Residential Life & Explorations

RCC Courses 2018

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.

Deus Ex Machina: Social Evolution in Virtual Worlds - Dr. Benjamin Balak

Zoologist, psychologists, educators, and most everybody else knows that playing games is at the heart of learning. The video game industry is already leading other forms of entertainment in economic size and cultural influence and is increasingly used for training and learning by the military, businesses, and schools. The course will explore this new frontier from an interdisciplinary perspective focusing on its effect on society and the individual. We will consider social, political, cultural, and economic developments that are currently taking place, and speculate about their effects on our futures. We will look at theories and histories of technological change, science fiction, and most importantly: delve into this brave new world by playing sophisticated video games and studying them! We will play with simulations, experience Virtual Reality, and create digital artifacts such as mods, photogrammetry, and streams. Finally, we will pay particular attention to the possibilities and challenges facing our education system and seek the empowered and informed participation of our students in preparing for the future that is now.

Create Your Best Life - Dr. Mamta Accapadi

You are here, on this campus... in this moment... because you have accomplished many goals, and achieved a list of competitive milestones. Are you happy? How do you know? How do you define happiness? Why are some people happier than others? The course will focus on dimensions that lead to a life of happiness and thriving. Through research, class discussions, engagement in the community and active reflection, we will all have the opportunity to develop strategies for increasing our levels of happiness and creating our best lives.

Theatre of Ideas (Honors RCC) - Dr. Erik Kenyon & Dr. Thomas Ouellette

What is happiness? What makes us happy? Do you want to be happy? Why do our quests for happiness often seem to be frustrated? This course explores these questions through the seemingly discontinuous lenses of Greek philosophy, contemporary theater, and a community-engagement (CE) project at a local grade school. You will study ancient texts from Plato and Aristotle, work up scenes from current plays such as "Angels in America" and "Dear Evan Hansen," and use games and storybooks to engage school children in philosophical discussions. The juxtaposition of old and new, abstract and embodied, and academic and practical, will invite new ways of thinking about the role and possibility of happiness in each of our lives. No background in philosophy or theater is required.

Bad Taste and Aesthetics - Dr. Benjamin Hudson

What is good taste?  What is bad?  Who gets to decide?  In this class, we will demystify the question of aesthetics (or in layman's terms, the judgment of art) and explore what it means to have bad taste.

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

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.

Food and Culture - Dr. Gay M. Biery-Hamilton

We all like to eat.  People need to eat to live.  Do you know how human beings have gotten their food throughout their history?  Do you know how different types of food have migrated with people and affected their lives in new ways, especially after Columbus discovered the New World?  How do some cultures become represented by a cuisine?  Do you know how your food is grown now in the Twenty-First Century?  Do you know what is in your food these days? In this course, we will examine these questions using readings, films, growing our own class garden, and your research.

Tiny Science - Dr. Brendaliz Santiago Narvaez

Tiny Science is a one-semester lecture course intended for first-year science majors.  This course will introduce students to the biology of microbes and how microscopic life significantly impact all living things.  Students will explore the scientific base of recent and historical discoveries from a microbiology-based perspective. The overall goal of the course is to provide students with the biological background and skills necessary to be able to understand and critically assess scientific content. (Chem 120 is a linked course with this RCC.)

3D Foundations - Dr. Joshua Almond

This studio course introduces the fundamentals of contemporary sculptural practice with an emphasis on spatial awareness, problem solving, and conceptual 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.

Discipline: Crafting Subjectivities, Shaping Lives (Honors RCC) - Dr. Todd French

This course is a meditation on the topic of Discipline in a variety of societal frames. The course is naturally interdisciplinary, drawing on a range of fields and topics in which discipline can be explored, including Religion, Economics, Sociology, Gender/Sexuality Studies, Law, and Psychology. In each of the sections, the course will take as its primary focus a set of social problems that face our local and global communities. Examples include asceticism and the discipline of the body; minimalism, capitalism and the quest for the good life; retribution/justice and the prison industrial complex; technologies of the self/body; and sexuality and the body. These will comprise the main thrust of the course's objectives. Other areas of inquiry will include social movements that challenge humans to discipline their desires and consumption of world resources. Finally, a section of the course will be aimed at working with various "disciplinary" life hacks that can help new college students achieve success in their studies and beyond. We will, of course, also problematize these productive measures with a range of social theorists. We will take our time discerning just what Rollins means when we say, we want you to have a meaningful career and a productive life.

Chinese Youth: From Revolution To Globalization - Dr. Yusheng Yao

This course introduces students to Chinese youth culture from the 1960s to the present.  It traces the emergence of Chinese youth culture in the Cultural Revolution nativist Utopian revolution--and its dramatic changes in the reform era of increasing globalization.  It examines how indigenous factors and foreign influences have interacted in shaping Chinese youth culture and youth identities.

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

This course examines the causes and consequences of the illegal drug trade in the United States and Latin America as well as the rationale for U.S. drug 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.

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

This course draws on some contemporary scholarship and explores some key concepts of 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 find alternative ways 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. (REL 113 Asian Religions is a linked course with this RCC.)

Mind, Body, Culture - Dr. Rachel Newcomb

How do we learn to inhabit our bodies? How are our experiences and relationships inscribed on our bodies? Why do we tend to see the body and mind as separate things? We take for granted the idea that having a body is "natural," but the ways we use our bodies to encounter the world are vastly different from culture to culture. In this class, we will explore how the cultures we live in, through their laws and technologies, their beauty standards, religions and medical systems, affect how we conceive of our bodies, and how those conceptions have changed over time.

Mindful Living - Prof. Missy Barnes

This course aims to make students more productive and successful by teaching them Mindfulness. The quality of mindfulness is sometimes described as the ability to intentionally focus one's attention in the present moment with curiosity and interest. By practicing mindfulness, students begin to notice when their minds have wandered, which enables them to more easily let go of distractions. Students who are mindful can make better choices today, which increases the likelihood of a more productive and fulfilling tomorrow. In this course, students will read about, study, and practice a variety of techniques in order to build heightened self-awareness. Classroom sessions will include discussions of assigned readings, meditation exercises, and meditative movement explorations. Students will then document these experiences in formal writing assignments.

German on the Fast Track - Dr. Nancy M. 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 to 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. If you are interested in the Dual Degree Program (, be sure to let Prof. Decker know.

The Modern Scientist - Dr. Laurel Habgood

The personal and professional lives of scientists are not typically explored in the major's coursework. Through the reading of fiction and non-fiction we will examine how the scientific profession (people, location, funding) has morphed in the twentieth century. This class is designed for those whose intent is to major in biology, chemistry, or physics and therefore assumes a basic knowledge and inherent interest. Emphasis will not be on specific content but on the development of an understanding of the pathways, expectations, and challenges faced by the modern scientist.

Be the Change - Dr. Josephine Balzac

The idea is for the class to introduce students to changemaking and allow them to be changemakers. The goal is to connect the students with on campus organizations and centers that are changemakers and have students get involved and be the change starting first in their campus community. Students will undergo a personal transformation through transformative impact. The class will intentionally expose students to on and off campus networks and empower them to be changemakers. Students will examine the social and environmental issues occurring on campus, in the local community, and internationally. Through teaching the basics of empathy, creative confidence, social movements, sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship students will develop solutions to achieve social, environmental, and economic justice and create positive change through initiatives, activism, policy, social enterprises, organizations, and intrapreneurship. Students will engage with on campus organizations such as the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement, Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, Democracy Project, Eco-Rollins, Rollins Sustainability Program, Imagine Justice, Artists for Action, Rollins Coalition for Sustainable Investment, Rollins Microfinance Fund, Rollins Net Impact Undergraduate, Students Against Sexual Assault, and Voices for Women.

Reading Around the World - Dr. Margot Fadool

The goal of this course is to read books from around the world to kick start your journey toward becoming a global citizen.  During the semester we will read, write about, and discuss a variety of short essays and novels.  We will focus on gaining an appreciation for a variety of literature, developing habits of people who read for pleasure as well as for school assignments, learning to analyze literature, and seeing the connection between reading, writing and discussion as part of the learning process. Some of the topics we might read about are the early days of the Cuban revolution, living on the streets in India, and watching the Taliban first enter Afghanistan.

Dream in Spanish - Dr. Patricia Tome

The goal of this course is to further develop the student's mastery of communicative skills in Spanish‚ speaking, writing, reading, and comprehension‚ and to improve their speaking level to near fluency. Students will be able to speak and write clearly in Spanish as well as understand spoken Spanish. Through contact with native speakers of Spanish (via service-learning project), students will also develop intercultural and translingual communicative skills necessary to effectively communicate in the target language. Students will also be exposed to a variety of cultural components that will enhance their global awareness, their civic engagement with the Latin-American community, and their own perception of themselves in the world. (Not for native speakers of Spanish)

Successful Pathways through Music - Dr. Gloria Cook

The course explores the close association of music to the study of other disciplines such as history, literature, art, and the sciences. By using musical elements such as pitch, rhythm, patterns, themes, and aesthetic concepts such as color, expression, and nuance, students will examine masterworks of great composers and search for meaningful connections across disciplines. By focusing on ideas that these disciplines share, students will gain a strong understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of their liberal arts education at Rollins.

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.

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 and affirmative action, immigration and sociopolitical inequality, abortion, capital punishment, media/violence/gun control, gay rights, and environmental policy/GMO labeling/climate change. 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. Students will be trained in debate techniques and debate in groups. (POL 160- Intro to American Politics is a linked course with this RCC.)

Making Art in the 2D - Dr. Dana Hargrove

Making Art in the 2D is a broad, cross- disciplinary investigation of art, artists and processes. Basic visual art concepts will be covered while we discover contemporary artists and think about contemporary art themes. Projects incorporate drawing, painting, mixed media and will help you solve visual problems and increase your ability to read, analyze and make art.

Farewell to Fairy Tales - Dr. Victoria Brown

Life, death, dolls, the moon, a broken fingernail, a relentless toothache. What can you write a short story or an essay about? Are any topics taboo or too transgressive, too simple? What transforms an idea or experience into a work of art worth writing and reading? In this RCC we will read and analyze examples of short stories and essays about everything, and through a semester-long series of short exercises, we will write and share a few of our own.

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.

Purpose and Profit (AMP 3/2) - Dr. Cecilia McInnis-Bowers

Introduces students to the field of social entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, and the role of business as a force for good in society focusing on people, planet, and profit or sustainability Students will learn to make business decisions by playing a real time, competitive, electronic simulation. Explored are concepts of creativity, innovation and the entrepreneurial process.  DiscoveryU allows students to engage in self-reflection to build deeper interpersonal knowledge.

TV as Storytelling: Contemporary Visual Narratives (Honors RCC) - Dr. Paul D. Reich

In the past two decades, television has transformed from a medium devoted to episodic, forgettable programming to critically-acclaimed visual narratives that engage viewers in a variety of ways.  This course will examine a selection of these narratives and study the craft of television production.  We will also consider how shifting viewing behaviors influence the way we discuss television and interact with its characters.

Globalization (AMP 3/2) - Dr. Joan Davison

Globalization studies the economic, social, environmental, technological, military, and political developments which energize and intensify international interactions, as well as the differential impact of these trends. This course analyzes these dynamics, and assesses why some nations, or groups within nations, favor globalization, while other interests have mobilized a backlash. Additionally, the course examines the so-called wars (or sins) of globalization related to terrorism, human trafficking, and the drug and arms trades. What can governments and international organizations do to counter these unwanted global webs? Finally, the course considers globalization within the context of Rollins’ mission, discussing what it means to be a responsible leader and global citizen.

The World of Business (AMP 3/2) - Dr. Allen Kupetz

Globalization has impacted the way we live, work, and play. "The World of Business" examines the key forces that have resulted from globalization and studies their impact on international business. Students will learn about the political, economic, cultural, technological, legal, demographic, geographic, and historical processes to understand how the world economy functions. We will discuss international institutions, country market evaluations, foreign direct investment, the multinational company and its functions (organizational behavior, finance, marketing, operations), as well as the ethical environment of global business. Fulfills the INB 200 requirement for students who major or minor in INB.

Political Economy of Freedom - Dr. Zhaochang Peng

Freedom is a core value widely researched in the humanities and social sciences. However, there is hardly any consensus on what freedom means and what realization of freedom entails. This course introduces you to different understandings of freedom and its conditions of realization, from philosophic to economic, from historical to contemporary, from Eastern to Western, from radical to conservative...until you get a sense of how to apply them to a special cross section of human society called political economy. The point is: get yourself well informed about a fundamental theme of human affairs, and then start your own fascinating journey of exploring the connections of your life to the wider society.

Strength and Beauty in Mathematics - Dr. Jay Yellen

Do you think it's crazy to use words like beauty, fun, and mathematics in the same sentence? Take this course and see for yourself that there's nothing crazy about it.

You will get a glimpse of a variety of topics, including a taste of the logic needed to tackle some of the oddball puzzles of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland. You will experience the expressive power and clarity of the language of mathematics, and you will sharpen your reasoning and problem-solving skills, skills that are fundamental in the real world.

If you already like math, you'll see some things that will make you like it even more. If you've always hated and/or feared math, you'll be surprised how much fun it can be.

An additional component that will help you achieve the course objectives will be our participation in community engagement at a local elementary school.

Create With Me: Theatre and Disability - Dr. Marianne DiQuattro

Create With Me introduces students interested in any discipline of study to the questions and research inspired by and the achievements being realized in the arts by people with disabilities. This course surveys the political, ethical, and professional problems faced by those with disabilities of all kinds in trying to access training and performance opportunities in theatre, specifically. We will examine the growing field of drama therapy, and models from art and music therapy, as well. In tandem with learning about the scholarly field of disability and theatre, students will engage in embodied performance practices by creating theatre WITH a group of individuals with disabilities at a community partner organization. Our weekly sessions of theatre games and rehearsal will culminate in a devised performance for friends and families of the actors, as we propose that creating with is a radical move in theatre for social justice for communities that face many barriers to inclusion in the arts.

Your Choice, Your Health - Dr. Richard Morris Ed.D.

Approach healthful decisions through mindfulness and internalizing your locus of control.

Winging It - Dr. Robin Gerchman

An introduction to the spontaneous movement form known as improvisation. Through guided movement exercises and experiences, readings, discussions, observations, and journaling, students will broaden self-awareness and physical and expressive skills in the movement aspects of time, space, energy, shape and dynamics. This course will delve into the basics of improvisation as self-exploration, technique, choreographic tool and performance form through various approaches and styles.

Real World: Rollins College - Dr. Zelaya-Leon

From Animal House to Legally Blonde 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 theories, 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.

Office of Residential Life & Explorations
Rollins College - McKean Hall
1000 Holt Ave. – Mailbox 2737
Winter Park, FL 32789
T. 407.646.2649