A peek at what’s fresh this semester


Browsing college course listings, despite their requisite dry language, is a bit like flinging open a door to the potential and promise of all there is to learn in the world. Here are four undergraduate courses at Drew now in progress that might provoke that reaction in you.

1. International Business French

Includes spring break in Quebec!

Thanks to an anonymous donor, students in French professor Marie-Pascale Pieretti’s course will pay only $350 for a trip to Quebec over spring break. Travel is by train, lodging is at youth hostels in Quebec City and Montreal, and opportunities to speak French in a business context are non-stop. (Students must sign a contract pledging to speak only French at all times, including with one another.) During the trip, students will visit local business institutions and interact with young Canadian entrepreneurs, opportunities arranged by the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques, the Chambre de commerce du Québec and the Délégation du Québec in New York. The course has been “completely revamped to reflect that we are now in a globalized economy, with markets in Europe, Asia, North America and the Caribbean,” says Pieretti.

2. Blogs, Tweets & Social Media

Writing with Style in the New Millennium

Do you want to be a brand? Which platform should you use? How much about yourself do you want to reveal? Students in English professor Sandra Jamieson’s class will develop an online presence through a blog or microblog, and practice writing for a wide audience. By the end of the course “They will be familiar with different forms of social media and how they function, so when they go into the workplace, they’ll know how they are used,” Jamieson says. “But they will also understand the social, ethical and philosophical issues social media raise.”

3. Psychology 400

Capstone Experience in Psychology

The seniors in this class are close to the end of their undergraduate studies, and in this course, they will get a bird’s eye view of what they’ve learned from their courses, and discover the marketable skills they’ve acquired for the real world. “Our message is that psychology is useful in many contexts,” says Associate Professor Jessica L. Lakin, “and that any behavior in which someone engages is a result of a some psychological process.” Want to moderate climate change? Reduce schoolyard bullying? Train people to be successful athletes? Understand the causes of criminal behavior? You’re getting the picture.

4. History of Masculinity

If you think you can define masculinity, you need to take this course. Angie Kirby-Calder, whose doctoral dissertation dissected the gender roles created by Playboy Magazine, will help students think about masculinity as simply another identity role with many permutations. Her course will cover vast territory, exploring the concept from early America though modern day. Students will analyze past “crises” of masculinity, such as the end of the Civil War, when white southern men were left without the mastery slavery had offered. Discussions will also examine pop culture. “There’ll be a whole week of readings on advertising and masculinity, including an article about the way beer commercials are pitched to men,” Calder says. “We’ll also have one class on masculinity and music, which will include readings on hip hop and heavy metal.”—Mary Jo Patterson