High School Seminars Course Descriptions - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Course Descriptions 2016-17

Session I

September 28, October 5, 12
Make-up - October 19

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, September 20
Hispanic Language, Literature, and Culture
G. Cory Duclos, director, Keck Center for Language Studies
This course will look at the culture of Latin America and Spain through the lens of literature. Works will be read in translation, but we will also note some of the linguistic elements of the original texts. This course will complement students' study of Spanish, but no prior language knowledge is necessary for the course.
Visualizing the Universe
Joseph Eakin, senior director, 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.
Modernist Poetry and 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 by 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.
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.
Music Appreciation: Crash Course in the Cover Song
Kara Rusch, DJ/artist/music critic
Class will be devoted to comparing covers of songs to the originals we all know and consider the definite version—but is it? We will listen to different treatments and arrangements of Classics and hear a range from listenable to far out groovy and strange. This course will mainly be centered in Jazz, Blues and Pop but expect a dip into many genres including Cabaret, classical and Hip-hop. If you love music this class is for you.
Why One Should Google Thyself
Matt Hames, communications strategist
In a world where 4 million Google searches are done every minute, your digital personal brand is vital. When you go off to university, use Facebook 95% of the time, and use LinkedIn 5% (get a profile). By your senior year, flip the percentages. Facebook can cost you a job, LinkedIn can get you a job. It isn't always that simple, but it will continue to be important to understand your digital brands as you prepare to graduate from high school. In this course you'll learn how the internet already creates your personal brand - and how to take more control over it.

This course is only open to juniors and seniors.

Session II

November 2, 9, 16
Make-up - November 30

Registration deadline: Monday, October 24
Becoming an Ally
Khristian Kemp-Delisser, assistant dean and 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.
Night at the Museum: A Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Colgate University Collections
Melissa Davies, educator, Longyear Museum of Anthropology
Have you ever wondered how that dinosaur egg ended up in our geology museum? Or if the objects in our anthropology museum come to life at night like they do in that Ben Stiller movie? Or what the artist was thinking when he made the edgy art in our galleries? Are you interested in a museum career? This is your chance to get your questions answered! Explore a variety of campus museums, discover art in unexpected places, peek behind the scenes, and meet a bunch of museum professionals during this fun and interactive seminar.
Church, State, and Law in America
Jenna Reinbold, assistant professor of Religion
What do we mean when we talk about "the separation of church and state"? Where does this principle originate? Are there exceptions? This course will explore these questions as they pertain to the United States. We will consider the question of what Americans mean when they speak of the separation of church and state, and we will explore the manner in which the US Supreme Court has attempted to implement this principle within American law. This course does not assume any prior knowledge of American religion or American law.
Rhetoric, Democracy, and Populism: Is Democracy a Fallacy?
Ryan Solomon, assistant professor in Writing and Rhetoric
Democracy affirms the possibility of broad-based participation in political decision-making. But that is incredibly difficult to implement in practice. Our political differences inevitably lead to conflict. Political life is defined by all kinds of inequalities. And lots of people don't seem to care much about the responsibilities that democratic life requires. All of these problems are reflected in the turbulent presidential election we are experiencing at the moment, which has raised difficult questions about the viability of democratic agency in everyday political life and the dangers of populist politics. The purpose of this class is to consider the meaning of democratic politics, its viability in practice, and the role of public communication in either achieving democratic ends or undermining its purposes.
Climbing the Walls
Josh Solomon, 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.
Harnessing the Sun
Beth Parks, associate professor of Physics and Astronomy
Solar photovoltaics offer the hope that we can obtain electricity from a clean and sustainable source. In this seminar, students will learn some fundamentals of how solar cells work and then build a toy car that's powered by a solar cell. We'll also see how solar photovoltaics can be implemented on a larger scale and learn about New York State subsidies that can make solar photovoltaics affordable for students and their families.

Session III

February 1, 8, 15
Make-up - March 1

Registration deadline: Monday, January 23
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Susan Thomson, assistant professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
Rwanda is known for its 1994 genocide when ethnic Hutu killed their Tutsi neighbors. Since then, the country has formed a reputation for being a model of post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. This course will consider the strengths and weaknesses of Rwanda's post-conflict model, asking whether it will avoid future genocide and assessing its fit for other countries emerging from conflict.
Intro to Contemporary Dance
Tanya Calamoneri, visiting assistant professor of Theater
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
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.
Hispanic Language, Literature, and Culture
G. Cory Duclos, director, Keck Center for Language Studies
This course will look at the culture of Latin America and Spain through the lens of literature. Works will be read in translation, but we will also note some of the linguistic elements of the original texts. This course will complement students' study of Spanish, but no prior language knowledge is necessary for the course.
The Botany of Climate Change: Plant Physiology from Leaves to Ecosystems
Eddie Watkins, associate professor of Biology
This course will expose students to how plants function in their environment. We will examine plant physiology from an ecological perspective and learn how plants adapt and acclimate to their surrounding environments. Upon this foundation, we will explore the role that plants play in regional and global systems with special attention paid to their role in global change.
International Relations: What Everyone Needs to Know
Valerie Morkevicius, assistant professor of Political Science
Why do states go to war? What accounts for cooperation and peace between states? What drives terrorism? Why do some states' economies grow rapidly while others don't? What affects have globalization and technological change had on international politics? This spring we'll think about all these questions -- and more -- from a theoretical perspective, considering the implications for the real world around us.

Session IV

March 22, 29, April 5
Make-up - April 26

Registration deadline: Monday, March 13
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
It's About Time: Clocks, Genes and Human Behavior
Krista Ingram, Associate Professor of Biology
Early bird and night owl tendencies are regulated, in part, by an individual's circadian rhythms...but your body's internal clock controls much more than just your sleep-wake cycle -- it influences a broad range of systems including metabolism and digestion, cognitive performance, immune response and the risk of caner. Come learn about new biological and psychological research that looks at how circadian clocks affect our attention, athletic and academic performance, and even ethical and risky decision-making. You will have the opportunity to be involved in both genetics and behavioral research studies of circadian influences on human performance. 
Religion and Film
Ben Stahlberg, Senior Lecturer in Religion
This course will look both at the way in which religion is portrayed and theorized in different films (from different eras, points of view, parts of the world) and also, to a lesser extent, how film can try to encourage or enact certain sorts of religious experiences. 
Remote Sensing: from Drones to Satellites
Mike Loranty, Assistant Professor of Geography
Remote sensing is the science of acquiring information about an object or process without physical contact. Mapping land cover change, monitoring weather, and studying how forests respond to climate change are just a few of the ways that we use remote sensing. In this course we will learn about the basic physics involved in remote sensing by collecting our own data using a variety of ground-based sensors. We will then examine a series of case studies to learn how these types of measurements can be used to study large areas when they are acquired using drones, airplanes, or satellites. 
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 tradition.
Take Action: 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 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.