July 12, 2016, BY Paula Cogan Myers

What classes? Who teaches them?

Economics 225/University 224: Cultivating Change

Taught by Professor Geoff Schneider, economics, Sabrina Kirby, writing & teaching consultant for the Writing Center, and Joe Detelj, Dreamcatcher Farm, with assistance from Carol High, operations manager for the Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment.

SummerCC Demo Garden
Cultivating Change student Matt Lidonnici '19 prepares the soil for a demonstration garden, used to show how to grow a garden at home. Photo by Lindsey Pantuso ’19

"This is an interdisciplinary, team-taught Integrated Perspectives course that focuses on sustainability, and growing and eating healthy food. Students get direct, hands-on experience growing organic vegetables on Dreamcatcher Farm, which employs a community-supported agriculture model. They also study issues related to sustainability and the economic system to understand why the system tends to support practices that harm the environment and produce poor quality food, and what solutions there are to these issues.

"What many people don't realize is that industrial agriculture is responsible for a large share of greenhouse gases, and its farming methods are bad for the soil, and probably for people. Plus, how would anyone who eats a homegrown tomato ever want to go back to industrially produced tomatoes?

"Organic farming is a lot of work, but working together on a farm is also a wonderful, community-building endeavor. Students come to realize how the physical labor brings them closer to the land and to each other. They are always surprised at how they look back fondly on the hard, hot work out on the farm — it's  a transformative experience that will influence many decisions they make in the future."

Philosophy 103: Logic

Taught by Professor Matthew Slater, philosophy

"Logic is often one of the first courses students take in philosophy. They come in thinking they will be sitting in lectures, but learning philosophy is a lot like learning how to shoot a jump shot or play the cello. You can watch the professor do it until the cows come home, but that won't provide you with much understanding — you need to do it yourself; you need to practice.

"The logic course I took in college is one of the things that drew me into philosophy from the sciences. It was set up so that we had many opportunities to try, fail and learn from our failures without getting unduly penalized: we could try different versions of the same problem set multiple times until we'd mastered the relevant techniques or concepts.

"I approach the summer logic course with the same 'practice-makes-perfect' model: students get three chances to answer homework problems and two chances to take the weekly quizzes. Logic is not a spectator sport; students are doing lots of problems to get the hang of it. It's hard work, but I'm hoping they'll develop reasoning abilities that will serve them well past college."

University 247: 20th Century Science Fiction Cinema

Taught by Visiting Professor Rebecca Willoughby M'04, English

"This film studies course explores the genre of science fiction through films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Planet of the Apes (1968). Students learn a little about film history, about the idea and usefulness of using genres to categorize films, and about the development of science fiction and its conventions from its literary roots to contemporary films.

SummerCC Campus Theatre
The Campus Theatre in Lewisburg, Pa.  Photo by Bucknell Communications.

"We also study the genre's social critique and this type of film's close association with special effects. Discussions go into depth regarding each film's composition and potential meanings — formal elements of movies can complicate and enhance meaning, and our conversations also explore specific cultural contexts for each film we view.

"Since the course can only cover a fraction of important science fiction films, students work in groups to present additional films to the class. Audience participation makes these presentations really fun: students have created polls, game shows and mash-ups with their classmates. They have even performed alternative versions of scenes using some of the principles and conventions we discuss in class.

"This summer, our last course screening, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, will be held at the Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg. It's always a great experience to see a film in such an iconic venue, with an audience larger than just our class."

Are we missing out on a cool class? Send suggestions to coolclasses@bucknell.edu.