Studio Ceramics: Adventures of the Creative Spirit

Faculty: Ross Hilgers

This studio course focuses on experiential learning and investigates how the creative process unfolds for visual artists. Students will study the creative process through hand building, wheel techniques, and class critiques. In addition to making art, students will do research to define the creative process and explore the mysteries behind creativity. 

Understanding Music in Art: An Exploration of Music Iconography in Painting

Faculty: Dr. Annett C. Richter

This course examines intersections between music and the visual arts. More specifically, it investigates the meanings conveyed by scenes of music-making depicted in painting. Students will be introduced to the study of music iconography and will learn what selected examples of European and American painting from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries can teach us about the social and cultural contexts of European and American art music and vernacular music. Students will become familiar with the basic skills needed to read a painting as well as with selected styles in the history of Western art as relevant to the artists and works chosen for this interdisciplinary course.

Hungry!

Their tummies grumbled. What would they have to eat today? What would their family eat? What is the face and color of hunger in our area? Working with city officials, local agencies serving the hunger and a class of fourth graders we will study the broader face of hunger and its impact in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We will teach the fourth graders what we learn about hunger and they, in turn, will teach the public about hunger with two local presentations. One service-learning project will complement our work.

The Samurai: Myth, Legend, and History

Faculty: Dr. J. Elijah Bender

Have you ever wondered what the samurai were actually like? Maybe you’ve seen a master swordsman in an anime, or a stoic wanderer in a classic Japanese film and wondered what inspired these archetypical characters. This seminar will examine the history and evolution of Japan’s class of professional warriors. We will focus in particular upon unpacking samurai myths, legends, and contemporary representations of samurai and comparing these materials to historical evidence of samurai behavior, values, and practices. Group projects will disseminate our findings outside the classroom through various outlets on the web.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Regardless of how you answer the question, this course is for you! In this course, you will create your own definition of financial security and explore strategies to achieve it. We will study the psychology behind spending and saving and how it applies to your life. We will use books, speakers, group discussion and surveys to define your goals and create a plan to achieve them.

American Roots Music: Woody Guthrie to Ed Sheeran; Mother Maybelle to Alison Krauss: Robert Johnson to the Carolina Chocolate D

Faculty: Dr. William J. Snyder Jr.

Using the PBS documentary, American Roots Music as an informal guide, the course will trace the evolution of Roots music from it’s origins in the Appalachian Mountains and in the Mississippi Delta, to Roots, folk, and popular music of today. To study this musical heritage, we’ll read books and short articles focused on individual artists: Robert Johnson (for Delta Blues, Blues, Rock and Roll); Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family (folk, country, bluegrass R&R); and Woody Guthrie (singer songwriters, political/protest). We’ll listen to, and write about, this music, and we’ll watch several full-length films.  

#clifi: Climate Fiction, Climate Reality, Climate Commitment

Faculty: Dr. Jonathan M. Steinwand

With the evidence mounting that humans are changing the climate, a new genre of literature is emerging: climate fiction (or clifi for short). What can we learn about this global trend? How new and significant is clifi? Is it just a fad? How do the fictional works engage climate science, climate politics, and climate justice? Students will produce web-based book club reading guides, create a class anthology of clifi microfiction, and contribute original research to Concordia College's Climate Commitment plan which includes moving toward carbon neutrality and working with the community on resilience and climate justice.

Home and Homeless

Faculty: Dr. George B. Connell

The space of human life is not the neutral, even space of Euclid’s geometry. Human space is always shaped by a sense of place. Just as our sense of the present, the now, orients our experience of time, our experience of place, the here, orients our sense of space.  But here can be experienced in very different ways. If we are at home, here is a place of security, rootedness, belonging. If we are away from home, or if we have no home at all, then here is a place of displacement, exile, wandering. In this course, we will investigate home and homelessness both by reading and discussing writings from history, philosophy, religion and literature as well as by engaging people and organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead involved in the housing sector and in working with homeless people.

Design and Persuasion

How does photo manipulation change our views on cultural issues? How do design decisions influence the viewer’s choice? How has feminist design played a role in our social lives? This course examines the cultural and social impact of design in our every day lives, through photography, graphic design, and feminist art. A study of how these persuasive concepts and techniques help shape our societal values will be the focus of class discussions.

Who Cares? What is Your #?

Hashtags have become well-known as a metadata tag used in social media to share and discover information with a specific theme. This course will examine what hashtags, snap stories, podcasts, etc. tell us about the human condition and what we care about. What choices do we make in consuming and creating information in this way? With endless amounts of information at our fingertips, what standards do we use to guide our own hashtags and evaluate information that is worthy of our time? This course will explore current themes and trends in social media and online activity and the related meaning in our lives. It will apply models of ethics, service, and caring to ourselves, others, and our vocational goals and interests.

Compassion and Hope: Interfaith Perspectives

Faculty: Dr. Jacqueline A. Bussie

Do you find yourself yearning for more hope in the world, and less hate? For more compassion, and less division?  Are you interested in learning about the world’s major religions and their understandings of compassion?  Do you want to have deep conversations about vocation and reflect upon your own spiritual journey?  If so, Compassion and Hope is the inquiry course for you.  In this class, we will engage in active weekly community service, have dynamic classroom discussions (not lectures), and read relevant and exciting texts that offer practical strategies for cultivating compassion in our lives and creating hope in our communities.  This class is more than just a class, it’s an adventure of the heart.  Join us…and learn how to be the change you want to see in the world! Please note: this course requires two hours per week of off-campus community based service-learning.

Exercise is Medicine

Is exercise really medicine? Is the “Freshman 15” real? When does the biggest drop in physical activity occur? Can exercise improve other areas of life, such as mood, academic performance, and social well-being? In this course, you will learn about exercise as medicine, while promoting physical activity as an important aspect of overall health. You will have the opportunity to evaluate your own health and physical activity habits and beliefs, as well as those of the Concordia community. As a class, we will take an in-depth look at our campus community to see what is currently being done to promote physical activity, and find areas where the campus is lacking. You will have the opportunity to establish exercise is medicine educational programs and promotions on campus, while working to improve your own health and well-being, as well as that of the campus community.

From Athens to the White House: Lessons in Ancient Leadership for the Modern World

From Athens to the White House is an in-depth study of leadership in classical antiquity, as a means of better understanding our local, national, and global leaders. Drawing on Greco-Roman literature and stories ripped from the headlines, we explore big questions about crises of leadership, motivation, personality traits, gender bias, the influence of leaders on race and racism, demagoguery, rhetoric and self-presentation, and more. We will study great leaders of ancient Greece and Rome: Agamemnon, who led the Greek forces in the Trojan War; Pericles, who ushered in the golden age of Athens; Alcibiades, who dared much and lost it all; his teacher, the philosopher Socrates; Cyrus, heir to the Persian Empire; Cicero, the greatest speaker in all of Roman history; Julius Caesar, whose assassination sped on the fall of the Republic; his beloved Antony and Cleopatra; and Trajan, emperor at the height of Rome’s power. These lions and lionesses of history changed the world. Pondering their strengths and weaknesses proves useful for examining our own leaders and what we want of them.

The Game of Life

Faculty: Jill Zietz

How will I pay back my student loans? What happens if I lose my job? Will I ever be able to afford my dream home? This course is a dive into the world of personal finance and an opportunity to find answers to these questions.  Students will spin the wheel, draw a card and research to develop strategies to help navigate these life events. 

Going Green: The What, Why, and How of Living Sustainably

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer L. Sweatman

The term sustainability has become a buzzword that generates a lot of media attention, but the definition of sustainability can vary depending on one’s perspective and can be context dependent. In this course we will talk about the three e’s of sustainability: economy, equity, and environment in order to understand the holistic definition of the term. We will discuss the challenges of environmental sustainability in urban and rural habitats including the negative impacts of environmental degradation on vulnerable populations in both environments. After students gain an understanding of what sustainability is, we will then focus on why living more sustainably benefits current and future generations and how students can make simple changes in their lifestyles that will lead to environmental and financial benefits.

Hungry! Monday, Wednesday 8:00 a.m.

Their tummies grumbled. What would they have to eat today? What would their family eat? What is the face and color of hunger in our area? Working with city officials, local agencies serving the hunger and a class of fourth graders we will study the broader face of hunger and its impact in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We will teach the fourth graders what we learn about hunger and they, in turn, will teach the public about hunger with two local presentations. One service-learning project will complement our work.

Hungry! Tuesday, Thursday 8:00 a.m.

Their tummies grumbled. What would they have to eat today? What would their family eat? What is the face and color of hunger in our area? Working with city officials, local agencies serving the hunger and a class of fourth graders we will study the broader face of hunger and its impact in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We will teach the fourth graders what we learn about hunger and they, in turn, will teach the public about hunger with two local presentations. One service-learning project will complement our work.

Local Lives

Faculty: Dr. Karla Knutson

Are you eager to learn about and to meet your new neighbors? Concordia College is located in the vibrant, changing, and growing community of Fargo-Moorhead, and this metropolitan area, once known for its Scandinavian and German culture, is increasingly and excitingly diverse, in terms of its international citizenship, artistic communities, and recreational opportunities. This inquiry seminar will explore written and oral narratives of the people who have lived in the greater Fargo-Moorhead, and through interviews and participation in this community, students will record, reflect on, and research the stories of current residents. To learn about how local people understand the area’s history, their lives here, and their sense of how location influences identity, as well as the conventions of stories about identity, we will read literature written about the region, attend local events, and interview several citizens.

Studio Ceramics: The Creative Process

This studio course focuses on experiential learning and investigates how the creative process unfolds for visual artists. Students will study the creative process through hand building, wheel techniques, and class critiques. In addition to making art, students will do research to define the creative process and explore the mysteries behind creativity. 

Walking and Talking: Active and Embodied Philosophical Inquiry

Faculty: Dr. Tess Varner

On the face of it, walking doesn’t seem to be the most rigorous intellectual exercise. Some might think of it as a mindless activity—pedestrian, even. But, in fact, there is a long tradition of walking as a form of intellectual inquiry, ranging from Wordsworth, Rousseau, and Thoreau to contemporary thinkers like John Francis and Rebecca Solnit, and even including popular thru-hikers and adventurers such as Cheryl Strayed and Christopher McCandless. These thinkers range not only across several centuries, but also across disciplines. In this inquiry seminar, students will read a wide variety of texts investigating the very concept of walking and its importance as a deeply philosophical practice. Students will also consider walking as a form of cultural critique; walking can be understood to be a subversive activity—one resistant to the expectations of society, which focuses on speed, efficiency, and multitasking. This course will be reading and writing intensive, but the class period itself will be largely conducted on long walks on campus and around campus, including several excursions off campus. Students will need to have comfortable walking shoes and appropriate outerwear for long walks and will have the opportunity to snowshoe toward the end of the semester, if weather permits (~$10 rental fee). Please note that people with disabilities are welcome in this class. Even though there is a physical component to the course daily, students of all levels of ability can be accommodated and are encouraged to participate.

Words Can Save the World: Human Rights and Literature

Faculty: Dr. Amy Watkin

Has a book ever changed your view of the world? Is it possible that human rights were invented by literature? Historian Lynn Hunt says that the invention of the novel opened the door to creating a human community in which people began to feel responsible for themselves and others in new ways. Some of the questions we’ll be asking include: What are human rights, exactly? Is there literature that teaches us about human rights, and do people actually read it? Can we learn about human rights more effectively from literature than other methods? Does some literature matter more than the rest? Do words really matter that much?

Music Cures Stress

Music has significant effects on human psychology. This seminar will explore the powers of music, how it is processed, how it affects the body, and how it can be skillfully integrated in to our daily life in order to fight the silent killer, stress. The effect of various parameters of music, which have significant impact on the human mind, such as rhythm, melody, timbre, dynamics, and harmony will be explored in detail.

Adventure, Exploration, and Risk

We all have adventure stories. Whether it's the stories of a road trip in the family car or a solo trek to some distant part of the planet, we love to tell stories about being away from home and sometimes being at risk. We enjoy telling stories about the times we have been out of place, and we have been telling these stories for centuries.
This course examines the issues brought to light in travel and adventure narratives. From climbing Everest to sailing the oceans to flying small airplanes, we will talk about conquest, self-discovery, science, and a good bit more. How do our goals (personal, political, etc.) influence how we value what we see and experience? How do we think about the literature of travel and its relation to any kind of accuracy or truth?
Extra-curricular activities for this class often include introductory sailing, scuba and flight lessons as well as exotic foods. In addition, students enrolled in this course will have the option to participate in an exploration seminar over mid-semester break which will include touring London and hiking in the highlands of Scotland.

What’s for Dinner? An Exploration of the Factors that Influence Food Choices and Behaviors

Faculty: Dr. Michelle G. Strang

Why do we eat? The obvious answer would be, “because I’m hungry.” But for most people, especially those in the US and other wealthy countries of the world, hunger is rarely the reason. Using podcasts, TED talks, news articles, guest speakers, and scientific research, students will grapple with real-world questions that have only recently been posed. How can someone have obesity, yet be food insecure? Why do folks with chronic, diet-related illnesses continue to choose foods that may worsen their health? When a child is at an unhealthy weight, why don’t his/her parents simply feed them healthier foods? Human behavior is unpredictable and dynamic, and is influenced by countless variables including culture, religion, socioeconomic status, social structures, and a thousand other things. Join us in exploring “What’s for Dinner?”