High School Seminars Course Descriptions - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Course Descriptions 2014-15

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

Session I

Oct. 1, Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Make-up Oct. 22
Registration Deadline: Thursday, Sept. 18
Active Wellness
Christina Turner, MS, CES, Director of Recreation and Chair of Physical Education
Clark Room in James C. Colgate Student Union


Wellness is the active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. Students enrolled in this course will actively participate in this seminar to enlighten them on how physical wellness can influence one’s growth and development throughout a lifetime. Each class session will include a 40-minute lecture portion followed by a 60-minute activity portion.
Harnessing the Sun
Beth Parks, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Ho Science Center 238
 

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.
The Making of the Atlantic World: Indians, Europeans, and Africans in America
Antonio Barrera, Associate Professor of History and Africana & Latin American Studies
Alumni Hall 108
 

This seminar examines the encounter between Europeans, Africans, and Indians during the first period of the Atlantic World, 1400s to 1650s. I will explore the formation and consolidation of the Atlantic World as a network of regions and space of exchange. I will explore such themes as European, African, and Amerindian empires and cultures, imperial expansion, colonization, navigation, and European-Indian-African relations, the transatlantic slave trade, the Atlantic economy, and Euro-American colonial societies.
Religions of the World
Aaron Spevack, Assistant Professor of Religion
Lawrence Hall 310


An exploration of some of the world's religions--including Islam, Hinduism, and Taoism--through their sacred scriptures, music, art, and literature. This course will explore how do different faiths address the big questions of life, death, and the nature of things. It will also introduce students to various ways of thinking about religion which can help avoid the pitfalls of oversimplification, generalization, and bias.
Rhetoric in Public Life
Ryan Solomon, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
Lathrop Hall 210

In this seminar, we will consider the role of public speech in democratic life. Democracy, at its best, it evokes the belief that everyone can and should participate in deciding what our shared world will look like and how we will live together in that world. Of course, the reality of democracy is a far cry from the ideal – truly democratic participation is limited by a number of constraints, from social inequality to issues of power to the fundamental fallibility of human beings. Still, despite the very real challenges presented by these constraints, democratic aspirations have been a powerful source of creating demands for inclusion, participation, and social change. The purpose of this seminar is to identify ways in which you can participate in public life and make your own voice heard on the issues that matter in your own communities. This seminar will be interactive and participatory - it will be discussion focused, with lots of opportunities for practice and experiment in public speech and deliberation.
Why one should Google Thyself
Matt Hames, Manager of Media Communications
Lathrop Hall 107

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 brand. In this presentation you'll learn how the internet already creates your personal brand – and how to take more control over it. 

Session II

Nov. 5, Nov. 12, Nov. 19, make-up Dec. 3
Registration Deadline: Monday, Oct. 27
African American Influence on the Transformation of American Humor
Mel Watkins, Colgate NEH Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English
20 Humanities Auditorium, Lawrence Hall

This three-session 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.  
Climbing the Walls
Trevor Kreznar, Assistant Director, Colgate University 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  
Crash Course in the Blues
Kara Rusch, DJ/ artist/ music critic
Lawrence 101

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. 
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
Lathrop 107

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. 
Japan through Calligraphy
Yukari Hirata, Associate Professor of Japanese
Japan Center, 107 Lawrence Hall

This course will introduce some cultural aspects of Japan through traditional Japanese calligraphy or “Shodo” (The Way of Writing), a life-time spiritual and artistic pursuit. We will start from making ink from an ink stone, learn basic strokes with a brush on special thin calligraphy paper, and actually practice writing Japanese characters as an artistic form. This hands-on experience, along with lectures on Japanese language, will help to catch a glimpse of language, art, history, religion, and customs and values of Japan. *Limited enrollment- only sign up if you can reliably attend all three classes  
Modernist Poetry & The Rethinking of the Human
Michael Coyle, Associate Professor of English
J308 Lathrop

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. 

Session III

Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, make-up Mar. 4
Registration Deadline: Friday, Jan. 23
What is Yoga?
Becky Gough, Personal Trainer and Instructor, Colgate University
301 Huntington Gym

Yoga has been practiced since ancient times. These days we hear the word yoga and think of a physical exercise of stretching and relaxation. Yet, the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. This course will include yoga postures and theory. It will also use Pilates to demonstrate similarities and differences of these sister practices. All welcome.  
Other Worlds: The Search for Extrasolar Planets
Jeff Bary, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
326 Ho Science

Astronomers estimate that roughly 100 billion galaxies or more reside within the portion of the universe that we can see. Within most of these galaxies resides several hundred billion stars. Each of these billions of billions of stars represent a potential planetary system harboring planets similar to Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Earth found in our own solar system. Statistics from the recent Kepler mission suggest that nearly every star in the galaxy possess a planetary system. The Galaxy and the Universe are teeming with planetary systems. Historically speaking, only recently have astronomers been able to confirm the existence of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. In this seminar, we will explore the techniques astronomers have used to detect extrasolar planetary systems, discuss their properties and how common they appear to be, and think about how their discovery and existence moves us closer to answering the longstanding question: "Are we alone?" 
Margins & Intersections: An Introduction to Feminisms
Che Hatter, Program Assistant, Colgate Center for Women's Studies
109B East Hall, Women’s Studies Center

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. 
German Language and Culture
Franziska Gotzke, Max Kade Fellow of German
115 Lawrence Hall, German Center

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. 
Church, State, and Law in America
Jenna Reinbold, Assistant Professor of Religion
319 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. 
Asian Cultures: The Politics of Cultural Identities
Esther Rosbrook, Multicultural Student Groups Adviser, ALANA Cultural Center
107 Lathrop Hall


This course will provide a brief overview of different perspectives of Asian cultural values, norms, beliefs, and their influence in the global world. Using audio and visual examples the course will provide the venue for students to discuss politics of Asian identity and Asian cultural positioning in a Western oriented society. This class will use students’ critical thinking ability to explore different cultural contexts that impact students’ attitudes and behavior toward different Asian social groups and their members.


Session IV

Apr. 8, Apr. 15, Apr. 22, make-up Apr. 29

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, Mar. 24

Why one should Google Thyself
Matt Hames, Manager of Media Communications
118 Lawrence Hall

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 brand. In this presentation you'll learn how the internet already creates your personal brand – and how to take more control over it. 
What is Modern Art?
Daniel Hackbarth, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History
114 Little Hall

The question “What is Modern Art?” is more complicated – and more fascinating – than it might appear at first glance. In fact, in answering it a host of new questions emerge: When did modern art first appear? How is it different from the art that came before it? How should one look at modern art, and what do modern paintings and sculptures mean? And perhaps most perplexingly, how is it possible that the newest art is no longer modern? This seminar will take on these questions one by one. In the process, participants will learn about major artists and movements in modern art: Claude Monet and Mary Cassat (Impressionism), Pablo Picasso and Sonia Delaunay (Cubism), Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriela Münter (Expressionism), Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler (Abstract Expressionism), and Richard Serra and Eva Hesse (Postminimalism). 
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.  
The Science of Relationships
Jennifer Tomlinson, Assistant Professor of Psychology
129 Olin Hall

Description: Close relationships are central to our lives; friends, parents, siblings, romantic partners, acquaintances, and coworkers have an enormous influence on one’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. The purpose of this course is to understand the processes that regulate human relationships. It will include an overview of social psychology theories of relationships research and an exploration of the current literature. Topics include attraction, intimacy, dissolution and loss, love, and maintaining relationships. 
Crash Course in Jazz Appreciation
Kara D. Rusch, DJ/ artist/ music critic
101 Lawrence Hall

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
Ben Oliver, Assistant Director, Outdoor Education
Climbing Gym, 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