Course Descriptions Fall 2020

WRC 1010.101 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS FOR WRC

  •  Gen Ed. Attribute: Quantitative Literacy
  • Instructor: Sarah Greenwald
  • M: 4:00pm-4:50pm & TR 3:30pm-4:45pm 

Prerequisite:  passing the math placement test or MAT 0010.

Whether it is counting the number of stars, understanding why the Benjamin Franklin fund never earned its intended money, or managing the uncertainty inherent in polling and medical testing, many real-life situations require the critical and creative analysis of a variety of mathematical interpretations in order to fully consider the implications. This course focuses on local to global connections related to the application of geometry, algebra, probability, and statistics as you develop creative inquiry skills, research techniques, and communication skills. You’ll also explore what mathematics is, what it has to offer, and the diverse ways that people can be successful in mathematics and impact the world (including you!), as we study:  

  • Geometry of our Earth and Universe: How we measure and view the world around us and decide what is the nature of reality.
  • Personal Finance: How we apply algebra to interest formulas and decisions we make about our own lives.
  • Consumer Statistics: How probability and statistical techniques allow us to recognize the misrepresentations of studies and make public and private policy decisions.
  • What is Mathematics? To reflect more broadly about the course themes as we tie the segments together.  You can choose a topic you are interested in and research how mathematics relates to it or you can design a creative review of what we covered in class. You will communicate your expertise in a poster presentation session.  

WRC 1103.101 INVESTIGATIONS LOCAL: STORIES CAN SAVE US

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Serves as First Year Seminar (including Honors) and ENG/RC 1000 for Watauga College students.
  • Instructor: Joseph Bathanti 
  • Time: TR 11:00am-1:45pm & TR 2:00-3:15pm

Words are all we have,” Samuel Beckett reminds us. All of us bear stories and they all matter, and I would hazard that sharing stories comes as naturally to humans of every stripe as breathing. Stories make us jointly human. They kindle intimacy. Stories can save us even when we don’t know we need saving – by returning us to who we are essentially, by underscoring what matters most to us, by taking us back home, wherever that home might reside – an abstract in all likelihood. Tim O’Brien writes, in his short story, “Spin,” from The Things They Carried: “Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story." This course will tackle story from a generous vantage. While the bulk of the reading will be short stories, some classic, some obscure, we’ll also read/view other kinds of stories: poems, memoirs, essays, interviews, film, even a play or two – and we’ll host a few guests who will share their spellbinding stories with us.  And, of course, you will write some stories too.

WRC 1103.102 INVESTIGATIONS LOCAL: A Critical Perspective on Food

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Serves as First Year Seminar (including Honors) and ENG/RC 1000 for Watauga College students.
  • Instructor: Julia Callander and Kelly Renwick
  • Time: MW 2-3:15pm & TR 11am-1:45pm

Food is everything. Food is the primary source of energy for our bodies; it is a form of creative and cultural expression; and it can be a rallying call for implementing social change. In the last two decades, the uniqueness of regional foods has become associated with distinctive cultural identities and has resulted in thriving food and restaurant industries. Yet there is a great deal of controversy and politics wrapped up in our food. The advent of "foodieism" has elevated culinary expression into a high art form; trendy diets like paleo and keto flood social media; and people will fight tooth and nail over the right way to make barbecue. But not everyone has access to food – low income populations all over the world, including in the United States, struggle to find healthy and nutritious food on a daily basis. Food insecurity, industrial production, and the proliferation of food deserts mean higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease—one of the biggest public health crises of the modern era.Our inquiry into food will span a wide variety of materials and topics to get at the heart and the roots of food. Our immediate focus will be on food in western North Carolina, but, as you'll discover, even the most local of food experiences imbricates us in complex historical, cultural, and ecological networks around the world. Three sections of 1103 -- taught by Professors Renwick, Callander, and Martell -- will be exploring this theme at the same time. Each section will be a bit different, but all three of them will share some core texts and collaborate on active learning activities.

WRC 1103.103 INVESTIGATIONS LOCAL: DEMOCRACY: AN OWNER'S MANUAL

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Serves as First Year Seminar (including Honors) and ENG/RC 1000 for Watauga College students.
  • Instructor: Joseph Gonzalez
  • Time: TR 11:00am-1:45pm & TR 2:00-3:15pm

Democracy is under attack. Both in the United States and Western Europe, substantial numbers of citizens express disillusion with or contempt for democratic governance. Perhaps most troubling of all, young people (by some measures) express the greatest degree of indifference, refusing to participate in important democratic and civic rituals, such as voting. This semester we will consider how we came to this point--and what we can do about it. In the best traditions of Watauga, we will explore the foundations upon which our republic was created, some of the crises it has endured, and its current state. Just as important, we will investigate democratic institutions locally and nationally, critically evaluating the U.S. Constitution and local organizations, such as schools, newspapers, and service clubs, that contribute to our civic life. Students will emerge from the course with an enhanced sense of how they can both participate in and care for the institutions that make our republic function.

WRC 1103.104 INVESTIGATIONS LOCAL: METAMORPHOSES IN LIFE: LOVE AND DEATH

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Serves as First Year Seminar (including Honors) and ENG/RC 1000 for Watauga College students.
  • Instructor: Michael Dale
  • Time: MW 2:00pm-3:15pm & TR 11:00am-1:45pm 

Love and death are oftentimes experienced as seismic upheavals in our lives; we are changed in puzzling, perhaps even mysterious ways by these two forces, sometimes delightfully and sometimes terrifyingly or painfully. In love, suddenly someone or something that perhaps we did not even know existed comes into our life and now is seen and felt as a presence we cannot imagine living without. In death, as the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins puts it, "I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day." How should we see and understand the experiences and transformations wrought by love and death? The question is especially important in a society that frequently trivializes love, and at times and in some circumstances, makes death something to either be avoided, not spoken of, or a spectacle of entertainment.

WRC 1103.105 INVESTIGATIONS LOCAL: A Critical Perspective on Food

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Serves as First Year Seminar (including Honors) and ENG/RC 1000 for Watauga College students.
  • Instructor: Jessica Martell
  • Time: TR 11:00am-1:45pm & TR 2:00-3:15pm

Food is everything. Food is the primary source of energy for our bodies; it is a form of creative and cultural expression; and it can be a rallying call for implementing social change. In the last two decades, the uniqueness of regional foods has become associated with distinctive cultural identities and has resulted in thriving food and restaurant industries. Yet there is a great deal of controversy and politics wrapped up in our food. The advent of "foodieism" has elevated culinary expression into a high art form; trendy diets like paleo and keto flood social media; and people will fight tooth and nail over the right way to make barbecue. But not everyone has access to food – low income populations all over the world, including in the United States, struggle to find healthy and nutritious food on a daily basis. Food insecurity, industrial production, and the proliferation of food deserts mean higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease—one of the biggest public health crises of the modern era. 

Our inquiry into food will span a wide variety of materials and topics to get at the heart and the roots of food. Our immediate focus will be on food in western North Carolina, but, as you'll discover, even the most local of food experiences imbricates us in complex historical, cultural, and ecological networks around the world. Three sections of 1103 -- taught by Professors Renwick, Callander, and Martell -- will be exploring this theme at the same time. Each section will be a bit different, but all three of them will share some core texts and collaborate on active learning activities.

WRC 1103.106 INVESTIGATIONS LOCAL: A Critical Perspective on Food

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Serves as First Year Seminar (including Honors) and ENG/RC 1000 for Watauga College students.
  • Instructor: Julia Callander and Kelly Renwick
  • Time: MW 2:00pm-3:15pm & TR 11:00am-1:45pm

Food is everything. Food is the primary source of energy for our bodies; it is a form of creative and cultural expression; and it can be a rallying call for implementing social change. In the last two decades, the uniqueness of regional foods has become associated with distinctive cultural identities and has resulted in thriving food and restaurant industries. Yet there is a great deal of controversy and politics wrapped up in our food. The advent of "foodieism" has elevated culinary expression into a high art form; trendy diets like paleo and keto flood social media; and people will fight tooth and nail over the right way to make barbecue. But not everyone has access to food – low income populations all over the world, including in the United States, struggle to find healthy and nutritious food on a daily basis. Food insecurity, industrial production, and the proliferation of food deserts mean higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease—one of the biggest public health crises of the modern era. 

Our inquiry into food will span a wide variety of materials and topics to get at the heart and the roots of food. Our immediate focus will be on food in western North Carolina, but, as you'll discover, even the most local of food experiences imbricates us in complex historical, cultural, and ecological networks around the world. Three sections of 1103 -- taught by Professors Renwick, Callander, and Martell -- will be exploring this theme at the same time. Each section will be a bit different, but all three of them will share some core texts and collaborate on active learning activities.

WRC 2001.101 Days in the Life

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Second Year Writing
  • Instructor: Clark Maddux
  • Time: MW 2 pm - 3:15 pm 

The theme of this section of WRC 2001 explores the history and rhetoric of religion in Appalachia.  By honing our practices of reading, writing, and critical thinking in this course, we will investigate the practice of religion in our locality and wider region.  We will write a variety of papers and prepare projects based on our research.  Students will exercise all of the learning outcomes of RC 2001, including writing in a variety of genres and developing a meta-cognitive understanding of rhetoric.

WRC 2201.101 HEARING VOICES: SCIENCE AND NATURE IN LITERATURE

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Integrative Learning Experience Theme; Literary Studies Designation
  • Instructor: Michael Dale
  • Time: TR 9:30am-10:45am

Living in relationships with the natural world (land, oceans, and the larger universe of galaxies and star systems) and reaching for an understanding of nature provides fertile ground for novelists, short-story writers, and writers of narrative non-fiction. In this seminar we will explore and examine the intellectual and emotional landscape of fictional and non-fiction beings as they are immersed in and navigate the world of science and nature. What happens when the sciences and humanities meet? What do we learn about science and the all-too-human human beings who pursue scientific knowledge and understanding when both are brought together on the landscapes of novels, short stories, poems, and essays? What do we hear from the voices of science and scientists in narrative literature and poetry?

WRC 2202.101 WHAT IF? ASKING HISTORICAL QUESTIONS: "WAIT, WHAT HAPPENED?!" EXPLORING BUBONIC PLAGUE THROUGH NARRATIVE HISTORY AND HISTORICAL FICTION

  • Gen Ed Attribute:  Integrated Learning Experience theme; Historical Studies designation
  • Instructor: Marjon Ames
  • Time: MWF 11:00am-11:50am (Section 101); MWF 9:00am-9:50am (Section 102)

How do we know what we think we know? What informs our understanding of the past? This course examines both historical nonfiction and fictionalized accounts of plagues to help us shape the ways we think about European history. Students read a variety of historical works in order to form a foundation of techniques and theories on which to build. Students read fiction in conjunction with nonfiction, and consider what makes for successful storytelling and why it has fascinated people throughout history. Students examine different storytelling techniques employed, question the quality of the portrayal of the historical backdrop, and observe how different approaches in narrative can result in different stories. The course's main foci are the stories told by the students themselves. By the end of the semester, each student is expected to produce a substantial piece of historical fiction. The class is structured around a series of workshops in which students lead the discussions and critique each other's work.

WRC 2405.101 Living & Learning in Community

  • Gen Ed Attribute:  Liberal Studies Experience 
  • Instructor: Holly Ambler 
  • Time: MW 2 - 3:15 pm 

What does it mean to be a community member and leader? How do leaders mobilize residents to make progress on tough community issues? What does it mean to be an academic community? In this course we will investigate personal development, community development, responsible citizenship and individual/community identity. We will use the knowledge gained about individual and community development to examine what it means to be a successful community. This will be a project based learning lab with Watauga Residential College as our primary resource. We will continue the work of the community in the areas of branding/marketing, creeds, community engagement, curriculum, houses, student government. Various books, media and readings will be resources as we investigate the concept of living and learning in community.

WRC 3000.101 Interrogating Popular Culture

  • Gen Ed Attribute:  Integrated Learning Experience theme; Social Science designation
  • Instructor: Elizabeth L. Davidson 
  • Time: TR 2 - 3:15 pm 

An exploration of various social science methodologies for understanding the deeper meaning and social significance of our digital society. Students will explore a variety of social science concepts while gaining media awareness and research skills. The cumulating efforts and findings from the class's systematic investigations will be presented in visually rich formats.

WRC 3203.101 Why Art? Ways of Responding to the World Around Us

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Integrative Learning Experience (Theme: “Experiencing Inquiry: How to Ask Questions”), Fine Arts Designation 
  • Instructor: Mel Falck 
  • Time: W 5:00 pm - 7:30pm

An integrative and creative encounter with multi-model artistic processes as a means of exploring unique inquiries and responses to natural, social, and constructed environments. Artisitc forms studied may include visual art, dance, drama, poetry, music, puppetry, and film. 

WRC 3401.101 Myth and Meaning: Interpreting Infection

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience, Literary Studies Designation  
  • Instructor: Julia Callander 
  • Time: MW 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

In this course we will study representations of infectious disease in ancient mythology and religion, in narrative fiction, in political thought, and in popular culture, using these texts as case studies for some of the most pressing political, philosophical, and interpretive concerns of our age. So-called "plague narratives" are an ideal arena in which to investigate the legal, ethical, and conceptual relationships between individual subjects, bodies, and the "body public," questions about human nature and the state of nature, and questions about how governments form and what the best types of government are. We'll also analyze how illness in these texts highlights or complicates contemporary conceptions of "otherness," and how plague narratives employ different narrative frameworks (providential, rational, existential, etc.). Finally, we'll consider how these texts metaphorize illness and contagion as a way of thinking about other topics (for example: colonialism, print culture, revolutionary politics, and divine judgement)—but we'll also think carefully about the ethical and aesthetic implications of those metaphors.
 

WRC 4001.101 Seminar in Experiential, Integrative Learing

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Capstone for Watauga Minor
  • Instructor: Clark Maddux
  • Time: MW 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm 

This is the culminating course for the Watauga minor. In this class, we'll compare the history and organization of Watauga Residential College with other residential colleges. Students will draft and revise a written reflection on their own experience in WRC; draft and revise a seminar paper on the history of WRC; compose an annotated bibliography related to residential colleges; develop an original policy or procedure designed to improve the work of the College and present research, findings, and recommendations to the faculty of the College. Students will also compile a final portfolio containing evidence of their work in the minor during this class and submit it on Aportfolio.