Your First Semester

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.

RCC 2015

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.

Below you'll find the RCC courses being offered during Fall 2015. 

American Exceptionalism or Dysfunctionalism? - Dr. Don Davison

American Exceptionalism or Dysfunctionalism explores the seeming craziness of one of the largest democracies. How can the world’s most powerful democracy appear to be so dysfunctional? Why is one political party willing to close government and threaten default on the U.S. debt? What makes the Tea Party so powerful when it represents only a minority of the population? Is America in decline, or does its strength lie in society, in spite of its elected leaders? The course compares the American political system to politics and policies in other countries, especially the European democracies. Students will consider the uniqueness of the American political system, the sources of its current dysfunction, and recommendations to improve its functionality.

American Political Controversies - Dr. Eren Tatari

Politics is the decision‐making processes in managing a polity. It deals with “who gets what, when and how” or “who could do what to whom.” Since political relations are shaped by power and authority, controversy is intrinsic to politics. In this course, we will explore several political controversies that are prominent in American society. Some of the issues we will discuss are: religion and politics, race, affirmative action, immigration, sociopolitical inequality, abortion, capital punishment, media, and gay rights. We will discuss the different perspectives surrounding these controversies as well as the role of media in framing them. We will focus on what types of arguments have been used to endorse or reject specific views and how arguments are articulated. Finally, we will evaluate the role of the government in resolving these political problems and issues.

Analyze This: Representations of Psychology in Film - Dr. Andrew Luchner

Why are we drawn to film? What purpose do movies serve in our lives? How much of what we believe and understand about ourselves and others is shaped by movies? These questions and more will be critically evaluated in this course. The big screen characters and stories we are drawn to can tell us something important about the human condition, validate our struggles, portray distress and dysfunction, and inspire us through tales of coping and survival. This course aims to identify the myriad of ways that film shapes how we view ourselves and our relationships with others, serving critical functions of connectedness, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. We will examine depictions of anxiety, sadness, conflict, pain, and trauma as well as change, treatment, adaptation, resilience and recovery. 

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

We will be taking a look “behind the curtain” to see how a theatrical production develops from a collaborative team exploring a written script or open-ended idea, to the creation of a visual and aural world for the production to live within. We will explore the various responsibilities of each member of a production design team through readings and guest speaker presentations, as well as practical projects. Students will apply the knowledge gained from readings and class discussions/projects regarding design development into a critique of the productions at the Annie Russell Theatre based on the successes and/or failures of the design to communicate intentions to the audience. Through the study of the design process we will... 1. Develop a deeper appreciation for, and understanding of the performing arts and how they contribute to the well being of our society. 2. Develop critical thinking and writing skills. 3. Enhance our skills in collaborative group presentations and creative thinking.

Bodysnatchers (Honors) - Dr. Emily Russell 

In this course, we will examine the ways that storytelling and medicine have shaped each other. For centuries, literature and culture have snatched from medicine thrilling or moving stories of death, illness, and god-like doctors. More recently, developments called “the medical humanities” or “narrative medicine” have infiltrated medical training; in this field, doctors read literature and are encouraged to write stories themselves in order to more fully connect with their patients’ humanity. This fall, we will explore both of these intersections to ask what reading fiction might bring to medicine and what the universal experience of having a body—a body that gets sick and will die—brings to the study of literature and culture. 

Children's Lives on a Wide Screen: Developing a Global Perspective through Videos - Dr. Jim McLaughlin

In this course we analyze video information about the economic, political, and social issues that affect children’s lives in 12-15 case study countries across the world.  Students will explore in more depth one of the countries we study.  The end result is to reconsider our own beliefs and to broaden our global perspectives about children and education.

Cultures in Conflict: America at War in Asia (Accelerated Management Program)  - Dr. Bob Moore

This course will focus on the nature of conflict, including violent conflict, or war, as this has occurred between the U.S. and different countries in Asia. In particular we will consider the conflicts Americans have experienced with Imperial China since the nineteenth century, with Japan during World War II, with North Korea, the People’s Republic of China and Vietnam during the Cold War, and with Iraq, Iran, the Taliban, and ISIS. We will also consider the conflict engendered by British imperialism in South Asia. In each of the above-named cases the causes of the conflicts were interpreted differently by the people on each side. We will take a close look at the forces underlying these struggles, the reasons for the different understandings to which each side adhered, and the role of cultural differences as a source of both misunderstanding and conflict.

(Dis)connected: Social Media and Society - Dr. Amy Armenia

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine. Using social media today, you can be in communication with millions of others, without ever leaving your room. Some argue that we are more connected than ever; others suggest that social media has made us more isolated. Along with considering this debate, we will use social media as a window for learning about different aspects of society and sociology, including effects on family and intimate relationships, the form and meaning of community, new forms of deviance and violence in the electronic age, and new strategies for social movements. This course will involve reading current sociology research and theory, and using these to help us consider our own experiences and uses for this technology.

Drawing the Landscape - Prof. Rachel Simmons

In this course, students will learn basic observational drawing skills, enhance their abilities as creative thinkers and develop an understanding of their relationship to the environment by exploring the landscapes of Central Florida. The course includes field trips to natural springs and botanical gardens as well as wallking tours of Winter Park. 

Dream in Spanish and Unlock the Magic - Prof. Patricia Tome

Studies show that dreaming in a different language confirms that language has transcended your waking life and infiltrated your dreams. Studies also attest to the fact that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S. and the third in the world. And did you know that, on average a bilingual worker earns up to $7,000 more than a monolingual. What are you waiting for to unlock the magic? This intermediate level Spanish conversation course emphasizes all four language skills:  speaking, listening, writing, and reading.  This course fulfills the Foreign Language general education requirement. Course prerequisites include 4 years of high school Spanish. This course is not suitable for native speakers.

Environmental Activism - Dr. Mike Gunter

Targeting case studies such as climate change, air pollution, endangered species protection, energy consumption, garbage disposal, national parks policy, and suburban sprawl, we ask both why environmental problems develop and how they might be solved. We look at the various governmental and non-governmental actors involved in this political process as well as the institutions in place that foster and frustrate environmental activism. Several class field trips close to our home in Winter Park will complement these objectives through experiential education, allowing students to see themselves the issues they have read and discussed in class. Students will also attend multiple meetings of local environmental groups and participate actively in them. Written critiques will be tied to these experiences.

Foundations in Sculpture: Constructing Meaning - Prof. Josh Almond

This studio course introduces students to the fundamentals of sculpture with an emphasis on spatial awareness, problem solving, and conceptual development. Students will learn the formal language of sculpture, its tools, materials, and techniques, while simultaneously learning how to use allegory, metaphor, and symbolism (semiotics) to construct meaning and content. Consideration will be given to the range of sculptural form found in contemporary art and design and its socio-political, historical, and cultural significance. Through a series of studio assignments, students will be encouraged to develop their own sculptural vocabulary and a repertoire of practical techniques. This is a rigorous course that combines studio projects, readings, papers, and class discussions. 

#Free Our Food - Dr. Wendy Brandon

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.

German on the Fast Track - Dr. Nancy Decker

The subject of our Conference will be “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.

How Ancient Chinese Thought Can Teach Us in Modern American Life - Prof. Li Wei

This course explores some of the key concepts from ancient Chinese cultural traditions.  It draws on some contemporary scholarship and interpretations to learn not only about Chinese ancient ways of thought but also how they might have dealt with some contentious sociopolitical issues in a modern western society, such as life and death, marriage and family, and nature and cohabitation.  

Inequalities by the Numbers - Dr. Zeynep Teymuroglu

In this course, we use mathematics to learn about social injustice issues ranging from educational access to poverty. This is an introductory level statistics course. We encourage students to develop quantitative skills to study real-world problems. In this course, students participate in actual community problem-solving projects. In addition, students practice Excel and SAS statistical packages, no prior knowledge is required. 

It's the End of the World as We Know It (Revelation to Y2K) - Dr. Hannah Ewing

Repeatedly throughout history, people have been convinced that the world as we know it is about to end—and usually in chaos and violence. What did these men and women envision happening, and why? This course explores the concept of an apocalypse by digging in to several such moments: the Book of Revelation and early Judeo-Christian eschatologists, the Norse Viking Ragnarök, the Millennium of 1000, religious non-conformists in 17th- and 18th-century Europe and North America, and the Y2K scare of the 1990s. We’ll examine historical texts, fiction, and art to decipher and contextualize the fears, desires, and beliefs driving apocalyptic doomsayers in their own times and beyond.

Landscapes of Music - Prof. Jamey Ray

What does it mean to be a “musician” in today’s society?  That term has been used to describe Bach, Beethoven, the Beatles and Britney Spears.  After we decide what the term “musician” means, we will find out what it takes to become one, and potentially make a living that way.  The class will look at all different sorts of musicians and music related fields.  We will look at different works from William Byrd to John Williams to John Lennon to John Legend to see all the differences and even the similarities of musical techniques used throughout the centuries.

Making Movies - Dr. Bill Boles

Nowadays everyone carries a movie camera in their pocket. And thanks to some inventine apps, you can put together a movie, for example, of your visit to the Magic Kingdom while waiting in line for Space Mountain. However, while everyone can make a film, not everyone can be called a filmmaker. In this class students will have an immersive experience related to the making of movies. Over the course of the semester students will make eight to ten short films, working individually and in groups. In addition, they will also learn how to write a screenplay, while crafting the first act of a full length film script. NOTE: The expectation of students enrolled in the course is that they have some experience making movies. If a student has questions, please contact the professor. 

Media, Culture, and Social Change - Dr. Steve Schoen

We are immersed in media and culture that profoundly shape our lives, often in ways we don't even notice. This course examines the impact of media and culture on how we see ourselves, other people, social groups, and the world.  We analyze how media and culture reflect, reinforce, and potentially transform structures of power and inequality, and how they serve and fail to serve the public interest. Our goal is to be more active, effective, and critical consumers and producers of media and culture.  The course includes projects to build competency in photo, sound, and video editing.

Modern American Economic Issues (Accelerated Management Program) - Dr. Martina Vidovic

This is an introductory course in the analysis of contemporary economic issues.  The course provides the framework and models necessary to understand current social/economic issues and the evaluation of current and proposed policy solutions in the context of introductory economic analysis. Topics may include: crime and drugs, education, health care, environmental pollution, poverty and affluence as well as macroeconomic policies and effects on unemployment, inflation, growth of GDP, budget deficits and other current policy questions.

Philosophy for Kids - Dr. Erik Kenyon

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.

Physics of Martial Arts - Dr. Chris Fuse

This course examines the physical principles that define the techniques in a variety of martial arts. Fighting arts such as Tae Kwon Do (Korea), Kung Fu (China), and Capoeira (Brazil) are just a few of styles we will explore. Some of the topics we will investigate are, how torque makes a kick more powerful and how much force and pressure are needed to break a board. We will also consider the weapons associated with different arts and try to understand the historical and scientific reason why these unique tools were developed. We will discuss the history of these arts and how they affected their country politically and socially.  We will also discuss how martial arts have changed in the modern era. Is mixed martial arts the next step in fight evolution? Do current Olympic and UFC champions win because they understand the science in their art? 

Profit and Purpose: Building Business Character - Dr. Cecilia McInnis Bowers and Dr. Debra Wellman

Without purpose there is not profit; business can be used as a force for good in solving problems. This team-taught course focuses on the interdependency of creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, new venture creation and business management. Through book club techniques, we will read and discuss the characters in novels by examining the roles of business in society, the nature of entrepreneurship, and the application of business concepts in creating economic wealth, improving individual opportunity and quality of life, and promoting social responsibility and ecological sustainability. Using a simulation, students will experience the complexities of making business decisions.  (This course is equivalent to BUS 101 Business, Innovation, & Entrepreneurial Thinking.)

Real World Rollins College - Dr. Tricia Zelaya

From Animal House to Old School, college life has been depicted in a variety of ways in popular culture and in the media. In many cases, colleges and their students are portrayed by outdated, inaccurate, and unflattering stereotypes. Using identity development theory, the history of higher education, film, books, and popular media, this course will explore those stereotypes in an effort to unearth their origin and to compare and contrast them with the experiences of today’s undergraduates at Rollins.

Re-envisioning the COMmunity through Intergenerational Partnerships - Dr. Anne Stone and Marissa Corrente

This is an introductory course designed to explore issues connected to intergenerational relationships across the lifespan. This course adopts a communication and social justice perspective to examine what it means to age, the impact of aging on human relationships and organizations, and communication patterns in contexts impacting and involving older adults. Across the semester, we will participate in service activities that will enhance our learning.

Sacred Food, Social Justice (Honors) - Dr. Todd French

From soup kitchens and free lunch programs to punk communes and food activism our society has grappled with the issues of inequality through various means. This course grapples with the question of how food and poverty intersect with "religious" and ethical notions of justice in community food programs. We will visit many local organizations throughout the semester and bring several representatives of these programs into our class to help us consider how these topics relate in our world. As part of the course, students will work with a community organization of their choice and write about their experience. 

Science and Culture of Chocolate - Dr. Pedro Bernal

This class is an in-depth look at Chocolate. It begins with the role played by Cacao in the cultures of Mesoamerica over 3000 years ago. It goes on to look at the continued importance of cacao in the Spanish colonial period and to the eventual arrival of Chocolate in Europe and later in North America. In addition, we undertake a detailed exploration of how Cacao is grown and harvested and of how Chocolate is made. Since chocolate is an interesting chemical substance with medicinal properties, we explore the molecular properties of chocolate as well as what is known about its health effects. We end by analyzing the places in which Cacao is currently grown and the conditions under which is harvested but not before looking at the cultural relevance of the present chocolate market which goes from Valentine’s day to fashion shows in which the clothes are made entirely out of chocolate.

Sex on the Brain - Dr. Bobby Fokidis

This course examines the biology of sex, gender and sexuality. The class will investigate how sex and gender are determined, how various animals approach sexual reproduction, and how the brain shapes sexual and reproductive behaviors. This immersive course will investigate the biology of sex and can be divided into 3 parts: 1) the evolution of sex and a survey of sexual variations in the animal world; 2) sex and gender determination in humans; and 3) the neurobiology of sex/gender. Such topics should be of broad genuine interest to anyone in biology, psychology, women's studies, religious studies, political science and African-American studies. This course aims to cover topics unavailable in other classes and to serve as an introduction to biological neuroscience and reproductive physiology. It also aims to provide an open forum for discussion on sex-related topics that have societal implications, including discrimination, gender inequality, sex-related diseases, homophobia and domestic violence.

The Joy of Capitalism - Dr. Allen Kupetz

Every day around the world, customers drink 1.7 billion servings of Coca Cola products and eat almost 7 million McDonald’s hamburgers. Walmart has 36 million customers daily, served by the largest private workforce in the United States. ExxonMobil produces 5.3 million barrels of oil every day, generating $40 billion in annual profit. If Apple were a country, it would be the economic size of Kuwait. This course will explore the role of capitalism in wealth creation. We will explore why there are rich and poor countries and rich and poor people. Ayn Rand said, “Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life.” Students will meet some of the most successful business people in Central Florida and learn how they made their fortunes.

Theatre in the Making - Prof. Thomas Ouellette

For tens of thousands of years, in all cultures, the theatre has been an essential part of human expression; Brazilian director and teacher Augusto Boal calls theatre "the first human invention". But has 24/7 access to computer-enhanced movies and video games rendered live theatre obsolete, an old-school relic with little or nothing to add to contemporary discourse?  THEATRE IN THE MAKING students grapple with one overarching, provocative question: why theatre, why now? Students read and attend performances of a range of classic and contemporary plays - some on-campus and some at local professional theatre companies. Interacting with artists who produce theatre which is often called the most collaborative art form, students observe and engage artists who transport theatre from page to stage: actors, directors, technicians, and designers of costumes, sets, lights, and sound.

U.S Drug War in Latin America - Dr. Dexter Boniface

This course examines the history and evolution of the U.S. Drug War in Latin America. The course aims to examine the causes and consequences of the illegal drug trade in the United States and Latin America as well as the rationale for U.S. policies. We seek to understand why so many individuals choose to participate in the illegal drug trade, what impact the drug war has on politics and society in the producer countries of Latin America, why U.S.-led interdiction efforts have failed to significantly curb drug flows, and what alternative policies might be pursued by the United States and Latin America.

What Are You Wearing? Fashion in the Global World - Dr. MacKenzie Moon Ryan

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.

Your Choice, Your Health - Prof. Rich Morris

“Destiny is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance.” Williams Jenning Bryant’s quote starts our adventure every semester, looking for ways to take control of our health, wellness and lives in general. This course is less about the facts of health and more about the onus of responsibility. We will cover the facts. You will know proper cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, what healthy exercise means and how to balance a diet. As a result of this course you will evaluate your self in a broad spectrum of wellness issues, resulting in a complete health risk assessment. But so much more importantly, we will investigate why people don’t make the right choices. Let’s face it; you have a pretty good idea of how to eat right. We all know smoking is bad for us, safe sex or abstinence is better than AIDS and other STD’s, and what alcohol abuse looks like on someone else, but yet we keep making bad choices. We live in a stressful world, and we deal with stress in many ways. As a result of this course, you will be familiar with many authors and their researched methods of living a better life, not just physically, but spiritually, socially, emotionally, intellectually and even in your occupation to come. That is the broad spectrum of Wellness.