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Core Curriculum

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Mission Seminar Section Descriptions, Fall 2014

These are descriptions for generic sections only. For descriptions of numbered VUSM courses, consult the searchable VU catalog.

Fall 2014 Generic Section Descriptions for Mission Seminars 

VUSM-100-001  MWF  8:00am-8:55am  MRC 346  Michael Lopez-Kaley 
Viterbo University was founded in 1890 by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  This entry-level course examines that heritage and what it means to be and behave like a Franciscan.  This course will use the works of Saints Francis, Clare, and Rose of Viterbo as a foundation for exploring the university’s core values of hospitality, integrity, contemplation, stewardship and service.  As an Honors section, this course will focus on leadership and how one grows into leadership roles.  Key to this focus will be the use of the written works of Francis and Clare, and a Franciscan document outlining six virtues necessary for Franciscan leadership. 

VUSM-100-002  TR  9:30am-10:50am  MRC 346  Emily Dykman
Catholic Social Teaching and the Franciscan Tradition   
St. Francis of Assisi is remembered for his care and compassion for the poor, the vulnerable, and the outcast. Using his story, as well as those of St. Clare, St. Rose, and Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (our founders), students will be introduced to the Franciscan response to injustice. In particular, students will be introduced to Catholic Social Teaching themes which inform and influence the social action on behalf of the poor, the vulnerable, and the outcast.  As a primary resource, students will analyze and study the Gospels of the Christian Bible which influenced St. Francis and continue to influence the response of Christians throughout the world to systems of injustice.    

VUSM-100-003  TR  8:00am-9:20am  MRC 348  Jane Eddy

VUSM-200-001  MWF  2:30pm-3:25pm  MRC 436  Keith Knutson
In this section we look at the medieval Franciscan approach to diversity in the world as it was understood in that time. We begin with St Francis of Assisi visiting the Sultan of Egypt in 1219 during the 5th Crusade. Modern Franciscans have used this encounter to develop an active dialogue with Muslims in the 21st century. We will then learn about some of Francis’s contemporaneous brothers who travelled to China shortly after the founder’s death. Their arduous missions were on behalf of the Roman Latin Christian Church Pontificate, to negotiate with the Great Khans of the Mongols, who were threatening European invasion during the 13th century. These Franciscans actually went to China before the renowned Marco Polo, even today still (mistakenly) considered the first recorded western visitor to China. Our semester will conclude by reading Polo’s Travels.  

VUSM-200-002  TR  2:00pm-3:20pm  MRC 446  Kem Gambrel

VUSM-200-003  W  5:30pm-8:30pm  FAC 203 Diana Cataldi
This section will take a comparative studies approach, examining Non-Western Cultures through their use of music.  We will compare customs based on the following social events: migration, memory, mobility, dance, rituals, politics, and identity. 

VUSM-200-004  MWF  10:10am-11:05am  NRC 201  Melissa Collum
The Life Cycle of a T-shirt/The Human Cost 
“Our actions—and inactions—touch people we may never know and never meet across the world.” ~ Jacqueline Novogratz   
We are going to redefine the geography of community and explore the shared responsibility and shared accountability for common human values . . . we are going to follow the Life Cycle of a T-shirt and its cost to humanity. From the carbon foot print, to human rights violations of the t-shirt manufactures in developing nations, from the ethics of your buying power and how much it REALLY costs you to own that t-shirt, to what your t-shirt says on the outside and how it reflects you on the inside, and “your t-shirt’s life” after you discard it… does it go in the trash, to the rag bin, Goodwill, or end up in Africa? We shall be inspired by the Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz and The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli, along with the stories of many others, both near and far.   

VUSM-200-005  TR 11:00am-12:20pm  MRC 446  TBA

VUSM-200-006  TR  9:30am-10:50am  MRC 418  Deb Daehn-Zellmer

VUSM-300-001  W  5:30pm-8:00pm  MRC 500  Denise Lorenz
Advocacy via Storytelling  
One in five Americans has a disAbility.  This course will explore the student’s perspective about people with disAbilities and encourage the “disAbility is natural” concept.  Viterbo’s mission to affirm the dignity of all people and embrace a passion for justice will be woven into the course discussions and service-learning.  Students will be matched with a child, adolescent or adult with a disAbility in our community to learn about their life and assist them in telling their story.  The student will be encouraged to utilize their own gifts to assist the individual with self-advocacy by portraying their life story via various media (video, power point, artwork, poem, portfolio, etc.) as the final project.  In order to serve the common good of this population, students will need to pass a criminal background disclosure. 

VUSM-300-002  TR  9:30am-10:50am  BRC 206  Mike Behan
This mission seminar course will examine and apply the value of serving the common good from the marketing/business perspective by working on a project for a local non-for-profit organization. In helping the organization satisfy their marketing/business needs, students will share their talents to promote and appreciate the benefits of serving the common good. No prior business knowledge or courses are necessary.    

VUSM-300-003  TR  12:30pm-1:50pm  MRC 444  Ed Wenzel
The Mission Seminar will focus on working with diverse populations, one option of which is the Boys’ and Girls’ Club in the Mathy Center on the Viterbo campus.  Among the topics covered in the course are the following: a) defining service learning; b) demonstrating an understanding of prevention theory; c) cultivating resilience in children; d) defining attitudes and actions with regard to servant leadership, social justice, and the common good; e) learning about and gaining an appreciation for various models of service learning; and f) developing an understanding of intercultural experience from various perspectives.  The seminar will focus on respect for and support of the common good.  An appreciation for cultural compatibility will also be emphasized.  Because the student may be interacting with children/minors, a background check will be required.  

VUSM-300-005  MWF 12:20pm-1:15pm  MRC 448  Melissa Collum
No man is an island, entire to himself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” ~ John Donne
Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and discover your personal potential? Are you willing to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world? Are you able to look into your soul to see what you are made of? CAN you, literally and figuratively, “walk a mile” in someone else’s shoes, to experience a life different than yours? Together we shall discover, via the historic and contemporary lens of citizenship, civil action and courage, that we do not exist for ourselves alone ~we are here for a greater good, not for what it gives us, but of what it enables us to give others…… We shall be reflecting on JFK’s call to “Ask not what your country can do for you...” in The Power of Citizenship: Why JFK Matters to a New Generation, using the Kielburger’s call to hear and aid humanities’ Global Voices. There is no prescribed service project for this course; together we shall discover your strengths and passion thus leading to your path of service.  

VUSM-300-006  R  5:30pm-8:00pm  MRC 346  Kari Reyburn
Adopting a psychological perspective, this Common Good section will examine and apply the StrengthsQuest perspective/ assessment in order to determine each student’s individual talents. This way of knowing will allow students to use their individual talents within a service-learning project of their choice. Through this practice, students will learn the importance of becoming better citizens of the community and how to serve.  

VUSM-300-007  R  1:00pm-3:50pm  NRC 203  Sheryl Jacobson & Mary Therese Rinzel
Following in the Franciscan tradition and Viterbo value of service, Serving the Common Good through Spiritual and Caring Practices provides an opportunity for students to explore concepts of holistic care as they relate to vulnerable populations.  Students will participate in activities designed to foster the common good while reflecting on their own values and practices of servant leadership and collaboration within a community.  Partnership and collaboration with the Salvation Army organization in La Crosse will allow students to demonstrate developing competency of community engagement and responsibility.   

VUSM-400-001  W  5:00pm-8:00pm  NRC 207  Jessica Madsen
This course provides a foundation in ethics theory, principles and decision making and introduces students to recent debates surrounding the role of nutrition in health promotion and prevention and management of chronic diseases.  Examples of topics that will be discussed include medication vs. nutrition management of disease, end of life care regarding nutrition, and the use of vitamins and minerals to treat cardiovascular disease.  This course will address several topics regarding the role of nutrition in the healthcare system including issues surrounding scope of practice.  The course will also address topics related to the ethical situations of providing information to the public that is not evidenced-based. 

VUSM-400-002  TR  9:30am-10:50am  MRC 416  Robyn Gaier
Ethical Concerns in Professional Life
There are unique ethical questions and considerations that arise specifically within the context of one’s chosen profession. For instance, how should someone decide which profession to pursue? What makes a profession meaningful and fulfilling; and how should organizations be held accountable? After examining these general questions concerning the professions, we will proceed to investigate how common ethical theories may be applied to concerns within the professions. More specifically, we will examine case studies in business ethics and employ the four-way method of ethical decision-making to reach resolutions in these case studies. Some of the topics addressed in this seminar include: affirmative action, sexual harassment, confidentiality concerns, whistleblowing, conflicts of interest, and environmental responsibilities of organizations. 

VUSM-400-003  TR  12:30pm-1:50pm  BRC 211  Derek Cortez
This course is designed to provide leadership tools, perspectives, and avenues to working with others in an ethical and constructive manner. Leadership models, characteristics, and attributes will be applied and practiced through the use of case study and role modeling. Application will be made to practical issues faced by people in leadership positions. This class will also look at the way in which traditional conceptions of the “good” find expression in the characteristics of leaders and leadership, especially in relation to the growth of self and others.   

VUSM-400-004  TR  2:00pm-3:20pm  FAC 204  Janet McLean

VUSM-400-005  TR  11:00am-12:20pm  MRC 500  Rick Kyte and Tom Thibodeau
This particular section of The Ethical Life prepares students for taking on the ethical challenges that come with assuming a leadership role in a profession, organization, or community.  We will look in particular at Servant Leadership, see how it is grounded in an ethical approach to life, and then examine ways in which servant leaders can create ethical cultures and resolve ethical problems in real life situations. This course places a strong emphasis on class participation and student initiative in bringing examples to class for discussion.     

VUSM-400-006  MWF  2:30pm-3:25pm  MRC 436  Jason Howard & Jeff Nyseth
Media Ethics
Media Ethics concentrates on exploring the different kinds of moral problems that arise in relation to the creation, distribution and communication of different types of information and forms of entertainment.  New forms of media over the last sixty years have changed how we access information, learn about the world, and pursue entertainment. This course investigates problems of manipulation, coercion and deception in relation to advertisement, entertainment, and journalism, exploring the complicated issue of how we might assess questions of moral responsibility within various types of media.