Ric Sheffield, Professor of Sociology & Legal Studies and Distinguished Professor in Diversity and Inclusion
While the concept “diversity” is used in many venues and for multiple purposes, few people employ the term in the context of rural life. America’s rural communities are major stakeholders in cultural diversity, if for no other reason than the demographic projections indicating that these communities are expected to see dramatic growth in minority populations over the next decade. Students in this course will embark upon a year-long community study that explores the history and experiences of racial and cultural minorities in Knox County, Ohio and surrounding rural counties. In addition to compiling oral histories of these long-overlooked populations, the class will develop museum exhibits, podcasts and radio shows, as well as a lecture series that features elements of the “Heartland’s” rural diversity. As a fieldwork course, students will partner with community members and organizations as they collect historical artifacts, conduct interviews, develop digital stories, and design instructional media for use in educational institutions. Sophomore standing or higher. Permission of instructor is required.
Claire Novotny, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Humans often take for granted the spaces and places that frame our everyday lives. In this course we will “make the familiar strange” by asking: why do most Americans live in square spaces? What would it be like to live in a cave? Can houses be spiritual places? In order to address these and other questions, we will explore how human habitats provide the very foundations of cultural practice and reproduction. This course takes a long-term perspective of humans and their habitats by starting our investigation in prehistory. Over the course of the semester we will explore social landscapes, dwellings, and environments across different cultures, time, and space. Our survey will include contemporary habitats as well as ancient dwellings and a consideration of sacred structures such as shrines and temples. This course emphasizes the form and meaning of the built environment, its role in cultural formation processes, and explores long-term changes in how humans relate to their habitats and dwellings. As the material manifestations of culture and the building blocks of societies, having a place to dwell recursively makes us human while shaping us into bearers of culture.
Bruce Hardy, John B. McCoy Bank One Distinguished Teaching Professor of Anthropology
This seminar examines the meaning and significance of connection to place through an intensive investigation of Knox County. We will spend much of our time in the surrounding locale, exploring the landscape and interacting with individuals knowledgeable about community life. Complementing these field experiences, scholarship in the arts, humanities, and sciences will address how natural, economic, social, and cultural conditions inform rural character and personal identity. We will conclude our studies by creating a public project designed to share what we have learned from student oral history projects within the community. Taken together, these activities will illustrate the distinctive perspective and power of a liberal education. This course counts as elective credit in American Studies, Environmental Studies, and Anthropology. Prerequisite: open only to first-year and sophomore students.
Karen Hicks, Associate Professor of Biology
Students volunteer weekly at Knox Community Hospital, College Township Fire Department, or another designated health provider. We study health research topics including articles from biomedical journals, in the context of students' own community service in health-related fields. The academic portion of the class will meet as a three-hour seminar. Students read and critique articles on topics such as: diabetes in the community; pain-killers and drug addiction; AIDS and STIs; influenza transmission and socioeconomic status and health disparities. Students will relate these topics to their experiences from health service. Outside of class, students will have four hours/week reading, and a minimum of four hours/week service. Student assignments will include keeping a journal on their service, and class presentations related to the reading and their service. This counts as an upper-level lecture in organismal biology/physiology. Prerequisite: one year of biology or chemistry and permission of instructor.
Arianna Smith, Assistant Professor of Biology
The world around us is teeming with microorganisms, many of which are capable bringing us to our knees. Despite this looming devastation, most individuals manage to remain healthy, not succumbing to the ever-present pathogens in our environment. For that, we must thank the immune system. Immunology is the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms employed to protect against infection. The cells and organs of the immune system are many and, consistent with this diversity, play many important roles in health and development. Every day, components of the immune system must identify harmful invaders and eliminate them, a process that requires critical distinction between host vs. harmful cells. They also provide long-lived protection against recurring infection. In this class, we will embark on a journey through the immune system. We will explore the mechanisms employed by the innate immune system to provide first response to foreign invaders. Additionally, we will dissect the complex processes by which cells of the adaptive immune system recognize and respond to pathogens and establish long-term immunity. Lastly, we will explore the consequences of misregulation of the immune system in a variety of contexts. This counts as an upper-level lecture in cellular/molecular biology.
Balinda Craig-Quijada, Professor of Dance
This class is a dance composition course chiefly focused on generating the sort of personal movement vocabulary that guides the choreographic process. Students create solo movement studies that investigate dynamics and weight, along with movement studies that use music as a source for dance-making. They learn to generate movement through improvisation and how best to develop this material through the use of compositional devices, use of spatial design, and group work. A portion of this course will be globally connected to a choreography course taught by Professor Marcela Correa at University of San Francisco, Quito Ecuador. Students in Choreography classes at USFQ and Kenyon College will be paired with seniors in the community to collect an oral history interview. The histories are then used as the impetus to develop a creative movement response to some aspect of the stories collected. Global Course Connections is a program of the GLCA Global Liberal Arts Alliance.
Ryan Hottle, Manager at The Kenyon Farm & Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the principles of sustainable agriculture through hands-on experience on local farms and through readings of current literature. The course thus combines fieldwork and seminar-style discussion. Work on the farm will be varied, determined by the seasons and farm projects under way. In addition, students may be taken to the local Producers Livestock Auction and other off-farm sites as the time and season allow. Students can expect to handle and feed animals, clean barns, harvest and plant crops, prepare farm products for market, build and repair fences, bale hay and work with, repair or clean equipment and buildings. Readings will be drawn from relevant books, current environmental literature and the news media. Discussions will be student-led and combine readings and their experiences in the field. Completion of ENVS 112 is strongly encouraged. Also, students must have available in their academic schedule four continuous hours one day per week to spend working at a local organic farm (travel time will be in addition to these four hours). In addition, students will participate in a weekly seminar discussion of assigned readings, lasting from an hour and a half to two hours.
Nuh Aydin, Professor of Mathematics and Muslim Student Association Advisor
There are many fundamental contributions to modern science and mathematics from the medieval Islamic Civilization (such as the number system that we use today, the science of algebra and trigonometry, the concept of algorithm, foundations of optics, the experimental method and more). Students in this course research this field and present their finding to leaders of the Noor Islamic Community and Cultural Center (NICC) in Columbus.
Mary Kathryn Malone, Language Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor of French
If children can soak up second languages like sponges and knowing a foreign language is a portal of opportunity, why are elementary school foreign language (FLES) programs so few and far between? What program components, approaches, and objectives are best suited to a FLES program? This course explores constraints and affordances of world language education programs at the local level, providing students with a Community Engaged Learning opportunity to teach in the FLEX Spanish program at Wiggin Street Elementary. In alternating weeks, half of the course will be dedicated to theory and methods of second language teaching, and half will focus on socio-political and socio-cultural affordances and limitations of foreign and second language education in public schools. The praxis-based methods coursework discusses research on second language acquisition and related best practices in second/foreign language teaching. The policy-based coursework will address questions of who has access to world language education, to what extent the absence of such programming maintains a culture of monolingual privilege, and how stakeholders learners, caregivers, educators and the community support and benefit from such programs where they are established.
Pam Camerra-Rowe, Professor of Political Science
During the late 19th and 20th centuries, the advanced industrialized democracies in Europe and North America set up extensive social welfare systems in order to reduce class inequalities and eliminate risks across the life cycle. These included income support, family benefits, health care, pensions, unemployment, disability insurance and child care programs. Beginning in the 1970s, these social welfare programs faced a variety of social and economic challenges, including the aging of the population, globalization, changes in family structure, the feminization of the labor force and deindustrialization. This has led to welfare retrenchment and restructuring. In this seminar, we examine the different welfare regimes across the United States and Europe and discuss the challenges confronting postwar welfare arrangements. We explore the politics surrounding the creation and retrenchment of welfare states across different political settings and in specific policy areas including pensions, health care and family policy and we look at the future of the social welfare state.
Dana Krieg, Associate Professor of Psychology
This course will focus on the application of psychology to social settings and social services. We will examine a selection of social problems and the influence of social systems on individuals. In addition to regular class meetings, students will spend five out-of-class hours each week at a local community agency (Knox County Head Start). This commitment to community engaged learning (CEL) will allow students to integrate service experiences into course-related material. Students will integrate these service experiences with course-related material. This counts toward the sociocultural perspectives requirement for the major. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or 110 or AP score of 5 and junior standing. Generally offered every year in the fall.
Clara Román-Odio, Professor of Spanish
Chicana/o culture produced in the U.S. is a vast field, often underrepresented in undergraduate curricula. Even so, Chicana/os' contributions to literature, visual and public art, music, film, cultural theory and political activism are among the richest in this nation. This absence is symptomatic of a larger societal reality, namely, a history of cultural and economic oppression, which results in silencing "the other" America. In this regard, Gloria Anzaldúa, one of the most important borderland theorist in the U.S., states: "I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite what others have miswritten about me, about you." In "Cultural Productions of the Borderlands," students gain deep understanding of theories and representations of borderlands within the context of their colonial legacies. Students may choose to read, write and test in either English or Spanish, and work with an array of cultural materials including, literature, visual art, film, music and Chicano/a history, as sites of opposition to sexist, racist, classist and homophobic ideologies.
Peter Rutkoff, Professor of American Studies
This course combined experiential learning--via a residency in a Cleveland public school-with traditional academic inquiry. The course culminated with a collaborative and public project that brought together the educational theory and practice that the Kenyon students have experienced.
Claire Novotny, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Students will examine the literature about engaged and applied archaeology concepts, including community archaeology projects, archaeology as activism and social justice, museums as educational institutions, and archaeology education. To apply these ideas in a local setting, students will develop archaeological activities for middle and high school-aged students in partnership with Science and Play Intersect (SPI).
Sam Pack, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Students in this course collaborated with the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO) using digital storytelling.
Karen Snouffer, Professor Emerita of Art
Students engaged with 4th and 5th graders at East Knox Local Schools. The goals of the CEL experience was to offer elementary students an opportunity to explore identity through creativity; provide a time in the school week when students were given full support to be creative; provide opportunities to use new art supplies and techniques; give constructive guidance in exploring visual language and hands-on learning; work with elementary teachers to support classroom goals related to artistic expression and/or specific subject learning goals; e.g., studying light and color within the contexts of art and science or learning shapes within the contexts of math and art; and offer Kenyon students an experience to interact with and learn from younger students outside of the Kenyon community.
Joan Slonczewski, Robert A. Oden, Jr. Professor of Biology
This course included regular volunteer work in the Knox Community Hospital emergency room or as a member of Gambier Fire Department. Students read medical articles that illuminated the background and fundamentals of health service and proposed articles for discussion based on their service experiences.
Chris Gillen, Professor of Biology
In this research methods class students collaborated with the Knox County Health Department on Mosquito Surveillance.
Simon Garcia, Associate Professor of Chemistry
How do we navigate data sets, detect patterns in them, and then present relationships in a systematic way? Through a series of case studies, this course examined common data-transformation methods, and discussed their effectiveness in conveying ideas. Students in this class supported community partner Flying Horse Farm by providing pivot tables and graphs to help them answer questions based on responses from anonymous survey data they collected on their camps, from both participants and staff members.
Sheryl Hemkin, Associate Provost and Professor of Chemistry
In partnership with the Knox County Health Department and St. Vincent’s Middle School, Kenyon students developed educational models that give details about chemical/biochemical interaction of drugs with the human body and their resulting effects. Students built and implemented modules that focused on the ethanol (in consumable alcohol) and nicotine (in tobacco) for the St. Vincent’s 6th grade class. These chemicals were chosen because alcohol and tobacco awareness are part of the 6th grade health curriculum and were a specific interest identified by the KCHD survey. The stand-alone modules contained age-appropriate reading(s), a video that the students were able to view at home, and hands-on activities that were done with Kenyon students.
Julie Brodie, Professor of Dance
Directed Teaching presented students with theories and philosophies about teaching the art of dance in various contexts. Readings and discussions considered methods for integrating somatic techniques and scientific principles into the dance technique class, as well as contemporary aesthetic practices. Kenyon students developed with their Columbia Elementary School teacher partners a method to use dance to enrich curricular subjects. As Kenyon students learned to teach, they provided much needed arts programming for the schools.
Julie Brodie, Professor of Dance
This course worked with local organization SPI to create an anatomy workshop for children in the community. Students guided children through experiential anatomy lessons, exploring the joints and their potential actions through movement.
Siobhan Fennessey, Professor of Biology, Philip & Sheila Jordan Professor in Environmental Studies
In this course students studied the principles of sustainable agriculture and local foods by working off campus one afternoon per week with local farmers doing hands-on farm work and participating in seminar-style discussions. Students also visited off-farm sites such as the Producers Livestock Auction. Class readings were designed to integrate farm work with the social, cultural and ecological underpinnings of sustainable agricultural practices.
Sophia Khadraoui, Assistant Professor of French
In partnership with French students at the Mount Vernon High School, Kenyon students brought a French Community to Life, with their "The Frenchie Project".
Pierre Dairon, Assistant Professor of French
Through digital storytelling, students engaged in conversation with members of the Columbus African Francophone Community. Together, students and community members created several presentations, in French and English, portraying their life experiences in their home countries and Ohio. While the African Francophone community gained an opportunity to voice their process of integration to the U.S., improvement of language proficiency and cultural literacy, teamwork, and critical analysis and understanding of one’s personal biases were among the learning outcomes of this course.
Matt Rouhier, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry
This course is a community engaged course where students will learn how to promote the understanding of STEM sciences to the general public of Knox County. The objectives of this course revolve around a service-learning project with our community partner, SPI (where Science and Play Intersect!) of Mt. Vernon. The course participants will read primary literature about science learning, generate new scientific communications, work as teams to produce science installations, and further their own understanding of the principles of STEM. This course does involve several trips to SPI, the main floor of the Wright Center in Mt. Vernon, so students will need their own transportation or to ride the Knox Area Transit’s Purple Shuttle to attend some classes.
Amy Ferketich, Visiting Scholar
In this course students partnered with the Knox County Health Department on two projects for the County's health assessment activities. One involved conducting focus groups with Knox County business leaders, senior citizens, and teens; transcribing the discussions; analyzing the data; and writing a report of the methods and results. The second project was a secondary data analysis of the Knox County data from the Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey, which is a survey of Ohio households conducted every 2 years. Working in groups, students analyzed the data for a specific health-related topic, wrote a brief report, and presented their findings to staff at the Health Department. All reports were included as appendix items in the Knox County community assessment.
Kai Xie, Assistant Professor of Japanese
Japan has been fascinated with supernatural creatures for more than a millennium. Spirits, ghosts, and monsters frequently appear in Japanese literature and art, and they can tell us much about Japanese history. This course examines how the supernatural and the strange are represented in works of diverse genres from ancient to contemporary times, and how these representations reflect and interact with Japanese society and culture at the time. Students will be exposed to various forms of Japanese literature and art, including chronicles, fictions, folk tales, illustrated handscrolls, picture books, noh, kabuki, manga, anime, and films. In addition to close readings of these works, we will also situate the conception of the supernatural in broader historical and cultural contexts, discussing its relation to other topics such as gender, religion, identity, war, nation, and popular culture. Students will gain a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of Japanese literature and culture while developing skills in close reading, analytical thinking, discussion, presentation, and writing. This course has a CEL (Community Engaged Learning) component. Kenyon students will spend two class sessions on reading and discussing children’s literature about the supernatural with students from the Wiggin Street Elementary. This course is conducted in English. No prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese language is required. However, students with advanced Japanese language skills will read some materials in Japanese and have some writing assignments in Japanese. This course counts toward Japanese major and minor, and Asian and Middle East Studies joint major and concentration.
Ting Lowan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology & Legal Studies
This is a method course that focuses upon the role and contributions of sociology and the social sciences to the conceptualization of law and legal policy making. The course materials will draw upon research performed primarily within the context of the American civil and criminal justice system. We will also examine some prevalent notions about what "law" is or should be, "legal" behavior and practices, and justification for resorting to law to solve social problems. This course, while meant to stimulate students' thinking about the relationships between and among individuals, social agencies, and the legal institutions and actors who are empowered within societies to make and enforce law, is intended to provide exposure and insight to a variety of research methodologies employed within the law and social science field. There is also a substantial likelihood that students will be requested to travel to Mount Vernon to observe court proceedings on two occasions while the class conducts its research assignments.
Nuh Aydin, Professor of Mathematics
There are many fundamental contributions to modern science and mathematics from the medieval Islamic Civilization (such as the number system that we use today, the science of algebra and trigonometry, the concept of algorithm, foundations of optics, the experimental method, and more). However, these contributions are generally not known in the public, even among the educated public and more strikingly among the Muslim community either. Students in this course researched this field and presented their findings to leaders of the community center, Noor Islamic Community and Cultural Center (NICC) in Columbus.
Elin Farnell, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
This class applied math modeling to answer one question posed by two industries and offer possible solutions. 1) Nationwide Insurance wanted to know how its Call Center could respond to 80% of their calls in 30 seconds. 2) SPROXIL, a company that tries to stop counterfeit (false medicine) in Africa using a PIN, wanted to know the product’s shelf life. Kenyon students applied mathematical modeling to successfully answer these real world questions.
Nancy Powers, Assistant Professor of Political Science
This course dealt with issues of immigration, citizenship and national identity by examining the social, economic and political forces giving rise to immigration today including the different ways nations have chosen to define citizenship and how those rules affect immigrants. In this course, students were assigned one case of a migrant facing deportation. They found, assessed and annotated documents that the community organization Immigrant Worker Project will present in immigration court to bolster the migrant’s case.
Dana Krieg, Associate Professor of Psychology
Working with Columbia Elementary School and SPI Spot, students interacted with young students, staff, and families of Columbia and SPI Spot for 12 weeks. Through a Lunch Buddies program, the creation and implementation of clubs (e.g., yoga, dance, book club, etc.), and weekly tutoring, they deepened their understanding of current and classic psychological theories and research on child development, while supporting children in the local community.
Dana Krieg, Associate Professor of Psychology
In partnership with East Knox and Kenyon College (PEKK) and East Knox Local School District, students in this course studied adolescence in context, while supporting teaching and learning at the local school.
Dana Krieg, Associate Professor of Psychology
This course introduced students to qualitative methods in psychology research. Topics included data collection methodologies (e.g., interviews, focus groups, participant observation), coding strategies (e.g., thematic coding, content analysis, grounded analysis), ethics, and writing. In addition to regular meetings, students spent six out of class hours each week at a local community agency, Knox County Head Start, and integrated these service experiences with course-related materials.
Dana Krieg, Associate Professor of Psychology
Students used psychological research methods to conduct an evaluation of the impact of the Salvation Army's youth programs. Students completed an introduction to research methods in psychology and statistical analysis in psychology, which involved a training program in the ethical conduct of research with human participants (the CITI program).
David Maldonado Rivera, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
This course offers a survey of Christianity in the Global South taking into consideration the historical, political, doctrinal, and cultural dimensions of the world Christian movement. This course gives special attention to postcolonial developments, different aspects of lived religion (scriptural interpretation, art, pilgrimage, music, food), and diasporas of the Global South. With this in mind, for a segment of the course, we will engage with a community partner in the Knox County area (Interchurch Social Services). Through our course of study and these direct engagements, students will develop a sense of the nature and challenges that Christians face in the Global South and their interactions with the Global North.
Miriam Dean-Otting, Donald L. Rogan Professor of Religious Studies
The prophets of antiquity observed their communities carefully, noting with anguish social injustices, for instance how many suffered extreme deprivation while others lived comfortably in luxurious homes enjoying sumptuous meals. The prophets’ social critiques addressed particular circumstances in the ancient world in the same way that many contemporary writers examine and expose current inequities in food security, housing, and education, just to name a few examples. In this course we will seek answers to an array of questions, including, but not limited to: What contributes to social injustice? What are possible solutions? Who is compelled to speak out because of a strong antipathy to social injustice? What drives them to devote energy to raising awareness and, often, to precipitate change? The course will address several perennial social injustices. We will do this with the aid of scriptural and academic readings, conversations with local leaders and through direct experience in the local community. Community-engaged learning (CEL) will occur through weekly community-based service experiences (volunteering) in two local organizations that tackle poverty and food insecurity in Knox County: Interchurch Social Services and The Salvation Army. Students are required to volunteer, in teams of two or three, for a minimum of two hours a week, fulfilling these hours through various tasks at food pantries and a thrift shop.
Anna Aydinyan, Assistant Professor of Russian
Students will explore the film Hipsters dedicated to the Soviet youth culture during the Cold War in collaboration with the Mount Vernon High School class in World History.
Jim Skon, Visiting Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
The overarching goal of this course was for students to gain a realistic understanding and grasp of the processes of software and system design in a team environment. Rather than simply study these concepts in the abstract, this course intended to have the students experience the various processes and techniques by actually engaging with four community partners (Knox County Health Department SPI, Winter Sanctuary, and Office of the Major in Village of Gambier) to produce a final working system that met a real need for the organizations.
Austin Johnson, Assistant Professor of Sociology
"From fitness trackers on wristwatches to diet apps on our pocket devices, we are surrounded by ways to monitor or improve our health. Corporations and public figures engage in health activism by encouraging young people to “Play 60” or inviting us into healthier habits by suggesting, “Let’s Move!” We have become a health-conscious society but what does it mean to be healthy and what factors determine who has access to it? Through class discussions and critical analysis, this course will answer that question and many others related to the social meaning and determinants of health, the sociohistorical construction of both health and healthcare, healthcare systems and healthcare practitioners, and health social movements.
We will approach this course through Community Engaged Learning (CEL), combining academic coursework and institutional resources to address barriers or hardships facing our local community. Using their intellectual and institutional resources, students will work with community partners to gather data, write white papers, build reports, create resource maps, and conceptualize interventions that support the work of community partners. Community partners will be organizations in the community that are focused on addressing health care needs of Knox County. For Sociology of Health and Illness in Spring 2019, we will partner with the Knox County Health Department. The CEL aspect of this course will account for approximately 1/3 of our time together over the course of the semester."
Clara Román-Odio, Professor of Spanish
A primary goal of the course was to expose students to Chicana/os' identities and critiques from the Mexican-American civil rights movements to the present. Students worked with the local Latino/a community to support an oral history project, Latinos in Rural America (LiRA), as well as with educational goals identified by this community. The CEL course projects consisted of: 1) Archiving interviews in Digital Kenyon College; 2) Translating interviews (from Spanish to English); 3) Creating and disseminating documentation on Latino cultural norms; 4) Supporting the local Salvation Army in the creation and implementation of a college-preparation course for Latino youth to improve ACT/SAT scores.
Kate Hedeen, Professor of Spanish
Students in this Latino literature class collaborated with high school students to create a reading program at the Mount Vernon Public Library to connect literature with everyday life.
Clara Román-Odio, Professor of Spanish
Stories of Knox County is an oral history project aimed at capturing what it means to be a part of this Ohio community. The aim of the course was to enable an experience-based understanding of how the county’s history has shaped the present and the ways its inhabitants envision the future. The play Rooted: Stories of Knox County was the result of a partnership between Kenyon students and MTVarts of Mount Vernon. Maria Brescia-Weiler ‘19 created the script for the play and Hannah Klubleck ‘19 created the graphics. Three shows, filled to capacity, enabled the community to listen to the life stories of neighbors and friends. The play was made possible through the generous support of the Community Foundation of Mt. Vernon and Knox County and MTVarts. The digital archive of the project can be found at: http://digital.kenyon.edu/sokc/
This research methods course that typically enrolls 12-15 junior and senior WGS majors and concentrators, taught students basic qualitative and quantitative research methods skills. Students in the class collaborated with the Knox County Health Department by collecting and analyzing data on various aspects of wellness groups in Knox County elementary schools through participant interviews, surveys, content analysis of the curriculum, focus groups, and participant observation. In addition, students analyzed existing data and used this data to make policy recommendations related to the program.