High School Seminars Course Descriptions - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Course Descriptions 2013-14

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

Session I

Oct. 2, Oct. 9, Oct 16, Make-up Oct 23
Registration Deadline: Friday, Sept. 20
Modernist Poetry & The Rethinking of the Human
Michael Coyle- Associate Professor of English
408 Lathrop

This seminar will explore poetry by four of America’s most important modernist poets: Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and 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 in our own. 
Crash Course in the Blues
Kara Rusch- DJ/ Cadence/C.I.M.P. Records
310 Lathrop Hall

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.
Three Architectural Wonders of the Ancient World: The Pyramids, the Parthenon and the Colosseum
Elizabeth Marlowe- Assistant Professor of Art and Art History
Little 114

We will look at these three great buildings and consider how they were constructed, why they were constructed, and what their impact has been on the modern world. How is it possible that these structures, built without modern machinery or technology, are still standing, after thousands of years? What were they used for? Whose interests did they serve? What can they tell us about the ancient societies that went to so much trouble to build them? Why do people still care about them today? 
Public Speaking 2.0
Ryan Solomon- Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
210 Lathrop Hall

In this seminar, we will consider the role of public speaking in 21st century democratic life. Public speaking remains an integral part of modern democratic life; although not in the way we think often think of formal public speaking. Times are changing, and so are the demands of public speaking. In this seminar, we'll think about and discuss the relationship between public speaking and new media, with a particular focus on understanding way that new media has changed the way we interact with one another in public life. We will also look at the way that our rich media environment has changed the way we do public speaking, with TED Talks providing us an important example of those changing dynamics. Finally, we will consider ways in which theories of rhetoric can help us be better public speaker in the face of the new challenges that a 21st century environment provides. This seminar will be interactive and participatory - it will be discussion focused, with lots of opportunities for practice in public speaking. You'll get the opportunity to experiment with and present speeches, all of which will be recorded, and you will have an opportunity to reflect on how you can use opportunities for public speaking to be a civic agent in your own communities. 
Sex, Drugs, and Chocolate
Frank M. Frey, Associate Professor of Biology
125 Ho Science Center

This course will introduce you to the many tasty, interesting, useful, mystical, and illegal uses of plants. Through hands-on activities and discussion, we'll investigate the origins of some of our favorite foods and issues of transgenic crops (sex and chocolate), and also explore some medicinal and psychoactive properties of plants (drugs). After taking this course, you'll have a new appreciation for the role plants play in our everyday life.

Enrollment maximum = 18. Please do not sign up for this seminar if you cannot reliably attend all 3 classes.
China Bound!
John A. Crespi - Associate Professor of Chinese
208 Persson Hall

Through thought-provoking lectures and hands-on learning, the China Bound seminar takes you on a tour of the language and lifestyles of the ancient but diverse and rapidly changing world of China.

Session II

Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Nov. 20, make-up Dec. 4
Registration Deadline: Friday, Oct. 25
Pythons, Hummingbirds, and Obesity: The Evolution of Metabolic Rates
Jake Brashears- Assistant Professor of Biology
326 Ho Science Center

Everyone has heard someone say that they have a tough time losing weight because they have a low metabolic rate. Is this true? What is a metabolic rate, and how does ours compare to those of other animals? This seminar will explore the science of metabolic rates using PowerPoints, discussions, and live examples. After taking this seminar, you'll understand how scientists measure metabolic rates, how they affect your health, and how they affect all sorts of animal physiology and behavior. Finally, you will understand the major hypotheses about how they likely evolved.
Church, State, and Law in America
Jenna Reinbold- Assistant Professor of Religion
310 Lawrence Hall

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.
Fundamentals of Media Literacy

Alicia Simmons- Assistant Professor of Sociology
208 Alumni Hall

How many seconds of advertising were you exposed to today?  How many minutes did you spend playing videogames this week?  How many hours did you spend watching movies this month?  How many days of your life have you spent reading books?  How much do you know about the impact that all of this media exposure has on your life?  How well are you able to control these effects?

This seminar helps students enhance their media literacy – a set of skills that empower people to: a) understand how the media industry works, b) clearly articulate what they want from the media, c) be knowledgeable about the common patterns found in media content, and d) effectively analyze and evaluate media messages.  After completing the seminar, students will be well-equipped to critically decode the media they encounter in their daily lives, and thus better able to control the influence that the media exerts upon all of us.
Rhetorical Speaking, History, Principles, and Practice of Public Address
John Adams- director of the Colgate Speaking Union 
002 Lathrop Hall

This course introduces students to rhetoric’s history and principles and provides practical experience constructing and delivering speeches in accord with rhetoric's chief generic aims: informing, persuading, and entertaining. Students' speeches will be recorded on Flip-video, emailed to them, and critiqued. Students without access to email will be accommodated.
Climbing the Walls
Ben Oliver, Assistant Director, Outdoor Education
Climbing Gym located on the 3rd floor of Huntington Gym

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
Amazing Algorithms: the Incredible Ideas that Drive the Digital Age
Michael Hay- Assistant Professor of Computer Science
317 McGregory

Have you ever posted a picture on Facebook for your friends to see?  Did you ever stop to wonder how that image got from your phone, say, to your friend?  That photo is broken up into millions of tiny bits, each of which is sent across various links in the Internet, links that can be notoriously unreliable, often corrupting messages or losing them altogether.  And yet, magically, the image is reconstructed perfectly on the other hand.  How is that possible?  Something even more amazing happens when you buy something online using a credit card.  Not only does the 12 digit credit card number arrive at the store intact, but it's sent secretly.  Even though an evil hacker might be able to see every message sent between your computer and the online store, the hacker still wouldn't learn the credit card number!  How can a message be secret when anyone can read it?

Through hands-on games and other fun activities, we will explore these questions and the ways in which computers represent and manipulate information.  We will look at some of the amazing algorithms that drive the digital technologies that you encounter every day. No prior experience or computer skills necessary!

Session III

Feb. 5, Feb. 12, Feb. 26, make-up Mar. 5
Registration Deadline: Friday, Jan. 24
Don't Trust Your Brain
Jeffrey Foy - Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology

Can we really trust our brain? In this seminar, we'll talk about that and how the way you think about the world is based on interpretations.  We'll discuss visual and sound illusions to learn about how we perceive the world as well as explore illusions and errors that affect our memories. We'll also have the chance to talk about errors that people make when making judgments and decisions.
First Year Intelligence
Krista Saleet – Director, Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education
408 Lathrop Hall

This course will prepare you to make the transition to the required skills and tools to be an efficient and effective learner in a college classroom. You will leave with real strategies to put yourself ahead of the game to succeed in college.
How Stories Work: Orality, Testimony, Confessions, Poems
Max Rayneard- Visiting Assistant Professor in English and Africana and Latin American Studies
308 Lathrop Hall

In this seminar, we are going to examine the ways in which stories communicate our lives, the lives of others, our cultural values, and our ideas of nation. To do so will be listening to and examining several genres of stories from a variety of sources, stories told from generation to generation, testimonies before truth commissions and court rooms, poems that use narrative as part of their effect, and the stories that the students bring to class themselves. What kinds of stories do we find have the most impact? Do such stories have similar features? Can we account for their structure? What makes a story believable? What does it mean when we say a story is true? Are there different kinds of truth to stories? Which stories count as history, and which as fiction?
Learn How to Talk Smart about Art
Melissa Davies – Art Educator, Colgate University Picker Art Gallery
305 Dana Arts Center

Do you find yourself wondering if black turtle-neck wearing hipsters are the only people that can make sense out of art? Do you wish you could express your opinion about art without messy snobbishness? Feel more confident looking at art! With an emphasis on your natural intelligence, careful looking, and easy-to-grasp principles, this seminar will give you the ability to impress your friends and neighbors with your articulate appreciation for all kinds of art! Classes will use real art from the Longyear Museum of Anthropology and the Clifford Gallery. No experience necessary. Everyone is welcome.
The Rhetoric of Style
Jennifer Lutman - Director, Colgate University Writing & Speaking Center
212 Lathrop Hall

In ancient Greece and Rome, teachers of rhetoric taught style (elocutio) as one of five essential "canons," or rules, for effective communication. In their emphasis on style, they taught students to focus not just on the content and form of an argument, but also on its eloquent, artful expression. This mini-course will explore how writers' stylistic choices can profoundly influence readers' understanding and response. Students will experiment with new stylistic techniques in their writing, completing (and sharing) written exercises in diction, sentence structure, punctuation, and figures of speech.
Risk and Reward
Beverly Low- Dean of First-Year Students
238 Ho Science Center

We make a variety of choices everyday: which clothes to wear; whether or not to speak up when we disagree with a parent, friend or teacher; deciding to audition for a play or singing group; trying out for a sports team; selecting toppings for a pizza; resigning from a job or position. For those more difficult choices that come with a higher element of risk, what is the reward? We will discuss risk-taking and courage as key elements of growth, discovery, resiliency, and leadership development.

Session IV

Mar. 26, Apr. 2, Apr. 9, make-up Apr. 23

Registration Deadline: Friday, Mar. 14

Climbing the Walls
Trevor Kreznar - Interim Assistant Director, Outdoor Education
Climbing Gym located on the 3rd floor of Huntington Gym

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
Environmental Hazards
Peter Klepeis – Associate Professor of Geography
328 Ho Science Center
It seems that every week there is news of an environmental disaster of one type or another – a typhoon in the Philippines, water pollution in Appalachia, wildfire in the American southwest, and flooding in New York City, to name a few. This seminar explores the natural processes and human actions that create vulnerability to environmental hazards. The examples of wildfire, hurricanes, and industrial chemical pollution inform debates about how society should best respond.
First Year Intelligence
Krista Saleet – Director, Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education
408 Lathrop Hall

This course will prepare you to make the transition to the required skills and tools to be an efficient and effective learner in a college classroom. You will leave with real strategies to put yourself ahead of the game to succeed in college.
Going Green: At home and at school!
John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability
345 Case-Geyer Library

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.
Margins & Intersections: An Introduction to Feminisms
Che J. Hatter - Program Assistant, Colgate Center for Women's Studies
East 109B

What does it mean to be a feminist in this day and age? Our seminar will explore this question by discussing the history of feminism as a movement and how it has changed as a concept over time. We will also view a variety of definitions from different gender, racial, socioeconomic, national, and sexual identities while critically engaging with topics such as media representation, marginalization, gender violence, 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.
Visualizing the Universe
Joseph Eakin- Senior Director of the Colgate Visualization Lab
401 Ho Science Center

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.