High School Seminars Course Descriptions - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Course Descriptions 2015-16

Jump to: Session I  |  Session II  |  Session III  |  Session IV

Session I

Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Make-up Oct. 21
Registration Deadline: Wed., Sept. 23
American Tales
Lenora Warren, Assistant Professor, English

This course will examine the way in which America emerges as an idea through literary representation in the nineteenth century. Through reading short pieces of fiction and poetry, we will discuss how anxieties over slavery, capitalism, Native American removal manifest themselves in relationship to the as-yet emerging American character. Students should leave this seminar with new ideas on the place of literature in creating the idea of a nation.
Theater Play and Improvisation! 
April Sweeney, Associate Professor of Theater

This mini-course is designed to cultivate the actor’s creativity, spontaneity, and collaborative skills through theatre play and improvisation. We will endeavor to discover the “quality of play”, which at its essence is a deep sense of far reaching curiosity. The first step and one of the most important in preparing a student for the study of acting is teaching him/her how to rediscover play. “Galumphing” as noted anthropologist Stephen Miller calls it (taking his cue from Lewis Carroll) is a talent characterized in higher life forms. Play is different from game; it is the free spirit of exploration, doing and being done for its own pure joy. Process. The act is its own destination. The rediscovery of play leads to the cultivation of the imagination and the discovery of the power of one’s own creativity. Imagination is both central and crucial to the actor’s development of both body and intellect.
Project Management 101: How to Make Anything Happen. 
Phlana Tiller, Senior Program Manager, Drucker Institute

Drucker for Future Leaders aims to teach management skills to young people, who use these lessons to design community service projects. The students then develop individual self-management plans to pursue their academic and personal goals. Peter Drucker’s ‘Five Most Important Questions’ (What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan?) serve as the cornerstone of the students’ management training and provide a basic framework for the management plans the students put into practice.
Going Green: At home and at school!  
John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability

In this course, we will explore the meaning and practice of environmental sustainability. We will discuss solutions for a sustainable future, exchange ideas for greener living, and participate in interactive exercises.
Environmental Justice 
April Baptiste, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Program

This course will examine the definition of environmental justice. We will take a look at the ways in which different groups in US society are more exposed to environmental hazards than others and begin to understand why this phenomenon occurs. In the course we will take a brief look at history and see how history repeats itself in contemporary society. We will use video, online tools, and discussions to understand how environmental justice relates to your everyday activities.
Becoming an Ally 
Khristian Kemp-Delisser, Assistant Dean & Director of LGBTQ Initiatives

All students are welcome to take this course in order to enhance their ability to be an ally by increasing their sensitivity to and awareness of social, political and cultural aspects of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and identities. Each class session will include a brief lecture portion followed by an interactive activity designed for students to explore their own experiences and questions. Students will walk away with basic knowledge of social justice issues, and local/national resources relevant to supporting LGBTQ friends, family and classmates.

Session II

Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 18, make-up Dec. 2
Registration Deadline: Friday, Oct. 23
Think before you click. Media awareness in the digital age 
Daniel DeVries, Admission Marketing and Media Relations Manager

Do you know what happens when outrageous political memes or statistics are shared on social media? Are you interested in learning how users of social media unknowingly help perpetuate disinformation? This course is about media bias, primary sources, polling data prior to a presidential election, and how social media changed the news industry forever. Join us to learn how to be a savvy media consumer.
Intro to Contemporary Dance 
Tanya Calamoneri, Visiting Assistant Professor of English

This mini-course introduces students to the concepts and practice of contemporary dance. Rooted in principles of release-technique and somatic studies, training emphasizes dynamic alignment and precise movement articulation. Students will gain confidence, fluidity, and control on their movement expression. *Limited enrollment- only sign up if you can reliably attend all three classes
The Internet Revealed 
Vijay Ramachandran, Associate Professor of Computer Science

What do you think of when someone mentions the Internet? Perhaps a social networking app, searching the web, streaming music or video, or communicating with others? But how can all of these different things be associated with the same system that we call the Internet? In this seminar, we'll examine the different layers and protocols that together make possible the open-ended communications system connecting people and computers across the globe. Although we -- and most people building Internet services -- take those layers and protocols for granted, each of those components is a creative but simple solution to an important problem in the Internet's design. Through demos and other fun activities, we'll do some of that problem solving ourselves as a way of understanding how the Internet really works. No prior experience or computer skills necessary.
Dialogue and Democracy 
Ryan Solomon, Assistant Professor in Writing and Rhetoric

Democracy affirms the possibility of broad-based public participation in political decision-making, even if that isn't the reality of how democratic governance works in everyday life. This course will examine why public participation matters, as well as the challenges of making public participation work effectively in real life. This course will also explore the role of public dialogue in bringing together people from different perspectives in a way that honors democratic values. Subsequently, students will have an opportunity to participate in some hands-on dialogue activities.
Climbing the Walls 
Trevor Kreznar, Assistant Director, 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
African American Influence on the Transformation of American Humor 
Mel Watkins, Colgate NEH Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English

This course will provide a brief overview of the evolution of American humor and African Americans’ influence on its development. Using audio and video examples, the course will trace American humor from its backwoods and minstrel roots through vaudeville, motion pictures, and radio to the 1950s and early TV when more satiric comedy featuring social commentary surfaced. It will conclude with an examination of the humor of Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, and comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, and Wanda Sykes who emerged in the wake of Pryor’s groundbreaking comic innovations.

Session III

Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 24, make-up Mar. 2
Registration Deadline: Mon., Jan. 25
Crash Course in the Blues 
Kara Rusch, DJ/ artist/ music critic

Interested in the Blues? What kind of Blues? Rural Blues? Chicago Blues? Folk Blues? Electric Blues? You don’t need to choose. We’ll touch on the history of the Blues in this crash course as well as trace the source music of Elvis Presley and Rolling Stones. Most importantly though--we’ll spend time listening to the best in various Blues genres. Explore with your ears and soothe the soul.
Unpacking -ism's: Engaging Feminist Thought and Activism 
Allie Fry, Program Assistant, Colgate Center for Women's Studies

What does it mean to be a feminist in today’s world? Our seminar will explore this question by unpacking the ways in which feminists are working to disrupt systems of oppression, like sexism, racism, and classism (and many more -isms), while critically engaging with topics such as gender-based violence, media representation, marginalization, and body image. 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.
The Severe Weather of CNY: Global Climate Systems and Local Impact  
Adam W. Burnett, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography

This short course will sample a few of the important weather processes that influence the Central New York region. Topics will include severe thunderstorms, flooding, snow, ice, and El Niño, which has received much attention in recent weeks for its impact on our winter weather. We will also consider the relationship between these processes and the larger climate system, including global climate change. The first lecture will consider thunderstorms, lightning, hail, tornadoes, flooding, and the ways in which these might change in a warming world. Lecture two will examine winter weather, with emphasis on snow, ice, and the influence of the Great Lakes on local snowfall. The final lecture will address El Niño and other processes that have their origins far from Hamilton, NY but still influence our weather and climate.
Moral Philosophy 
Brooks Sommerville, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy

This course aims to provide the student with an understanding of ethics as a branch of philosophy. It will begin with an introduction to some basic logic, including standard argument forms and common fallacies. We will then consider some broad conceptual puzzles in ethics. Can our judgments about right and wrong be justified? Are these judgments relative to one's own culture, or do some of them apply to all people at all times? Does morality require that we adopt selfless motives? Is this even possible? These are some of the questions we will consider. We will end the course by considering two issues: world famine and animal rights. The course aims to provide the student with an understanding of ethics as a branch of philosophy. Beyond this, it also aims to make the student a better reader and writer of philosophy in general.
German Language and Culture 
Franziska Gotzke, Max Kade Fellow of German

This course aims to introduce students to basic topics of German language and culture. At the end of the class, students will be able to introduce themselves in German, ask and answer questions about their backgrounds, hobbies and interests. They will learn about German cities and about Germany's recent history and its importance in the European Union. Students will also cooperatively produce work in German and compare the German University system with the one in the US.
Everything About Alcohol and Other Drugs That You Didn’t Really Know—You Should Know 
    Jane Jones, Assistant Director of the Counseling Center, Director of Alcohol and Drug    Services

Students will access information about common drugs of choice. Through the use of PowerPoint, lecture material and some humor, individuals will come away with a sound appreciation of the effects of alcohol, marijuana and other street drugs. It will include understanding the way that alcohol and street drugs work within the central nervous system from both long-term and short-term perspectives. A review of the addiction process and the common defenses employed by chemically addicted individuals will be discussed.

Session IV

Mar. 30, Apr. 6, Apr. 13, make-up Apr. 20

Registration Deadline: Wed., Mar. 23

The Visual Rhetoric of Comics 
Meg Worley, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Writing & Rhetoric

In this class we will look carefully and closely at comics — one-panel cartoons, superhero comics, graphic novels, manga. In the process, we will develop a vocabulary to describe specifics, and we will explore how comics creators blend words and images to produce carefully-engineered effects.
Modernist Poetry & The Rethinking of the Human 
Michael Coyle, Associate Professor of English

This seminar will explore poetry by some of America’s most important modernist poets, such as Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, or Mina Loy. Each of these poets struggles to come to terms with what it means to be human, and to give form to human experience. What makes this struggle “modernist” is twofold. First, pursuing their work in the wake of Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud, these poets endeavor to find both meaning and truth but do so knowing these two things are not necessarily synonymous. Second, knowing that meaning and truth are not necessarily the same thing leads them to the conviction that experience can only be modeled in aesthetic terms. Students should leave this seminar with a clearer understanding of not just what these poems mean but also how they mean. You will also have begun thinking about why poetry matters—not just in the terms of the poets we read together but also on our own.
Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
Lesleigh Cushing, Associate Professor in Jewish Studies and Religion

This course is an introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that uses Jerusalem as its centering theme. By considering the ways that each tradition understands Jerusalem as a holy city, the course will get at what the religions have in common and how they are different from one another.
Crash Course in Jazz Appreciation 
Kara D. Rusch, DJ/ artist/ music critic

Interested in Jazz but always felt you needed to “understand” it in order to appreciate it? Don’t be intimidated. A crash course in Jazz appreciation will be offered here. With toes tappin’ and heads 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.
Climbing the Walls 
Trevor Kreznar, Assistant Director, 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
Visualizing the Universe 
Joseph Eakin, Senior Director of the Colgate Visualization Lab

We will start off exploring the origins of the universe and end up with our solar system. Each session will comprise of a vis lab show and interactive demos. The first week we will look at the forces behind the big bang and the universe. The next week we will explore our local universe and our solar system. The final week we will look at leftovers of the solar system by exploring comets, asteroids, and meteoroids.