May Term

The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel courses as well as on-campus courses. The majority of these courses are offered in May, during a three-week term, although some travel courses may run a little over or a little under the three-week period.

Examples of Intensive Learning Courses:

Sociology Goes to Bollywood: Gender in Indian Cinema
students in cultural dress in Bollywood The purpose of this course is to help students understand
 and critique the social construction of gender in India as
 reflected in Indian cinema. Students will watch several films
 and examine how men and women are represented in Indian
 films, the realities of women's and men's lives in India, and
 how women and men challenge traditional gender expectations.
 While the focus is on gender, students will also be introduced to
 some of the central and unique socio-cultural, economic, and
 political issues in India, and to the unique conventions of Indian
 cinema. (Dr. Meeta Mehrotra)

Palau: Globalization and Health
The Republic of Palau is a Pacific island nation with around 20,000 inhabitants. The influence of colonial occupation and globalization over the past century has led to several changes in Palauan dietary behavior, prompting Palauan health officials to declare an epidemic of non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes. In this course, we’ll travel to Palau to learn about Pacific Island culture, see firsthand the influence of globalization on Palauan livelihoods, and participate meaningfully in ongoing community research that seeks to improve Palauan nutrition and food security. In addition to interviewing Palauans and speaking with Palauan officials, course activities will include visiting 1100 year-old monoliths, touring the WWII battle site on Peleliu, and exploring the region’s tropical ecosystem. (Dr. Chad Morris) 

Outbreaks, Epidemics, and Public Health
Epidemics shape the world we live in. History has demonstrated that bacteria, viruses, and parasites, though often invisible to us, have the power to decimate populations, restructure economies, and shape the way cultures and civilizations develop. This course will examine outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics in historical and contemporary contexts. Course content and discussion will apply a population perspective of health, using several illustrative examples of both infectious and non-infectious pandemics that have fundamentally shaped societies and the practice of public health. This class will also explore how knowledge of outbreaks and epidemics is communicated to the public and interpreted through the lens of both scientific and cultural understandings of the time. Finally, we will examine how epidemics intersect with existing social inequities to exacerbate health disparities and consider public health strategies that may contribute to a more equitable and healthier world. (Dr. Kristen Rapp) 

Politics in Art: Film, Literature, and Art
This course was created to introduce students to a sociological perspective on the distribution of power in society and to the study of political ideas, conflict, events, and action as expressed in literature, cinema, and other works of art. Throughout the course, students will read books, watch several films, and take a field trip to Washington, DC to learn about our capital's major buildings, museums, memorials, and monuments. Students will explore the representation of politics in art through a combination of discussions and assignments. (Dr. Marit Berntson)

Understanding Poverty Through Service 
This course provides the opportunity to explore and reflect on poverty as a lived social condition in the contemporary United States. Poverty will be examined through a discussion of a variety of readings and experientially through community service. Field trips will encompass doing volunteer work as a group. (Dr. Kristi Hoffman)

Towards the Green Society: Community Sustainability Initiatives
The course examines the ideals and principles that contribute to conceptualizations on environmental sustainability. Of focus will be the competing meanings, visions, and strategies that signal the social construction of the environmentally friendly society. Discussions on environment occur in a social context where pathways to sustainability are debated and informed by our own cultural understandings of societal organization and human nature. Implicit in the discourse on sustainable futures are the contemporary problems we now face and the foresight required to preserve society. Out of crisis surfaces the empowering challenge of being able to envision and create for ourselves communities reflective of our collective ideals. (Dr. Daniel Sarabia)

Learn more about the Intensive Learning program