Faculty: Glenn Hinson, Department of Anthropology and Department of American Studies

How does one address the erasures of southern history? This class is all about those erasures, and specifically the erasures of Black experience . . . and the legacy of racial terrorism that has so shaped that experience in North Carolina. We’ll spend the semester conducting archival research to discover the family histories of lynching victims in the state, and then to trace those families to the present. As we locate descendants, students will visit and interview them, chronicling the stories of their present-day lives. At the same time, we’ll be working with community leaders in places where lynchings occurred, to explore their interest in building public awareness—and perhaps public memorials—to the all-too-often “forgotten” racial violence.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: Mararet Scarry, Department of Anthropology and Research Labs of Archaeology

Archaeobotanists identify and interpret plant remains recovered from archaeological sites in order to understand the ways that ancient communities used plants for food, fuel, shelter, and other needs. This lab class will introduce you to the aims, methods, and applications of archaeobotany and give you experience working with archaeological plant remains. As a class, we will undertake the analysis of plant remains from an American Indian village in the Piedmont of North Carolina. People lived at this village during colonial times when the English were beginning to settle in the area and trade with the Indians. Our goal will be to investigate what kinds of plants villagers were growing, gathering, and eating and to consider whether their interactions with the colonists were changing the Indians foodways. Our analyses will contribute to an on-going investigation of dietary and health changes among Piedmont tribes during the colonial era.

Offered:
Fall 2018
Fall 2016 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Barbara Stegenga, Department of Biology
Students will be collaborating in an ongoing research project with Dr. Elizabeth Shank, a scientist in the Biology Department. Specifically, the Shank lab is interested in studying how different bacteria interact via small molecules produced by microbes. These molecules are important sources of therapeutic drugs for humans, and include antibiotics, antifungals, anticancer drugs, and immunosuppressive agents which most students connect to. The goal for the students in the course is to discover new small molecules secreted from soil microorganisms through the co-culture screening that students perform on many soil samples. Students will experience iteration by performing many screens on many samples and collaborate with each other to answer questions. In addition to using this type of co-culture screening, students will also use microbiology techniques such as plate streaking, isolating pure cultures, performing serial dilutions of bacteria to determine cell density and using fluorescent microscopy to help identify soil microbes.

Offered: Summer 2018

Faculty: Maria Servedio, Department of Biology
Mathematical models are an integral part of evolutionary biology, where they are used for a range of purposes, from providing approximate descriptions of phenomena to serving as formal tests of the logic of specific evolutionary hypotheses. Yet students in the biological sciences are rarely exposed to formal mathematical models of evolution during their undergraduate curriculum. This course introduces undergraduates to the use of mathematical models in evolution in topics ranging from sexual selection, to speciation, to cultural evolution. The course presents a variety of techniques, going into most depth in population genetic models and their analysis through analytical and numerical techniques. Students learn how to use the program Mathematica, with which they work through a variety of models to gain a better intuition about how evolutionary forces alter the composition of populations. Students also develop an original evolutionary research question to be explored using modeling techniques. Once their hypothesis is formed, they derive a mathematical model to address it, analyze the model and present their results both in a oral presentation and a written paper.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Chris Martin, Department of Biology
Did you know that the Venus flytrap is found only within a 75-mile radius around Wilmington, North Carolina? Or that some fish make a living by eating scales? This class will conduct publishable research in evolution and ecology by testing unanswered questions about the evolution of two spectacular adaptations: the Venus flytrap and the scale-eating pupfish. Students will be introduced to these fascinating organisms while conducting new research investigating the origins of these complex adaptations. Conceptually, the course will be organized as an in-depth study of adaptation, the creative scientific process, and an introduction to statistical graphing and data analysis.

Students will test hypotheses for the evolution of extraordinary adaptations in these systems by collecting field data on prey captured by carnivorous plants in nature, conducting prey capture experiments in the lab, and analyzing high-speed videos of prey capture. Students will be taught how to generate hypotheses, collect and analyze data in the R statistical programming language, discuss scientific literature, and publish their results. This research-intensive class will enable students to ask their own independent research questions and conduct experiments to answer them. The class will include a field trip to the Green Swamp, the home of the Venus flytrap, fieldwork on carnivorous plants at UNC’s Botanical Garden, an introduction to vertebrate animal research from the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, and practice recording high-speed videos of live pupfish scale-biting behavior in the instructor’s laboratory fish facility.

Offered:
Spring 2018
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Blaire Steinwand and John Bruno, Department of Biology

Students use forensics sciences (primarily DNA barcoding) to quantify seafood mislabeling (e.g., farm raised tilapia sold as wild caught salmon). Seafood mislabeling is a significant global problem, with health and social consequences. Primarily this is a course about how to do science. How to develop scientific hypothesis, perform experiments, analyze data, write manuscripts, and publish results in a peer-reviewed journal. Along the way students will develop laboratory and general science skills and learn about fisheries and seafood sciences. This is meant to be an introduction to research: students are not expected to have any prior research experience. Additional topics covered include seafood supply chains and markets, fisheries management, over-fishing and its impact on marine ecosystems, and the importance of food labeling in human health. Through group work and whole-class collaboration, students will develop their own questions, collect data, and make conclusions. For more information read the University Gazette article “Seafood Forensics” and view a collection of student posters.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Sarah Grant, Department of Biology

Students will be participating in an ongoing research project led by two scientists in the Biology Department at UNC, Kerry and Elaine Bloom, who are studying chromosome structure and DNA repair mechanisms using yeast. The group projects will begin by exposing yeast to a mutagen and selecting mutants with specific characteristics that affect normal cell division. The students will then use techniques to identify candidate genes responsible for the mutant characteristics. Because the function of many genes can be predicted from their DNA sequence, identifying the mutated gene is a powerful step to understanding the biological mechanism responsible for the mutant characteristic. This is an approach that geneticists use to solve all kinds of biological questions. The novel mutants students characterize will have implications for understanding chromosome behavior during normal cell division and in cancerous cells.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Lori Del Negro, Department of Chemistry

Students will be working in collaboration with a real-time outreach project related to solar fuels, funded by the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation and the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.  Students will be collaborators with UNC’s Dr. Jillian Dempsey and her research team on a project, known as HARPOON (Heterogeneous Anodes Rapidly Perused for Oxygen Overpotential Neutralization).

Students will screen nonprecious metal oxides to find combinations and concentrations that function as catalysts to split water for use as a solar fuel.  The project allows students to develop their own focused research questions and hypotheses about the most promising metals and combinations.  Through this project, students will run experiments using electrochemistry and fluorescence spectroscopy.  Students will collaborate in teams and will submit their experimental results and research papers to the growing HARPOON database.

Offered:  Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Leslie Hicks, Department of Chemistry
In this research-oriented honors analytical methods lab, students will be answering an open research question in groups–working with a kinase that has not yet been characterized in nature. They will use learn various biochemical/analytical techniques for heterologous protein expression and characterization such as chromatographic, spectroscopic, and mass spectrometry/proteomics methods. Using these methods, they will carry out a real-world analysis towards elucidation of protein kinase-substrate relationships. Module 1 focuses on heterologous expression and protein purification (sessions 1-3); Module 2 covers protein identification via bottom-up proteomics technology (sessions 4-8); Module 3 confirms activity of the expressed enzyme (session 9); and the last session will be devoted to presenting the data in a written and presentation format.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Nita Eskew, Department of Chemistry

Students will be working in collaboration with an ongoing UNC Chemistry research project with Dr. David Nicewicz and his research team on the syntheses and analyses of pyrylium salts. Pyrylium salts are brightly colored molecules that have found use in the developing field of photoredox catalysis. Their utility comes from their ability to absorb visible light and enter higher energy excited electronic states. An important factor in using pyrylium salts is the wavelength of light that they absorb. The absorption spectra of these pyryliums are dependent on the substituents present on the phenyl rings. The goal of this project is to synthesize a library of pyrylium bisulfate salts and characterize them since little is known about the catalytic properties of these bisulfate salts. A module will include the synthesis and purification of chalcones, conversion of chalcones to pyrylium salts, and NMR and UV-Vis analyses of compounds. Students will work in teams and prepare research papers describing their work.

Check out this College of Arts & Sciences spotlight article.

Offered:
Spring 2018 (Syllabus)
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Nita Eskew, Department of Chemistry

This is an APPLES service-learning CURE course that partners with the Carolina Community Garden (CCG). Students will work in the garden to plant, care for, and/or harvest purslane (Portulaca oleracea), an edible medicinal plant, depending on the season. In the lab, partners will work together to analyze the concentrations of antioxidants in harvested purslane. A variety of lab techniques will be used, including extraction and UV-Vis spectroscopy. Students will keep a journal for reflection of their service work, and a lab notebook will be used for recording all experimentation. At the end of the semester, each student will write a summary paper, and teams will prepare and present research posters describing their projects. Our findings will be shared with the CCG. See an example of a student poster.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Frank Liebfarth, Department of Chemistry
This CURE course will seek to tranform the properties of commodity plastics through the discovery and development of new polymer C-H functionalization chemistries.  Through the course, students will gain skills in synthetic chemistry, catalysis, polymer processing, and advanced polymer characterization techniques.  Most importantly, students will be required to employ the scientific method to validate and optimize the reactivity of polymers and understand their subsequent structure-property relationships.  The proposed research project constitutes an interdisciplinary approach to the modification of synthetic polymers with potential applications in plastic recycling, functional coating, and optical films.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Thomas Freeman, Department of Chemistry
Do proteins from a unique kind of bacterium function similarly to human proteins that repair DNA damage and prevent cancer? Students in this class will learn techniques to clone, purify, and characterize DNA mismatch repair proteins from the bacterium Thermus aquaticus. Although the natural DNA repair process was the topic of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015, nobody has characterized the proteins and their functions in Thermus aquaticus, a bacterium that lives in extreme heat. Other proteins from this bacterium have revolutionized technique in molecular biology, so the natural processes that prevent DNA mutations within this unique bacterium are of great interest to scientists. Students work collaboratively to collect and analyze data in groups and will learn to communicate their findings clearly via written and oral presentations.

Offered:
Spring 2018 Faculty:  Thomas Freeman (Syllabus)
Fall 2017 Faculty:  Dorothy Erie and Thomas Freeman

Faculty: Geoff Bell, Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology
Students learn the ecological features and mechanisms that enable ecosystems to be self-sustaining and resilient, the ecological theories that form the foundation of restoration ecology, and how these theories are used to inform ecological restoration projects. The UNC campus, particularly Battle Park, serves as a learning laboratory to teach students practical field skills including vegetation sampling, water quality monitoring, and stream morphology survey techniques and how to use common ecological field equipment. Students apply these concepts and skills by working in small groups to design and conduct an experiment so they can collect and analyze data that will inform the restoration efforts of their local community partner. (Read more about the Fall 2016 Restoration Ecology class.)

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: Clark Gray, Department of Geography
Students use statistical and spatial methods to conduct novel research on the consequences of climate change and variability for human development. The focus will be on the developing world where the consequences of climate change are expected to be most severe, and the course will take advantage of an abundance of new high-quality data sources from these countries. Each year the course focuses on a new research question on the frontier of knowledge in climate and development. For example, are the changing precipitation patterns and increasing temperatures associated with climate change contributing to child stunting and underweight in Sub-Saharan Africa? Future sections of the course are expected to focus on climate and poverty, climate and migration, or climate and education in various world regions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among many others, has named climate social science of this type as a critical research need. The goal will be for each class to produce a co-authored manuscript to be submitted to a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: Jennifer Larson, Department of English and Comparative Literature

Student research projects will focus on finding and examining contextual primary materials—including letters, interviews, oral histories, and court transcripts—for landmark court cases and plays related to those cases. For example, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee’s Inherit the Wind fictionalizes The State of Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes, a trial involving the teaching of evolution; the play also alludes to key McCarthy-era cases. Students produce novel ideas around the cultural, political, and historical contexts of both the case’s hearing/decision and the play’s creation/performance; they will then present their findings in a multi-media montage.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: Courtney Rivard, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Students will work on a collaborative project between UNC, Yale University, and the University Richmond to merge an archival collection held at UNC’s Southern Historical Collection into a public, internet-based, Digital Humanities Project. The site will bring together all the photographs taken by the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression with over 1200 Life Histories from the Federal Writers’ Project. Users of the platform will be able to simultaneously search the merged collections, and generate data visualizations by using the metadata extracted from these materials. Students will help to build the infrastructure to make this user experience happen by creating a metadata schema for the life histories, marking up the life histories in TEI (similar to XML), employing text analysis to study trends in the text based data, and generating data visualizations to explore unseen connections in the material. In order to do this, students will have to confront the role of rhetoric in data construction as they decide which terms to select as metadata categories and how to mark-up antiquated, racist, and sexist terms that pervade many of these texts. They will productively struggle to find a balance between maintaining the authenticity of the documents and using the technology with eye towards social justice and greater inclusion. In so doing, students will learn key theories and marketable skills in Digital Humanities and Digital Rhetoric by becoming digital makers.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty:Drew Coleman and Allen F. Glazner, Department of Geological Sciences
This seminar is designed around a one-week field trip to eastern California, where students will study geologic features including active volcanoes, earthquake-producing faults, evidence for recent glaciations and extreme climate change, and how locals deal with living on active geologic features. Before the field trip, the class will meet twice a week to go over basic geologic principles and to work on field research topics for which student groups will be responsible. During the trip students will work on specific research projects (e.g., making a geologic map of a small area; mapping, measuring, and describing an active fault; observing and recording glacial features on a hike), and collect samples for an original, small group, research project. After the field trip students will complete laboratory analysis of samples and present the results of their research to the Department. See an example of the 2016 research projects in the GEOL 72H 2016 Journal Publication.

Offered: Fall 2017

Faculty: Marc Alperin, Department of Marine Sciences

North Carolina is home to some of the nation’s most productive, most scenic, and most threatened estuaries. This class will use the Neuse River estuary as a case study to examine both natural processes and human impacts on estuarine systems. The course includes one week of field work based at the Institute of Marine Sciences. The class is heavily “hands-on” and will blend field research, laboratory analyses, and data synthesis and interpretation. The course is suitable for both science and non-science majors, and will use team-based, cooperative-learning to accommodate differences in student’s math and science backgrounds. The Maymester format (three intense weeks) is ideal for extensive team interactions and a week-long field trip. (Satisfies Experiential Education [EE] and Physical Life Science with Lab [PX] requirements.)

Please see video for additional information about the course.

Offered:
Maymester 2018
Maymester 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Scott Gifford, Department of Marine Sciences
The students will center their learning and practice on a specific research question of importance to the scientific community: How can the information contained in the genomes of marine bacteria inform us about the ways different microbial taxa shape the organic chemistry of the ocean? Each liter of seawater contains over a million different bacterial cells that are organized in complex microbial communities, often consisting of hundreds to thousands of different species. The course will begin with a field trip in which students culture microbes from a local aquatic environment. The students will then learn how to extract DNA from their isolates and then submit their samples for genome sequencing. Upon return of their data, students will learn how to assemble complete genomes and will characterize the basic features of the genomes. The class will develop a database allowing them to cross-compare each other’s genomes and public databases. Finally, students will infer the ecological roles of their isolated organism in the ecosystem from which they were obtained based on the genomic data. A major challenge in environmental microbiology is being able to connect a unique ecological role to each of this species giving the overwhelming genetic diversity.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Mark Crescenzi, Department of Political Science; Stephen Gent, Department of Political Science
Students conduct quantitative research on peace, conflict, and conflict resolution. Students work in teams to develop original research projects that answer policy-relevant questions in the field of peace science. Through hands-on experience with data gathering and analysis, students learn how to develop and test novel hypotheses about the causes and consequences of conflict as well as the processes of conflict resolution and management.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: Viji Sathy, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Students ask novel questions and assess constructs that they use to survey their peers around a semester theme. Past themes have included topics that are timely to campus: course evaluations (student motivation, length, quality of feedback, etc.), learning environments (small vs. large classes, laptop policies, active learning, etc.), and identity (race, gender, academic, etc.). Students iterate around construct design, statistical methods, and writing and presenting their work.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Viji Sathy, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Students will work in small groups to identify a research topic of interest to them and plan, conduct, write up and present the results of this project. Students will practice all of the elements of research, such as submitting a mock IRB form and collecting informed consent. When data collection is complete, students use different statistical procedures and apply them to the data. Students iterate around experimental design, statistical methods, and writing and presenting their work.

Offered:

Spring 2018 (Syllabus)
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Jennifer Arnold, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

How do human minds accomplish the everyday skill of speaking and understanding? This course teaches research methods for studying language processing. In this project-based-learning course, students will learn about current topics in language processing, specifically around the topic of how prediction affects language and comprehension. Students propose an original research question and design and experiment to test it in the field of language processing. The experiments are modeled on studies from the literature and Dr. Arnold’s own research. Students learn to use tools to collect and analyze data, as well as how to write, revise, and orally present academic research.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Desiree Griffin, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

In this project-based course, students will work with a community partner to identify a clinical research question that will contribute to our understanding and treatment of psychological health and human behavior. Using an iterative method reflective of working in a clinical psychology research lab, students will collaborate with one another and community partners to develop hypotheses for the project, to prepare and analyze the data, to propose interpretations of the data, and to present their results.

Offered:  Fall 2019

Faculty: Viji Sathy, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

This class teaches methodological principles underlying psychology through hands-on project work.  Students will work in small groups to pose a novel question, gather and analyze data, and report findings on a topic relevant to the UNC-Chapel Hill community.  Over arching course goals are a greater understanding of the importance of collaboration, discovery, and the iterative nature of science.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Student-created website:  http://inclusivityinthemaking.web.unc.edu/behind-the-research/research-team/

Faculty: Anna Bardone-Cone, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience; Sabine Gruffat, Department of Art

This course explores the lives and experiences of women by integrating content and methodologies from psychology with perspectives on the depiction of women in the arts, namely digital media (photography, video). Students will study topics such as gender socialization, body image, work/achievement, sex and romance, motherhood, aging, and mental health with attention given to the diversity of women (e.g., race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status). By combining the science and arts disciplines, this course empowers students to examine women’s issues through different lenses (research, visual). This interdisciplinary approach will allow for a more meaningful exploration of women’s lives and experiences, and produce richer and more emotionally salient products and understanding.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Heidi Kim, Department of English and Comparative Literature; Erika Wise, Department of Geography

Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. Studied in the sciences for decades, this topic has increasingly been taken up in the arts and humanities, as scholars seek to understand potential impacts on societies and our emotional response to a changing environment. Weather and climate have always impacted human societies in ways both large and small, and writers have reflected upon this in their literature, taking global level changes and turning them into personal narratives of drought and displacement; of hope and fear. In this first-year seminar, we aim to “make the global personal” by using personal narratives found in literature to introduce students to the science of climate change. We will put our readings into action through a semester-long historical climatology project using campus archives and electronic resources to investigate a particular aspect of climate change in North Carolina.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: J. Christopher Clemens, Department of Physics and Astronomy; Brett Whalen, Department of History

Time and the Medieval Cosmos introduces first-year students to the basic motions of the solar system as viewed from the Earth and the mechanical and mathematical models used to reproduce them. Historically, difficulties in calculating this date drove innovations in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy, leading eventually to the crisis of the “Copernican” model. This course will also immerse students in the world of medieval and early modern education, theology, and natural philosophy, challenging them to understand the historical conditions that shaped premodern views of the cosmos. Throughout the semester, Time and the Medieval Cosmos will raise broader questions about the relationship between faith and reason, and the role of institutional authorities in determining the boundaries of “acceptable” knowledge.

Offered: Fall 2018

Faculty: Laurie McNeil, Department of Physics and Astronomy; Brent Wissick, Department of Music
The Interplay of Music and Physics seminar is for students who are interested in how music is made, how sound is produced in instruments, and how those sounds have been used in music making from ancient times to the present day. Students will study the basics of physics and music: wave motion, resonance, the perception of sound, scales, harmony, and music theory. We will conduct four laboratory exercises (called etudes) in which students will work in small groups to investigate the acoustics of string, woodwind and brass instruments. Keyboards and percussion will also be considered, and students can pursue their areas of special interest in a research paper. The final project for each student will be a public performance of an original musical composition for an ensemble of instruments that the students have constructed themselves out of found objects.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Lauren Leve, Department of Religious Studies; Lisa Pearce, Department of Sociology

This course will tackle a controversial issue—whether religion harms or benefits women. Readings, film, guest speakers and research assignments will expose students to the lives of women in several major faith traditions in regions around the globe, including Judaism in Israel, Hinduism in Nepal, Islam in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, and Christianity in United States (including Halifax County, North Carolina). Through class discussion, activities such as an organized debate, and regular writing assignments, we will examine how women are (or are not) religious in a variety of contexts and settings and how their participation and/or personalization of religion affects their personal well-being and place in society.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Lien Truong, Department of Art and Art History

This studio course will focus on the culturally rich practice of creating a narrative painting, and emphasize integrating BeAM space technology, tools and equipment in the creative process. In the course of Maymester, students will create one painting through their own personal lens, addressing topics that include social, cultural or scientific themes. Narrative paintings have mirrored social and scientific advancements, such as Thomas Eakins’ medical narrative paintings The Gross Clinic, 1875, and The Agnew Clinic, 1889 (pictured). Students will be guided through the creative process; from concept and design, to technological and handmade fabrication using various BeAM tools and equipment, and completing the work in the painting studio at Hanes Art Center.

Offered: Maymester 2018

Faculty: Maggie Cao, Department of Art and Art History

Clay, wood, cloth, glass, steel, and plastic. We interact with these materials every day, but rarely do we think about their properties and histories. This course explores the history and technology of materials and the ways they have impacted art, culture, and science. The course fully integrates historical scholarship and experiential making. Students engage both with the physical and chemical properties of materials through hands-on manipulation and fabrication at BeAM, studios, and laboratories across campus and study the historical and with theoretical debates surrounding material invention and use by artists, architects, scientists, and industries. How did the artisanal race to produce Asian porcelain in the eighteenth-century West impact the history of globalization? How did the wide adoption of plate glass in modern architecture alter social relations in the built environment? How will 3D printing technologies expand the potential uses of plastics in realms from fashion to weaponry?

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Jennifer Coble, Department of Biology

This course, designed for future high school science teachers, aims to develop the knowledge and skills teachers need to implement student-centered and conceptually focused science instruction. The major project for the course is designing lessons for a topic in the biology curriculum that allows high school students to engage in student-centered and hands-on exploration. Since much of the biology curriculum focuses on abstract biochemical and cellular topics, a central component of lesson design is creating models in the BeAM spaces on campus that allow students to envision and conceptualize the abstract topics. As a part of BIOL 410, students spend two hours each week serving as a TA in a local science classroom. Thus, the BIOL 410 students would have the opportunity to get feedback on their models from their host teacher and his/her high school students.

Offered:

Spring 2018
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Bill Brown, Department of Communication; Sabine Gruffat, Department of Art and Art History

Over the semester, students will learn about the history and science of cinema through lectures and readings while delving into the principles of photography, movie film, movie cameras, and movie projectors. They will explore the wonderful world of pre-cinematic optical toys by designing and fabricating a zoetrope, a pre-cinema optical device that creates simple animated effects. They will use digital modeling software to fabricate a pinhole camera, and will use the darkroom to hand-process the photographic images they make. They will use the laser cutter to etch their own 16mm movie film, and will explore the transformation of serial still images into motion pictures. They will design and create a toy cinematograph, a rudimentary movie projector, and learn how movies move. Through these projects, students may invent new cinematic machines that we have not yet begun to imagine, and that are made possible with the use of the innovative tools at BeAM.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Stefan Jeglinski, Department of Physics and Astronomy
The course uses everyday mechanisms or activities, which students are typically familiar with, to teach physics concepts in the broad areas of mechanics (e.g., walking/running, cars, carnival rides), thermodynamics (e.g., ovens and air conditioners), electricity and magnetism (e.g., microwave ovens, radio), and light (e.g., lasers, light bulbs, color wheels). A signature aspect of the course is to design and construct a time-keeping device in the BeAM spaces on campus with a strong artistic element. The clock has had the single greatest impact in history on the creation and advancement of science. The incorporation of this project draws a critical connection between the human drive to create time, and the use of time to create science.

Offered: Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Marsha Penner, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Students work in pairs or small groups, taking turns designing hands-on activities that illustrate fundamental concepts in neuroscience to the general public. In a single semester in this service-learning course, the class presents at 40-45 events in the community. The objectives of Neural Connections (PSYC424) are three-fold: 1) to learn neuroscience concepts through the design, creation, and use of hands-on activities fabricated in the BeAM spaces on campus, 2) to communicate neuroscience concepts to a wide audience through engagement with these activities, 3) to promote inclusivity in science. Our class motto is “Science is for everyone, and everyone is a scientist”.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Research-Related Skills (RRS) courses promote the development of scholarly writing, critical scholarly literature review, and research presentation skills during a student’s undergraduate research experience. Students in RRS courses are enrolled in a research-intensive undergraduate course (e.g. RELI/ANTH/PSYC 395) for a maximum of 3 credits. In addition to their assigned research hours, students participate in a recitation section that meets weekly for 1 hour in a group setting where they engage in reading, analyzing, and presenting scholarly literature, as well as on writing abstracts and giving talks on their research to different audiences.

Current RSS courses include:

Faculty: Mark Slabodnick and Jean Smith, Department of Biology

Students attending BIOL 395H are engaged in 10 weekly hours of Biology research in different labs under the mentorship of principle investigators. In addition to the independent-mentored research in their corresponding labs, students attend a 1.5 hours weekly meeting under the leadership of a postdoctoral fellow. The goal of the weekly meetings is for the students to develop research related skills, addressing mainly the three pillars of scientific research- reading, writing, presenting:

  • Scientific reading (Journal club)- Students discuss primary scientific literature. Each journal club session is led by a group of students who choose a peer-reviewed paper or a pre-print beforehand.
  • Chalk talks: Each student presents their research project. The presentation is 20-30 minutes long and is not based on powerpoint presentations, but rather- board and marker (the modern version of a board and chalk).
  • Writing and reviewing assignments: students have writing assignments (e.g. writing an abstract on their research, or writing a mini-grant to propose follow up experiments for papers they have read) that are later reviewed by their peers during class meetings.

There is an emphasis in BIOL 395H on student-based and student-led activities. While the instructor is always involved in the review and feedback process, we believe it is highly important for the students’ academic growth to learn how to evaluate, criticize, and lead.

Offered:

Spring 2018 (Syllabus)
Fall 2017

Faculty: Jennifer Hazen, Department of Public Policy
This course provides students with mentoring and practice to enhance their research, analytical, writing, and presentation skills. This course will be run as a workshop, emphasizing the practice of these skills. Students will work in small groups on practical assignments, such as: identifying reputable sources, analyzing scholarly literature, and providing peer review of drafts of course assignments for PLCY352H. These small group discussions will provide the basis for a larger class discussion. Students will have numerous opportunities to present their work to their small groups.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Eric Youngstrom, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Offered: Fall 2017

 

Faculty: Monica Michelle Gaudier-Diaz, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Research-related skills course PSYCH 395-299 will strengthen the undergraduate research experience by offering students an opportunity to develop critical scientific thinking, communication, and writing skills. Specifically, students will 1) participate and lead paper discussions, 2) develop a research proposal, 3) complete and present a scientific poster at the “Quality Enhancement Plan Research and Making Expo” and 4) translate findings of a research article to a non-scientific audience via a blog-post. 

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)