Past Courses

You’ll find the course descriptions and course goals for each of the courses I’ve had the privilege to teach. The courses are organized in alphabetical order according to course title. For a chronological order, please see my curriculum vitae.

The Culture of College

Description

X158 is designed for students on academic or critical academic probation and taught through the Student Academic Center (SAC) at Indiana University. The goals for X158 are for you to think critically about the American education system, define your place within it and formulate your own approach to learning.  You will be asked to explore your reasons for being in college and your aspirations for your life. X158 will give you the opportunity to find insights into your college experience and to practice practical strategies for achieving your goals.

Course Goals

  • Learn and practice skills necessary to succeed in college through in-class discussion, free writing, and activities.
  • Consider what “education” means in the contemporary United States and apply that knowledge to your own lives, careers, and educational goals.
  • Analyze and critique the system of higher education in the United States through reading and discussion.
  • Reflect on your own educational practices, goals, interests and experiences as well as those of your classmates.
  • Articulate your own educational philosophy and concrete steps you can take to make that philosophy a reality in your own life.

Introduction to the University

Description

Designed to orient new students to the traditions, purposes and expectations of a university education. Students will assess their expectations and evaluate their academic strengths and goals. Through lectures, guest speakers and individual projects, students will learn of VCU resources designed to help them solve problems and to achieve a rewarding and successful academic program. This course is required for students admitted conditionally to VCU; it is recommended for all first-year students.


Focused Inquiry II

Description

As the second part of a two-semester course sequence, UNIV 112 (Focused Inquiry II) will help you to improve your writing skills while continuing work on your critical thinking, ethical reasoning, collaboration, oral communication, and information fluency skills. UNIV 112 is designed to provide you with practice in multimodal analysis, textual analysis and synthesis, and argumentative writing supported by ethical reasoning. This practice will prepare you for the types of writing you will encounter and be expected to produce throughout your university career (and perhaps even beyond). Like UNIV 111, UNIV 112 applies the notion of the “spiral curriculum” (firewall citation; open citation) in that you build your skills by repeating key concepts and adding to the complexity of those concepts with each subsequent unit.

In UNIV 112, you will continue to develop your ability to interpret, analyze, evaluate, and infer based on appropriate evidence. The course will emphasize writing, revising, and proofreading. By the end of the class, you will produce work that reflects your ability to appropriately frame writing according to both purpose and audience. More specifically, you will be equipped to narrow your topics to an academic focus, analyze single texts, analyze and synthesize multiple texts, construct an argument based on ethical reasoning and scholarly evidence which contends with counter-arguments, shape your ideas for an academic audience, correct mechanical problems in your writing, and cite sources appropriately.

Course Goals

  • Critical Thinking: continue to apply critical thinking to texts and ideas, with a specific focus on analyzing and creating academic arguments that make sound claims and support conclusions with appropriate evidence
  • Writing Proficiency: create formal and informal pieces of writing in a variety of genres, to include multimodal, analytical, and ethical reasoning argument
  • Collaborative Learning: continue to work with peers on group assignments, projects and classroom activities; practice peer response to writing assignments
  • Oral Communication: continue to build communication skills through active participation in class discussions and formal presentations
  • Information Fluency: retrieve information through VCU Libraries, evaluate source reliability, and critically read and respond to texts
  • Ethical and Civic Responsibility: consider multiple ethical points of view; apply methods of ethical reasoning to texts and arguments
  • Quantitative Literacy: evaluate quantitative information when used as evidence

Focused Inquiry I

Description

As the first part of a two-semester course sequence, UNIV 111 will help you build the skills essential for successful university work. Designed to mirror the thinking and writing challenges that students encounter as they move through their undergraduate programs, UNIV 111 will lay the foundation for each of the skill areas of the VCU Core Curriculum.

The course material provides you with opportunities to learn the skills and practice the strategies that will enhance your subsequent academic performance in all disciplines, as well as facilitate professional success and lifelong learning.  UNIV 111 applies the notion of the “spiral curriculum” (firewall citation; open citation) in that you will repeat activities that allow you to revisit analytical concepts and practices, building upon these until you have grasped and internalized the steps of the analytical process. Each “level” of this “spiral curriculum” will be more complex and involved, so that you will sharpen your thinking as you move through the course.

Course Goals

  • Critical Thinking: think critically about texts, ideas, and the elements of argument
  • Writing Proficiency: create formal and informal pieces of writing in a variety of genres, including reflective, narrative, summary, analytical, and argumentative
  • Collaborative Learning: work with peers on group assignments, projects, and classroom activities
  • Oral Communication: build communication skills essential for academic work and life through active participation in whole class and small group discussions as well as formal presentations
  • Information Fluency: critically read and respond to texts
  • Ethical and Civic Responsibility: Explore principles of ethical and civic responsibility and analyze ethical problems and viewpoints
  • Quantitative Literacy:  recognize how quantitative information may be used as evidence

Principles of Sociology

Description

SOC 200 introduces students to the fundamentals of social life. This course will present significant research and theory in areas such as culture, social structure, socialization, deviance, social stratification, and social institutions.

Course Goals

  • use the sociological perspective, as compared to other perspectives, to analyze human behavior;
  • identify the fundamental criteria of causation used in the social sciences;
  • explain the basic sociological concepts of culture, society, socialization, social interaction, and social structure;
  • understand the impact of groups and organizations on social behavior;
  • identify and explain three theories of society and/or social control;
  • identify the basic concepts and theories of stratification.