so many people, and learn about biomedical research as it relates to the nursing profession,” Hingorani explains.

The 12 enrolled students worked under the guidance of Ann Anthony, a retired home care registered nurse and educator. Anthony made arrangements for the students to meet nurses working in hospice, oncology and palliative care at Middlesex Hospital; nurses working at the Joslin Diabetes Center in New London, Conn.; and a certified nurse specializing in wound care at Middlesex Hospital. Anthony also lectured on the history of the nursing profession, explaining how the nursing profession has evolved in the past 50 years.

“I was very impressed with the integrity and open-mindedness of all the Wesleyan students, and how serious they were in their projects,” Anthony says. “It was fascinating to see how these students with no medical or nursing background approached their films with a liberal arts perspective.”

Chris Skorik '09 edits his film on male nurses.

Chris Skorik '09 edits his film on male nurses.

Classmates Chris Skorik ’09, Kaitlin Halibozek ’10 and Elliott Skopin ’11 explored the role of gender in the field of nursing for their films. They interviewed two male nurses, one at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, and one from Middlesex Hospital, about their experiences in the profession.

“Nursing is currently dominated by about 90 percent females due to historical and cultural associations between the role females in society and nursing,” Skorik says. “As we had expected, they faced social barriers to their acceptance as nurses, especially early on in their careers. Confusion and occasional opposition was common from family members, for example ‘why aren’t you becoming a doctor instead?’ and from patients ‘wait, so you’re not my doctor?'”

All three students shot footage and interviews, and created three separate cuts based on their own preferences. From seven hours of raw footage, they created three, eight-minute documentaries highlighting different aspects of this interesting phenomenon.

This is the second iteration of “Making the Science Documentary” taught by Hingorani and Bricca. The first class, taught in Spring 2007, focused on four research labs at Wesleyan. The course is part of the interdisciplinary Science and Film Courses initiative begun in 2005 with support from Wesleyan’s Fund for Innovation, the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Doucette’s film on African American nurses and Halibozek’s film on male nursing will be shown at the 2009 Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing, Connecticut’s largest state-wide nursing recognition program on April 30. Doucette’s film will be shown at a gala in Hartford, and Halibozek’s film will be shown at a gala in New London.