George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
Course Descriptions

Search the 1997-1998 Catalog:


New Century College Courses (NCLC)


New Century College

Division I Courses
110 Community of Learners (8:8:0). Designed for students pursuing a B.A. or B.S. in Integrative Studies within New Century College. This course is designed to develop essential college skills, particularly communication (reading, writing, speaking) for critical thinking and problem solving, information literacy, statistics, and probability. Issues such as transition to college life, cultural diversity, and personal freedom will be explored. Credit distribution: composition (3), communication (2), math/analytical reasoning (1), and computer science (2).

120 The Natural World (8:6:2). Designed for students pursuing a B.A. or B.S. in Integrative Studies within New Century College. Introduction to the worlds of science and mathematics. Students explore contemporary issues of public health and the environment, with a historical perspective and understanding of how scientists communicate ideas. Students will engage in debate, poster presentation, and group problem solving. Credit distribution: math/analytical reasoning (2), natural science (4), and communication (2).

130 The Social World (8:8:0). Designed for students pursuing a B.A. or B.S. in Integrative Studies within New Century College. This course is designed to focus on the social world and its cultural origins. Students will investigate how that world is both model and mirror of social behavior. Students are encouraged to model objective and subjective thinking, analysis and synthesis, explanation, and understanding. Credit distribution: arts (2), humanities (2), and social sciences (4).

140 Self As Citizen (8:8:0). Designed for students pursuing a B.A. or B.S. in Integrative Studies within New Century College. This course is designed to explore the definitions of self and society in historical non-Western and Western contexts. Issues relating to the concepts of moral identity and cultural differences will be covered using text, film, plays, self-reflection, and writing. Credit distribution: art (1), literature (3), and social sciences (4).

Division II Courses
Learning Communities: Special Topics (6-15:6-15:0). Division II is composed of a variety of learning communities; each combines subjects usually taught in separate courses into a single course of study. Offering the equivalent of between 6 and 15 credits of undergraduate work, learning communities replace the often fragmented classroom experience and integrate material from several perspectives. In learning communities, faculty and students study topics in an integrated context and explore various ways of understanding. Credit is assigned for each learning community at the time it is offered.

200 Visual Thinking and the Creative Impulse (3-15:3-15:0). A study of the creative process in the arts and sciences through demonstration and the analysis of the psychology and the arts. Visual perception, memory, classical and modern art, and performance are explored as examples. Students are presented with the opportunity to assess themselves as creative thinkers.

201 The World Since 1945 (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines the history of the past 50 years in order to illuminate the comtemporary world as well as connections between the global and local. Using historical works, fiction, autobiographies, films, and daily newspapers, we will explore such major events as the Cold War, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the Vietnam War, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the continuing conflict in the Middle East. As a learning community, the course requires active student participation in group projects and discussions.

203 Sustainable Alternatives (3-15:3-15:0). Sustainable development is defined as activity that meets the needs of the current generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Students and faculty will work together to model patterns of life that fit within the planet's ecological means. This involves the study of "environomics," an introduction to urban systems and planning, and studio work to actually create models of alternative growth.

204 Creative Leadership Development (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines the leadership phenomenon that is within each person and the strategies for learning, interpreting, creating, and developing leadership that is reflecive and active.

220 Energy and Environment (3-15:3-15:0). This course investigates current sources of energy, various modes of their utilization, and environmental effects. It offers an overview of the mechanical, physical, and chemical methodologies of energy use and delves into the biological, environmental, and ecological aspects of pollution-generating mechanisms.

230 Math and Culture (3-15:3-15:0). This course focuses on mathematical problems and their emergence in different cultures and historical moments. Emphasis is on the interdisciplinary nature of the motivations for the development of mathematics and on the process of mathematical discovery. The course entails a high degree of faculty/student interaction, which enables students to demonstrate, through the use of presentations and projects, their understanding and mastery of fundmental mathematical ideas and techniques and the role of mathematics in the development of human culture.

250 Wealth, Power, and Values (3-15:3-15:0). This course investigates the political, economic, social, industrial, and diplomatic sources of wealth, values, and power at the end of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Will include lecture, discussion, debate, experiential learning, with emphasis on individual research projects.

260 Myths in Religion and Paradigms in Science (3-15:3-15:0). How do people determine what is real and what is an illusion? We will concentrate on how this is done by appeal to the religious myths or to the scientific models of reality that underlie the belief system of a community. In spite of obvious differences, such myths and models exhibit surprising similarities in the ways in which reality is conceived.

300 Utopia (3-15:3-15:0). Examines utopian and dystopian literature, theory, and practice including Plato, Piercy, LeGuin, Robinson, and others. Examines how utopian dreams (and dystopian nightmares) have changed over time and how texts are designed to jostle readers' ideas about society and themselves. We will study several utopian experiments and visit a few local utopian communities.

301 Traditions and Modernity (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines five decades from 1880 to 1930 by studying a whole series of movements (Populists, Ku Klux Klan, New Woman, New Negro, Southern Agrarians, Fundamentalism, etc.) as Americans struggle to balance the often contradictory tugs of tradition and modernity in their lives. Social and economic forces such as industrialization, urbanization, and migration wrenched thousands of American's familiar settings, transformed how they looked at their present circumstances, and created powerful longings for the past and the future. This course will examine the social movements that emerged to satisfy those longings by teaching students to read the representative textbooks, films, music, correspondence, and trial records of these movements. Students will also be encourged to think about the ways in which individuals during this period learned to think of themselves as participants in overlapping and sometimes competing groups, as turn of the century Americans tried to create new identities, even when the participants believed they were reviving old ones.

302 Epic Creations (3-15:3-15:0). This course integrates western European, Native American, and colonial American experiences by examining the past through the lenses of literature, art, and history. Traces the paths of ancient and contemporary guides by reading, writing, discussing, surfing the web, watching videos, and taking field trips as we create our own modern epics. Three of the nine credits are experiential learning on campus.

303 Modernization and Its Discontents: Conflict/Community in Modern Russia and America (3-15:3-15:0). This course compares regional studies, which consider the problem of modernization and its effects on the individual from the political, social, and cultural perspectives, using the prism of literature to achieve this aim. Examines the works of fiction, both from the realm of officially recognized literature and the popular culture.

304 Social Movements and Community Activism (3-15:3-15:0). This course explores community activism by looking at social movement case studies and engaging in direct social action. Students will learn about grass roots movements, the rhetorical strategies used to attract group members, and how movements evolve into viable organizations and institutions.

305 Conflict Resolution and Transformation (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines the nature and dynamics of conflict and ways to resolve and transform conflict. Experiential learning will be the vehicle through which students explore their assumptions about communication and develop their skills for resolving interpersonal conflicts.

310 Violence and Gender (3-15:3-15:0). A stimulating exploration of issues that affect all of us. Using nonfiction articles, documentaries, oral histories, case studies, literature, feature films, music, dance, and the visual arts, we will examine the dynamics of violence through different cultural lenses. Students will have the opportunity to work in university and community settings to integrate their academic experiences with practice.

311 The Mysteries of Animal Migration: Consequences for Conservation (3-15:3-15:0). This course investigates the biology of migration as a central natural history theme and relates this theme to conservation, resource, and cultural issues. The course includes several weekend field trips, emphasizing fall bird migration.

320 Construction of Differences; Race, Class, and Gender (3-15:3-15:0). An investigation of the concept of race, sex, sexual orientation, and social class in contemporary American society. Course examines the commonalties in the construction of these categories and experiences of those who occupy them.

321 Vision Quest: Modeling the Natural World Using Art, Computer Programs, and Science (3-15:3-15:0). This course imparts the concepts of science in a visual, auditory, and kinetic fashion. It is clear that the understanding of some very sophisicated concepts of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and engineering are best accomplished with models and simulations. This course uses simulation programs, modeling the natural world to help students understand the principles and mysteries of science.

330 Enterprise Development (3-15:3-15:0). This course is designed to prepare students for enterprise development in diverse environments by examining the spectrum of sociocultural, organizational, behavioral, strategic, and management factors that impact enterprise creation. Instructional method is interactive, using case studies, scenarios, role-playing, guest speakers, and student-driven semester projects to link theory to practice.

340 Progress: Can America Figue Out What It Means? (3-15:3-15:0). This course explores our land-- the built and that left natural--as valued and sacred. The course challenges you as developer and environmentalist, as citizen and business person, to strive for a win-win scenario.

349 The Internet: Literacy, HTML Tools, and Virtual Community (3-15:3-15:0). The learning community explores the history and evolution of the Internet: the World Wide Web and virtual communities. Basic and intermediate HTML scripting and web page design skills, including web-based multimedia, are developed through group projects and problem-solving scenarios.

350 Counterculture, Cyberculture (3-15:3-15:0). This course is an exploration of cyberspace guided by these questions: What is cyberspace? How do we interact with it? How does it affect us, especially in relationships between individuals, between readers and texts, between artists, performances, and audiences? What occurs in our concepts of self, machine, and community as we become further involved in cyberconnections? What will come next?

360 The Built Environment (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines, records, and interprets objects, structures, and landscapes that comprise our built environment. We draw on the fields of historical archaeology, architectural history, and urban geography, and employ photography, cartography, and evocative writing to represent the material world we inhabit. The course builds on the study of one neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, and expands to the whole metropolitan area.

361 Neighborhood, Community, and Identity (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines the processes of neighborhood formation and transformation in the context of urbanism, suburbanism, immigration, and transmigration. Students explore the history and meaning of neighborhoods in the Northern Virginia and Washington metropolitan area.

370 The Romantic Road: Literature and the Arts in the 19th-Century Germany (3-15:3-15:0). This course examines romantic themes and genres, including fairy tales and myths; and nature, love, and exoticism in their historical context through the study of original musical compositions, art works, and literature. Required museum visits, concerts, and other cultural events will supplement class sessions.

380 Alternative Therapies in Health and Illness: New Age Meets Hippocrates (3-15:3-15:0). Students explore philosophical underpinnings and bio/psycho/social/spiritual rationale for use of alternative therapies in health and illness. The reflection of health care practices in literature is integrated into the course. A variety of alternative health therapies are explored, with opportunities for experiential learning with an alternative health care practitioner.

381 When Cultural Worlds Collide (3-15:3-15:0). Participants in the learning community explore what happens when "civilization" encounters "the jungle" by reading, writing, discussing, and viewing written and filmed works dealing with contacts between cultures with colliding world views. Literature (from Conrad's The Heart of Darkness to Shakespeare's The Tempest to Burrough's Tarzan), news articles, radio broadcasts, WWW home pages, art exhibits, and many film and video presentations provide the basis for in- and out-of-class activities.

410 Contemporary Health Issues (3-15:3-15:0). The course looks at a variety of health and health care issues. It examines several of the major health concerns of women and, to a lesser degree, men. The course also explores the biology and medical implications of these diseases and how our society deals with potential life-altering information. It examines who is making the decisions on the allocation of research funds and prevention of diseases.

420 Skills for the Workplace (3-15:3-15:0). In this course students further develop a variety of work-readiness skills needed to become successful in both local and global marketplaces. Topics and skills covered include communication, problem solving in the business setting, workplace ethics, listening skills, how to influence others, building team project rapport, and meeting effectiveness skills. 430 Historical Cemeteries (3-15:3-15:0). Exploration of monuments and historical sites. Students learn to survey, record, and analyze historical data.

441 AIDS: Impact on Society (variable 3-15:3-15:0). Designed to give the student an in-depth understanding of the medical, legal, and psycho-social factors surrounding HIV disease. It is the goal of the course to provide the student with a conceptual framework of current issues so they will be better prepared to deal with the emerging challenges posed by AIDS. Students have the option to take this course for five credits and work with the Center for Service-Learning to develop an intership or experiential learning project, which involves the impact of AIDS in our society.

Division III Courses
Specialization. Designed by student and faculty mentor. Students will have the flexibility to major in interdisciplinary studies or design their own major (B.A. or B.S.) with a specialization in a traditional discipline. Extensive use of courses in other departments, independent study, internships, co-ops, service learning, study abroad, and mentored research are all components of this degree. Faculty advisers help each student choose the best path to fulfill career objectives.

165, 265, 365, 465 Independent Study (1-12:1-12:1-12). Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and dean. Individualized section form required. Study of a topic not otherwise available to the student. May involve any combination of reading assignments, tutorials, lectures, papers, presentations, or field/laboratory study (determined in consultation with the instructor). Students are also encourged to work as a team on a particular topic. A maximum of 12 credits can be used to fulfill graduation requirements.

190, 290, 390, 490 Internship (1-18:1-18:0). Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and permission of instructor. Intenship credit may be app1ied toward 12 credit hours required in experiential learning. An intership is a structured and supervised professional experience, within an approved agency, for which the student earns academic credit. The primary purpose of an intership is to connect the student's academic course work to experiences and challenges outside the university classroom. The faculty also expects that students will enhance their competencies and skills and explore career options.

195, 295, 395, 495 Experiential Learning (1-18:1-18:0). Prerequisite: A minimum of 12 credits of experiential learning (including internships) are required for the B.A./B.S. in Integrative Study degree with a maximum of 24 credits used toward fulfilling graduation requirements. All students enrolled in the B.A. or B.S. program are required to participate in the equivalent of at least 12 hours of course work devoted to experiential learning. This aspect of the curriculum reflects the commitment to provide opportunities for reflective practice that prepares graduates for the workplace and active responsible citizenship. Experiential learning sites may change each semester to include study abroad programs, internships, and community service learning opportunities.

225 Dean's Honors Book Review (1:1:0). Prerequisite: Open to New Century College students who were admitted with a GPA of 3.3 or better. This course considers the ways in which specific works--for example, books, dramas, works of art--have influenced the intellectual climate of their times and beyond.

325 Dean's Honors Book Review (1:1:0). This course is open to New Century College students who have had a previous semester GPA of 3.3 or better and have at least 30 college credits. This course focuses on classical philosophers and artists and the impact of their works for contemporary times.


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