General Education Course Explores Humanity Through Nature

Published: March 16, 2021 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

New general education course at SUU, Exploring Humanity Through NatureSouthern Utah University’s Laura Walker, lecturer of English, and Samuel Wells, assistant professor of biology, have created a course in which their two content areas meet in the middle around the theme of nature. Created through an integrated general education initiative from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), SUU 2250: Exploring Humanity Through Nature focuses on the interplay of nature between science and the humanities.

“Dr. Wells and I worked together in Semester in the Parks a few years ago,” said Professor Walker. “We co-led a field excursion to Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument and got to see each other in action. Dr. Wells wowed me utterly, and I wanted to conserve the curriculum and rapport we developed together. When CETL pitched the idea of these integrated GE classes, we jumped right on board!”

This six credit, general education course fulfills both the life science and humanities credit requirement for graduation. The course focuses on real-world application of both science and language, making it a great option for students who might be hesitant or struggle in either subject area. Highlights of the course (COVID-19 restrictions allowing) include several class meetings held in the SUU Mountain Center, short field trips around town, visits to the Southern Utah Museum of Art, a BioBlitz competition, a pot-luck dinner, and a nature poetry reading.

“Student feedback has been very impressive,” said Professor Wells. “Even during a COVID semester, students have indicated that it has been their best learning experience. We have had a handful of students who didn't come with a lot of academic confidence that have done well and have learned to love learning. Part of this is due to the fact that we encourage students to learn in their own way. Part of this also comes from the fact that both Laura and I focus on class conversation and participation. Basically (if you haven't been able to tell) we're biased but we have reason to be. It's a great class.”

SUU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning provides the opportunity for faculty from different disciplines to collaborate and create thematic courses. Other general education courses created through the CETL initiative include Professional Wrestling and Women in Medicine.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Biology English

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