High School Seminars Course Descriptions - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Course Descriptions 2018-19

Session I

September 26, October 3, October 10
Make-up - October 17
Registration Deadline: Monday, September 17
Climbing the Walls
Josh Solomon, Assistant Director of Outdoor Education
Have you ever wanted to climb a wall like Spiderman? Take this course and learn how to tie knots, use ropes to belay (hold) other climbers and move up the wall using good technique. This class guarantees great fun and that you will be hungry for dinner!
*Limited enrollment - only sign up if you can reliably attend all three classes.
Crash Course in Jazz Appreciation 
Kara Rusch, DJ/artist/music critic
Interested in Jazz but always felt you needed to "understand" it in order to appreciated it? Don't be intimidated. A crash course in Jazz appreciation will be offered here. With toes tappin' and head bobbin' we'll chronologically explore Ragtime, Traditional Jazz, Swing, Bebop, Hard Bop and beyond. We'll hear the sounds and learn some history of one of America's greatest artistic contributions to the world: Jazz. We will also heavily focus on Jazz treatments of well known Pop songs and talk about cover songs.
Economics and Public Policy: What Every Voter Should Know
Margaret Blume-Kohout, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics
Many students new to economics think it's just about business decisions and maximizing profits. While it's true that understanding economic principles is important for business success, the field of economics is much broader, offering tools and models that can help individuals, nonprofits, and governments make better decisions to improve social outcomes. This seminar will introduce you to some of the wide range of topics and problems economic analysis is good for, with particular focus on understanding effects of public policies. Some specific questions we'll consider include: Why did Obamacare require everyone to carry health insurance? What happens when states raise the minimum wage? Is free public higher education a good idea? Why does the government subsidize scientific research and the arts? Students are encouraged to bring their own current public policy questions for us to tackle, as well.
Food: People & Planet
Pamela Gramlich, Program Coordinator for Environmental Studies and Sustainability
Food plays an important role in our personal, societal and planetary health. This class will explore how food access, production, waste, new technology, cultural values, and nutrition play a role in creating a sustainable future. The course will also examine the role that current agricultural threats, such as climate change, play in global food security. Participate in this interactive seminar to get a better understanding of the relationships among people, the planet, and food.
Ooze and explode: driving volcanic eruptions 
Alison Koleszar, Visiting Assistant Professor of Geology
Volcanoes sculpt the landscape, influence the climate, and can even change the course of civilizations— but what drives volcanic eruptions? Kilauea has oozed enough lava this year to fill 180,000 Olympic swimming pools, while Indonesia’s Merapi spews ash four miles into the air. Volcanic disasters captivate us in the news, in movies, and in the records of human history. In this seminar we’ll explore the processes that initiate volcanic activity, discuss where volcanoes are located (and why), and simulate a variety of volcanic eruptions.
So, what does the American School have to do with Citizenship? 
Brenda Sanya, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies
Often times, when people think of the history schooling and education in the United States, we think of the charming Little Red Schoolhouse and analyze the successes and failures of the American school based on our own perspectives and experiences. However, if we ask: “what has been taught, to whom, when, why, and how?” historical records reveal that schools in the United States are much more than the romantic imagery of the Little Red Schoolhouse. Throughout history, the American school—the actual schoolhouse and the dynamic process of teaching and learning—have been at the heart of questions of citizenship, political and cultural debates on rights, and a fundamental measure of American conceptions of progress. This seminar will focus on three snapshots in time to understand how various segments of the American population have been impacted by schooling, education, and major educational movements. You will learn how to read and analyze primary documents, to understand the distinction between schooling and education, how larger cultural, political, historical, and social forces shape schools and students, and the role of schools within the United States.

Session II

October 24, November 7, November 14
Make-up - November 28
Registration deadline: Monday, October 15
Climbing the Walls
Josh Solomon, Assistant Director of Outdoor Education
Have you ever wanted to climb a wall like Spiderman? Take this course and learn how to tie knots, use ropes to belay (hold) other climbers and move up the wall using good technique. This class guarantees great fun and that you will be hungry for dinner!
*Limited enrollment - only sign up if you can reliably attend all three classes.
Evolution and You
Frank Frey, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
This short seminar focuses on human biology from an evolutionary genetics perspective.  After quickly gaining an understanding of evolution, we will investigate how evolution applied to medicine informs our understanding of antibiotic resistance and pathogen virulence, how evolution applied to reproduction informs our understanding of false binaries and attractiveness, and how evolution applied to behavior informs our understanding of cooperation and empathy.  You do not need a science background to take this course, but do need an open mind.  Be prepared to emerge with more questions than answers.
The Museum Experience
Annette Goldmacher, Interim Director of Jewish Life
In this course, we will look at why museums are still relevant, in the age of technology.  When we can find high resolution images without leaving our chairs, why do we still need museums?  This course will include visits to locations on the Colgate University campus, as well as discussions with exhibiting artists and museum professionals.  No prior experience is needed- just enthusiasm!
Russia 101: History, Customs, and Culture
Sergei Domashenko, Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies
This short course provides a brief introduction to Russia’s history, traditions, and development from ancient to modern time. Students will become acquainted with important historical and life events that have occurred in Russia that have had a significant influence on this nation and the rest of the world. They will also gain a sense of modern Russian traditions. 
Take Action: Engaging Feminist Thought and Activism
Odette Rodriguez, Program Coordinator for Women's Studies Center
What does it mean to be a feminist in today's world? Our seminar will explore this question by looking at how feminists past and present work to disrupt systems of oppression, like racism, sexism, and classism. We will examine with an intersectional feminist lens how activists protest, politically engage, and organize around issues like immigration rights, ending gender based violence, and media representation. Our goal will be to gain a deeper understanding of the forces that feed inequality and discrimination, to discover what place feminism may have in our lives, and to consider the possibilities of a more liberated and inclusive society.
True Connections: The Real, Raw, and Right Series
Dayna Campbell, ALANA Cultural Center Program Coordinator
Drea Finley, Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising and Director of First Generation Programs

This is not your typical class. This is not the type of class where you sit down to be lectured. This class is about true engagement. How well do you know the people around you? You may think you know them well, but we promise you will know them better after taking this journey with us. You will learn how to critically engage with others around issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, spirituality, ability and any other aspects of identity that make you who you are. Additionally, we will achieve these understandings through aspects of culture and food. We will cook together; while breaking bread and sharing the most salient aspects of our identities through a variety of interactive and personal activities. Join us as we keep it real, raw and right. 

Session III

January 30, February 6, February 13
Make-up - February 27
Registration deadline: Monday, January 21

Session IV

March 20, March 27, April 3
Make-up - April 10
Registration deadline: Monday, March 11