Fall 2012 Mission Seminar Section Descriptions
VUSM100, Franciscan Values and Traditions
Section 1 VUSM-100-001 (33820) Franciscan Values, Jesus Jambrina
Bartolomé de las Casas and his Defense of the Americas Indigenous Populations
This course will explore the life and works of Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566). After arriving to the Americas as a Spanish conquistador, Las Casas went through a moral and ethical transformation that brought him to side with the indigenous people’s rights to the land and to their lives. By the end of his life, Las Casas not just had taken part in key political decisions toward the continent native populations, but he had also created a monumental oeuvre that serves today as a foundational narrative for several disciplines in the Western Hemisphere like history, literature, and religion, among others. Las Casas offers an excellent opportunity to visualize an individual character building toward humanity, inclusiveness and social justice for all. This section is approved to co-count as an Historical Analysis Way of Thinking.
Section 2 VUSM-100-002 (33821) Franciscan Values, Emily Dykman
Using the lens of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, students will be introduced characteristics and methods of effective leadership that remain true and rooted in the spirit of our Franciscan heritage. Following a discussion of leadership theory, student will be introduced to the concept of civil society and the manner with which Franciscan values can assist one in developing a more civil society.
Section 3 VUSM-100-003 (33822) Franciscan Values, Janet McLean
Art, Beauty and the Franciscan Tradition
The student will study St. Francis and his love of beauty, how beauty may be defined, and the relationship of beauty to the concept of art. This course asks the student to come to an understanding of how art is defined, and specifically how the theatrical art form reflects the Franciscan tradition of celebrating beauty in art. Readings will include a study of aesthetics, and plays such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Section 4 VUSM-100-004 (33823) Franciscan Values, Tom Thibodeau
Section 5 VUSM-100-005 (33824) Franciscan Values, Michael Lopez-Kaley
The Franciscan Tradition and Christian Theology
With St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi as models, students will explore the history of these two people who have inspired the founders of Viterbo University (the FSPA sisters). Students will explore how the values that the university community holds are found in the lives of Francis, Clare, and Rose of Viterbo (patroness of the FSPA sisters). Because these values are so vital to the university, students will also explore how to implement them in their lives on campus as well as after graduation. The course will also teach skills for developing a Christian mind, helping to construct a solid foundation for thinking through life’s most important issues. Units on Scripture, Christology, ecclesiology, morality and spirituality will develop the Christian worldview as it intersects with the secular age. Students will learn how theological concepts were significant for Francis and Clare as well as the key components to those concepts. This section co-counts as a Theological Inquiry Way of Thinking.
Section 6 VUSM-100-006 (33825) Franciscan Values, Michael Lopez-Kaley
Using the lens of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, students will be introduced characteristics and methods of effective leadership that remain true and rooted in the spirit of our Franciscan heritage. Students will be encouraged to recognize and enhance their own leadership skills, but also collaborate with others in order to recognize the importance of team building. Students will complete a variety of surveys in order to better understand their personal leadership styles and personality traits. Using experiential learning methods, students will be take part in activities that will help them recognize their own strengths and limitations in order to strive toward becoming a more effective leader and team member. Students will be encouraged to actively engage in the mission of the University and of the Honors Program by serving as leaders inside and outside the classroom setting. This mission seminar is strongly recommended for students in the Honors Program and includes a required weekend retreat in early October.
VUSM200, Living in a Diverse World
Section 1 VUSM-200-001 (33946) Living in Diverse World, Pam Knowles
Health and Healing of Diverse Populations
This course will promote an understanding and awareness of the effects diversity has on the health and healing of persons throughout our community, country, and world. Students will build knowledge and skills related to becoming aware of, and respecting the beliefs and values of many diverse populations. Students will be guided to explore personal insights regarding health and the healing process and how to incorporate this into our diverse and changing world for the betterment of humankind.
Section 2 VUSM-200-002 (33947) Living in Diverse World, Lyon Evans
Globalization and Western Culture
This course will examine globalization from the perspective of the rest of the world, asking questions such as
- What are the benefits and costs of globalization?
- Who controls the definitions?
- What assumptions and beliefs underlie globalization?
Course texts will mix the literary and non-literary and will include Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace from the Sea.
Section 3 VUSM-200-003 (33948) Living in Diverse World, TBA
Section 4 VUSM-200-004 (33949) Living in Diverse World, Naomi Stennes Spidahl
In this course, students will ask what it means to live in a diverse world by examining the literature of several English-speaking, non-Western countries. The literature will range from novels to short stories and from sub-Saharan African cultures to Indian cultures. Authors include Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, R. K. Narayan, and Kiran Desai. We will consider how particular colonial and post-colonial histories have reframed the languages and themes of the literary selections. We will ask what it means to interact with themes such as change and continuity or the individual and community in the literatures of diverse cultures. NOTE: This section will apply for Literary Analysis Way of Thinking co-counting, but that status is not yet conferred.
Section 5 VUSM-200-005 (33950) Living in Diverse World, Grant Smith
What Do We Learn about Difference from Young Adults
In this seminar the students will explore how literature for adolescents explores an individual’s pursuit of an authentic self. The novels focus on protagonists who confront race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, illness, and family as they navigate their way to a “whole” self. NOTE: This course will not co-count as a Literary Analysis Way of Thinking course per the instructor.
Section 6 VUSM-200-006 (33951) Living in Diverse World, Keith Knutson
Section 7 VUSM-200-007 (33952) Living in Diverse World, Audrey Elegbede
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.
VUSM300, Serving the Common Good
Section 1 VUSM-300-001 (33953) Serving the Common Good, TBA
Section 2 VUSM-300-002 (33954) Serving the Common Good, Ed Wenzel
Leading by Serving
This Mission Seminar will focus on working with diverse children, specifically at 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 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 will be interacting with children/minors, a background check will be required.
Section 3 VUSM-300-003 (33955) Serving the Common Good, Val Kokott-Rebhahn
Mentoring: The Praxis of Psychology
This Mission Seminar will focus on working with children in our community, specifically with children and/or their parents at Hamilton Early Learning Center in La Crosse. This seminar will cover the following: (a) prevention theory; (b) cultivating resilience in children; (c) defining service learning; (d) attitudes and actions regarding servant leadership, social justice, and the common good; (e) the different kinds of models of service learning; and (f) intercultural experience from multiple perspectives. Respect for and support of the common good will be emphasized in all aspects of the seminar. Because the course requires working with children/minors, all students who will work directly with the children must agree to a background check and complete a volunteer form through Hamilton Early Learning Center.
Section 4 VUSM-300-004 (33956) Serving the Common Good, Matthew Bersagel Braley
Religion, Politics, and Servant Leadership in the 2012 Elections
This mission seminar will focus on the 2012 U.S. elections as a lens for examining what it might mean to live lives of “faithful service and ethical leadership” in public office. Students will draw on a variety of fields (e.g., sociology of religion, political science, philosophy, history, and leadership studies) to locate the 2012 elections in the complex and contentious debates about the relationships among religion, politics, and public leadership in the U.S. Through engagement with readings, the real-time events of the 2012 campaigns, and participation in the service component of the course, students will develop their own evaluation of the limits and possibilities for servant-led communities from the local to the national. In addition to scholarly work on the subject, readings will include candidate auto/biographies, newspapers, and blogs.
Section 5 VUSM-300-005 (33957) Serving the Common Good, Janet McLean
Story Bridges: Oral Performance
Sharing stories builds bridges between our differences: age, education, culture, etc. In this seminar, students will create oral performances of children's and adult literature that explores the diversity of humanity. This sections offers students who love to read an opportunity to learn various methods of adapting literature, gaining skills and confidence in reading aloud. Students will develop skills in interpretive reading and will read to audiences in grade schools, retirement homes, and other venues.
Section 6 VUSM-300-006 (33958) Serving the Common Good, Tom Thibodeau
Section 7 VUSM-300-007 (33959) Serving the Common Good, TBA
Section 8 VUSM-300-008 (33960) Serving the Common Good, Jason Howard
Classical Conceptions of the Common Good
This section introduces students to the early development of the idea of the common good in ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy. Through their conception of virtue, politics and “the Good,” people like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius, provided the foundation for many later Christian notions of the common good. The class will contrast classical conceptions of the common good with later Christian perspectives (Aquinas’ idea of Natural Law and recent Catholic social teachings) and at least one contemporary perspective (Rawls). As a section of the Serving the Common Good, this course also provides an opportunity for students to experience civic engagement. Students are required to participate in activities designed to foster the common good while reflecting on their own values, practicing servant leadership and community collaboration. Partnerships and collaborations with community partners will allow students to demonstrate a developing competency in community engagement. In line with the emphasis of this class on the philosophical foundations of the common good, philosophy for children (which follows the Socratic model of educational engagement) will be introduced as another model of servant leadership that uses philosophy to empower children to be respectful, tolerant and morally responsible, as a way of promoting the common good. This section will co-count as a Philosophical and Moral Inquiry Way of Thinking course.
Section 9 VUSM-300-009 (33961) Serving the Common Good, Bill Reese
The Common Good in the Life of a Christian
“The common good” is a notion that originated over two thousand years ago in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. It is generally defined as “certain general societal conditions that are equally to everyone's benefit. The Catholic religious tradition, which has a long history of struggling to define and promote the common good, defines the “common good” as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” The common good, then, consists primarily of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all must depend work in a manner that benefits everyone. This course of study will examine the environments that establish and enhance the common good among us. Using philosophical principles, ethical theories, and religious traditions, the student will come to understand the utilitarian aspects of the common good while pursuing a just, compassionate, and virtuous worldview. NOTE: This section co-counts as a G2, RLST, course, but not as a Way of Thinking course.
Sections 10 & 11
VUSM-300-010 (33944) Serving the Common Good, TBA
VUSM-300-011 (33945) Serving the Common Good, TBA
The Common Good in the Life of a Christian
“The common good” is a notion that originated over two thousand years ago in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. It is generally defined as “certain general societal conditions that are equally to everyone's benefit. The Catholic religious tradition, which has a long history of struggling to define and promote the common good, defines the “common good” as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” The common good, then, consists primarily of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all must depend work in a manner that benefits everyone. This course of study will examine the environments that establish and enhance the common good among us. Using philosophical principles, ethical theories, and religious traditions, the student will come to understand the utilitarian aspects of the common good while pursuing a just, compassionate, and virtuous worldview.
NOTE: Both these sections co-count as a G2, RLST, course, but not as a Way of Thinking course.
VUSM400, The Ethical Life
Section 1 VUSM-400-001 (33902) The Ethical Life, Robyn Gaier
What does it mean to see another being as a being worthy of
moral respect? What does it mean to see a decision as a moral decision? To
attempt to answer these questions, we need to understand the perspectives of
others. This course is designed to introduce students to an understanding of
moral imagination as well as to investigate the ways in which the intellectual
perception required for moral imagination may be developed. Particular
attention will be paid to the relationship between moral imagination and moral
motivation. Both historical and contemporary illustrations will be
Section 2 VUSM-400-002 (34067) The Ethical Life, David Bauer and Jason Howard
This course introduces students to recent debates surrounding the nature of psychological investigation in relation to morality. Some of the questions the course will address are as follows: What is distinctive about moral motivation? Is free-will reducible to lower-order neurological processes? Is morality an instinct? How does a psychological understanding of moral behavior differ from a philosophical one? Can morality be adequately explained as an evolutionary adaptation? What is the nature of moral emotions, such as shame and guilt? The final third of the course explores some of the moral debates that arise from the psychological explanation of, and therapeutic approach to, morality.
last updated: 5.11.2012