The World In Your Front Yard: Examining Storm Lake, Iowa as a Microcosm of Our Ever-Changing World

Prof. David Walker

Storm Lake has long been on the leading edge of a variety of issues confronting the United States and world today- immigration, diversity, religious freedom, commerce, global trade, and city planning. Through primary research, access to city and regional leaders, and service-learning opportunities, you will learn how these issues contribute to Storm Lake as a microcosm of the world and how you and your college experience puts you in the middle of that world.

Social Media & Global Change

Prof. Jamii Claiborne

The rise of social media usage around the globe has been rapid and remarkable. Facebook, in existence for only a decade, has one billion worldwide users. Twitter is barely eight-years-old and at a half-billion users. In a short period of time, social media have changed the way we communicate, and as new media guru Clay Shirky has written, "When we change the way we communicate, we change society." This course will focus on how social media have opened new possibilities for worldwide civic engagement and collaboration for social change. Social media allow people to share information, organize, protest, and collectively act in new and innovative ways, at astonishing speeds, and at times, with impressive and important results. This course explores different types of social media in a global context, how they have been used in recent social/global movements, and their influence on change.

Where Are All of the Scientists?

Dr. Lisa Mellmann

Fewer people are entering STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and yet there is an increasing need and many job opportunities in these fields. This class will explore the current and historical trends of people entering STEM fields and implications these trends have on our society. We will look at the attitudes towards STEM research and job opportunities around the world (Asia, Europe, South America, Africa) and compare them to attitudes in the US. We will explore reasons why increased numbers in STEM fields is essential to a growing economy and staying competitive worldwide. We will research the challenges students face going into these fields (education, gender, diversity) and ways to promote and encourage young people to pursue higher education in these fields. We will use these ideas to develop outreach opportunities in the local schools or extracurricular activities for area youth.

The Effect of Sports on the Global Community

Dr. Matt Hanson

Throughout history, there has been a shift in the purpose of sports. It has been suggested that the development of sport has been intimately associated with the civilization and politics of the time. Competition and sport have affected culture both locally as well as globally throughout history. One does not need to think twice about the way Jackie Robinson affected baseball, or how the "Miracle on Ice" affected the game of Hockey in the United States. Numerous other examples certainly exist. The effects of these events and individuals go far beyond the specific sport. This course will look at a selected history of the cultural and global effects of sport. This course will also look at the effects the media as well as 'pop' culture has had on the way sporting events and individuals have been portrayed.

Making Your Education Count

Dr. Stan Ullerich

With global intelligence flows, transportation networks and markets permitting exchanges "round the world, round the clock," competition with billions of people is daunting, yet exciting! We, in the US, are becoming less protected, by distance, through knowledge, or via legislation, so must compete to thrive. So, how best can you prepare yourself? What experiences will best equip you for life-long learning and life-long earning? Where might you best excel? And how might we at BVU customize your educational adventure to best equip you? Through an array of reading, writing, and research oriented exercises, you'll learn more of yourself, set sights on your destiny, and choose both your educational and professional trajectory, beginning with your foundation built at BVU.

A Saving Myth for a New Globe: The Formulaic Structure of the New American Heroism

Dr. James McFadden

Through discussions with local heroes, we will prepare ourselves for successful careers at Buena Vista University. Through the tale of their life-saving walk across an African desert, we will study the mythological journey of three international heroes. Through a mythology of such individual journeys, we will study the Hollywood formulas used in movies that frame such hero's journeys as universal allegories of human maturation. In a mythology of such global maturation, we will study the recent dissemination of American nationalism as a new international heroism. We study the mythological structure of heroism and maturation that popular films project into us as we equip ourselves for heroic service to a global superpower and prepare ourselves for mature roles in the dramas of our new globe.

Perspectives on Family Communication in a Global Society

Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

Our specific course deals with the important and very practical topic of family and how it's conceptualized across the globe. Issues that will be addressed include: types of families, family culture and traditions, family stories, family roles, power and intimacy in families, family conflict, the role technology plays in family functioning, as well as the implications of social issues on family structure and interaction. This course will also involve a service component. Within the class, we will focus on skills such as writing, public speaking, collaboration, research and critical thinking as we apply a cross-cultural approach to our understanding of family.

The Poverty and Wealth of Nations

Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl

One billion people around the globe live on less than our equivalent of one dollar per day, according to the most recent estimates of extreme poverty by the World Bank. In this course, we will attempt to understand this statistic from multiple perspectives. Our exploration of this topic will lead us to discuss many related topics and ideas. We will attempt to answer such questions as: How has the number of people living in extreme poverty changed over time? What were the causes of these changes? What does poverty in the United States look like, both today and throughout our history? What are the trends in inequality and income mobility? In addition to using aggregate statistics to understand these questions, we will use case studies of individuals and families when possible and appropriate. This course will also give you training in how to analyze many of the data-based claims made by politicians, pundits, and the press today in policy debates on a variety of topics, not just poverty statistics.

A Psychohistory of Love and Romance

Dr. Robert Blodgett

In this course we will explore the historical, evolutionary, religious, biological, psychological, social, and culture foundations of love and romance as they emerged throughout human history. Evidence from science, literature, stage, song, and film will be considered. Questions for which we will seek answers include: Are some aspects of love universal to sexually reproducing species? What aspects of love are characteristically human? How should we account for apparent sex differences and sexual orientations? What factors promote longevity in loving relationships? Why do once loving relationships fail? We will conduct library research using scientific journals, books, magazines and websites. We will also critique movies, poetry, literature, engage in class discussion, and do plenty of writing.

Dangerous Stages: Artistic Freedom, Censorship and Activism

Dr. Bethany Larson

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players..." Though a common phrase, Shakespeare suggests a link between life and art that is often overlooked. Brazilian theatre artist Augusto Boal carries the notion further: "We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it." Boal's call to action is based on the idea that theatre reflects life and what can be learned and discovered in the theatre can be applied to the world around us. In this seminar you will explore a number of historical moments when political, religious, or social structures came into conflict with theatre artists, resulting in censorship, imprisonment, torture, and even assassination. From Russia to Spain, from Nigeria to Brazil, through research, writing, and artistic expression (music, art, theatre), we will explore artistic freedom and its relationship to governments and society.

Like, Follow, Copy? Human Imitation and Globalization

Dr. Matthew Packer

What are new brain science, cutting-edge theory, and trends in creativity and conflict revealing about human imitation? We copy and follow others in ways far more profound and amazing than once thought. Not only are other people's styles and ideas inspirational; even desire itself is imitative, as TV advertising's focus on models proves. But desire causes conflict when people's wants all converge on the same thing, whether openly or secretly. This interdisciplinary section of University Seminar will explore how technology worldwide is amplifying the role of imitation in creativity, competition, conflict, and our self-understanding. We'll read contemporary and classic authors, watch innovative TV and film, and cover topics from mirror neurons and modern marketing to coolhunting, international rivalry (U.S.-China), and all sorts of bubbles, crashes, and trends.

Run Toward the Fire: Consuming and Creating Global Mass Media Messages

Dr. Andrea Frantz

Picture this: You're in a crowded subway station. At your stop, a police officer hustles down the platform stairs and announces, "Everyone must exit the station in an orderly fashion. When you get to street level, we need you to turn right and run." Everyone nervously begins to ascend the stairs and you can see the people in front of you comply with the officer's instructions. Which way do you turn? If curiosity makes you say, "left," then you are a person driven by the need to know and perhaps the need to share what you know with the world. In this age of the smartphone, the backpack journalist, the first-person iReport, revolutions fueled by Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, our understanding of who provides information to the public (and how) is very different than it was 50 years ago. "The public" is now a global audience no longer limited to the people in your immediate community with shared interests and experiences. "Reporters" are no longer exclusively the trained Bob Woodwards or the Anderson Coopers of the world, but can be your neighbor who witnesses the fire, runs toward it and shoots images for the local television station with her iPhone. Through class discussion, case studies, written and oral projects, this course will analyze the who, what, where, when, how and why of global mass media message creation and consumption.