Working Carefully to Strengthen the Foundations of our Curriculum

September 25, 2017

Every year, OHS instructors and division heads develop courses that open new paths of study for students. In doing so, they also maintain a shared focus on improving central components of the curriculum.  This process—working carefully to strengthen the foundations of our curriculum while trying to build upon those foundations thoughtfully—leads us to create courses that we believe meet our students where they are.  We are especially excited about new courses this year, and I would like to mention a few of them here.     

The Science Division has integrated astronomy into its curriculum. As a companion to their introductory astronomy course, Kalée Tock and Chris Oparko will now teach a spring semester Astronomy Research Seminar. This course will enable students to work together using a robotic telescope network to analyze a binary star system and complete original research.

In the Core Division, Joshua Beattie and Christina Drogalis will each be teaching a new Advanced Topics in Philosophy course. During the fall semester, Dr. Beattie’s wide-ranging Philosophical Implications of Evolution asks students to explore the relevance of Darwin’s theory of natural selection to questions about science, ethics, cognition, and art.  In her spring seminar on Friendship, Dr. Drogalis will ask students to reflect philosophically on what friendships entail and whether they are necessary for a good life.

The English Division has introduced a series of innovative courses. Anne Hruska’s Post-Structural Approaches to Literature focuses on Russian literature of the 19th and 20th century. The course incorporates close readings of texts and readings in literary theory into an overarching exploration of the cultural argument over what literature is or ought to be.  For the fall semester, Kristina Zarlengo has introduced a new Advanced Topics in Literature course entitled Quests for Truth, Justice, and Relief: The Rhetoric of Righting Wrongs.  Dr. Zarlengo’s course blends literary with legal analysis in order to investigate distinctions between justice and revenge, and between righteousness and rationalization. In Douglas Kerr’s spring semester University Level course, The Comforts and Desires of Detective Fiction, students will explore the origins and developments of modern detective fiction, including “metaphysical” detective fiction, to ask how detective stories work and what comforts and discomforts narrative solutions to a crime provide the reader.

During the spring semester, Kristina Vetter and Claire Dawkins will co-teach a course on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sex and Sexuality. This course will fulfill the nonacademic OHS Health requirement.  By combining literary, biological, psychological, historical, and legal perspectives on human sexuality, this new offering exemplifies the interdisciplinary investigation that many OHS instructors increasingly aim to pursue.

Please be sure to review the Course Catalog for more information about new and longstanding courses alike, as well as to survey the wide range of spring semester courses being offered this year.