LAS 101

Liberal Arts Seminar

The liberal arts seminar is designed to introduce students to the Liberal Arts, the Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs) of our General Education curriculum (GE) and the general education assessment process.

The course aims to engage students with the liberal arts and the expected learning outcomes via a common theme: the Campus Read. This year, our campus read is Aldo Leoplold's classic text A Sand County Almanac. I hope you enjoy this text as much as I did!

COVID-19 Update: Please watch this short video. In short, we will follow the syllabus for the course as published beginning on Week 11 (March 30 - Apr. 3). Here are some notes on the course assignments:

Reading and discussion of Campus Read
  • You should keep up with the assigned readings. For week 11, you should read Stratford Caldecott's The Tradition of the Four Ways. This is from a very interesting book, and I think you will enjoy it. For our remaining discussion grades, you should simply write a short (1-2 page) essay that addresses the questions raised in either (i) campus read discussion 5 (week 12) or (ii) campus read discussion 6 (week 13). This single essay will be due on Monday, April 6.
Short write 2: You should turn this in by Monday, April 13.

Community Engagement Project
If you have already begun the first portion of this project, you may complete the full assignment as originally planned. Phase 1 should be turned in to me no later than March 27. Phase 2 must be turned in on April 27, as outlined in our course syllabus.

As an alternative to the community engagement project as originally assigned, you may respond to one of the following three prompts. The prompts should be answered fully, with citations, and at a length similar to that of the original assignment (roughly 2-3 pages).

Prompts:
  1. Pick a specific area near campus or near where you live. How has human habitation or infrastructure affected the environment of this specific area? Include a photograph or a map of the area you are writing about.
  2. Pick a neighborhood or town. What did X neighborhood/town look like in the past, and what did that mean for plants or animals, or for that place's ability to sustain human life? Include a photograph or a map of the area you are writing about.
  3. Consider the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Step into another person’s shoes and describe how current medical, academic, and/or social restrictions might be impacting their life. For example, consider an elderly person, a homeless person, a student who relies on school for a hot meal, or another person who might be experiencing greater stress or disadvantage due to the current situation.

Whether you do the original Community Engagement Project, or write an essay in response to one of the above prompts, the due date is Monday, April 27.

Co-curricular Participation
If you have already attended an event that meets this requirement, you will simply need to submit proof that you have done so to your professor. If you have not, then you may watch one of the following documentaries/films and write a brief (1 or 2 page) response.
  1. Green Fire, a documentary about Leopold.Here is a vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/398554934/6e4a79f360. Here is a discussion Guide/Question Sheet for the film from the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
  2. Full-length documentary on Leopold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_29ZlKyJJPo (About an hour);
  3. lecture about “The Land Ethic” by Buddy Huffaker, President & Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGZqYOJS-Ow (about an hour).
This assignment is due by Monday, May 4.

Mini-portfolio
The mini-portfolio (part 1 and part 2) must be completed independently. The synthesis (part 2) will be due by Monday , May 4. Here is a tutorial for how to use TaskStream. You should read this tutorial and carry out the exercise.



Note: the course requires that you complete the community engagement project and the mini-portfolio to pass.

Here are some supplemental course materials for this course: