Denison tests Experimental College Program this semester

CAROLINE GAENZLE

Assistant Opinion Editor

Denison has decided to place more intellectual authority in its students hands by allowing them to teach a subject of their choosing through the Experimental College Program.

This semester, there are two experimental college classes that are being tested.

One, which was called “Data Science World”, lead by Hung Tran ‘17, and “The Films of John Carpenter,” lead by Andrew Quinan ‘18.

Because of the positive reactions that the Lisska Center has received, they are going to continue testing classes for this program and will open up to proposals for classes for the fall of 2017.

One or two students can teach a class to a small number of students by proposing their idea, first to their advisor, and then to the head of the department that the class is associated with.

Once their advisor approves the idea, then a proposal of no more than 3,000 words has to be approved by the Lisska Center.

Margot Singer, the director of the Lisska Center, also said that “These courses are open to absolutely everyone” and she hopes that “students will find motivation to join a class for snacks and the company of their peers.”

The free flowing discussions and the variety of course subjects can be of such value to students and in the near future, the course listings for the experimental college program will be on the Lisska Center page under My Denison where there is also a program description and information about the application process.

The Experimental College Program is a critical part of many college academics today Schools like Oberlin College, Tufts University and University of Washington all have this for their students.

This program allows for students to teach a topic of intellectual interest and lead a stimulating discussion with a small group of other students.

Denison used to offer this program back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Dr. Jesse Schlotterbeck, who attended Oberlin University, decided to try to bring this program back for students by offering trial classes.

Last spring, the  first class to be tested was called “Akira Kurosawa’s Jidaigeki Films” which was lead by Jabari Johnson ‘17.

After this class wrapped up, students submitted feedback forms about their experience with the class. One specific student said “I enjoyed the ability of the course to be specific. We didn’t have to cover a varying amount of material so it was nice that we could delve in deep.”

The rest of the responses from students were positive as well and the only bit of criticism that the program received was about not having enough work outside of the classroom.

However, Singer said that they only want them to meet a few times a week in the semester so “they can balance it easily with other course work.”

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