Ohio Wesleyan ‘Universal’

2011 Sagan Fellows courses offer international learning opportunities

The “Political/Social Cabaret” class, one of OWU’s opportunities offered to students through the 2010 Sagan Fellows courses, featured a week’s worth of learning on-stage technique during workshops with Tim Miller (featured here with students), nationally known performance artist. Students wrote and performed their own contemporary political and social material in several performances held in April. Photo by Sara Tincher

Ohio Wesleyan University isn’t changing its name. But the “University” continues to go “universal” with its second year of Sagan Fellows classes.

Ohio Wesleyan plans to offer 10 Sagan Fellows courses during spring semester, says Chuck Stinemetz, OWU’s dean of academic affairs. Nine of the courses will include international travel components. The courses, which connect classroom theory with real-world practice, will feature opportunities to study in Bangladesh, Brazil, Costa Rica, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and Japan.

“These are wonderful opportunities for our students to travel with faculty to other countries to explore topics in depth and gain personal, international experience and perspective,” Stinemetz says. “None of the classes requires prerequisites, so all students are able to consider enrolling in a Sagan Fellows course.”

Stinemetz anticipates beginning a pre-enrollment drive in early October, but hopes students and families will begin exploring the Sagan Fellows opportunities now, as extra costs are involved and additional travel documents may be needed.

A few details still are being ironed out, Stinemetz says, but the list of 2011 Sagan Fellows courses is expected to include:

  • PG 100.1 – Citizenship in an Age of Empire: From Ancient Athens to 21st Century America, taught by Ashley Biser, Ph.D., assistant professor of politics and government. During spring mid-semester break, students will travel to Athens, Greece, as they study the rights and duties of global citizens. During the course, students will participate in a simulated Athenian assembly, tying theoretical discussions of citizenship with practical questions as they debate how to rebuild Athens after the Peloponnesian War. Upon returning to campus, students will re-examine what it means to be a global citizen today in Greece and the European Union. Cost is $1,000.
  • BOMI 300.1 – Mezclada con Maiz: Plants and People in Oaxaca, Mexico, taught jointly by Nancy Murray, Ph.D., and David Johnson, Ph.D., professors of botany-microbiology. During spring mid-semester break, students will travel to Southern Mexico as part of an interdisciplinary, project-based study of ethnobotany, which examines the relationships between people and plants. The course will focus on non-commercial plants still being used in Southern Mexico as food, medicine, and more. Cost is $800.
  • GEOG 300.5 – Geography, Globalization, and Place: The Mexico-U.S. Border of the Californias, taught by David Walker, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology-geography. During the spring mid-semester break, students will travel to San Diego, California, and Mexico, Baja California, as they study economic and cultural globalization from a geographic framework. The border region of the Californias will serve as a case study on how globalization produces and affects different regions. Cost is $1,000.
  • BOMI 355 – Global Change Ecology and Environmental Sustainability, taught by Laurel Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of botany-microbiology. After classes conclude in May, students will travel to Brazil, where they will explore the ecology of the Amazon rainforest, the process of tropical deforestation and its impact, and the production of ethanol from sugar cane plants. They also will examine the global changes and challenges of increasing temperature, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, increasing nitrogen deposition, and changing precipitation patterns. Cost is $3,150.
  • ECON (pending faculty approval) – Global Poverty: Diagnostics & Solutions, taught by Saif Rahman, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics. After classes conclude in May, students will travel to Bangladesh for hands-on learning as they examine the day-to-day aspects of extreme poverty and discuss conventional actions to alleviate poverty as well as newer solutions being developed and implemented at individual, community, national, and international levels. Cost is $1,500.
  • PHIL 310 – Modernity and Colonialism: Global Perspectives on History, Justice, and Truth, taught by Shari Stone-Mediatore, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy. During the spring mid-semester break, students will travel to Chiapas, Mexico, where they will learn first-hand about Zapatista politics and culture. The course will examine writings from European Enlightenment philosophers, from global South and indigenous communities, and from contemporary philosophers to understand the perspectives each brings to conceptions of history, justice, truth, and identity. Cost is $800.
  • PE 200.9 – Obesity and Prevention in Italy and the United States: A Systemic Examination, taught by Chris Fink, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical education. After classes conclude in May, students will travel to Italy for two weeks, where they will share their experiences and observations of factors that influence the performance of obesity preventing behaviors in the United States with Italian students. Additionally, students will be given an opportunity to observe for themselves the varying factors that influence food and physical activity in Italy by observing the traditional Passeggiata, visiting markets and food sources, and seeing first-hand the process of (from farm to fork) and cultural values surrounding the production of traditional Italian food products. Italy has one of the lowest rates of adult obesity in Europe, which is likely due to a myriad of factors. During the course of the semester leading up to the travel, students will conduct readings about these factors to allow for a more structured observation to occur while they are abroad. The systemic approach used in this course will be based upon the Social Ecological Model, which examines behavioral influences on various levels, including individual, social, community, institutional, and public policy factors. Cost is $1,500.
  • ECON 200.2 – Sustainability, Ecotourism, and Eco Certification, taught by Andrew Meyer, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics. During spring mid-semester break, students will travel to Costa Rica to examine issues including climate change, natural resource degradation, economic development, environmental quality, and tourism—all through the lens of sustainability. The course will emphasize how sustainability can be practiced in tourism, government, and business. Cost is $950.
  • HMCL 300.8 – War Stories: The Depiction of the Pacific War in Literature, Film, and Culture, taught by Anne Sokolsky, Ph.D., assistant professor of humanities-classics. After classes conclude in May, students will travel to Japan and Hawaii to examine how the story of the Pacific War changes as it is told by different people, organizations, and media. The course will cross boundaries of race, gender, class, time, and genre, and also include related discussions on the 9-11 U.S. attacks and on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Cost is $2,300.
  • ENG 300.5 – A Writers Retreat: Atlantic Center for the Arts, taught by Robert Olmstead, M.A., director of OWU’s Creative Writing Program. In August, students will spend 14 days with Olmstead at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. They will use this sustained, supportive, and uninterrupted time to write, read, and share their works in progress. Cost is $700, which does not include travel to the center.

Ohio Wesleyan’s first series of Sagan Fellows courses was held in spring 2010, featuring six classes ranging from international space exploration and Mexican migration to the Vietnam experience and biofuels.

OWU faculty members chosen to teach the courses are named Sagan Fellows in honor of the late Margaret (Pickett) Sagan and the late John Sagan, both members of OWU’s Class of 1948. The Sagans supported OWU’s examination of critical issues with an endowment to fund the annual Sagan National Colloquium. The theme of this year’s Colloquium is “Global Opportunities for Global Citizens.”

Learn more about OWU’s Sagan Fellows courses, including the experiences of previous student-participants and faculty members.

Learn more about the Sagan National Colloquium.

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