11 College classes to take online

The College Blog - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:06

Want to expand your knowledge, gain new skills, and earn class credits you need from the comfort of your home? From European goddesses and witches, fanfiction, and earthquakes to global careers, Spanish language for business, and journeys through East Asian art history, our online course listing for Fall 2020 offers something for everyone. Get started by checking out these 11 online College classes you can take during the fall semester! 

HIST 320 History – From Goddesses to Witches: Premodern Europe

Ideas and attitudes about women — from their roles in society to their very nature — have dramatically shifted throughout history. Gain an in-depth understanding of women’s spirituality, goddess-worship, symbols of women, and women’s roles in religious societies within Europe from 30,000 B.C.E. to the 16th century Protestant Reformation by taking HIST 320.

This course examines the social, cultural, and political contexts of women’s spirituality and their relations to gender relations in Europe from about 30,000 B.C.E. to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Lectures move both chronologically and topically, covering such subjects as goddess-worshiping cultures, women’s roles in Christian and Jewish societies, symbols of women, and male attitudes toward women. Students will be able to participate in weekly discussions of primary and secondary source readings about women. (Same as WGSS 320.) Satisfies: Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11), Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H), H Humanities (H), HT Historical Studies PC (HT)

ATMO 220 Atmospheric Science – Unusual Weather

Curious about the science behind unusual weather phenomena? Explore the underlying principles at work in extreme weather events like tornados, hurricanes, and blizzards, as well as the effects of air pollution and human alteration of the atmosphere, in ATMO 220.

An introductory lecture course which surveys the general principles and techniques of atmospheric science and illustrates their application through discussions of natural but unusual weather phenomena such as blizzards, hurricanes, tornados, and chinooks, of the effects of air pollution on weather, and of intentional human alteration of the atmosphere. Satisfies: Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11), Goal 3 Natural Sciences (GE3N), N Natural Science (N), NE Earth Sciences PC (NE)

SPAN 448 Spanish – Spanish Language & Culture for Business

In today’s globalized world, it’s more important than ever to have a grasp on the relationship between business and language, communication skills, and social and cultural context. In SPAN 448, non-native Spanish speakers will develop analytical and communication skills for international business and professional life. 

Cultural studies approach to contemporary Spanish American societies for students with an interest in business. Explores how individuals from Spanish American countries negotiate their place in a new cultural context, and how different groups in Spanish America perceive business (negocios). Readings include selections from literature, history, journalism, social analysis, and popular culture. Exercises help non-native speakers develop analytical skills as well as vocabulary and communication skills related to international business and professional life. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 323, or SPAN 324 and SPAN 328, or SPAN 325, or consent of instructor. A grade of B- or higher in SPAN 323, 324 or 325 is strongly recommended for students enrolling in this course. Satisfies: Foreign Language Proficiency (FP), H Humanities (H)

ENGL 329 English – Topics in Forms and Genres: Fanfiction

Are you a fanfiction fanatic? Whether you’re a fanfic newcomer or totally unfamiliar with it, taking ENGL 329 will expand your knowledge of the genre that’s “taking over the world” by examining questions like: What is fanfiction in the first place? What does it do? And who is it for? 

An introductory study of a selected topic focused on a literary or rhetorical form or genre (e.g., Lyric Poetry, Captivity Narratives, Genre Theory). May be repeated for credit as the topic changes. Prerequisite: Prior completion of the KU Core Written Communication requirement. Recommended: Prior completion of one 200-level English course. Satisfies: H Humanities (H)

GIST 585 Global & International Studies – Transnational Terrorism

Transnational terrorism has shaped our lives and everyday activities in ways that are largely second nature now — screenings at airports and concert venues, video surveillance on neighborhood streets, and ramped up physical security anywhere masses of people gather. But terrorism, and efforts to prevent terrorism, are complex, ever-evolving issues. In GIST 585, you’ll explore the evolution of terrorism from the French Revolution to modern day, its causes and consequences, and scholarly conservations around terrorism.

The course provides a study of the patterns of transnational terrorism. First, it introduces students to the analytical study of terrorism. The course traces the evolution of terrorism, from the French Revolution to the modern day era. It also covers how scholarship defines, conceptualizes, and measures terrorism. The second goal is to introduce students to key scholarly debates within the literature. Some of the example questions we ask are: are democracies more vulnerable to terrorism? Does globalization render states open to being attacked by transnational actors? Is torture warranted as an effective counterterrorism tactic? The readings draw on empirical scholarship on the causes and consequences of transnational terrorism. (Same as POLS 582.) Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of instructor. Satisfies: S Social Science (S)

GEOL 171 Geology – Earthquakes & Natural Disasters

Are you fascinated by nature’s most awe-inspiring, terrifying, and spectacular moments? In GEOL 171, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the processes and impacts of catastrophic natural events including volcanic eruptions, meteorite impacts, and earthquakes.

Addresses the subject of natural disasters with concentration on earthquake effects and their mitigation. Briefly treats volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, floods, global warming, severe weather, and catastrophic meteorite impacts from the perspective of geological and human significance. Provides a basic background into earth-science processes. Satisfies: Goal 3 Natural Sciences (GE3N), N Natural Science (N), NE Earth Sciences PC (NE)

AAAS 106 African & African-American Studies – The Black Experience in the Americas

In AAAS 106, you’ll trace the history of African peoples in the U.S.A. and Caribbean and Latin America. By studying works of literature and music, social and political development, economics, and demography, you’ll make new discoveries and gain insight into the black experience in the Americas up to and during the nineteenth century.

An interdisciplinary study of the history of the African peoples of the New World, relating their cultures and institutions to the African background and to their peculiar New World experiences up to and including the nineteenth century. While the main emphasis is on the U.S.A., attention is also paid to the Caribbean and Latin America. Approaches include demography, economics, social and political developments, literature, and music. (Same as HIST 109.) Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 1 (AE41), H Humanities (H), HT Historical Studies PC (HT), World Culture (W)

HA 166 History of Art – The Visual Arts of East Asia

Take a journey through East Asia from your own home by exploring the region’s artistic works. In HA 166, you’ll look at works of art from China, Korea, and Japan, study their significance and purposes, and learn to identity a variety of art styles. You’ll also build your artistic vocabulary by analyzing, writing about, and discussing art in East Asian cultures. 

This course examines major forms of artistic expression in China, Korea, and Japan. Discussions introduce basic art concepts, the themes and purposes of art, and different art styles in East Asia from ancient times to the present. Students develop critical skills through analyzing, writing about, and talking about art and East Asian cultures. Students also learn about important museums in North America and Asia. No prior knowledge of art history or East Asia expected. Not open to students with credit in HA 165. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42), Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H), World Culture (W)

ANTH 484 Anthropology – Magic, Science, and Religion

It’d be difficult to overstate the importance of religious belief in shaping the philosophies, cultures, and histories of societies across the globe. In ANTH 484, you’ll focus on religion and systems of value and belief in non-Western cultures. Through comparative study, you’ll expand your knowledge of the similarities, differences, and influences of religious beliefs across cultures. 

A comparative study of religion and systems of value and belief in non-Western cultures. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42), Goal 3 Social Sciences (GE3S), NW Non-Western Culture (NW), S Social Science (S), World Culture (W)

LA&S 485 Liberal Arts & Sciences – Global Career Management

If you’re considering a career that requires cross-cultural communication and a solid knowledge of the global economy — which applies to positions in just about every corner of today’s business world— LA&S 485 is the class for you! In this course, you’ll build new communication and analytical skills that will help give you a competitive edge in today’s global job market.

This global career development course studies the theories of cross-cultural communication and analyzes the global economy to help students apply these concepts to their own lifelong career management. Furthermore, the course builds upon the international experiences students are having at KU and also allows any student to gain lifelong knowledge and skills to be successful in a global job search or career transition, by assisting them to articulate their skills and value through a cross-cultural perspective to potential employers. Prerequisite: Students must be sophomore standing or above. Satisfies: BGS Career Course (BGSC), U Undesignated elective (U)

PSYC 465 Psychology – Stereotypes & Prejudice Across Cultures

The destructive power of stereotypes and prejudice — whether directed toward groups of people for their gender, racial, or cultural identities, class or economic status, or any other factors — is evident through the study of societies around the world and their histories. But where do these beliefs come from? Why do people hold them, and what leads people to revise their attitudes? In PSYC 465, you’ll examine stereotypes and prejudice across cultures through a psychological lens.

This course covers a variety of theoretical views concerning the origins of stereotypes and the factors that maintain them, as well as how and when the revision of such beliefs take place. Analysis of various stereotypes (including gender and race) and the experience of prejudice across a variety of cultural contexts is examined. Many difficult social issues are discussed in depth. Prerequisite: PSYC 360 or PSYC 361; or consent of instructor. Satisfies: S Social Science (S)

For more information, check out KU’s schedule of classes. Ready to discuss options? College of Liberal Arts & Sciences majors can schedule an appointment with their advisors at http://collegeadvising.ku.edu/.

Camila Ordóñez Vargas launches campaign to support Colombian community during the pandemic

The College Blog - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 16:04

When Camila Ordóñez Vargas, a political science and economics double-major, traveled to spend spring break with her family in her home country of Colombia, she never imagined that she would be unable to return to finish her junior year in Lawrence. Now facing this unexpected new reality, she’s finding ways to help alleviate the impact of the crisis in Colombia as the country grapples with social and economic uncertainties.

On April 2, Vargas posted a music video on YouTube to raise funds to provide 5,000 lunches to the volunteers, nurses, doctors, and low-income citizens in her home town of Barranquilla. To build on the momentum sparked by the video, which has been viewed more than 2,000 times, she launched the LOCOMBIA campaign, which she describes as “the home of dreamers who not only believe but also work for a better tomorrow… the origin of the wit and creativity that characterizes us, Colombians, where the joy of our culture is born.”

Please walk us through your experience of traveling to Colombia over spring break. How did events unfold from your perspective as the novel coronavirus spread worldwide?

I came to Barranquilla, my hometown, to spend spring break with my family and meet with politicians and government entities to work toward my thesis on food security in Colombia, never expecting that a pandemic would impede me from returning to KU to finish my junior year.

Volunteers handing out meals to children and vulnerable community members.

The first COVID-19 case in Colombia was diagnosed on March 5th, and the national government has imposed preventive measures evolving from voluntary self-isolation to mandatory quarantine. I’ve been in quarantine for 40+ days and the stay-at-home order has been extended until May 11, but elders (70+ and older), are required to stay at home until June, at least. Additionally, there are no domestic or international flights until June, and only banks, hospitals, pharmacies, and groceries are open.

Tell us about your initiative, LOCOMBIA. Where did the idea come from, and what do you hope to achieve through the campaign?

Since the first day I started self-isolation, I have not stopped thinking about how low-income families have not been able to make ends meet and bring food to their tables as they subsist on their day-to-day functions, which have been interrupted by the stay-at-home orders. I came up with the idea to do a music video to provide lunches for the needy and unemployed “Barranquilleros” during this difficult time.

“Odio X Amor” (Love for Hate) is the song that sparks this journey by evoking that love defeats hate. I contacted and brought together 20+ voices to sing that “it’s time to change,” to be kind, to be better, and to unite to beat this crisis. This video gave life to #AmorXLOCOMBIA (Love for LOCOMBIA) to motivate people to show compassion and altruism for those who need it. I founded LOCOMBIA to establish the Colombia that I aspire to perceive and live in. LOCOMBIA is the home of dreamers who not only believe but also work for a better tomorrow. It is the origin of the wit and creativity that characterizes us, where the joy of our culture is born.

I hope to provide food for the families in need with every dollar that is donated. I have been in contact with multinational brands to request their assistance to feed the poorest neighborhoods in my region.

LOCOMBIA’s upcoming project is a fashion collection that pays tribute to “Nuestra Gente” (Our People), the hard-working men and women who live off the goods they sell on a day-to-day basis. This collection of shirts will be up for sale with national and international shipping soon.  

I aim to show how Colombians, from the tastiest coffee to billboard music hits, put our hearts to everything we do. Every campaign that LOCOMBIA launches, will aim to show the potential and talent that distinguishes Colombians. LOCOMBIA can be found on social media on Instagram and Facebook with the handle @amorxlocombia.

How do you apply lessons or skills you’ve gained in your majors to the campaign?

I chose to major in economics and political science to satisfy my interest to not only learn the financial and legislative methods that make up the world, but also to develop a multidisciplinary point of view structured by firm ideals and current events.

Diving into the political economy has opened my eyes to the cruel reality and socioeconomic injustice that most Colombians face. With a poor education system, a lack of a food policy or food aid program, and an informal economy amounting to roughly 50% of the total population, I aspire to close the large gaps that obstruct the creation of new opportunities for all.

Do you have any advice for others who want to help provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The current COVID-19 circumstances are an opportunity to raise awareness to assist the underprivileged, as we, college students, can contribute our knowledge thanks to all the opportunities we have had. In the case of LOCOMBIA, every single donation makes a difference, as every dollar counts, literally. $1 USD = 1 lunch and $ 8 USD = 1 food basket. All US Donations can be done at Venmo @amorxlocombia

What would you tell your freshman self?

Regardless of how confusing or difficult the journey may seem, nothing will prevent you from following your true passions, for they go in line with your ambitions.

What motivates you?

Believing that I will be able to improve people’s lives through my career has always been my greatest motivation. Being able to apply what I learn to help the vulnerable population is, and has always been, the leading motivation in all my academic and extracurricular decisions.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

I dream of applying my academic, extracurricular, and professional experience to improve the quality of life and boost economic mobility in underprivileged populations.

Are there any other comments you’d like to share?

I am also launching an online volunteering program to provide English tutoring to the juniors and seniors in a public high school in my region. All students, faculty, and staff are more than welcome to support this cause by providing 45 minutes to an hour to tutor 2 – 4 students at a time through online meetings. All volunteers will receive an official certificate recognizing their time and effort. Anyone can e-mail me if interested at camilaordonezv@ku.edu.

Be like Camila. Make an impact. For more information, explore the Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics at the University of Kansas. Learn more about our students’ research on the College Blog.

Hawks to Watch: Kelly Houghteling, Deputy Town Administrator

The College Blog - Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:51
Why Kelly’s a Hawk to Watch:

Kelly Houghteling is always up for an adventure. When she’s off the clock, you can expect to find her outdoors hiking, biking, and fly-fishing in the Rocky Mountains, which she calls home. She even made the trek up to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, which stands at 19,341 feet above sea level, once during a trip to Tanzania.

The KU alum has approached her professional journeys with a similar sense of exploration and curiosity. From the time she arrived on Mount Oread as an undergraduate in 2008, Kelly knew she wanted to make her mark by giving back. Now, after earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the College, she’s on to new adventures, fulfilling her ambitions through public service and leadership in local government as Deputy Town Administrator at the town of Wellington, Colorado and president of the League of Women in Government.

In Kelly’s line of work, each day holds new experiences, unpredictable obstacles, and a fair share of hardships. But to those with the patience, understanding, and grit to roll with the punches and take challenges as they come, the rewards can hardly be overstated. Learn about Kelly’s path to public service, and see what she had to say about leading with empathy, what she hopes to be doing ten years (hopefully it’ll include celebrating a KU basketball national championship), and the importance of writing thank you notes. Discover what makes Kelly a Hawk to Watch.

Tell us in a sentence or two what you do for a living:

As the Deputy Town Administrator, I make a daily impact in the community through the efficient delivery of public services and help to operationalize the council’s vision for the future. I also serve as the President of the League of Women in Government, a group dedicated to moving the needle forward on the number of women serving in leadership positions in local government.

How did you end up doing what you do? Was there a certain moment when things came together? Or was it a longer journey?

I entered KU with a desire to give back to the community, but unsure how to make that into a career. As a liberal arts student, I was able to explore different interests and develop my critical thinking skills. It wasn’t until graduate school and my internship with the City of Fort Collins when I knew local government was the right career path.

How did your KU degree prepare you for your current job?

The KU MPA program gave me direction on how to put my passion into practice and gave me a strong support network with alumni across the country. Public service is an honorable career for people gritty enough to accept its challenges.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

Being named the Colorado City/County Manager Association Assistant Manager of the year was very special. I was recognized for my leading role on several large projects in Windsor, most notably the establishment of the $3.3 million Railroad Quiet Zone throughout the community as well as the construction of a $14 million public works facility. I was also recognized for my work as the Chair of Colorado Women Leading Government and helping to launch the state’s first conference.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

There are many hard days in public service. I’ve witnessed the flooding of my community, a major downtown fire that destroyed a historic building, and the horrific accident that killed a child during a town parade. On the worst days, we must band together as a community to provide support, grieve, ask for help, and fill the gaps of loss with love. 

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

I hope to be leading an outstanding municipal organization as the city manager, giving back to the profession, and celebrating a KU men’s and women’s basketball national championship!

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

Be patient with yourself. You don’t need to have the answers to life’s big questions yet.

What’s your best career pro-tip?

Lead with empathy, take on tasks outside of your comfort zone, and write thank you notes.

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

Living in the Rockies, I spend my time on the weekends fly-fishing, biking, hiking, and reading.

What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?

I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Be like Kelly. Find your adventure. For more information, visit the Department of Sociology, the Institute for Leadership Studies, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas. Also visit the town of Wellington, Colorado and the League of Women in Government. And meet more Hawks to Watch.

Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts. 

Habitat: Explore KU’s Max Kade Center

The College Blog - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 13:01

Ever wonder what’s in the stone house nestled on the northwest corner of campus? The newest episode of Habitat has the answer. Watch as we explore the interior of the Max Kade Center for German-American Studies. As part of the German Studies Department, the Center provides a link to German immigration to America and Kansas. See this hidden gem now!

For more information, explore the the Max Kade Center, the German Studies Department and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Jayhawks flock to Iowa ahead of 2020 caucuses

The College Blog - Thu, 04/23/2020 - 10:50

Though it may feel like a lifetime ago now in April 2020, the caucuses in Iowa – and the subsequent political fallout from the state’s vote-counting fiasco that once dominated headlines – took place just 11 weeks ago. Only two months before the spread of COVID-19 became the center of collective national attention in the U.S., political rivals across the ideological spectrum journeyed to the Midwest with their teams for a marathon of non-stop campaigning, hand-shaking, and rallies in an all-hands-on-deck final push to amplify their messages and ultimately find a path to victory.

As the events unfolded in the Hawkeye State, back when the democratic race seemed to be anyone’s game, three research teams of undergraduate and graduate students, along with their faculty advisors, from the University of Kansas, South Florida State University, and the University of Alabama went out in the field to see how candidates’ messages were playing with caucus goers.

To learn more, we caught up with KU students Lynzee Flores, a second year Ph.D. student studying political communication; Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, a senior majoring in political science with a minor in global & international studies; and Brandon Boyce, a senior majoring in communication studies, who explained how they conducted their research and how their findings could reveal insights about the current political mood in the U.S. and American voters’ preferences, biases, and hopes for the country’s future.

How did you conduct your research, and what did you want to find out?

Lynzee Flores: This research was conducted by 3 research teams consisting of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from 3 universities: University of Kansas, South Florida State University, and the University of Alabama. We collected data through online and paper surveys being distributed in the waiting lines of each democratic candidates’ rally. The survey consisted of approximately 15 questions ranging in different political communication measures such as: political bias, attitudes towards candidates, political communication messaging preferences and demographics.

What were your responsibilities during the trip?

Brandon Boyce: We were all tasked with getting caucus goers to fill out a survey, either on paper or by scanning a Qualtrics link that would allow them to take it on their mobile phones.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: My responsibilities during the trip were to get people to fill out or survey. We each had our own iPad and we also had paper copies. We also had to take a class on how to conduct research using human subjects.

Lynzee Flores: I was in more of an administrative and supervisory role, assisting the primary investigator, Dr. Ashley Muddiman, with the logistics of the trip. (i.e. distribution of research materials to undergraduates, navigation to and from rallies, point of contact for questions from undergraduate researchers, etc.)

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Brandon Boyce: My personal favorite part of the trip was attending the caucus. I find that having people actually influencing others and getting people to sway to their side is a fundamental part of democracy and for the first time in my life, I think I truly witnessed something that gave me hope that partisan politics can be overcame in U.S. democracy.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: My favorite part of the trip was going to all of the rallies. Specifically, I liked seeing the different dynamics for the candidates. Yang’s rally was particularly lively, and Warren’s had a lot of intelligent questions, Bernie’s felt very uncivil as the crowd booed Hillary Clinton when she was mentioned.

Lynzee Flores: My favorite part of this trip was being able to participate in the political rallies. I have never been to a campaign event and to be able to see every democratic presidential candidate in person was an awesome opportunity for me to help make my decision going into 2020 general election.

What did you gain from the experience that will be valuable to you in the future?

Brandon Boyce: I think the ability to approach people is always important as well as the ability to understand what the survey and how to relay that to potential survey-takers. I also find that the coding process of inputting the data is extremely valuable.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: I gained insight on who I want to vote for in the midterms. Also, I learned how draining it is to work for a campaign. The staffers were going a mile a minute and it appeared invigorating.

Lynzee Flores: As a graduate student, being able to be behind the scenes of the research process was a really valuable opportunity for me to see how the work is actually done. I will be able to refer to the challenges and successes of this project in the future when I conduct a study of my own one day.

How had the classes you’d taken at KU, and in your major/minor or program of study prepared you for the experience?

Brandon Boyce: I think both of Dr. Muddiman’s courses were important for different reasons on this trip. Her campaigns course is fantastic and helped to prepare me with speaking to caucus goers, while her COMS 335 course helped prepare me for data input and the ability to understand what survey questions are asking.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: POLS 521 – Mass Media and Politics taught by Professor Muddiman prepared me the most for this research trip. We learned a lot about the systems that we witnessed, and it was also interesting as I was interviewed a couple times because of the giant media presence at the event, I felt a part of the topics that I had learned about the semester prior.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

Brandon Boyce: I am pursuing graduate programs in political communication and rhetoric.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: I will be attending law school at the University of Southern California.

Lynzee Flores: Ultimately, I want to do public service in my career. Options could look like working at the government level as a data analyst, Foreign Service officer or politician. Another option would be to stay in academics and pursue a teaching career. I just like to help others.

Give a shout-out to someone to a prof, advisor or someone else who has been influential during your time at KU:

Brandon Boyce: Both Dr. Muddiman and Dr. McDonald have been extremely helpful to me throughout my time at KU and have both been crucial to my pursuit of higher education!

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: Dr. Mary Klayder has been instrumental in shaping my worldview and she has helped me to navigate where my talents can best serve our changing world.

Lynzee Flores: Dr. Muddiman, thank you for your constant support and belief in me as a young researcher!

What advice would you give student at KU who want to conduct research that involves fieldwork?

Brandon Boyce: Find faculty that has the same interest in you and work with them! Show that you care about the same topics and try to find common ground to do research.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: Talk with your professors! They all have projects that they are passionate about. Maybe you learn about something new or you can have the opportunity to strengthen a topic you are already passionate about.

Lynzee Flores: Do it! It might seem overwhelming but that means it will be worth it. Having a field research experience gives you a completely different perspective than participating in the actual event that you are observing. You never know what you might learn!

What motivates you?

Brandon Boyce: My personal motivation comes from a drive to learn. I think that knowledge is extremely powerful and the ability to better myself through learning has been a common theme throughout my life.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff: My family motivates me. I am a first-generation immigrant of Mexico and I am always proud of where I have come from. Further, I am very proud to be an American and I seek to go in to public service law in the future to pay it forward.

Lynzee Flores: God’s plan for my life. I never would have expected to follow this educational path for myself but God has lead me to the opportunities and people here at KU for a reason.

For more information, explore the Department of Political Science, the Department of Communication Studies, and the Center for Global & International Studies at the University of Kansas. Learn more about our students’ research on the College Blog.

Unwinding: Yoonmi Nam on exploring time and sustainability through printmaking

The College Blog - Wed, 04/22/2020 - 12:58

Inspiration can come from anywhere. For professor of visual art Yoonmi Nam, her inspiration came from looking at the relationship between items we buy and the containers that house them. Hear Professor Nam discuss her work, finding time to exercise creative muscles, mentoring students remotely, and more on the latest episode of Unwinding.

Unwinding is a podcast that tells the human stories driving the minds and talents of the University of Kansas. In each episode we sit down with KU researchers to chat about what they’re working on, why they’re passionate about it, why it matters, and what makes them tick as humans. The conversation explores the fascinations and motivations that produce new discoveries.

Unwinding is a production by KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is the heart of KU. It’s home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, offering more than 100 majors, minors and certificates. A collaborative and creative community, the College is committed to making the world better through inquiry and research.

Strength in numbers: KU community joins forces to limit coronavirus’ spread

The College Blog - Mon, 04/20/2020 - 14:51

Everywhere you look, Jayhawks are coming together and rising to today’s challenges. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is felt across U.S. and the world, students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences are bringing their expertise to the frontlines and supporting vulnerable populations, applying their diverse talents in labs, hospitals, non-profits, kitchens, essential businesses, and even their own home work spaces to address the spread of the novel coronavirus and provide relief within our communities. There’s strength in numbers, and if there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that incredible things happen when Jayhawks come together with a common goal. Here are just a few examples of incredible work that’s being done by members of our community in the Heart of KU.

Alum helps develop coronavirus test at Johns Hopkins to increase speed of results

Heba Mostafa (front) and Karen Carroll. Photo credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Heba Mostafa, who earned her doctorate in microbiology from KU in 2014, helped develop a new test for the novel coronavirus as part of a research team at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where she serves as the director of the molecular virology lab and an assistant professor of pathology. Results from the test currently take 24 hours, but Mostafa and her team aim to cut the wait time to “as little as three hours,” CBS News reports.

Alum leads efforts to feed Douglas County communities

As the effects of the contagion continue to ripple across communities, food banks are doing their best to keep up with increased demand. At Just Food, located just northeast of 11th and Haskell in Lawrence, College alumna Elizabeth Keever, who graduated with a bachelor’s in political science in 2011, and her team of staff and volunteers are banding together to combat food insecurity in Douglas County one meal at a time, as they do year-round. Learn more about Keever, who works as the director of the non-profit, and the crucial ways that Just Food is reducing hunger in Douglas County in our Hawks to Watch profile from 2019.

Student-led campaign seeks to provide aid for workers on the frontlines in Colombia

When Camila Ordóñez Vargas, a political science and economics double-major, traveled to spend spring break with her family in her home country of Colombia, she never imagined that she would be unable to return to finish her junior year in Lawrence. Now facing this unexpected new reality, she’s finding ways to help alleviate the impact of the crisis in Colombia as the country grapples with social and economic uncertainties.

On April 2, Vargas posted a music video on YouTube to raise funds to provide 5,000 lunches to the volunteers, nurses, doctors, and low-income citizens in her home town of Barranquilla. To build on the momentum sparked by the video, which has been viewed more than 2,000 times, she then launched the LOCOMBIA campaign, which she describes as “the home of dreamers who not only believe but also work for a better tomorrow… the origin of the wit and creativity that characterizes us, Colombians, where the joy of our culture is born.”

KU’s Create program donates fabric to volunteers

Grace Brunner (left) and Josh Ng (right). Photo credit: KU Center for Community Outreach.

And in Lawrence, KU students are combining efforts in their communities. As directors of the KU Center for Community Outreach’s Create program, College students Josh Ng, a senior studying human biology and Spanish, and Grace Brunner, a junior studying English and political science, are leading the organization’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 by giving away fabric to volunteers who want to make and donate face masks. For more information about how you can get involved with Create’s volunteer work, visit this page.

Departments come together to donate supplies

Photo credit: Scott Hefty, professor of Molecular Biosciences at KU.

In March, KU researchers from the following departments joined forces to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus by donating supplies for testing: Anthropology, the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum, Chemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Engineering, Health, Sport & Exercise Sciences, Kansas Biological Survey, Molecular Biosciences, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Physics & Astronomy. By Monday, March 23, they had gathered approximately 20,000 columns that can be used to test samples, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The widespread community support from KU departments showed no signs of letting us as we moved into mid-April. On April 9, the Department of Chemistry donated 200 boxes of gloves and 50 splash goggles to Heartland Community Health Center in Lawrence and 450 boxes of gloves to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health to aid their response to COVID-19. The next day, on April 10, the university’s Public Safety Office loaded up trucks of personal protective equipment donated by the Department of Molecular Biosciences and delivered the supplies to Lawrence Douglas County Public Health.

Coronavirus expert informs the public about risks of COVID-19

Anthony Fehr, an assistant professor in the KU Department of Molecular Biosciences, has been studying coronaviruses for more than eight years. From the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, Fehr has been keeping a busy schedule of interviews and speaking engagements, helping inform the public about the virus’ nature and preventative measures to curb its spread. In February, he was included in a panel of health experts discussing “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction” in front of an audience at Marvin Hall, and as the novel virus has rapidly spread throughout the United States he’s been interviewed by a wide range of media outlets about the shocking speed of the contagion, the federal government’s response to the crisis, and what to expect next.

Linguistics staff member sews face masks for community

Corinna Johnson (left) and her mother, DeLois Hussli (right) with their homemade face masks.

Healthcare providers, first responders, and essential workers across the U.S. are facing a shortage of supplies, including limited access to protective gear like face masks. To help the heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic, as well as other individuals for whom supplies are not readily available, Corinna Johnson, an office manager and academic administrative professional in the Department of Linguistics, is doing her part by fashioning cloth masks for “anyone and everyone who requests them – “essential workers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, at risk individuals, families, students, delivery drivers, professors, teachers,” and anybody else in need.

At first, Johnson was sewing masks on her own, but after receiving an enthusiastic response to a post on her Facebook page, her mother, DeLois Hussli, came to her rescue and starting sewing as well. “There was no way we were going to turn anyone away,” Johnson said. “That just isn’t how our family operates.”

So far, the mother-daughter team have donated over 350 masks and are still going strong. Johnson even keeps a stash in her purse just in case she runs into anyone in need during a trip to the grocery store. As she sees it, any action one can take to help flatten the curve is worthwhile right now. “Even though as a country we are social distancing and in isolation, we need to find ways to come together and help each other through this tough time. I simply wanted to try to help in some small way.”

Paying it forward with baked goods

And in the College dean’s office, administrative affairs coordinator Jill Mignacca has been lifting spirits during the pandemic through food. In April, she baked almost 400 muffins and rolls for two organizations that provide services for the homeless and survivors of domestic abuse, causes that have a strong personal connection for Mignacca. “Just over ten years ago, I left an abusive husband,” she said. “The first few months I didn’t have a permanent address, often didn’t have money for groceries.” But during those tough times, she was able to rely on the kindness of a group of close friends. “I was incredibly fortunate,” she continued. “Honestly, just trying to pay that kindness forward. I can’t ever repay my friends for what they did for me, but will sure spend the rest of my days trying.”

From all of us in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, thank you! For the latest news, visit the College’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page.

College senior Sara Carlsen reflects on social media research, internships, and possibilities at KU

The College Blog - Fri, 04/10/2020 - 11:33

Where do you turn for inspiration? Sometimes taking a look back at where you were a few years ago and the progress you’ve made along the way can put things into perspective and provide the creative spark needed to move forward. For KU senior Sara Carlsen, learning to focus on possibilities rather than limitations has opened doors to undergraduate research experiences, internships, and connections to experts in her industry.

See what Sara had to say about her research on social media and Brown vs. Board of Education, interning for KU Marketing Communications and the KU Memorial Union, finding inspiration in her own improvement (and Beyoncé), and the advice she’d give herself as a freshman.

What are your research interests and why did you choose them? Was there a moment when you decided this is what you wanted to study?

My collegiate research interests include (1) parental use/perspectives of social media and (2) the impact of Brown vs. Board of Education. I took Dr. Germain Halegoua’s FMS 345 New Media and Society class which spurred my interest in the historical and current usage of social media by various demographics. When I was completing my Capstone course in the Film & Media Studies Department, Professor Ron Wilson encouraged me to pursue a historical project which led me to Brown vs. Board of Education. Something I was not expecting in this journey was the intersection between my interests and the interests of my professors. Their expertise assisted in the expansion of my knowledge, creativity, and post-college pursuits.

What is one thing you think everyone should know about your research project or research interests?

While parents may have a different perception of social media than the children they are raising, the ethical questions that are being posed by these authority figures are worth investigating because they are not closed off to the positive components. In addition, Brown v. Board of Education had many unintended consequences in the years that followed and the effects that we are still feeling today.

Where are you conducting your research? In archives? In laboratories? What are your sources?

My Undergraduate Research Award and School of the Arts Grant allowed me to travel to the homes of parents in Kansas City and Lawrence to conduct interviews about social media. My Capstone took me to the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka, the National Archives in Kansas City, and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka as I explored oral histories, historical footage, and court documents.

Give a shout-out to a professor, mentor, advisor, or someone at KU who has helped you?

There have been countless people at KU who have helped me. I have really appreciated Dr. Halegoua’s belief and excitement about my social media project (and willingness to put up with me missing deadlines). Sitting in the front seat with Professor Jamieson on the way to the True/False Film Festival during my freshman year was one of the best decisions I have ever made because I got to experience her positive and creative attitude towards life. I consider Andrew Lee at KU Marketing & Communications to be the greatest mentor I could have ever had and his willingness to put up with my jokes is truly admirable. I could go on and on about classmates, professors, bosses, and staff that have supported me and my endeavors, but I know I couldn’t have found any of them outside of KU.

What is the benefit of being in the KU College alongside students studying sciences, arts and humanities?

The KU College promotes learning, not for the sake of getting grades and checking boxes, but to improve you as an individual and the world around you. I have found that the KU College is defined by the prospects it provides. It is up to us, as students, to accept and excel at those opportunities, positions, or events. The courses that I have taken in the College have not only introduced industry skills that are essential to my work, but they also instilled in me the confidence to succeed in my career.

Have you done any internships, study abroad programs, or had any other learning experiences you’d like to share?

I have completed internships at KU Marketing & Communications (where I am currently employed), Midco Sports Network, KU Alumni Center, and I’m currently working at an internship with the KU Memorial Union. I have presented twice at the Film & Media Studies Graduate Symposium on the Undergraduate Panel. The Film & Media Studies Department has assisted in allowing me to attend the True/False Documentary Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri three times during college. I was asked by Professor Jamieson in the Fall of 2018 to be the Undergraduate Representative for the Film & Media Studies Department. As a result of these learning experiences, I have held an Oscar, connected with international filmmakers including Mamadou Dia, and showcased my work to individuals in the industry.

What would you tell your freshman self?

I would tell my freshman self to look at the world through the lens of possibility and opportunity rather than limitations. Once I began reaching out to professors and departments on campus that could assist in my learning and career, I was far more immersed in the university as a student and employee.

What do you plan to do after you graduate from KU?

I plan to work in marketing or advertising in or around Lawrence. I hope to expand my skills in motion graphics/animation, video production, and research.

What motivates you?

Watching the work of those around me, especially Trevor Mowry at KU Marketing & Communications, motivates me to continually improve myself. I am also driven by the progress I’ve made in my life and career. I like to look back and watch the work I made in high school or at the beginning of college and compare it to my current work to see the difference in quality. This only inspires me to continue working to improve my craft. Oh, and Beyoncé’s Homecoming, of course.

Be like Sara. Look for opportunities rather than limitations. For more information, explore the Department of Film & Media Studies, the Department of English, and the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas.

Unwinding: Darren Canady breaks down his work and tackles doubt as a writer

The College Blog - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 15:26

For many writers, the hardest part is getting the first few words on the page. Associate professor of English Darren Canady is no stranger to this struggle. Canady opened up about his process, where he finds inspiration, how he fosters creativity in his classroom, how he overcomes doubt as a writer, and more on the latest episode of Unwinding.

Unwinding is a podcast that tells the human stories driving the minds and talents of the University of Kansas. In each episode we sit down with KU researchers to chat about what they’re working on, why they’re passionate about it, why it matters, and what makes them tick as humans. The conversation explores the fascinations and motivations that produce new discoveries.

Unwinding is a production by KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is the heart of KU. It’s home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, offering more than 100 majors, minors and certificates. A collaborative and creative community, the College is committed to making the world better through inquiry and research.

I am Seeking: James Moreno

The College Blog - Tue, 03/31/2020 - 14:23

In the College at KU, our research is driven by the passion for improving the world around us. We are explorers, innovators, and dreamers seeking answers to crucial questions in our communities. Learn what associate professor of dance James Moreno is seeking.

The College is a great place to seek the answers to whatever interests you! Visit the College website to learn more about how you can join us and begin your I am Seeking story. For more information, visit the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Kansas.

Hawks to Watch: Alex Nichols, content producer & writer

The College Blog - Tue, 03/31/2020 - 13:12
Why Alex is a Hawk to Watch:

Comedy, arts, and entertainment can help us get through life’s rough patches and reflect on what truly matters. And in moments of uncertainty and difficulty, connecting with others through laughter can make a world of difference.

Since graduating with a degree in English from KU nearly nine years ago, Alex Nichols has applied his comedic talents and knack for storytelling to a wide range of creative endeavors, working both on-stage and behind-the-scenes in independent sketch comedy, short fiction, online marketing, television, and, most recently, educational content development. 

But moving outside of his comfort zone didn’t always come naturally for Alex, and saying “yes” to new gigs often required him to confront self-doubt and fear of failure. At the end of the day, he eventually realized, it’s all about perseverance, trial and error, and a willingness to move forward when things don’t go as planned. In his words, “just do stuff.”

Tell us in a sentence or two what you do for a living:

I’m a content producer for Wiley Education Services, which means I write and sometimes direct videos for graduate level online courses at universities like George Mason and Purdue. I also write short fiction, which… doesn’t pay as well.

How did you end up doing what you do? Was there a certain moment when things came together? Or was it a longer journey?

The journey is still very much in progress. I’m happy to have a day job that involves writing about interesting subjects in an educational context (as opposed to a corporate context, like when I worked at a small creative agency). Outside of that, I’m doing what I’ve done since graduating nearly nine years ago: writing a bunch of different things for a bunch of different projects. When I lived in Chicago, I did a lot of improv, wrote and performed in independent sketch shows, and produced an independent TV pilot. Here in Boulder, I’ve focused on short fiction with help from the Boulder Writing Studio while becoming more active in the Denver improv scene. Just trying to make things and hoping that it finds an audience.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

I’m very proud of my short story “Terms of Service,” which was published in Mississippi State’s Jabberwock Review last year. Getting anything published is an achievement, but more than that, I think it’s the best and most polished thing I’ve ever written. I’m a horrible procrastinator and self-doubt has kept me from writing things in the past, so the fact that I’ve been able to push myself to get good enough to write a story like that feels pretty big to me.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

You aren’t just going to wake up one day and have everything suddenly click. You have to make a lot of stuff and fail a lot and keep failing and be okay with that. I have never actually played baseball, but imagine you’re going up against a great pitcher who paints the corners every time. You can’t just stand there waiting for a fat one down the middle, because you’re going to strike out looking real fast. You have to swing at something eventually. And now I’m picturing 18-year-old me staring blankly at 30-year-old me wondering where I’m going with this baseball metaphor and how I gained all that weight.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

I mean, there are lots of moments to choose from, but the thing that bothers me the most is from the summer after I graduated. I was already in Chicago but had agreed to write a play that would be produced independently back in Lawrence. I put it off for months and eventually told the director who’d asked me to write something that I couldn’t do it. I told them that I was too busy, but the truth is, I was so scared of failing that I couldn’t bring myself to write a single word. The only way to get past that sort of thinking is to do stuff. Which I’ve gradually gotten better at doing since then.

What’s your best career pro-tip?

Just do stuff. However much stuff you have the time and energy to do, just do it. Hmm… “Just do it.” That’s pretty good. I should use that for something. Maybe an advertising slogan of some sort.

How did your KU degree prepare you for your current job?

I do 100% of my writing in English, so the value of my English degree should be self-evident.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

Living on a planet that isn’t completely on fire.

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

Along with my wife, I take care of our three-year-old son and his one-year-old brother, and then after I’ve clocked out from that job, I try to get some writing done or, failing that, lie on the couch half-watching an NBA game I have no actual interest in.

What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?

My go-to fun fact used to be that I had open heart surgery when I was 11 months old, but then I found out that actually the body remembers that sort of thing and so therefore it’s less a “fun fact” than “lingering trauma that needed to be processed.” So instead I’ll say that my fun fact is that a sketch video I wrote for the iO Comedy Network in Chicago was DP’d by Bing Liu, who went on to direct the Oscar-nominated documentary Minding the Gap, one of my favorite movies of 2018. The sketch was deeply stupid whereas Minding the Gap is breathtakingly beautiful, and I think there’s some sort of lesson in there about the power of perseverance.

Be like Alex. Do something you love. For more information, visit the Department of English at the University of Kansas and Wiley Education Services.

Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts. 

13 cool new classes in the College

The College Blog - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 16:44

Want to spice up your schedule next semester? Whether you need to fulfill credits for your major or just want to branch out by learning about a topic in another field of study, make the most of your semester by taking a course that piques your interest. For some ideas, check out these 13 new College classes you can take during the Fall semester.

EVRN 306 Environmental Studies – Global Environmental Literature

Explore the global environment through literature, and see how various literary works represent race, gender, class, sexuality, and geography in EVRN 306.

An examination of a variety of literary and other representations of human and non-human environments and environmentalism. Particular attention will be paid to how race, gender, class, sexuality, and geography produce and are produced by those representations. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2

ENGL 386 English – Language and Social Justice in the U.S.

How do different varieties and dialects of the English language affect daily life, social acceptance, historical construction, and media portrayal of people in the United States? Tackle these important questions and learn about the social implications of language in ENGL 386.

In this course, we consider the social implications of using different varieties and dialects of the English language in the US. Questions covered may include (but are not limited to): different social characteristics attributed to different varieties (dialects, ethnolects, genderlects) and their users; features of language that carry stigma and how such stigma is socially and historically constructed; and the role of media (news outlets, movies, “the Internet”) in conveying what is seen as acceptable or unacceptable in language. We also explore how these language attitudes and evaluations impact different groups of people in their daily lives, and what possible recourses we have to address language injustice. As we discuss these issues, you will not only gain an understanding of the social nature of the English language, but you will also acquire the skills and tools to discuss, analyze, and write about language.

FMS 474 Film & Media Studies – Videogame Theory and Design

What’s your go-to videogame? From popular recent titles like Call of Duty and 2K20 to classics like Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, behind every game, there’s a lot going on. Take a deep dive into the design principles of videogames and gain game-building skills in FMS 474.

This course surveys the history and aesthetics of videogames and then provides a deep dive into the theory, design principles and techniques of game development on the Unity platform. Through assignments geared toward critical design, students gain the skills necessary for game-building in the areas of visual, narrative, game, level and sound design that comprise a typical development team. Although no prior coding experience is necessary, students may benefit from prior knowledge of C#, 3D modeling, or animation. Satisfies: H Humanities (H)

HIST 374 History – The History of Modern American Conservatism

What ever side of the ideological spectrum you fall on, looking around today’s political landscape is likely to make you wonder: How did we get here? Find out how conservative movements during the early 1900s led to the partisan struggles and around-the-clock media coverage that dominate today’s headlines in HIST 374.

In this course students will gain an in-depth knowledge of modern American conservatism, primarily through the lens of political history. We will focus on the development of the conservative political movement from the 1930s through contemporary times. We will ponder several interrelated questions: how did conservatives build a movement capable of exercising political power; what do conservatives mean when they discuss equality, liberty, and freedom; how have conservatives conceptualized the role of the United States in the world; what role have ideas played in the conservative movement; how have different factions of conservatives fought for control of their movement while struggling to maintain political unity; and how have conservatives governed? Finally, we will contextualize modern American conservatism in the broader, dynamic political culture of the United States. Satisfies: Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H), H Humanities (H)

ITAL 330 Italian – Cinematic Rome

Breezy afternoon bike rides around the city, crowded neighborhood cafes, meticulously crafted works of classical architecture decorating street corners. The mere mention of Rome conjures up distinctive, cinematic images for many of us. For a closer look at daily life, politics, and social issues in contemporary Rome, check out ITAL 330.

A study of cinematic representations of daily life, diversity, urban landscape, and social and political issues in modern and contemporary Rome as presented in different genres. Taught in English. Satisfies: H Humanities (H)

JWSH 349/HIST 349 Jewish Studies/History – Antisemitism: A Long History

Using a variety of media from antiquity up to the 20th century, explore the beginnings, evolution, and historical, social, and religious ramifications of antisemitism in JWSH 349/HIST 349.

This course surveys the genesis, evolution and persistence of antipathy towards Jews and Judaism from late antiquity through the twentieth century, exploring its connections to religious and secular ideologies and its changing nature over time, place, and culture. Using primary source documents, religious and secular art and literature, the mass media and popular expression, the course examines how antisemitism was articulated and implemented, how Jews and Judaism were perceived and represented, and how Jews and Judaism responded to antisemitism.

PHIL 170 Philosophy – The Meaning of Life

Throughout history, influential figures around the world have grappled with many of the same fundamental questions: Why are we here? What’s purpose of existence? What does it all mean? See how prominent thinkers have addressed these questions in more in PHIL 170.

This course introduces central questions about the meaning of life. The question itself may be taken in a number of ways: Why is there a universe that contains life? What is the nature or purpose of human being and persons? What is the point of our existence? Is it possible to lead a meaningful life? This course examines these and other questions relating to meaning in life, such as our place in the physical universe, the possibility and significance of God’s existence, the nature of human persons (including the relation between, and nature of, body, mind, and consciousness), what death tells us about the nature of life and whether it is appropriate to fear death, the nature of ‘the good life’ (including the import for ‘the good life’ of knowledge, success, pleasure, health, friendship, love, in both our physical and mental life, etc.), the nature of value and its relation to meaning in life, and our obligations to other beings. Satisfies: Goal 1, Learning Outcomes 1 and Goal 3 H Humanities (H)

PHSX 191 Physics – Contemporary Astronomy

Are you fascinated by the expansiveness of the universe? Curious out the evolution of black holes, planets, and stars? Hungry for space exploration? You can explore the universe from right here in Kansas and learn about new discoveries in astronomy by taking PHSX 191.

The structure and evolution of the universe, from nearby planets to distant quasars, are examined. Topics include recent discoveries concerning planets, stars, pulsars and black holes as well as their evolution, the structure of the universe today and how it will be in the future. The emphasis is descriptive rather than mathematical. Satisfies: Goal 3 Natural Sciences (GE3N), N Natural Science (N), NP Physical Sciences PC (NP)

POLS 687 Political Science – Introduction to Cyber Intelligence

In an era where election “hacking,” disinformation campaigns, and espionage are regular topics of conversation, understanding complex issues like cyber security and cyber intelligence is more important than ever. Get an introduction to the fundamental principles of cyber intelligence in POLS 687.

Course will provide instruction about the fundamental principles, impact and issues of cyber intelligence. Course will focus on cyber intelligence supporting operations in cyberspace (to include risk management functions, cyber defense, cyber espionage, and cyber-attack) as well as intelligence developed through cyberspace. Topics include cyber-threats, cyber defense, and cyber warfare as well as ethical and legal considerations. In addition to providing a foundation of understanding cyber intelligence within the context of the United States, this course will analyze cyber capabilities of nations and non-nation state actors. Learning outcomes for students include an understanding of the cyber intelligence cycle and structured analytic techniques in providing cyber intelligence products to national security and organizational leadership. Students will also gain an understanding of cyber threat actors and complexity of emerging threats.

PUAD 402 Public Administration – Diversity and Social Equity in Public Administration

Experts agree that diversity in leadership is critical to success within public and private institutions. In PUAD 402, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between diversity, identity, leadership, and views on public policy and democratic participation.

Analyzes diversity and leadership in public and private institutions along ethnic, racial, and gender lines and the challenges of the facilitation of open dialogue on diversity. Examines the political, historical, social, and economic reasons why Americans of different ethnic, racial, and gender groups hold divergent views about major public policy areas, as well as fundamental views about democratic participation. This course is offered at the 400 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not available to students with credit in PUAD 702. Satisfies: Goal 4, Learning Outcome 1

REL 102 Religion – Violence and Religious Ethics

From the Crusades and Medieval Spain to ISIS and American white nationalism, religiously motivated acts of violence have taken devastating tolls on communities around the world and shaped our collective histories. But are religions themselves inherently violent? How have acts of violence been morally justified with religious beliefs and laws? In REL 102, you’ll consider these questions and explore the relationship between violence, religion and ethics.

This course will examine the connection between violence and religion from an ethical perspective. It will focus primarily on Jewish, Christian and Muslim ethical theories, which will be compared and applied to specific cases. We will also consider the ethical justifications for inter-religious conflict and the impact violence has had on targeted religious communities. The course will begin with an interrogation of the meaning of religion, ethics and religious violence—exploring questions like: Are religions inherently violent? Are theories derived from religious ethics used to justify violence? How are acts of violence morally justified? We will then consider these questions in more depth by comparing ethical theories within Judaism, Christianity and Islam, such as just war theory and jihad theory, to see whether religions encourage or seek to curb violence. In addition, each moral theory will be studied in light of specific historical or present cases. Case studies include the Crusades, Medieval Spain, ISIS, white nationalism in America, and recent killings in places of worship. The course will end on a positive note, by examining ethical theories within religions that promote peace, and comparing theories that justify peace with theories that justify war. Satisfies: Goal 5, Learning Outcome 1

WGSS 517 Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies – Policing the Womb

Reproductive rights are as contentious as any issue in modern politics. In WGSS 517, you’ll learn how policies and practices that restrict reproductive rights and decision-making have developed over time.

Women’s reproductive bodies have at times been made hypervisible, subject to medical, legal, and social surveillance and intervention, while at other times invisible. Across these practices, gender and race have been socially constructed in particularly limited ways, which the state has used to justify restrictive case law rulings and policies governing reproductive outcomes. This course is designed to critically examine the history, development, and outcomes of policies and cultural practices related to reproduction that have limited people’s decisional autonomy. This course is offered at the 500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in WGSS 717.

WGSS 350 Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies – Black Love and Romance

Black intimacy has been a subject of intrigue for many artists. Discover how black love and romance — as well as related topics like marriage, desire, and singleness — have been treated in different cultural texts including works of literature, art, film, and music in WGSS 350. 

This course will examine representations of love and romance in African American literature and culture. In addition to the romance novel genre, the course studies different kinds of cultural texts, such as art, film, and music. It explores romantic relationships among black people, including related topics such as sex, desire, marriage, and singleness, and how these interpersonal relationships build families, communities, and collective bonds. The class will consider both the content and aesthetics of diverse texts in order to think about how black people connect intimately as well as how various social and cultural politics underline the nature of those intimacies.

For more information, check out KU’s schedule of classes.

10 tips for remote learning: Spring 2020 edition

The College Blog - Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:54

Welcome to online learning in the College, Jayhawks! Although things are going to look different in this new way of operating remotely amid COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), we still strive to give you a world-class education with all the support you need to succeed, just as we do when you are here on campus with us.

With that in mind, here are our top 10 tips for learning remotely so that you can finish the semester strong and achieve your goals.

1. Log in to Blackboard daily.

All courses will be housed in Blackboard. Many of you will be familiar with Blackboard, because it’s the online learning management system that we have been using for face-to-face courses. You need to log in frequently, as courses will be developing and evolving as we learn what works well and what doesn’t. The best thing we can all do to ensure success in teaching and learning is to keep open lines of communication. Visit https://blackboard.ku.edu/ for more resources.

2. Check your KU email frequently.

Our main way of communicating with groups of students now that we are all working remotely is via email, as well as Blackboard announcements that are pushed out to your KU email. Don’t rely on auto-forwards from your KU email to another email provider. Check your KU email directly at http://mail.ku.edu/, and make sure to check your junk mail folder regularly. If you encounter any issues with your email login, visit https://howto.ku.edu/after-exhange-migration#tab412. KU is in the process of migrating email accounts to a cloud server, so your login may be affected by this change. This link provides troubleshooting resources.

3. Stick to a routine.

You likely will no longer have class meeting times to use as a benchmark for setting deadlines so you will need to create a routine to get things done in a timely manner. Create a schedule of when you will spend time on work for each class. It could even follow your previous in-person schedule. You may want to put all of your assignments on a calendar, then plot backward from due dates to set aside the time you will need to meet those deadlines. Remember, this will need to include time to do the activities you normally would have done in class (e.g., watch a recording of a lecture rather than going to your in-person lecture).

4. Log your study hours.

You should plan to engage in your coursework the same amount of time spent in class plus 2 to 3 hours of study per class.  

5. Don’t forget to take breaks.

Get up and move around every hour. Build in 5-minute breaks. Set the timer on your phone for 20- to 30-minute stretches of work and then set it again for a 5-minute break. 

6. Develop technological initiative and resilience.

Technology is great, when it works! Your technology may fail you. Links may be broken. Your instructor may forget to insert an attachment. Don’t let these glitches derail your study plan. Call the IT helpline (785-864-8080). Visit https://remote.ku.edu/. Ask your course mates for help. If an attachment was missed, ask the GTA or instructor about it, or try to look up the resource yourself online.

7. Stay connected.

Moving our teaching and learning to a remote/digital environment is a new thing for many of us but it does not mean that we need to be disconnected. Be proactive about communicating with your course mates. Set up virtual study or reading groups to work through the course material together.  

8. Use your resources.

Ask for help as soon as you feel yourself starting to struggle or be confused. Contact your instructor to discuss what’s going on by using office hours, e-mailing, calling, or scheduling a virtual appointment. Make use of university resources, such as tutoring and help rooms. Check-in with your advisor (http://collegeadvising.ku.edu/). You have a support team. Be sure to use it!

9. Be patient with yourself.

Things are changing quickly, and it is natural to feel anxious with all of the uncertainty we are facing in our day-to-day lives. If it takes you some time to adjust to your new schedule, that is OK. Give yourself some time and some patience to get things sorted out.  

10. Be patient with your instructors.

We have all been asked to switch to a new online format very quickly. Be patient if things do not go quite right at first. The best online teaching and learning takes time to develop. We’re in this together. Be patient and give grace and you will receive it in return.

Keep up with the latest news and resources for students, faculty and staff in the College on our Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page.

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