Residential Life & Explorations

RCC Courses 2019

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.

Amy Armenia - Inequality 101: Race, Class and Gender in Higher Education

We think of education as the "great equalizer" - providing opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to realize the American Dream. In this course, we will use a sociological perspective to look at the ways that college, from admissions to graduation, is shaped by larger inequalities (like those related to race, class, and gender) in our society, and what we might do to help make education accessible to all.

Josephine Balzac-Arroyo - Be the Change (3/2 AMP)

This course focuses on the principle, that in order to change the world, you first have to change yourself. This course will take students through a journey of personal transformation and transformative impact by analyzing core identities and figuring out how to leverage strengths, align values, and tap into passions. Students will examine the social and environmental issues occurring within the community and determine what matters most to them. Students will connect these local issues to global issues by integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and fully embracing the motto ‚think globally, act locally. This course will introduce students to changemaking through social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and positive psychology and also allow them the opportunity to be changemakers in their new campus community. Students will engage with on campus organizations, college programs, and community partners that will show them how to make a positive social and environmental impact. Students will analyze themselves and the issues around them and create a College Life Entrepreneurship Plan which will empower them to lead an extraordinary life at Rollins, and motivate them to be the change you wish to see in the world.

Wendy Brandon - RCC 100 U.S. Food Policy 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 fails to provide the world's people adequate nutrition, food security, or environmental sustainability. Now 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. U.S. Food Policy is part of the problem. It is also part of the solution for a sustainable global food system.

This course provides an overview of the industrialization of the U.S. food system, probes the problems created by industrial food, and examines alternatives. The course takes a public interest perspective on U.S. food and agricultural policy. It covers real-world food policy controversies that affect the environment, food safety, nutrition, labeling, advertising, food and beverage manufacturing, food retailing and restaurants, consumer welfare, federal assistance programs, food insecurity, and the poor. Implications of U.S. food policy extend well beyond our national borders and require us to make difficult choices between competing social objectives.

Hilary Cooperman - The Stories We Live By

This class will explore storytelling as a performance of culture and identity. We will look at myths, oral histories and narrative constructions in popular culture and media. We will think about and tell our own stories and consider the ways in which those stories help fashion and create our worldview and the imaginative possibilities of that perspective. We will also think about the ways in which our stories limit or confine what we imagine or know about ourselves, our societies and the way we think and live. Lastly, we will think about whose stories get told and whose stories are not often told and represented and talk about what we might do to change that.

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 potential 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 of significant sources on religion. The primary aim of this course will be to train ourselves to be more reflective about the religious messages conveyed in contemporary film. Hence we will be focusing primarily on the thematic analysis of films. Our formula will be to use readings to understand films to understand religion. Along the way, hopefully we will learn something about both religion and film.

Nancy Decker - Intensive Beginning German on the Fast Track

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). This course allows you to live in the Language Living and Learning Community in close proximity to your classmates learning German as well as to engage in activities to augment what goes on in the classroom.

Kim Dennis - Deconstructing Masterpieces (Honors)

This course will trace the 'masterpieces' of Western art from c. 1400 to the present, learning the original meaning of the word masterpiece and deconstructing its use today.  We will make extensive use of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and Alfond Inn collection of contemporary art, visiting works of art in person on a regular basis.  Student papers will also focus on works in the collection and class activities will often align with events organized by the museum.

Rosana Diaz-Zambrana - 50 Flavors of Spanish

This is an intermediate-level Spanish course that emphasizes all four language skills: speaking, listening, writing and reading. At the end of the course, you will be able to employ a wide range of language abilities for real-world communication as well as being able to recognize the heterogeneous culture of Latin America and Spain. 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.

Hannah Ewing - Ottoman History/Mysteries

This class explores the history and culture of the long-lasting Ottoman Empire (ca. 1300 to 1922), partially through traditional history and partially through reading 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. Students will also get the chance to familiarize themselves with Turkish art and cook (and eat!) Turkish food. (To foster community and cross-cultural study, most students will also be placed in a linked U.S. history class that explores a similar period and political changes.)

Christopher Fuse - Astronomy & NASA

We live in a new era of scientific discovery. Gravitational waves produced by black hole collisions one relay messages from the other side of the Universe, systems of planets and moons have been detected around a host of stars, and galaxies race away from us as the fabric of spacetime expands. NASA is also poised to take humans beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time in more than forty years. The next generation of space capsules and rockets will soon carry humans from right here in Florida. In this course we will learn the basics of physics and astronomy, as well as explore the history and future of NASA.

Robin Gerchman - Winging It

What is dance improvisation? How does it work? Spontaneous creation of movement = IMPROVISATION!


You invent movement as you do it. Play, let go, act on impulse, listen, and trust yourself! Dance improvisation helps to build confidence, courage, creativity, and teaches us to trust our instincts.
Through exercises we will work to increase skills for strong, clear, spontaneous communication. These experiences will broaden our self-awareness, physical and expressive skills, and strengthen our creative powers.The exploration of different environments will ignite inquiry that will contribute to our understanding of reactive movement. We will also reflectively examine our experiences to help us understand the aspects of time, space, energy, and shape.

Alexa Gordon - RCC 200: Rollins Transition Seminar (Transfer RCC)

More than a third of college students transfer to a new institution at least once within a six year period and Rollins is here to welcome and support you! This course is designed to help transition transfer students into Tars. Together we'll explore a variety of topics including campus support services, academic planning, the components and benefits of a liberal arts education, and finding your place at Rollins.

Kevin E. 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 during the fall semester. 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. Through the study of the design process student 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 their skills in collaborative group presentations and creative thinking.

Meghan Harte Weyant & Trish Moser - Adulting 101

Going to college is exciting, but growing up is not always fun. Characters across history, famous and fictional have tried to put off growing up. However, the time is now for the adulting to begin. This class will explore the important dimensions and skills of adulting, and how they are tied to leadership, citizenship, meaningful lives and productive careers.

Erik Kenyon - Grit, Hope & Other Virtues

Is optimism or pessimism the best policy? Do sports really build character? Can hope counteract political polarization? How should we think about purpose in a diverse society? This course will explore the intersection of ancient philosophy and current science. Drawing from literary and religious texts, we will explore questions of intellectual character and how to put them into practice today.

Ashley Kistler - Cultures of the Caribbean

This course surveys the history, anthropology, and literature of the Caribbean. This course will address the prehistory of the Caribbean, the history and the colonial heritage of the Caribbean; slavery and its consequences in the development of Caribbean culture; characteristics of Caribbean, culture, music, dance, and production; race and identity; tourism and its consequences in the Caribbean; transnational encounters in the Caribbean; globalization and changes to Caribbean life; and the experience of Caribbean immigrants living abroad. This course will focus specifically on the following areas: the Rastafarians, foreign tourism in the Caribbean islands; sex tourism in the Dominican Republic, Cuban immigration to the United States, and Caribbean immigrant literature in the US.

Tres Loch - 21st Century Business Trip (3/2 AMP)

This course will introduce students to the complex business world. Students will develop thought leadership through exposition to complex issues facing global business leaders. Themes covered include sustainability, managing complexity, ethical decision making, critical thinking, teamwork, and cross-boundary leadership skills. The course also introduces personal and professional development opportunities that enhance career preparedness.

Jenn Manak - Around the World with Books

As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, it is essential that we develop knowledge about the ethnic and cultural backgrounds and diverse identities of our friends, classmates, and neighbors. In this course, we will explore diverse cultures and identities by reading and discussing multicultural literature. We will participate in cultural experiences throughout the semester. Through authentic literature, we will journey with families to new lands, connect with characters living similar lives as our own, and learn about different experiences and ways of viewing the world.

Jana Mathews - Only in Florida

Designed for commuter students, this course takes seriously the popular perception that Florida is the nation's magnet for everything weird, surreal, and otherwise unimaginable. By conducting critical examinations of alligator wrestling matches and python hunts; amusement parks and megachurches; snow birds and spring breakers; and drug lords and dumb criminals, you will gain a greater understanding of the relationship between urban legend and historical truth; reputation and self-representation; and conservation and commodification.

In lieu of some weekday class meetings and weekday evening events, this RCC section will participate in several Sunday field trips and overnight excursions:

August 30-September 2 (Labor Day Weekend): Trip to the Everglades

Sunday, September 15 Day trip to United Against Poverty

Sunday, September 29 Day trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, October 6 Day trip to Groveland Historical Society

Sunday, October 20 Day trip to Reptile Discovery Center

Sunday, November 3 Day trip to Crystal Springs (manatees)

November 9-10: Weekend excursion to Amelia and Cumberland islands

November 24 Local field trip to Fort Christmas & holiday Thankmus Party at Dr. Mathews' house

$100 course fee covers all day and overnight trip expenses (lodging, meals, transportation, on-site activities).

Cecilia Mcinnis-bowers Phd - Profit and purpose (3/2 AMP)

Learn how business and social entrepreneurship can be a force for good in world by addressing the wicked problems in environmental, human rights, and poverty. Students will learn how business skill sets work in for- profit, non profit and in now structures like hybrids (b-corps). Personal development and teamwork skills emphasized.

Margaret McLaren - Ethical Controversies and Responsible Global Citizenship (Honors)

Daily we are confronted with ethical questions about how to act in our personal lives and in the world as responsible and engaged citizens. In this course will learn the moral theories and frameworks that justify moral judgments. We will apply these theories to debates for and against specific issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, immigration, healthcare as a right, multiculturalism and women's rights, food politics, and world hunger relief. We will address questions about our individual responsibility and positions, as well as our social and political responsibilities as global citizens, such as: What shall we do? How to act rightly? Is the death penalty immoral? What are the salient issues behind the abortion debate? Should we lend a hand to the destitute and impoverished abroad, even if we don't know them? How do we reconcile respecting particular cultures with imposing universal human rights? Are we ever justified in disobeying the law? What about patently unjust laws? Do we have a moral right to impede immigrants from entering our borders? How do our local actions effect those across the globe?

Amy McClure - Modern Romance: Sex and Love in Hookup Culture

In this course we examine sex, romance, and love in contemporary America. We use a sociological lens to attempt to understand how people negotiate intimate dynamics within society. Among other things, we will discuss sexual identities--including LGBTQIA+ experiences in sex and love--how we choose sexual and romantic partners, hookup culture on college campuses, the proliferation of dating apps, what happens when we want more than just sex in a hookup culture, the pleasure gap between men and women, sexual violence, and the experiences of those who opt out of hookup culture. We will place all of these inquiries in a socio-historical context revealing the ongoing tension between human agency and social pressure to conform. We will consistently employ a critical, intersectional lens to unveil the role that privilege and oppression play in all of these dynamics.

Caitlin Mohr - Successful Pathways through Music

Successful Pathways Through Music will introduce students to the language of music through examining famous composers and their masterpieces. The course will explore various composers' expansive knowledge of languages, literature, business, psychology, and culture that enabled them to be successful. This course provides students with the opportunity to make invaluable interdisciplinary connections early in their liberal arts career, reflect on the practical application of these studies for their own success in the modern world, and develop their critical thinking skills through scholarly research.

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.

Rich Morris - Your Choice, Your Health

Health and wellness enhanced by mindfulness training, learning what it means to internalize your locus of control.

Anne Murdaugh - Do you have the time?

What time is it? Such a simple question can have a surprisingly complex answer. In this course, we will explore the concept of time and how to mark its passing. We begin with ancient astronomical time keeping, tracking the positions of the sun and moon, and advance through to modern timekeeping practices, oscillating atoms. Along the way we will dive into the technological advances that allowed us to track our days with growing precision and delve into the physical nature of time itself. We will dabble with Einstein's relativity, and explore how time interacts with space to produce some truly mind-boggling results.

Ryan Musgrave - Portlando: American Cities Go Green

What do the cities of Portland, Oregon and Orlando, Florida have in common? A lot, it turns out: a similar population size; rapidly increasing pressures on how to develop thriving urban communities sensibly (think: the opposite of 'sprawl')- and a likewise intense pressure to keep as much green nature space deeply embedded in urban settings. A few years ago, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer set the aspirational goal for Orlando to become "The Portland of the Southeast": his hope is that as Orlando develops its city, communities, neighborhoods, and civic spaces, it could implement many of the 'sustainable development' strategies Portland ushered in 20-30 years ago. These include: bike paths; rails-to-trails; natural parks, wilderness areas, or gardens integrated into downtowns; 'greening' energy sources of city utilities; real estate planning/development; light rail, streetcar, transportation innovations; local food issues of farm-to-table practices & sustainability with food production and consumption; more fair trade and fair wage practices; more inclusive civic and democratic practices; etc.
In our PORTLANDO class, we'll study and compare these cities as West/East coastal American 'bookends' of sorts- U.S. experiments in sustainable development, new urbanism, and the general trend of American cities going green. We'll take stock of how the city of Portland (and some other 'best practices' cities) implemented these practices; the strengths/weaknesses and adjustments to these practices in Portland over the years; and compare with Orlando. We'll examine how the ideas, practices, politics, and life-quality comprising 'American sustainable/eco-friendly cities' has built into a strong movement over time, and will experience/consider some of the practices directly in our own greater Orlando community of which Rollins is a part.

Rachel Newcomb - Food, Immigration, and Social Justice (Honors)

In this course, students will examine the social, cultural, and political issues involved with food production, from farm to table, particularly among the immigrant cultures of Central Florida. We will consider topics such as food insecurity and food deserts, the adoption of a "Western" diet and the maintaining of cultural traditions, immigration policies, cultural identity and memory. Students will also conduct a community engagement project through local nonprofits that work with migrant populations, environmental justice, or on the issue of fair and sustainable food production.

Thomas Ouellette - Theatre in the Making

For tens of thousands of years and across 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‚ nothing more than an old-school relic with little or nothing to add to contemporary discourse? THEATRE IN THE MAKING students grapple with this overarching and 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, often called the most collaborative art form, students observe and engage with artists who transport theatre from page to stage: actors, directors, technicians, and designers of costumes, sets, lights, and sound. No previous experience with theatre is required--just a curious mind and an open heart.

Sarah Parsloe - Disability and Social Change: Ableism, Advocacy, and Activism

While "diversity" and "inclusion" are pervasive buzz words, they are rarely used to acknowledge and address ableism--deep-seated prejudice against people who have physical, developmental, and/or cognitive differences. In this class, we will explore the roots of ableism embedded in both popular culture and institutional policies. We will consider how ableism influences everyday interactions. Finally, we will investigate the strategies through which advocates and activists fight to dismantle ableism.

Rachel Simmons - 2D Foundations in Art

2D Foundations in Art introduces the foundational elements and design principles of contemporary two-dimensional art. Students learn to identify and effectively use line, shape, texture, value, space and color through observational drawing, mixed media, printmaking and abstract painting. Hands-on studio projects culminate with a group critique which helps students develop their visual analysis, self-expression and presentation skills. Students will also learn about contemporary art and artists through visits to the Rollins Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Suitable for students with or without previous studio art or museum going experience. Also counts as a core course in both the Studio Art and Art History majors and minors.

Zeynep Teymuroglu - Rethinking Mathematics: Applications

This is an introductory-level mathematical modeling course that presents problems in which mathematics has been utilized as an interdisciplinary tool. The course focuses on the real-life applications of the mathematical topics. Using mathematics as its main focus, it will study culturally and socially relevant problems in complex issues such as spread of diseases, personal finance, population growth, to promote critical thinking. We will learn how to implement such models in Excel. No prior knowledge of Excel is needed.

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

This course draws on some contemporary scholarship and explores some key concepts from Confucian and Daoist traditions. We'll put these concepts in both historical and contemporary contexts, which will not only help us understand Chinese ancient ways of thought, but, hopefully, also inspire us to expand our view in dealing with some of the most pressing issues in a modern western society, such as life and death, marriage and family, reproduction and abortion, and private and public life.

Tricia Zelaya-Leon - Real World: Rollins College

From Animal House to Legally Blonde to Neighbors, 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 theories, the history of higher education, film, books, and popular media, this course will explore those stereotypes in an effort to unearth their origins and to compare and contrast them with the experiences of today's undergraduates.