Viterbo University’s website and many of our communication systems such as email and telephone services will be unavailable for parts of Saturday, July 26. In case of emergencies please email viterbohelpdesk@gmail.com

Core Curriculum

Header Image

Mission Seminar Section Descriptions, spring 2015

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

VUSM 100

Section 1

VUSM-100-001          Keith Knutson

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 01:25PM - 02:20PM, Murphy Center, Room 348 

Franciscan Values in a Modern Detective Novel

In 1980, Umberto Eco, a professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, published a novel entitled The Name of the Rose. Although the setting was a Benedictine monastery in northern Italy during the early 14th century, the novel’s hero was a Franciscan friar. Eco translates the dynamism of medieval religious movements into modern terms. The aim of this course is to understand that dynamism through the history of medieval reform movements, the reading and discussion of the novel, and the study of the characters in the motion picture made from the novel, starring Sean Connery as the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville.

Section 2

VUSM-100-002          Jackie Herbers

Tuesday, Thursday 11:00AM - 12:20PM, Murphy Center, Room 348

Franciscan Arguments

St. Francis once said, “Preach always; if necessary, use words.”   Here, St. Francis conveys his message that it is better for Christians to show their faith through serving others than to just speak of their faith.  In Franciscan Arguments, students will consider the question, “What are the values shown in society today?” by using rhetorical approaches to critically analyze a variety of artifacts.  These artifacts include, but are not limited to, speeches, articles, web sites, advertisements and songs.  After analyzing these artifacts, students will decide for themselves which values they see and will compare those to the values St. Francis tried to live.  Finally, students will argue what they see as positive values in our society and what values they would like to see change.

Section 3

VUSM-100-003          Mike Behan

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 09:05AM - 10:00AM, Brophy Center, Room 211

St. Francis the Marketer

This mission seminar course will examine and apply the core Franciscan values to investigate contemporary business/marketing challenges faced by all organizations (for profit and non-profit). No prior business knowledge or courses necessary.

Section 4

VUSM-100-003          TBA

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 02:30PM – 03:25PM, Murphy Center, Room 414


VUSM 200

Section 1

VUSM-200-001  Keith Knutson

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 02:30PM - 03:25PM, Murphy Center, Room 436

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’sTravels.  

Section 2

VUSM-200-002          Audrey Elegbede

Monday 05:00PM - 08:00PM, Murphy Center, Room 414 

An Exploration of White Privilege

This course is an exploration of white racial privilege in contemporary American society. Considering whiteness as both race and power-based system, this course attempts deeper understanding of the persistence of racism and its impact on all segments of society. Questions of denial and resistance, collaboration in systems of privilege, ‘colorblindness’, and personal and intellectual responses to those explorations highlight how privilege influences human interaction. The distribution of privilege within American society at personal, institutional, and cultural levels, as well as how whiteness operates within social constructs of class and gender, will be analyzed. Students ultimately develop strategies for confronting racism.

Section 3

VUSM-200-003          Michael Parker

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10AM - 11:05AM, Nursing Center, Room 203

The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination

Section 4

VUSM-200-004          David Waters

Tuesday, Thursday 11:00AM - 12:20PM, Brophy Center, Room 206

The Olympic Movement

We will explore the global sports phenomenon of the Modern Olympics, from its re-introduction in 1896 until current Olympiads. The Olympic Movement has as its cornerstone values: respect, excellence, and friendship. Diversity is also ensured with participation of more than 200+ National Olympic Committees from every area of the planet. This course will introduce and analyze the 3 facets of the Olympic Movement: Olympic Games, Olympic Solidarity, and Olympic Academy. The course will offer opportunities to research issues of diversity, inclusiveness, and disparate perspectives pertinent to the Olympic Movement. Some perspectives may encompass: sport governance, politics, culture, history, media, economics, and education.

Section 5

VUSM-200-005          Diana M. Cataldi 

Tuesday, Thursday 04:30PM - 05:50PM, Nursing Center, Room 205

Living in a Diverse World with Non-Western Music Elements

This seminar course is designed to increase students’ awareness, understanding, and appreciation of diversity, broadly defined (e.g., diversity in race and ethnicity, social class, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, and religion). Through completion of this course, students will build knowledge and skills involved in being advocates for cultural competency and responsible citizens in our diverse and changing world. Students will also be given a general education on the basics of music in addition to inspecting non-western musical traditions under the umbrella of such elements as rituals, memory, migration, politics, transmission, identity and life-cycle events.


VUSM 300

Section 1

VUSM-300-001          Melissa Collum

Wednesday 05:00PM - 08:00PM, Nursing Center, Room 101

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? Are you ready to act with empathy and quiet your soul, to listen the other, to understand how they think and hope to live their lives? Together we shall discover 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 reflect on JFK’s call to “Ask not what your country can do for you...” Texts include The Power of Citizenship: Why JFK Matters to a New Generation, Paul Famer’s call to Repair the World, the Kielburger’s call to hear and aid humanities’ Global Voices.

Section 2

VUSM-300-002          Melissa Collum

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10AM - 11:05AM, Fine Arts Center, Room 219

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? Are you ready to act with empathy and quiet your soul, to listen the other, to understand how they think and hope to live their lives? Together we shall discover 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 reflect on JFK’s call to “Ask not what your country can do for you...” Texts include The Power of Citizenship: Why JFK Matters to a New Generation, Paul Famer’s call to Repair the World, the Kielburger’s call to hear and aid humanities’ Global Voices.

Section 3

VUSM-300-003        Tom Thibodeau

Thursday 04:30PM - 06:30PM, Murphy Center, Room 348 

Homelessness

The number of people who are homeless and living in poverty is growing. It is real, it is everywhere. We will explore causes and responses and personal responsibility for serving the least among us. This course has a class trip, a night in a cardboard box in February, and 25 service hours in a local organization serving our brothers and sisters. Cross-listed with SOCL 370.

Section 4

VUSM-300-004        Mary Ellen Haupert

Tuesday, Thursday 02:00PM - 03:20PM, Fine Arts Center, Room 204

The focus of this Serving the Common Good seminar is the El Sistema movement, which has transformed music education into an agent of social change.  “The System” was the brain-child of Venezuelan economist Dr. José Antonio Abreu who taught “300,000 of Venezuela’s poorest children, demonstrating the power of ensemble music to dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation’s youth while transforming the communities around them” (elsistema.org).  This section of VUSM 300 will partner with catalyst schools in Chicago (the details of which are still being ironed out) and will include a service trip (March 5-9, 2015--also being discussed).  There may be a nominal fee to defray travel and lodging costs for the trip. Prerequisite: any 200 level VUSM course.

Section 5

VUSM-300-005        Scott Gabriel

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 09:05AM - 10:00AM, Nursing Center, Room 207

Ebola, the latest wrinkle in the human and microbial dance

This course will begin by exploring diseases which have altered the course of human history and seek to understand the biological basis of these outbreaks along with the societal, religious, and political forces involved in the spread of these diseases. The course will then explore more modern examples of pandemics such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, and MRSA and examine how advances in global health initiatives have increased our ability to respond to these microbial challenges but still leave us vulnerable to other newly emerging pathogens. Students will be required to participate in relevant service-learning opportunities which are related to the themes of the course.  These service opportunities will provide a context for our class discussion, provide situations for reflective journaling and be instructive to our learning on the subject of pandemics.

Section 6

VUSM-300-004        TBA

Tuesday, Thursday 12:30PM - 01:50PM, Murphy Center, Room 500


VUSM 400

Section 1

VUSM-400-001          Susan Crosby Ronnenberg

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 01:25PM - 02:20PM, Murphy Center, Room 573 

The Ethical Life builds upon the student's ethical reasoning to examine the role of moral values and to explore real world ethical dilemmas. The seminars may approach ethical living from a variety of perspectives, professions, and disciplines. This course explores the three major ethical perspectives of deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics, asking students to apply their tenets to moral problems presented in fictional narratives from popular culture sources.

Most ethical arguments arise out of stories that we tell ourselves about who we are and what we are doing; at the same time, there is scarcely a fictional narrative that does not carry a weight of moral urgency or exemplify an ethical position. We tell stories to make sense of the world and to give us perspective on decisions we might otherwise take too casually, or challenges that at first resist our attempts to resolve; they rank among our oldest and most persistent means of achieving consensus. They contribute to developing what we refer to as our ethical standards. Our attention to ethical philosophy will be always in service to critical analysis and discussion of a number of fictional narratives, in the form of short stories, drama, novels, television series, and film.  Topics covered will include: questions of fairness and equality, questions about consequences and the greatest good, and questions about character and moral habituation. The course emphasizes close and perceptive reading, thoughtful discussion and reflection.

Section 2

VUSM-400-002 Robyn Gaier

Thursday 03:30PM - 06:30PM, Murphy Center, Room 414. This section is for students admitted into the Honors Program.

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.   

Section 3

VUSM-400-003       Dr. Matthew Bersagel Braley

Tuesday 04:00PM - 07:00PM, Murphy Center, Room 436

The Ethical Life- Global Health and Human Flourishing

“Health for All!” has become a rallying cry in the twenty-first century, uniting rock stars (e.g., Bono) and conservative politicians (e.g., Jesse Helms), celebrities and corporations, private philanthropy and the world’s richest countries. It is a moral claim: health is fundamental to being human and therefore should be available to all. For Spring 2015, this course will focus on the Ebola epidemic and the global water crisis in order to evaluate (1) the philosophical, theological, and sociological bases of this claim, and (2) its practical implications for creating just health systems around the world. Selected course texts: Camus, The Plague; Peppard, Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis; Singer, The Life You Can Save

Section 4

VUSM-400-004       TBA      

Tuesday, Thursday 02:00PM - 03:20PM, Murphy Center, Room 348      

Section 5

VUSM-400-005       Melissa Collum

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 02:30PM - 03:25PM, Murphy Center, Room 348

The Hitchhikers Guide to an Ethical Life Are you a passenger on the road of life? Passively gazing out the window, listening to tunes on the radio of someone else’s choosing? Or are you the driver? Plotting a clear course only to get stuck in a traffic jam? Better yet, be a hitchhiker – sometimes driving and other times a passenger, yet always in control of your ultimate destiny.

The course shall aid you in setting your moral/ethical compass for life’s journey. Guided by Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity, we shall tackle the moral incubus of Kafka’s The Trial, to the provoking account of Wiesenthal’s, The Sunflower, to Stangroom’s the paradoxical ethical dilemmas in Would You Eat Your Cat?

Our journey shall take you to from the depths of your soul to the expanses of the moral universe all the time preparing you to be a hitchhiker in the world of the unknown.

Section 6

VUSM-400-006  Rick Kyte and Tom Thibodeau

Monday 06:00PM - 09:00PM, Nursing Center, Room 101 

“The Ethical Life: Water Ethics”

This section will examine water’s unique status as a commons resource, essential to economic, cultural, physiological, and emotional well-being.  We will read books from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and meet with water experts, including local, state, and federal agency personnel, to learn about the major challenges of securing high water quality and quantity now and in the future.  All students will be required to attend the national Water Ethics Conference taking place at Viterbo April 16-18.