Home / BIS 402: Senior Seminar

Interdisciplinary Studies Core Courses: 402

BIS 402 Senior Seminar

General Studies: L (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • C or better in BIS 301 and BIS 302
  • 2.0 GPA

Course Descriptions

Capstone course helps students integrate their classroom and experiential learning. Students choose among course topics that address their interests.

In BIS 402, the faculty offer a variety of topics that use interdisciplinary approaches to explore an issue. Students are encouraged to select the topic from those available that semester, which best fits their interests. Course descriptions are listed below.

 

Summer 2018

 

The Body Over Time

Instructor: Bruce Oberstein

Examine the challenges organizations face when dealing with diverse populations in regards to age and ageing. Examine the challenges an individual may have in working for an organization at different stages of their life.  Examine the challenges an individual will have to deal with in regards to health insurance coverage when taking a new position with a different organization.

 

Fall 2018

 

Analysis and Decision Making

Instructor: Michael Fox

Students will explore analysis and decision making tools and strategies in business and non-profit environments. Students will focus on leveraging interdisciplinary expertise and strategies to improve entrepreneurial outcomes.

 

The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer

Instructors: Stephen Davis, Matthew Rodgers

This interdisciplinary online course examines beer in a “big history” framework and traces its development from ancient cultures to the multinational mega-corporations and craft homebrewers of today. We will examine the social, cultural, legal, biochemical, physiological, and business dimensions of beer throughout history.

 

Death and Dying: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Instructor: Judy Grace

This course asks you to read and reflect on death and dying from several perspectives: psychological (death work internally): cultural/anthropologically (customs of a group of people); economically (the costs of end-of-life care and burial); religious (how the world religions view death and the afterlife); sociologically (your family and friends).

You will be able to pursue your own interests in addition to doing various assignments such as writing your own obituary.

 

Immigration: From Debate to Reform

Instructor: Dave Wells

This senior seminar will thoroughly examine the challenge legally unauthorized immigrants place on our society through a variety of disciplinary lenses including history, sociology, economics, and political science. We’ll simultaneously learn and then seek to utilize the tools of nonviolence to bring together stakeholders with different perspectives on immigration. Students of all perspectives on immigration very much welcome in this course.

 

Journeys and the Adventurous Mind

Instructor: Layne Gneiting

Whether it’s study abroad to Ireland, a pilgrimage through Spain, an oceanic voyage to Antarctica, or an exploration through early America, they share a common thread: a journey. This course uses the archetypal Hero’s Journey to map ancient and modern journeys and decipher the leadership lessons gained by such epic journeys as Lewis and Clark’s trek across the American West and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s fated voyage to the end of the world. By looking through the interdisciplinary lenses of identity, story, and the performance of space, students will learn the 7 points of the Adventure Mindset, the 5 layers of Adventure, and the conditions of transformation.

 

Life Beyond Earth?

Instructor: Jessica Hirshorn

The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to examining the question "How will humankind react when life is found off of the earth?" It will look at this question from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives including biology, space science, psychology, communication, religion, philosophy, media studies, science fiction, political science, economics, sociology, sustainability, and intercultural communication. The course will be interactive and include a research project, as well as films, field trips, and guest speakers. For a final project, students will be required to complete a plan for the discovery of life off the earth.

 

Myths, Dreams, and Spirituality

Instructor: Michael Pryzdia

This course explores the nature of the “soul.” More specifically, it is dedicated to the exploration of the human experience through the interdisciplinary study of myth, ritual, spirituality, literature, depth psychology, science, and art. The course cultivates scholarship, self-inquiry, and imagination in those who seek to understand and express the depths of the psyche (soul). Students will examine the nature of paradox, ambiguity, and the ways that metaphor informs and transforms our lives. They will be exposed to the works of Carl Gustav Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Irwin Thompson, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts – among others – all of whom teach that myth has the power to touch deep creative energies, and to generate symbolic images that confer significance upon the complexity of contemporary life and history. The course will focus on how the cultivation of the mythic imagination leads to self-revelation and a profound and dynamic understanding of cultures – both our own and others.

 

The Nature of Consciousness

Instructor: Michael Pryzdia

This course explores the nature of consciousness. We will examine the multiple dimensions of this topic by viewing the topic through various disciplinary perspectives with the goal of integrating these perspectives. Our work will encompass three general areas: “soul,” “spirit,” and “thought.” The course will begin with an overview of some of the classic texts included in the contemporary scholarly research done on the topic, and it will end with an examination of a few of the complex global problems facing human beings in the twenty-first century and how those problems can be approached with an integrated “conscious” perspective. We can then examine how such a perspective can take us from a fragmented world to one grounded in wholeness. Our journey will allow us to explore: 1) the nature of the human psyche; 2) yoga and meditation; 3) the extent to which the mythic imagination and scientific narratives are isomorphic; 4) the extent to which thought operates as a system; and 6) how dialogue can be used as a very effective communication tool. Disciplines examined in the class can include (but are not limited to): business, communication and media studies, religious studies, mythology, philosophy (East and West), psychology, sociology, anthropology, archeology, world literature, quantum physics, cognitive biology, and art.

The Political Economy of Work and Organizations

Instructor: Marie Wallace

Work and labor in its present and past form; Work as a cultural and political institution; Technological change and shifting economic sectors and modes of production; Credentialism, professionalism, occupational prestige and social inequalities in the US labor market (race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, and class); Precarious work (include temporary and contract work as well as the jobs in the “gig” or sharing economy); Care-work, global care chain and emotional labor; Decline in unionism; Alienation and work; Structure and function of complex organizations/bureaucracies related to work; Fordism and Tayorism.

 

Spring 2018

 

The Art and Science of Work-Life Integration

Instructor: David Thomas

Through extensive self-assessment across multiple perspectives, students learn how to navigate contemporary career issues and guide career-life management choices over their lifespan.

 

Conservation and Development

Instructor: Emily Mertz

This course focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of conservation practice and leadership and provides students with a broad understanding of the history of conservation and its interrelationship with international development processes, impact on ecosystems, and effect on human livelihoods. The roles that development NGOs working at the local, national, and international levels play in conservation projects with the aim to be empathetic to local land use, but also maintain ecosystem health and sustainability, will also be analyzed.

 

The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer

Instructors: Stephen Davis, Matthew Rodgers

This interdisciplinary online course examines beer in a “big history” framework and traces its development from ancient cultures to the multinational mega-corporations and craft homebrewers of today. We will examine the social, cultural, legal, biochemical, physiological, and business dimensions of beer throughout history.

 

Death and Dying: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Instructor: Judy Grace

This course asks you to read and reflect on death and dying from several perspectives: psychological (death work internally): cultural/anthropologically (customs of a group of people); economically (the costs of end-of-life care and burial); religious (how the world religions view death and the afterlife); sociologically (your family and friends).

You will be able to pursue your own interests in addition to doing various assignments such as writing your own obituary.

 

Identity and Conflict in Europe

Instructor: Andi Hess

This course will explore the concepts of identity, ethnicity and nationalism in relation to the conflicts of the 20th century and subsequent integration efforts in Europe. Using examples from many of Europe’s ethnic and national communities, we will examine how identities in this region were formed and have evolved. We will learn what role these national and regional identities play in today’s European nations as they face the increasingly complex economic and political realities of the European integration project.

This topic is part of the Interdisciplinary Studies Balkans Global Intensive Experience program.

 

Immigration: From Debate to Reform

Instructor: Dave Wells

This senior seminar will thoroughly examine the challenge legally unauthorized immigrants place on our society through a variety of disciplinary lenses including history, sociology, economics, and political science. We’ll simultaneously learn and then seek to utilize the tools of nonviolence to bring together stakeholders with different perspectives on immigration. Students of all perspectives on immigration very much welcome in this course.

 

Integrating Identities

Instructor: Melanie Pitts

In this particular section of BIS 402, we will be using an interdisciplinary approach to question and study issues of identity. Contemporary perspectives from social/developmental psychology, sociology, and philosophy suggest that the self is more multiple than unified – and more so today than ever before. But, how many identities can a person have? What role does coherence play in our sense of selfhood? And, what processes are useful for integrating these multiple identities into a coherent sense of self?

In an attempt to answer these questions, students will spend the first half of the semester examining various categories of social identity (including gender, race, and ethnicity) and how “difference” impacts the development of stereotypes, power struggles, and group relations. We will review these various positions and situate ourselves within the landscape of multiplicity. In the second half of the term, students will practice integrating their personal and professional identities through various forms of life writing (both autobiographical and philosophical) and by constructing electronic portfolios.

 

Integrative Thinking

Instructor: Kelly Nelson

This online accelerated course will help you develop thinking skills that are associated with interdisciplinary studies: analytical thinking, divergent thinking, new territory thinking and synthesis. You will be practicing, applying and integrating these different types of thinking through multiple thinking exercises, discussion board posts and two integrative papers.

 

Life Beyond Earth?

Instructor: Jessica Hirshorn

The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to examining the question "How will humankind react when life is found off of the earth?" It will look at this question from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives including biology, space science, psychology, communication, religion, philosophy, media studies, science fiction, political science, economics, sociology, sustainability, and intercultural communication. The course will be interactive and include a research project, as well as films, field trips, and guest speakers. For a final project, students will be required to complete a plan for the discovery of life off the earth.

 

The Nature of Consciousness

Instructor: Michael Pryzdia

This course explores the nature of consciousness. We will examine the multiple dimensions of this topic by viewing the topic through various disciplinary perspectives with the goal of integrating these perspectives. Our work will encompass three general areas: “soul,” “spirit,” and “thought.” The course will begin with an overview of some of the classic texts included in the contemporary scholarly research done on the topic, and it will end with an examination of a few of the complex global problems facing human beings in the twenty-first century and how those problems can be approached with an integrated “conscious” perspective. We can then examine how such a perspective can take us from a fragmented world to one grounded in wholeness. Our journey will allow us to explore: 1) the nature of the human psyche; 2) yoga and meditation; 3) the extent to which the mythic imagination and scientific narratives are isomorphic; 4) the extent to which thought operates as a system; and 6) how dialogue can be used as a very effective communication tool. Disciplines examined in the class can include (but are not limited to): business, communication and media studies, religious studies, mythology, philosophy (East and West), psychology, sociology, anthropology, archeology, world literature, quantum physics, cognitive biology, and art.

The Political Economy of Work and Organizations

Instructor: Marie Wallace

Work and labor in its present and past form; Work as a cultural and political institution; Technological change and shifting economic sectors and modes of production; Credentialism, professionalism, occupational prestige and social inequalities in the US labor market (race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, and class); Precarious work (include temporary and contract work as well as the jobs in the “gig” or sharing economy); Care-work, global care chain and emotional labor; Decline in unionism; Alienation and work; Structure and function of complex organizations/bureaucracies related to work; Fordism and Tayorism.

 

Work in the 21st Century

Instructor: Suzanne Lewenstein

Late 1990’s proponents of a “New Economy” heralded the transition from a manufacturing-based to a knowledge-based economy. In this post-industrial society they predicted new technologies would create stimulating work for high-skilled employees and most manual labor would disappear. This would lead to great growth and prosperity. Now, less than 20 years later our economy is recovering from burst bubbles and a severe recession. In this course we look at some of the ways in which employment is evolving in this new era - new career fields, waning occupations, changing attitudes toward work and 21st century strategies for achieving a meaningful life.

Summer 2018

The Art and Science of Work-Life Integration

Instructor: David Thomas

Through extensive self-assessment across multiple perspectives, students learn how to navigate contemporary career issues and guide career-life management choices over their lifespan.

This topic is offered as part of the Interdisciplinary Studies’ Czech Republic study abroad program.

 

The Body Over Time

Instructor:  Bruce Oberstein

 

The students will be working with Guatemalan medical doctors or veterinarians. The students will evaluate, analyze, and discuss how the culture, economics, and political environment of Guatemala determines the health care of the people of Guatemala. The students will also compare and contrast the health outcomes between the United States and Guatemala.  

This topic is offered as part of the Interdisciplinary Studies’ Guatemala study abroad program.

 

The Global Workplace

Instructors: Jessica Hirshorn/Stephen Davis

This course will examine the global workplace from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. An emphasis will be placed on examining and developing intercultural competencies that are essential in today’s diverse work environment. Whether one is working for a business, health-care provider, educational institution, or not-for-profit agency, intercultural skills are a necessity in today’s world. Through the use of experiential exercises, research and film students will gain valuable cultural, geographic, political, environmental, economic, and religious insights that will help provide them with the competencies needed to be successful in today’s global world.

This topic is offered as part of the Interdisciplinary Studies’ China study abroad program.

 

Identity and Conflict in Europe

Instructors: Andi Hess

This course will explore the concepts of identity, ethnicity and nationalism in relation to the conflicts of the 20th century and subsequent integration efforts in Europe. Using examples from many of Europe’s ethnic and national communities, we will examine how identities in this region were formed and have evolved. We will learn what role these national and regional identities play in today’s European nations as they face the increasingly complex economic and political realities of the European integration project\.

This topic is offered as part of the Interdisciplinary Studies’ Dublin study abroad program.

 

Integrating Identities

Instructor:  Melanie Pitts

 

In this particular section of BIS 402, we will be using an interdisciplinary approach to question and study issues of identity. Contemporary perspectives from social/developmental psychology, sociology, and philosophy suggest that the self is more multiple than unified – and more so today than ever before. But, how many identities can a person have? What role does coherence play in our sense of selfhood? And, what processes are useful for integrating these multiple identities into a coherent sense of self?

In an attempt to answer these questions, students will spend the first half of the semester examining various categories of social identity (including gender, race, and ethnicity) and how “difference” impacts the development of stereotypes, power struggles, and group relations. We will review these various positions and situate ourselves within the landscape of multiplicity. In the second half of the term, students will practice integrating their personal and professional identities through various forms of life writing (both autobiographical and philosophical) and by constructing electronic portfolios.

 

Integrative Thinking

Instructor: Kelly Nelson

 

This online accelerated course will help you develop thinking skills that are associated with interdisciplinary studies: analytical thinking, divergent thinking, new territory thinking and synthesis. You will be practicing, applying and integrating these different types of thinking through multiple thinking exercises, discussion board posts and two integrative papers.