Undergraduate Spring/Summer Seminars 2013

Full term session: May 6 – August 25
Begins in CampusWeb May 6

LSTU 490: Culminating Study 
Faculty: To be determined
12 credits

This online culminating term will meet in an “initial residency” starting on April 30 to engage in preliminary study exploration with faculty in their area of concentration and to receive information/instruction on how culminating studies work.  Students will be paired with a professor with whom to work on the study.  Culminators will meet as a group on a regular basis to report on progress and share their work with the group.  At term’s end, final presentations will be posted on this site and discussed among all students and their faculty advisors.

This seminar and the culminating study run for 16 weeks, over both summer sessions.

Session 1: May 6 – June 29

Hybrid Seminar: Brattleboro, VT
Begins in CampusWeb May 6
Meet for 6 hours on Saturdays (3 Saturdays)

LSTU 341: Literacy in the Public Schools 
Degree Criterion: Education (required of teacher licensure students)
Faculty: Nancy Reid

This seminar will focus on the guiding question: As a classroom or community, how can we create enthusiastic and skillful readers? Students will delve into the many issues and controversies surrounding literacy instruction in our K-12 schools and communities. (Literacy here is defined as reading, writing and spelling.) Students will learn about the various theories, controversies and possibilities related to literacy instruction in K-12 schools. For those who are Teacher Licensure students, this seminar will address the English Language Arts knowledge and performance standard for Vermont educators, which includes, “knowledge of research-based principles and processes underlying literacy development…”

Online Seminars
Begin in CampusWeb May 6

LSTU 316: The World of Words and Ideas
Faculty: Linda Gray
B.A. Degree Criteria: Humanities and Social Science
B.S. General Education: Arts/Humanities

You can see where you want to be, but you are not certain how to get there.  You have honored your goals and your future by taking the first step, but the path ahead seems formidable. This seminar is for you if you want to obtain your undergraduate degree and exercise leadership in fields that are important to you.

In this seminar you will wrestle with ideas about social justice and ethical responsibility, meaning versus representation, culture and society.  You will examine the qualities of leadership, and learn what it means to “lead from behind.” You will also engage with other students as you begin to write more persuasive essays and brush up on MLA and APA citation skills. We will explore the structure and responsibilities of a college degree, and offer tips about how to produce your best written work.  Through readings, writings and online discussion, we will address the four core principles of scholarship at Union Institute & University:
• Communication: Express and interpret ideas clearly, using a variety of written, oral and/or visual forms.
• Critical & Creative Thinking: Use different modes of disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry to explore ideas and issues from multiple perspectives.
• Ethical & Social Responsibility: Express ethical & social implications in one’s social, professional, artistic and/or scholarly practice.
• Social & Global Perspectives: Articulate a perspective on power in the world and one’s own place in the global community.

Students in this seminar will learn how to navigate CampusWeb.  They will have full access to the UI&U library, films, e-books, scholarly articles and TED lectures.  Free services of the Union Institute & University’s Writing Center will be available.  In short, we will learn about ideas and each other as we journey through the world of online learning.

LSTU 328: Buddhism and Psychology
B.A. Degree Criteria: Psychology & Ethical/Moral/Spiritual Concerns
B.S. General Education: Social & Behavioral Sciences or Arts/Humanities
Faculty: Stella Marrie

In recent years, the contemplative traditions of Asia have influenced Western psychology’s understanding of the mind.  This seminar will explore this cross-fertilization of ideas about human development and psychological healing.  We will focus specifically on Buddhist psychology and its relationship to Western approaches to psychotherapy.  How does Buddhist psychology understand human suffering and what are the implications for psychological healing related to this understanding?  What is the influence of Western conceptions of self and identity on this emerging approach to personal and spiritual development?  In addition to these questions, we will explore new secular approaches to mindfulness training and the empirical research that supports these therapeutic approaches.

LSTU 333: Writing with Heart and Mind  
B.A. Degree Criterion: Writing
B.S. General Education:  English Composition or Arts/Humanities
Faculty: Geof Hewitt

Writing is a key component of study in the B.A. Program, yet all too often students feel blocked, intimidated, or otherwise anxious about writing.  This seminar is for students who want to explore the writing process, find their writing voice, and hone writing skills.  Participants may focus on memoir, poetry, essays, annotations, fiction, any form of journalism, or a combination of genres.  Our goal is for each student to find and exercise his/her “voice” in the genre(s) of choice, and to have an increased awareness of his/her own writing process and the technical and mechanical aspects of writing.

LSTU 338:  Qualifying Portfolio Development
(Open to Teacher Licensure students only)
Faculty: Nancy Reid

This seminar is self-designed and customized for students who need to meet additional requirements to become licensed to teach in one of the five endorsement areas.

LSTU 358: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling
B.A. Degree Criterion: Psychology (required seminar for Addiction Studies specialty)
B.S. General Education: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Faculty: Patricia Burke

In this seminar students will explore the psychological theories of counseling most prominent in substance abuse treatment including the Stages of Change, Motivational Interviewing, and Cognitive Behavioral Counseling approaches. Students will engage in experiential learning activities such as video or audio taped role plays with a focus on developing specific counseling skills based on these theories. This seminar is required for all students in the Addiction Studies specialization, but is open to anyone who wants to learn the theory and practice of alcohol and drug abuse counseling.

LSTU 372: Sex, Gender and Love: A Biological View
B.A. Academic Areas: Science & Statistics 
B.S. General Education: Natural Science or Math/Statistics
Faculty: Sue Cobb

This seminar has two components, biology and statistics, which will run concurrently, but mostly independently. The biology component will cover, first, the evolution of sexual reproduction, attempting to answer questions such as, “How did sexual reproduction evolve?” and “What good is it?” Then we’ll move on to the very interesting question of human sex and gender. We think of humans as being either male or female, and mostly this is true. Our attempt to find out what  differences might exist between males and females, other than those physical markers in our genitalia, has been a messier path; and we’ll explore research into sex differences from physiological and neuroscience perspectives. Through Fausto-Sterling’s Sexing the Body, we’ll shake up conceptions of only two sexes.  For love, we’ll look at the neuroscience of attraction and attachment, and at evolutionary psychology’s approach to the evolution of human mating strategies.

In addition to regular participation in discussion, students will engage with 6-8 academic resources and write a minimum of 16 pages of academic writing.

Session 2: June 30 – August 25
Online Seminars
Begin in CampusWeb June 25

LSTU 347: What Shall We Eat? Controversies in Food & Nutrition and How to Make Sense of the Evidence
B.A. Degree Criteria: Science/Math & Contemporary Culture
B.S. General Education: Natural Sciences or Math/Statistics
Faculty: Sue Cobb

We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” which has recently been joined with the idea that the source of the food is important.  In this seminar we will look at both aspects of American food habits: nutrition, and agricultural practice — reading books from contrasting perspectives to examine the way authors use evidence and authority to make their arguments. For example, students will read both a traditional nutritional science perspective and a critical alternative perspective. They will track and analyze their own diet, utilizing both perspectives and drawing their own conclusions. For agricultural practice, we will read books promoting and critiquing the current local food movement and students will develop a point of view on industrial agriculture practices and the global production and transport of food and consider the alternatives. To add to critical understanding, students will complete a unit on statistics, working through the first half of a reader-friendly statistics book and reading about the ways statistics are used and abused.

LSTU 555: Art and Irreverence
B.A. Degree Criteria: Art and History/Art History
B.S. Gen Ed: Arts/Humanities
Faculty: Lucinda Bliss

This seminar explores artistic movements in which artists rebelled against the status quo with playful and irreverent creative practice. We will look at the early twentieth century Dada movement, Fluxus “happenings” of the 1960s, and Street Art from the 1990s, as well as considering contemporary artists who have carried these traditions into the present. Studio work in the seminar will include drawing, collage, photomontage, and assemblage, and will be inspired by the work of artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Hannah Hoch, Allan Kaprow, Yoko Ono, Mark Bradford,and Margaret Kilgallen, among others. This seminar is designed for students with all levels of artistic and academic ability.

LSTU 356: Drawing as Awareness
B.A. Degree Criteria: Art & Ethical/Moral/Spiritual Concerns
B.S. General Education: Arts/Humanities
Faculty: Sarah Sutro

Drawing is a way of knowing ourselves, of finding out what we believe, of really seeing. In contemporary art, reference is made to “art practice” — a phrase which borrows language from Asian traditions, where art is a form of disciplined spirituality. In this seminar we will explore several ways of approaching drawing, from literal description of everyday reality, to working from chosen photographs, to inventing our own personal perspective.  All these require awareness. Through a series of exercises and drawing problems students will develop a relationship to line, shade, texture, and tone using a choice of several mediums such as pencil, charcoal, ink, wash, and conte crayon. Come to this course prepared to draw, write and think.
This seminar is appropriate for students with all levels of artistic ability and experience.

LSTU 362: Comparative Mysticism
B.A. Degree Criteria: Ethical/Moral/Spiritual Concerns & Literature
B.S. General Education: Arts/Humanities
Faculty: Ben Mitchell

Have you ever been stopped breathless by the sunset? Did you ever hear the phone ring and know instantly who was on the other end? Have you ever been listening to the forest when suddenly the sound of the leaves breathing overwhelms the call of the peepers? As humans we are surrounded by the mystery of life. We coin words like wonder, astonishment, even joy and ecstasy to describe the overwhelming feeling of life, but words are inevitably poor tools. Webster’s defines Mysticism as: “the experience of mystical union or direct communion with the ultimate reality.” Comparative Mysticism will compare mystical literature from seven major religions, in an effort to explore how people from all over the world, throughout time have sought to comprehend this mystery.

This seminar will read primary sources from Hinduism and Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Taoism and even Native American Shamanism. This seminar will examine the following question: are there any unifying principals that bind the major world religions together?

LSTU 370: Neurobiology of Addiction
B.A. Degree Criteria: Psychology & Science
B.S. General Education: Natural Sciences or Social and Behavioral Sciences
Faculty: Jody McGrath

In the past two decades, there have been astonishing advances in our understanding of the neurobiological basis and nature of drug addiction. We now know the initial molecular sites of action, at identified receptors, of virtually all of the major drugs of abuse including cocaine, heroin, and amphetamine, as well as legal drugs such as nicotine and alcohol. We also understand the main components of a “reward system” and its connections to major brain regions involved in motivation and emotion, such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.

This seminar will acquaint students with basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system and neurons, with synaptic transmission and transmitters, and with a variety of drugs and their effects on the body/mind of individuals.

LSTU 371: Alternative Healing Systems
B.A. Degree Criteria: Health & Psychology/Holistic Studies
B.S. General Education: Social & Behavioral Sciences or Natural Sciences
Faculty: Laurette Brady

The primary work of the seminar will be an exploration of a significant set of alternative healing modalities currently in practice in the U.S.  The philosophic bases, principles and methodologies of each will be examined, followed by a review of research on outcomes and efficacy.  Students will begin with a directed study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Herbalism, and the Relaxation Response, and then select a particular healing system, taken from a broad list supplied by the instructor, to study further. For their chosen healing system, they will conduct a review of current research and develop a description and assessment report, considering overall merit and best use of the healing mode. Results will be shared in a final forum with all students sharing their conclusions and discussing findings.

LSTU 379: Sanity/Insanity: Who Decides?
B.A. Degree Criteria: Psychology, Sociology 
B.S. General Education: Social & Behavioral Sciences 
Faculty: Maida Solomon

The fundamental goal in this seminar is to explore how differing dynamics have influenced concepts of sanity/insanity.  By making more visible cultural and psychological variables, perhaps we will better be able to separate social myth from urgent need.  We will read works from the twentieth century to the present.

How has sanity or insanity been defined and for what ends?  Are the consequences the same for everyone?  Do gender or other cultural components play a role?  What quality or characteristic might be considered normal for some and abnormal for others?  How do media portray people in ways relevant to mental health or diagnosis?  This seminar will explore selected readings, films, media and current diagnostic tools as we pull apart layers of frameworks so as to perceive better the naming of mental illness.
This seminar is open to any student.

LSTU 380: From Stone Tablets to Twitter: A Social History of Communication
B.A. Degree Criteria: History, Culture
B.S. Social and Behavioral Sciences
Faculty Heather McCollum

The last few decades have brought us an astonishing array of technological changes, particularly in the ways people gather information and communicate with each other.  In an effort to understand the meaning of the “information age,” this seminar will examine other moments in history when new technologies have had significant cultural, political, and economic consequences.  We’ll investigate the origins and implications of “new” media (e.g., the alphabet, printing press, telegraph, photograph, radio, television, internet) and consider how each has prompted new hopes for world peace along with fears for the imminent decline of civilization. With this foundation in mind, we’ll ask ourselves: Are the new digital tools undermining democracy or enhancing it?  Making us safer or less secure?  Increasing access to cultural diversity or creating more cultural uniformity?   Helping to shape a more sustainable future or further harming the environment?  Do we control technology, or does it control us? We’ll draw on historical evidence and our own experience to engage with these important questions.

Find out more information on our Undergraduate programs.