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Signature Courses
Member, Texas Tech University System The Princeton Review - 373 Best Colleges, 2011 Edition

English Dept Classroom 22Jun10 Photographer Danny Meyer

Signature Courses

  • Academic Gamification

    William Wolfe

    How can technology and software convert an academic course into a game? Can you imagine a university experience that consists primarily of mastering a computer game?  If you are interested in answering these questions, then enroll in this signature course.

     
  • Art, Talents, Spirituality and Leadership

    Karen Shumway

    Explore how creative interests, hobbies, and spirituality can help develop valuable leadership skills. Course will help students identify their leadership potential and apply their specific hobbies or creative interests and spiritual traditions to enhance their skill set. Emphasis is placed on the importance of developing a whole person for a balanced approach to leadership.

  • Bad Boys & Girls: Explaining Deviance

    Manuel Zamora

    This course provides a study of deviance through social, psychological, and biological lenses. Through a review of media and published literature, students are exposed to explanations of the causes, correlates, and consequences of nonconformity and social responses to unconventional behavior. What is deviance? How is it measured? How does society respond to unusual or extraordinary behavior? Through class discussion, thoughtful analysis, critical writings, guest speakers, and group projects, the student will begin to develop an understanding of deviance. From the leopard man to the Sovereign Citizen, and many examples in between, deviance will be studied.

  • Baseball and American History

    David Dewar

    The course will focus on the intersections of American history and the American Pastime from the ante-bellum period to the end of the 20th century. One required book; students will identify and investigate one baseball player who personifies an historical moment. Oral and written presentations; at least two sources.

  • Beer Styles of the World

    Nick Negovetich

    Gain experience in descriptive writing and speaking by learning about the beer styles of the world. This class will review the brewing process and ingredients used in the production of beer. Availability of raw ingredients and the common brewing practices in the historic brewing centers gave rise to the distinct styles, which are a result of the combination of the ingredients and processes that generate the complex aroma, flavors, and mouthfeel. We will learn how to be accurate and precise in describing our experiences using the beer styles of the world.

  • Choosing a STEM career

    Juan Blandon

    Students will visit local hospitals, clinics, and urgent care centers, to learn about the diagnostic and treatment techniques made possible by STEM professionals (such as imaging technologies, radiology, hemodialysis, etc…). The sites to be visited will be in the San Angelo area and include West Texas Medical Associates, Shannon Hospital, among others. Students will survey rudimentary technical aspects of these technologies, interact with technicians, and learn about the job market, salaries, required college education, and other aspects of different STEM professions.

  • Democracy and Education

    Blake Hightower

    Democracy and Education GS 1181 is taught using the metacognitive approach to learning.  Students should expect to engage in collaborative learning activities during each class session.  The course will enable students to apply learning theory, information literacy, and critical thought as they investigate the structures and practices of American educational institutions. This course focuses upon a central question, “Do the educational practices of America’s schools foster a paradigm conducive to sustaining the ideals of our democratic republic?” 

  • Education in the 21st Century

    Christine Purkiss

    In public schools across America how does education need to change to meet the demands of the 21st century? How has education changed over the last hundred years? Many future jobs that children entering elementary schools today will have, have not even been invented yet. What does that mean as we educate the youth of tomorrow?

  • Fast Food Culture

    Dinah Harriger

    This course examines the influence of the fast food chain on American culture. Students will explore the social, political, agricultural, financial, and health implications of the fast food industry’s historical rise to power.

  • Geography & American Pop Music

    Charlene Bustos

    Highlights the geographic origins of “pop music”, focusing on the geo-historical aspects of American music. The course will provide an overview of American roots music and the importance of various regional styles.

  • Graphic Design with Adobe Illustrator

    Ben Sum

    Learn the digital drawing skills you need to effectively create logos, invitations, icons, and other print designs. Whether you’re a freshmen or high school student looking for more insight into commercial art, photography or illustration, or just someone looking to learn something new, everyone will get something out of this design class. Students will be challenged to develop design solutions using the elements of art while exploring the expressive potential of vector illustration to create dynamic, visual compositions.

  • Graphic Design with Adobe Photoshop

    Edwin Cuenco

    A graphic design and basic digital imaging course using Adobe Photoshop. Topics include navigation of the interface, toolbars, layers, filters, painting, and compositing of graphic images. Students will be challenged to develop design solutions using the elements of art while exploring the expressive potential of digital imaging to create dynamic, visual compositions.

  • Happiness and the Good Life

    Susana Badiola

    This interdisciplinary course explores the roles of virtue, success, wisdom, and luck in living the good life. We will critically look at some texts in philosophy, literature, and contemporary science, as well as some media and performing arts to better understand happiness.

  • Heroes and Heroism

    Anthony Bartl

    This course will take a look at the idea of the hero in human history and the role of hero mythology (or “storytelling”) in society. It will begin with a presentation of the ancient origins of heroism, continue with a study of a number emblematic examples of the hero in history, and end with a discussion of the role heroism in today’s world and the rise and enduring attraction of the “superhero” in popular culture. This study will proceed by reading (and watching) stories about the various manifestations of heroism in human history

  • How to think like a Scientist

    Connie Russell

    This course will provide students with practice in critical thinking skills, interpreting readings common to science and math texts and general science process skill building. Through selected readings from a range of texts used in introductory science courses on campus, articles from popular science journals, and a required text, we will explore effective strategies for critically reading scientific literature for understanding meaning in the readings, understanding and making logical arguments, sources of bias, etc. Strategies for success in introductory science and math courses will also be discussed. Assessments will include both written and oral assignments.

  • Introduction to the Middle East

    Jamal Husein

    This course briefly surveys the recent history of the Middle-East from the fall of the Ottoman umpire to the recent events or what has been called the Arab Spring. Students will be introduced to the basic aspects of the economic, political, social, cultural and religious dimensions of Islamic and Arab civilization. A major theme of the course will also be devoted to the emergence of Sunni and Shia Islamic identities and the relation of Muslims and Non-Muslims in the region.

  • Lights, Camera, Action: Teach!

    Donna Gee

    There is much we can learn from the messages and images portrayed in movies. Movies that depict teachers, students, and teaching often resonate with images that we can relate to based on our own educational experiences. Teachers may be portrayed as oblivious, out of touch, or disinterested in one movie and as involved, committed, and inspiring in another film. This class will examine a variety of movies that depict teaching, with a focus on skills of written communication, oral communication, and information literacy.

  • Macabre Medicine

    Russell Wilke

    This course will also explore the somewhat bizarre history of modern western medicine including a detailed investigation of some of its more macabre and gruesome practices and procedures. We will also discover what it takes to become a competitive applicant for entry into various post-baccalaureate, health professions programs including medical, dental, optometry, podiatry, physical & occupational therapy, chiropractic, and physician’s assistant schools. (Definitely NOT for those with weak constitutions).

  • Navigation to Successful Online Learning

    Leah Mangrum

    As colleges and universities adopt web-based technology tools to enhance, organize and facilitate learning; it has become increasingly important for students to become familiar with online learning environments. This course is an introduction and exploration into the Blackboard Learning Management System. Through course activities, students will become familiar and comfortable with aspects of online technology tools. Students will understand the process of engaging with discussion forums, blogs, journals, assignments and test in the online environment. This course will utilize the electronic library resources for development of research skills and introduce educational approaches of online technology tools; including Google Docs, VoiceThread, Blackboard Collaborate and YouTube for collaboration and interaction.

  • Personal Finance and Investment Psychology

    Murat Kara

    Almost one-third of college students, when reflecting back on their freshman year, admit that they were not very well prepared for personal money management on campus as reported by National Financial Educators Council. Financial literacy is shown to play a significant role in financial well-being later in life. Accordingly, this course aims to provide the fundamentals of personal finance and psychology of investing. After introducing the fundamentals of Budgeting, Credit, Investing, and Retirement, the course will provide an overview of psychological biases that affect individual investment decisions.

  • Pseudoscience and Media

    Andrew Wallace

    Interested in Ancient Aliens, Homeopathy, Monster Quest, Paranormal Activity, or UFOs?  Then this course is for you.  We will emphasize the use of information literacy, oral communication, and writing skills for distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Contemporary topics taken from advertising, news, and other media are investigated and discussed to develop an understanding of scientific inquiry.

  • Science Fiction and Politics

    Roberto Garza

    This course explores the intersection of politics and the sciences through the discussion of science fiction literature and films. It engages in speculative analysis as a way of introducing students to political and social ideas from the perspective of science fiction. It emphasizes the use of information literacy, oral communication and writing skills for the purposes of isolating central topics and concepts central to the study of politics. Topics developed in the science fiction literature and films will be investigated as a means for engaging into political inquiry.

  • Settle Your Nerves About College: Stagefright and Communication Apprehension Abatement

    Bill Doll

    Learn to reduce anxiety about performing, speaking, test taking and the mystique of college. You can succeed in college and use techniques and discussion to calm your nerves. Communication Apprehension and Anxiety (CAA) aka, Stagefright can be immobilizing for many students of every major. This course will study techniques to assist the student in reducing anxiety about impending communication events of all types. Special skills will be employed, discussion of the phenomena, assessment and research will help students deal with the pressures of presentations and a host of other anxiety producing communication activities.

  • Soccer and Philosophy

    John Glassford

    This course will look at what philosophical life-lessons may be learned by looking at soccer and some aspects of the ˜beautiful game.” Soccer is a truly global phenomenon, the FIFA World Cup Final is the highest rated television spectacle in the world and UK team Manchester Utd are currently valued at over $3 billion on the NYSE, $1 billion more than the next most valuable sports team, the Dallas Cowboys. In this course we will look at what soccer can teach us about love and commitment, toleration of differences, character-building, coping with adversity, and the satisfactions of personal achievement.

  • Solving Problems You Didn’t Know You Had

    Karl Havlak

    See how quickly you can answer the question that follows.

    If you are in a race and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in?

    This simple question is very often answered incorrectly by people who are pressured to answer quickly or people who do not think before they answer. Not sure of the answer? Draw a picture. Solving problems for a class or solving problems in life often requires a systematic approach. This class will explore a number of strategies for analyzing and solving a problem using classic puzzles and logic problems.

  • Sports and Literature

    John Wegner

    In this course students will read various texts that discuss sports in the context of race, gender, economics, and other relevant aspects of American culture. To help improve and develop skills necessary for your success at the university level, we will discuss and write about these topics. The application of those skills here will help you apply these same skills in all your college classes.

  • Survey of Blues Music

    Trey Smith

    The course begins with a survey of some very basic forms inherent in early blues music. It will then move into a brief synopsis of many of the early Blues pioneers such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Patton, and Robert Johnson .The course will include article and book research on various blues innovators, with a class presentation, by each student, on an innovator of his or her choice. Several quintessential blues recordings will be analyzed for form and style. Finally, blues music will be considered with regard to its impact on modern music and American culture.

  • Swords, Notes, and Spirits: Anime

    David Bixler

    This is an interdisciplinary study and appreciation of contemporary Japanese animation, Anime. Students will analyze and discuss the stories presented, write about the messages contained in the stories, and coordinate a public presentation of Anime. Students will also learn basic skills needed to be successful in college such as using Blackboard, the Library, and the Writing Center.

  • Texas Heroism in Film

    June Smith

    This class will review significant feature films which portray heroism by Texans. We will explore the rhetorical message expressed by these films and how that message as changed over the last 60 years.

  • Texas Music and Beyond: History, Culture, and Self-Expression

    Terry Dalrymple

    This course is an introduction to the variety and scope of Texas music and musicians. Brief lectures will provide an overview of the history of that music, and sample songs played in class will provide examples. Both lecture and discussion will consider what music indicates about the culture from which it comes. Discussion and individual student work will consider the ways in which music is a form of self-expression both for the musician and the audience. Students will complete several short projects (e.g., essays and speeches) about the music of their choice (from Texas or elsewhere).

  • The Human Condition

    Jason Pierce

    This course will examine the intellectual traditions of Western, Asian, and American Indian cultures to contemplate what it means to be human. Students will come to understand some of the commonalities and differences in how various cultures arrived at a conception of our role in the world. This reading and writing intensive course will emphasize the artistic, intellectual, economic, and cultural contexts behind each of these areas.

  • Theatre as a Voice for Change

    Mike Burnett

    This course will examine Theatre and its role as a voice for social justice. Students will examine how theatre throughout history has provided an insight into social issues and how it can be used for a positive change.

  • Thriving as a First Generation Student

    Flor Madero

    “I don’t know what I don’t know!” This is a common sentiment shared by first generation students. Being the first in the family to seek higher education can bring about various emotions. Studies have shown that compared to continuing generation students, first generation college hopefuls may not be as aware of higher education expectations or student services. Empowering students with knowledge, and developing the skills that will allow them to communicate with confidence can help set the tone for a strong start to a college career. This course will address effective strategies that can support students during the cultural, social, and academic transition challenges.

  • Toward More Effective Thinking

    Paul Swets

    We all know thinking is a key for success in school, in business, and in our personal lives. Thinking more clearly, more creatively, and more effectively can help us do better in class, at work, and at home. This course will help develop strategies and habits of mind that students can apply in a variety of settings to become more effective thinkers.

  • Ukeleles and Podcasts

    Laurence Musgrove

    While students will be learning “skills” in reading, writing, research, and oral communication, they can only learn those skills as they are applied to topics of shared interest. We learn or develop new skills in the context of something we want to learn more about. Students will have selected this section of GS 1181 because they want to learn about ukuleles and podcasts. Therefore, they will not only read, write, research, and communicate orally about ukuleles and podcasts, they will practice the basics of ukulele playing and podcasting to demonstrate that they can read, write, research, and communicate orally at the college-level.

  • Understanding Sex

    Mike Dixon

    Reproduction is a characteristic of all living organisms but it is accomplished in many different ways. We will investigate why sexual reproduction exists and why it may be an advantage. Then we will look into variations in how sexual reproduction occurs and how mates are selected. We will discuss how technology can interfere or assist with the natural process. Expect to discuss why sea horse males give birth, how a human male was pregnant, how a human baby might have 5 “parents” and why there are no hermaphrodite humans but there are lots of hermaphrodite fish and invertebrate animals.

  • United States History on Film 

    John Klingemann

    This course will focus on the 20th century American film industries’ portrayal of United States history. The course will examine the interpretation and portrayal of historical issues by the film industry using several historic films produced from the 1920s through the 1990s. Films such as Birth of a Nation, Sergeant York, Peyton Place and Breakfast at Tiffany’s will be utilized to develop communication, critical thinking and information literacy skills, as well as contribute to a better understanding of social responsibility.

  • What is Music

    Kevin Lambert

    “The purpose of the course will be to ask the question “what is music?” and have students develop their own answer. We will:

    • examine the acoustic properties of sound.
    • examine how we hear sound.
    • discuss how the human brain perceives sound.
    • discuss what philosophers say about music and its purpose.
    • engage with the major genres of Western European Art Music.
    • engage with examples of major World Musics.
    • discuss whether or not popular commercial music differs from art music.
    • examine works from the 20th and 21st centuries that redefine our ideas about music.
    • examine the role of technology in music and its effect on music.”
  • White Tail Fever and Its Symptoms

    Doyle Carter

    White tail fever is a common condition once thought only to affect men. However, recent studies indicate that this life-altering phenomenon is being confirmed in a growing number of women. Symptoms include an insatiable passion to learn more about: a) hunter ethics and safety, b) hunting tactics and technologies, and c) wildlife species and their habitat. At maturity, white tail fever is characterized by a deep appreciation for the great outdoors and our natural resources. This course exposes students to white tail fever research and allows students to share their own knowledge and experience, all in an effort to become mature outdoorsmen or outdoorswomen.

  • Why Spy: A History of Intelligence

    Jeff Dailey

    This course will provide information on both sides of the debate concerning the recent revelations concerning the NSA’s surveillance programs. There has never been a point in time when governments did not utilize censorship, prisoners, and spies in their quest to obtain information from other countries and while, at the same time, attempting to keep certain information from the same countries. At the same time, in democratic nations, there has been the constant struggle between the concern for individual freedom and the state’s need for surveillance and intelligence collection, both at “home” and abroad. This has resulted in specific instances of official restrictions of citizens’ Constitutional rights, including the temporary suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by President Lincoln during the Civil War, as well as the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II, following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. The passage of the controversial Patriot Act as well as the recent revelations concerning the National Security Agency’s covert surveillance of American citizens are the most current examples of this conflict.

  • Youth & Protest

    Adria Battaglia

    In this course we explore the entanglements of youth culture and protest. Asking: How is protest shaped by youth culture? And, How is youth culture shaped by protest? What makes an individual rebellion of youth become the collective rebellion of hundreds or thousands? How do young people take on injustices in their homes, communities, schools, workplaces, and nations? What makes youth-led and youth-majority protest unique? How does it sound? Feel? Look? How does it move across city streets and rural country-sides? What makes it travel, catch on, spread from nation to nation, from city to city? What gets protest off the radio and onto the picket line? Moves it from the Internet to the street?