RCC Courses 2017

Learn more about what to expect from your first semester at Rollins and how we can help!

Learning Together

Rollins believes that a liberal arts education should be practical (applied), that students learn best by doing, and that classes are most impactful when students and faculty learn together.

Rollins College Conferences

In addition to taking exploratory courses in Foundations, your first semester at Rollins will include a Rollins College Conference, or RCC. In your RCC, you'll encounter your Peer Mentors who are sophomore, junior, and senior students who will guide you through your transition to Rollins. The RCC is a seminar class in which approximately 16 students meet with a faculty member to explore a topic in the professor's area of expertise. The professors are drawn from the full range of academic disciplines encompassing the arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

RCCs are generally not connected to a specific major, so you should feel free to explore a topic that truly interests you.

Prof. Josh Almond - 3D Foundations: Intro to Sculpture

This studio course introduces the fundamentals of contemporary sculptural practice with an emphasis on spatial awareness, problem solving, and technical development. Consideration is given to the range of three-dimensional form as found in both contemporary art and design, and in different cultural and historical contexts, as well. We begin with low art materials (masking tape, cardboard, and glue) and work our way up to more substantive media (namely wood), all the while learning how to properly use the tools and equipment needed to manipulate those materials. This course combines studio projects, readings, papers, and class discussions. 

Prof. Alexa Gordon - RCC 200: Transition Seminar

Want to transform from Transfer to Tar? Ready to #FindYourAnchor? The Rollins Transition Seminar is designed to acclimate new transfer and exchange students to our campus. This course will emphasize student resources and support services, career and life planning, and leadership development. Our class will serve as your weekly check-in for all things Rollins.

Dr. Wendy Brandon - Food in a Changing World

On a planet with sufficient food for all, a billion people go hungry; another billion over-consume all the wrong things. Our global food system has failed to provide the world's people adequate nutrition, food security, or environmental sustainability. Now, several threats from population growth, climate change, and the unsustainable use of resources have converged, intensifying pressure on people and governments around the world to transform the way food is produced, distributed and consumed. Responsibility for action lies with us all. In this course, we investigate why we eat what we eat and examine the political, social, and cultural reasons for US food policy and practice. While US Food Policy is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution for a sustainable global food system.

Dr. Martha Cheng - Language and Identity

We will investigate the relationship between language use and individual identity, which entails national and local languages affiliations, as well as daily interactional habits. Students will explore the theme by studying various disciplinary perspectives, such as linguistics, anthropology, rhetoric, and discourse studies and by analyzing texts such as movies, speeches, articles, and social media. Students will also develop and practice college-level writing skills. The course fulfills the General Education Writing Competency (WCMP).

Dr. Whitney Coyle - Physics for Future Presidents

From energy to climate change, space travel, and nuclear war - this course will use discussions as well as hands-on lab experiences to delve into the physics affecting the decisions of today's politicians, policy makers, and CEOs. Unfortunately, many of our leaders never studied physics, and do not understand science and technology. Misinterpret, misjudge, misunderstand the science - make a wrong decision. This course is designed to help those on all paths - political scientist, business owner, science policy advisor, President of the United States of America, etc. -  grasp the physics needed to be an well-informed world leader. Some essential topics include: energy and power, gravity and space, radioactivity, atomic bombs, electricity and magnetism, and light. 

Dr. Mario D'Amato - Fight Club, God, and the Buddha

What does the movie Fight Club have to do with religion?  A lot.  A number of contemporary films contain more or less explicit messages about the meaning of life and death, the possibility of salvation, the ultimate aims of human existence, and other issues that have traditionally belonged to the domain of religious discourse.  In this course we will closely examine some of these films, reading them as texts alongside other texts.  That is to say, we will study these films in conjunction with readings on religion.  We will examine films such as Donnie Darko, The Big Lebowski, Inception, and our readings will discuss aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, and other religions.  The primary aim of this course will be to train ourselves to be more reflective about the religious messages conveyed in contemporary film.

Dr. Joan Davison - Globalization (Accelerated Management Program RCC)

Globalization explores the deepening and widening connections in our world through various communities and interactions: religious, cultural, virtual, economic, military, political, and epistemic. The course identifies the winners and losers of globalization, and examines its advantages and disadvantages. The course also considers the five sins of globalization related to human trafficking, terrorism, and trade in drugs, organs, and arms. Students will conclude with a consideration of what responsible citizenship means in a world of both globalization and glocalization.

Dr. Nancy Decker - German on the Fast Track

The subject of our RCC is German on the Fast Track and it is just that -- elementary German and fast! German is an extremely useful language for anyone interested in high tech, continental philosophy, tourism, the automotive industry, beer brewing, protecting the environment, world class soccer, classical music, techno, or dog obedience training (just to name a few). In this course, which meets five days a week, you will earn the equivalent of two semesters of course credit in elementary German. The course is limited to those students with no more than one year of high school German. The course is also not appropriate for students who have spent more than six weeks in a German-speaking area. The idea is to learn the basics of German so that you can advance quickly in the language and then spend some time overseas. Participants will be well on the way toward preparing themselves for a semester abroad at our partner universities in either Bremen or Munich or for the Dual Degree Program at the University of Reutlingen.

Dr. Rosana Diaz-Zambrana - 50 Flavors of Spanish

Throughout this course, you will explore how the peoples and cultures of Latin America, one of the most diverse and fascinating regions of the globe, have been represented in literature, film, culture, and language. We will examine how language works in context, both grammatically and orally. Throughout several activities that foster your communicative skills, we will explore questions of race, religion, politics, the role of women in society, the arts, revolution, music, immigration, among other topics.

Dr. Hannah Ewing - Ottomon History/Mysteries

This is a class for book-lovers and history-lovers. We'll explore the history and culture of the long-lasting Ottoman Empire (ca. 1300 to 1922), partially through traditional texts and partially through three modern mystery novels set in the empire during different eras. We'll investigate the Middle Eastern empire's medieval roots, massive expansion and evolution as a gunpowder empire, and relationships with its neighbors, all the way to its eventual disintegration following World War I. A particular area of focus will be the tumultuous 19th century. Students will also gain a grounding in historical methods and writing, familiarity with the cultures and history of the Middle East, and the chance to read mysteries for class. [FYI: Most students registering for this course will also be linked with an introductory-level U.S. history course.]

Dr. Matthew Forsythe - The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat: Writing about Sports

As fans, we marvel at the power of Simone Biles, the footwork of Lionel Messi, and the speed of Usain Bolt. Communities gather to support their chosen teams, and a noteworthy game can become a cultural memory for the participants and witnesses.  In this class, we will analyze the prose of the talented sportswriters who capture these moments in longform journalism, focusing on the themes they explore and the techniques that help them mold language into a transformative experience for their readers.  In the process, this course (which fulfills the General Education Writing Competency) will prepare you for the academic writing that you will complete in college - including analytical essays, synthesis papers, and research-based arguments - as you hone your skills at designing, drafting, and revising essays.  At the same time, we will examine the many ways that the realm of athletics can overlap with the disciplines of a liberal arts curriculum, and we will discuss the ethical problems that lurk in the shadows of our favorite sports, becoming more thoughtful fans -- and citizens -- in the process.

Dr. Todd French - Discipline: Crafting subjectivities, shaping life (Honors Program RCC)

This course examines the topic of discipline in a variety of contexts. Beginning with discussion of how disciplining the body and mind can lead to success--while taking time to assess whether discipline can adjust definitions of success--the student will progress through topics associated with Life Hacks, Technologies of the body, and sexuality, to a broader and sustained meditation on philosophical notions of discipline and their construction and deployment in society. We will explore the prison industrial complex, counter cultural revolutions, and conclude with an assessment of how discipline is a useful notion for exploring, creating, and extending the "life" we hold dear.

Dr. Zackary Gilmore - The Human Adventure

This course tackles some of the biggest questions surrounding the human experience.  Where did the human species come from and how did we get to be the way that we are?  What separates humans from other animals? How do we explain humanity's incredible biological and cultural diversity?  These and other questions are examined from a holistic perspective that is informed by all four subdisciplines of American anthropology (biological, archaeological, cultural, and linguistic).  Students are introduced to the methods and approaches of each of these subdisciplines, while simultaneously exploring a wide range of anthropological topics including human origins and evolution, ancient technologies and civilizations, and contemporary cultural variation related to kinship, gender, religion, economics, and language.  Along the way, students are provided opportunities to examine the fossils of human ancestors, analyze ancient artifacts, and discuss cutting edge questions about what it truly means to be human.    

Dr. John Grau - The Global Landscape of Music

Global Landscape of Music will take students on a historical voyage to study major musical composers and compositions through listening, analysis, reading, and discussion.  Our musical journey will commence with medieval music, dash though the the Renaissance and Baroque eras, glide through to the Classical and Romantic eras, and will culminate in 20th and 21st century music.  Learners will explore both Western and non-Western musical traditions and how each has been influence by their environment. Course participants will be able to trace certain musical developments that paved the way for the vibrant musical life that we encounter today.  

Dr. Yudit Greenberg - Love and Sex in the Hebrew Bible 

This course is an introduction to the Hebrew Bible, highlighting its historical context and ethical issues pertaining to issues of the body, gender, love, and sexuality. We examine biblical texts that depict the dynamics of divine-human and interhuman relationships, and address the challenges and paradoxes of human life. Our reading selection includes the creation of humanity, covenant, community, nation, family relationships, love, sex, and gender roles. Our discussions raise philosophical and psychological questions of free will, desire, faith, justice, responsibility, suffering, guilt, forgiveness, and dualism of mind/body. 

Prof. Kevin Griffin - Backstage Pass: A Look at the Art & Craft of Theatrical Production

In this RCC course we will be taking a look "behind the curtain" to see how a theatrical production goes from a collaborative team exploring a written script or open-ended idea to creating a visual and aural world for the action to live within.  We will explore the various responsibilities of each of the members of a production design team through readings and guest speaker presentations as well as practical projects involving several design areas.  We will specifically explore the two productions at the Annie Russell Theatre this fall.  Students will apply the knowledge gained from readings and class discussions/projects regarding design development into a review of the productions based on the successes and/or failures of the design to communicate intentions to the audience.

Dr. Scott Hewit - The Future of Public Schools in America

What is happening to our public schools in America? A cornerstone of our democracy for centuries, they are threatened today as never before. Home schools, virtual schools, charter schools, alternative schools, school vouchers, community schools, the list goes on and on.  Using an analysis of the social, political, economic and historical background of the nation's public schools, students will examine school organization, curriculum and purpose, including its application to historically marginalized populations. They will ultimately develop their own informed visions of how schools will look in the future.   

Dr. Jill Jones - Writing About Monsters

This course will examine the monster in film, popular culture, and literature.  We'll read the books that made monsters famous:  Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and then see and compare the film version.  We'll watch King Kong and Dexter.   We'll discuss what a monster is, how it gets defined (by society?   By itself? By its actions? Its looks?), and theorize about the purpose that "monsters" and monster stories serve in our society.  We'll discuss (among other things) whether monsters are made or born; and whether we believe in innate evil.  (Is Dracula evil? Is Dexter?  Are they monsters?) 

Dr. Erik Kenyon - Philosophy for Kids

Kids are imaginative and love to ask questions. In a word, they are natural philosophers. What they don't do so well is follow through with their questions in groups. That's where we step in. Using story books as a spring board, we will help kids --ages 4 to 8-- conduct their own discussions of philosophical questions and concepts. Working with Rollins Child Development Center and a local Elementary school, we will, for instance, use the Giving Tree to discuss environmental ethics or the nature of love. The goal is to give kids the skills to develop their natural inquisitiveness, despite the growing test-taking culture of US schools.  Our kids, in turn, will help us reconnect with the sense of wonder that Aristotle identified as the beginning of inquiry. In all of this, we will engage with 'big questions' about what any of us actually wants out of life and think about how your time at Rollins can help you get there.

Dr. Allen Kupetz - Art of the Start

Ray Bradbury may have been describing entrepreneurs when he talked about optimists who jump off the cliff and learn how to build wings on the way down. The Art of the Start is for students interested in learning how to build wings before they jump into a career that might land them on "Shark Tank" or on the cover of "Entrepreneur" magazine. We'll look into everything from the mechanics of starting a business to the journey down the path of idea to technology to product or service. Taught by an experienced entrepreneur and venture capitalist, the Art of the Start welcomes all students from all majors. Interested in entrepreneurship? Let's take the leap together.

Dr. Jana Mathews - Bad Breakups

As every lover of pre-iPhone 7 headphone jacks can attest, even the most stable and committed of relationships can meet tragic and unpredictable ends {R.I.P.}. This course uses contemporary culture to examine what happens when tragedy strikes and things head South. Topics include the architecture of breakup texts and the psychology of ghosting; the anatomy of trust and betrayal (How to Get Away with Murder); the politics and ethics of separation and abandonment (custody battles, Brexit, refugees, The Daily Show, Durant v. Westbrook); and real and imagined political dystopias (Game of Thrones). This course satisfies the College Writing competency requirement, so you will have the opportunity (finally!) to make the big break from the dreaded five-paragraph essay and move on to higher and infinitely more savvy and exciting forms of written communication.

Dr. MacKenzie Moon Ryan - Fashion in the Global World

It's no secret that fashion trends borrow existing materials, patterns, cuts, and styles, but have you ever wondered how fashion developed over time? Or about how our clothes communicate certain things throughout history? From the kimono to the codpiece, the corset to the three-piece suit, the hijab to denim jeans, we will consider fashion trends across time and region to explore lesser-known histories that complicate our hasty judgments today. We will use artworks like paintings and sculpture as well as items of clothing to explore these influences and trace designs across the globe. We will investigate how meaning is dependent on historical and cultural context and how our vantage point directly contributes to our understandings. We will also examine other pressing issues that concern fashion, including sustainability, technology, labor, and what constitutes appropriate attire based upon gender, class, age, religion, culture, and context. We will draw upon our own experiences to help us understand parallel examples outside our own society, and we may find similarities throughout time and space.

Dr. Rich Morris - Your Choice, Your Health

RCC 100 is your gateway to the people of Rollins College.  Your first class, meet your first professor, even interact with upperclassmen while beginning to access academia.  All health classes talk about the basics, what we will do in addition is try to understand why we don't make healthy choices, and how to change that paradigm.  We will learn to critically analyze the myriad of health opinions and information spread like germs across social media, and apply the best resources to our lives. 

Dr. Matt Nichter - Black Lives Matter

This course analyzes the causes and consequences of racial inequality in the U.S., with a focus on the experiences of African-Americans. Topics covered will include: residential segregation, unequal schools, hiring discrimination, and mass incarceration. We will also examine the work of movement activists fighting for racial justice. 

Dr. David Painter - Let's Talk Politics

In this introductory seminar, we will review political communication history and theories and establish rules for civil deliberation to guide our discussions of contemporary political issues. The goals over the semester will be to refine our criteria for evaluating political messages, develop our ethical leadership skills, and cultivate a global perspective on current political issues.

Dr. Paul Reich - Cyborgs, Androids, and Self (Honors Program RCC)

As technological societies continue to advance so, too, do their abilities to alter and reconstruct human beings.  In media representations of these experiments, the line between authentic and artificial life becomes less opaque and more open to debate.  Through our study of literature, film, and television, ranging from Asimov's I, Robot to HBO's Westworld, we'll explore how these synthetic persons contribute to or challenge our sense of self.

Dr. Scott Rubarth - The Heroic Odyssey

This course is an examination of the ancient Greek concept of the Hero and its relevance to contemporary life. Student will examine a wide range of Greek Heroes and Heroines. We shall attempt to identify the traits that promote human excellence and examine ancient and modern virtue ethics. We shall discover that Heroes come in many forms, shapes, sizes, and genders and that the Heroic life requires serious commitment, training, discipline, and hard work. In short, Heroism is the product of cultivated human excellences. Finally, we shall consider what a 21st century hero should look like and attempt to identify contemporary role models and examine how they rose to greatness. This course is for those who are not satisfied simply to fit in, take the easy way, and be part of the crowd. It is for those who wish to live remarkable lives.

Dr. Emily Russell - Writing About: Life, Sex, and Death

This is a class about the big stuff: life, sex, and death. To explore these topics, we'll examine funeral practices in America and how they've changed over time. We'll look at the many paths to conceiving a child and think about the broader forces at play beyond strict biology. We'll talk about how adolescents think about sex and privacy and read about how marriage therapists through the 20th century counseled their clients and readers of advice columns. These readings and our lively accompanying discussions should prompt you to think about very basic questions like, "how did I learn about where I come from? and what do I believe about death and what comes after?" As a writing course--fulfilling your W competency requirement--this class will serve as a foundation for the academic writing you'll do in college; it will also impact your personal and professional lives well after you've left the semester behind.

Dr. Steven Schoen - Media and Violence

We are awash today in media depictions of violence – from film, TV and video games to sports and social media. Why does violence gather audiences so effectively, and seem so thoroughly woven into our entertainment and imaginations? Scholars are actively thinking about questions like these from a variety of perspectives. This course will explore some of those efforts to make sense of violence and the way it interacts with our media, and use the ideas of these thinkers to make sense of our own experience of media messages. We will consider theories about violence and non-violence; consider depictions of violence in media forms ranging from film and TV programs to social media and news; and examine genres ranging from Hollywood blockbusters, to sports, journalism, viral web videos and political discourse. Today’s mediascape is replete with violence, and some of this violence can be breathtakingly gruesome. Our course policy is to avoid subjecting ourselves to this in a gratuitous way. Nonetheless, we will see depictions in class that you may find offensive or disturbing. If you tend to be squeamish about violent descriptions and images, please select another RCC class!  

Dr. Paul Stephenson - Biogeography and Human Society (A Biological Perspective on: Guns, Germs, and Steel)

More than 11,000 years ago a drastic change occurred in human society.  People began to shift from nomadic hunter-gatherer groups to permanent agricultural settlements.  "Civilization" was born.  This change has had far reaching effects on human history and our modern world.  Ecosystems have been vastly altered, new diseases have arisen, and species, beneficial, benign, or harmful have spread globally. This course uses a biological and historical perspective to investigate the pros and cons of "Civilization".  The class focuses on genetics, plant biology, and ecology as we examine how our world has changed and where we may be headed.  This RCC is well suited for students interested in exploring a major in the sciences. 

Dr. Valerie Summet - Creative Computing

In this class, we'll explore how to write computer programs to manipulate different things like digital pictures and digital music.  You'll get to use both sides of your brain as we explore an intersection between computer science and art.

Dr. Martina Vidovic - Prospects and Challenges for the US Economy

This course examines current social problems from the perspective of an economist. We will use the tools of economics as a framework for understanding important social issues and to evaluate current and proposed policy solutions to issues such as: crime, drug legalization, education and school choice, access to health care, environmental pollution, poverty, income inequality as well as macroeconomic policies and effects on unemployment, inflation, growth of GDP, budget deficits and other current policy questions.

Dr. Anca Voicu - Economics for Life

This course provides a non-technical approach to answering questions about the US economy and the wider world economy. How does the economy work? Why is there unemployment and inflation in an economy? What are healthy rates of unemployment and inflation? What is the role played by the government and how can the government influence our future economic well-being? What is the role of a central bank in an economy? Through discussion and analysis of news articles students will learn not only to better understand the economic environment that we all live in but will also be empowered by the knowledge acquired to make educated  decisions on what they love to do, what they are good at and what the society needs. This is a Community Engagement (CE) course. 

Prof. Li Wei - Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life

This course explores some key concepts from ancient Chinese traditions.  It draws on some contemporary scholarship and their interpretations to help us understand Chinse ancient ways of thought and examine how ancient Chinese thought might have dealt with some contentious sociopolitical issues in a modern western society, such as life and death, marriage and family, reproduction and abortion, and public and political life.

Prof. Eric Zivot - Clowning Around

Clowning Around is an introduction to the process of self-awareness and character development viewed through the lens of physical expression. The course allows for an examination of the Self and the Other. This course is both experiential and practical in application while designed for the undergraduate student. The course concentrates on - but is not limited to - analysis and exploration of the individual student's physiology and the re-imagining of the body. Students are required to participate in all classroom and homework assignments.

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