Course Descriptions

ED0951 Fundamentals of Learning Disabilities & Differences
This course focuses on the research, history, general characteristics and specific manifestations of dyslexia, ADHD and other specific learning disabilities. Consideration is given to the study of difficulties—in perception, attention, cognition, oral language, reading and writing—that may be present in people with learning disabilities. Such study also provides a forum for students to reflect on and assess the specific nature of their individual learning differences.

ED1011 Introduction to Education
Students in ED1011 receive a thorough introduction to the education field through the exploration of core themes in education, such as learning, teaching, and curriculum, and by examining and debating some of the more critical issues facing our contemporary education system. Students are expected to make direct links from their readings and discussions each week by working with a local first/second grade classroom (at the Dummerston School). We will take the bus each week during class to do our field work. After 4 or 5 visits, the Landmark students will work in small groups to design and lead a class in the first/second grade classroom. The final "exam" consists of students participating in 3 mock teaching job interviews with Landmark administrators. 

ED2011 Understanding Educational Research
This course provides an introduction to the research methods employed in conducting and understanding educational research. Students will learn how to interpret research and how to apply research findings to practical situations in education. The main goal of this course is to help students become critical and enthusiastic consumers of educational research. In order to do this, students will survey a range of academic research and explore the processes that create it. Attention will also be paid to how to locate and evaluate educational research for its usefulness to educational practice. The course will culminate with each student developing a "mock" research proposal including the determination of a research problem, a review of pertinent literature, and a plan for data collection and analysis. Pre-Requisites: ED1011 or SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

ED2071 School, Society and Change - Key Issues in Education
This course helps students to gain a broader historical, philosophical, and sociological understanding of issues facing schools and teachers in the United States. It focuses on teaching and schooling in a complex, culturally diverse society—past, present, and future. Students will be expected to visit local schools and public meetings. They will also follow political processes to gain a greater understanding of the issues facing education today. Pre-Requisites: ED1011 or SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

geoff burgessED2081 Pedagogy & Practice in Special Ed
This experiential course provides students the opportunity to develop a fundamental understanding of the special education field, and current practices in teaching students with special needs. As people with special needs themselves, students in this class will actively practice advocating for themselves and others with disabilities as a part of the class. They will be expected to refine their ability to articulate their learning profile and needs using sophisticated vocabulary drawn from the class and their own inquiry. Students will be expected to engage in two public presentations designed to educate others about disabilities. In addition, each student will be expected to mentor a middle school student with special needs on campus each week as part of the class. Finally, students will choose to focus their final project on pedagogy and practice on one of the following major categories of disability: autism spectrum disorders, emotional or behavioral disorders, mental retardation, physical impairments, deafness, low vision or blindness, or speech or language impairments. Pre-Requisites: ED1011 or SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

ED2091 Learning Disabilities Seminar
This seminar provides students with an overview of dyslexia, ADHD and specific learning disabilities. Historical perspectives, legal rights, brain studies, social and emotional issues, and research implications are discussed. Students read and analyze current literature in the field and gain further understanding by attending a professional conference and by visiting programs for students with learning disabilities in local schools. Students are also asked to assess and report on their own learning differences in light of the information presented in the course. Pre-Requisites: ED1011 or SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS0951 Fundamentals of Psychology
Credits: 0.000 - This course provides an introduction to the discipline of psychology, addressing foundational terminology and concepts from multiple perspectives in psychology. Topics will be drawn from several of the following areas: history of psychology, research methods, the mind and behavior, sensation and perception, learning, memory, emotion and motivation, personality, development, psychological disorders, and group behavior. This non-credit course will also address reading, study and writing strategies to help students succeed in this course and future social science courses. Students will also have opportunities to develop critical thinking skills through class discussion and exercises, presentations, written assignments, and exams.

SS1011 Introduction to Psychology
This course introduces students to the fields of study in modern psychology. After this course, students will be able to answer the following questions: What is psychology? What are the methods of investigation in psychology? How is the science of psychology applied to individuals and groups? The course includes theories of learning, thinking, memory, perception, personality, human development, stress, psychological disorders and the biological roots of behavior.

SS1211 Introduction to Sociology
This course introduces students to the scientific study of human social life, groups and societies. Students learn and apply the concepts commonly used by sociologists in framing their understanding of institutions, cultures, networks, organizations, and social relations in general. Students acquire the conceptual tools that enable them to give social context to individual human behavior. Major topics include sociological theory and methods; culture and society; stratification, class and inequality; gender inequality; ethnicity and race; families; education; religion; and political and economic life. In addition, these topics are all presented within the broader context of globalization. Class activities and discussions will regularly be supplemented with short film clips selected from award-winning documentaries.

SS1311 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Cultural anthropology explores the challenges of cultural difference in the contemporary social world. This course focuses on the questions that anthropologists ask and the methods that they use to answer those questions. It introduces the beginning student to a range of domains of cultural anthropology, including: the concept of culture, kinship and social organization, ethics, relativism, and social change. Emphasis is placed on how the field of anthropology can be applied in contemporary settings and the course involves multiple opportunities to practice "field work" in the local community. The course ends with a review of the culturally constructed concept of "learning disability" and explores the experiences of individuals with perceived learning disabilities across several cultures.

SS1411 Introduction to Political Science
Credits: 3.000 - This course uses a comparative approach, introducing students to: competing political, and political-economic, theories; different government systems, from relatively democratic to authoritarian; and the types and functions of government institutions (e.g., executive, legislative, judicial) and agencies. Political behavior outside of government (e.g., various forms of activism, civil disobedience, and revolution) is also analyzed. In the last part of the course, political violence is addressed in more detail, with special emphasis on defining and understanding terrorism. In addition, this course guides students to consider how economic power may translate into political power, and what this suggests about the prospects for democratic governance and stability in an increasingly interdependent, global political economy.

SS2021 Child Development
Child development focuses on the physical, cognitive, and social/emotional changes between conception and adolescence. Students will learn to ask and answer the types of questions that a developmental psychologist would, and they will study the interplay between nature and nurture in development. This course has an experiential component in which students observe children in off-campus sites, providing opportunities to apply theory. Short reaction papers are written throughout the semester, offering students opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking skills in relation to child development. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2031 Adolescent and Adult Development
How do adolescents' thought, behavior and emotional patterns change as they age into adulthood? How do individuals construct identities and morality as they enter and proceed through adulthood? These are some of the questions that this course entertains as it gives an overview of major theoretical perspectives and favored research methods in the field of human development. As well as presenting course content, this course will provide opportunities for students to conduct interviews, observations and other experiential projects. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2051 Abnormal Psychology
This course briefly covers the history of abnormal psychology as a subject of psychology; it introduces the characteristics, treatment and diagnosis of recognized psychological disorders in the United States; and it looks at how culture and historical period contribute to concepts of disorder and mental health. The course explores, compares, and contrasts the ways that mental health and disorder are understood from biological, learning, cognitive, psychodynamic, and cultural perspectives in psychology. Students write reaction papers based on films, literature, and works of visual art with psychological disorders as their subject. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2061 Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology introduces students to the empirical study of human strength, spanning topics such as optimism vs. pessimism, creativity, resilience, forgiveness, stress-reduction, and altruism. Positive Psychology developed in contrast to approaches emphasizing human weakness and mental unrest, like abnormal psychology and clinical psychology. Instead of focusing on what goes wrong, Positive Psychology uses methods of inquiry to understand what makes people feel fulfilled, happy and able to withstand stress. This approach is applied across disciplines including developmental psychology, social psychology, and clinical psychology, and across other disciplines including sociology, anthropology and neuroscience. This course presents the content and methods of Positive Psychology in both experiential and traditional formats, and it uses multiple means of assessment to engage the strengths of different learners. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2071 Educational Psychology
Credits: 3.000 - Drawing from the disciplines of Psychology & Education, this course offers students the opportunity to delve deeply into theories of development, cognitive psychology, motivation and learning. Students participate in role plays, simulated experiments, and other activities that help illustrate key concepts that are being discussed. The course culminates in students teaching a unit of their own and applying concepts from educational psychology to strengthen their own learning repertoire. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2081 Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology explores the psychology of mental activity. This course examines both classic and current issues in human cognition. Topics addressed include an overview of the history of cognitive psychology, research methods, the neural basis of cognition, perception, attention, memory, the representation of knowledge, language and problem solving. Students learn discipline specific terminology, evaluate different perspectives in the field, and apply concepts to their own cognitive processes and learning styles. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2091 Biological Psychology
Biological Psychology explores the brain from physiological, evolutionary, and developmental perspectives. Topics include basic neuroanatomy and physiology; anatomy, development and plasticity of the brain; regulation of body homeostasis; and the biological basis of behavior. Specific attention is directed toward comprehending and evaluating research methods and findings. Pre-Requisites: NS1011 or NS1021 or NS1111 or NS1211 or NS1311 or NS Core Trans and SS1011 or SS Core Trans and EN1021 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2211 Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
This course explores popular definitions of race, class, gender and sexuality in the United States. Through course readings complemented by selected media, and various class activities and discussions, students will explore the consequences of inequality within the realms of race, class, gender and sexuality and how such inequities interconnect in our modern society. Students will learn that social categories relating to race (e.g., “black,” “white,” etc.), class (“working class,” “middle class,” “upper class”), gender (“masculine,” “feminine”) and sexuality (“gay,” “straight”), far from embodying inherent meaning, are in fact socially constructed and have evolved from specific historical circumstances.  Students will analyze how the members of these categories-groups are portrayed in the social institutions of the media, business, sports, law and education. The reading load is largely made up of shorter essays, and students will be expected to write a research paper.  Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans or ED1011 and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2381 Special Topics - Anthropology of Food
Food is utterly essential (and often insufficiently available) to all human cultures, making the topic particularly rich for anthropological study. This special topics course will explore a variety of issues, including cultural food habits and taboos, gender and food consumption, food and identity, and the cultural economy of food. In addition to reading classic food ethnographies and watching films, students may conduct field work at local restaurants, farms, food banks and markets. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2391 Methods of Cultural Field Study
Ethnography is an empirical, scientific approach for describing the cultural aspects of human life. This course will investigates the range of research methods used by cultural anthropologists to conduct ethnographic field work, with an emphasis on observation, interviewing, surveying, and the use of archived materials. Although examples from contemporary anthropologists will be used to highlight the methods under study, students will also learn through explicit skills instruction and hands-on practice of research methods. Each student will conduct a community-based, field methods project that allows them to hone their research skills, synthesize their learning and present their findings. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2411 International Relations
This course provides students the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the economic, political and cultural dimensions of globalization. Students will gain an appreciation of how relations between geographically far-flung international actors (not only states, but also non-state actors, including transnational corporations, charitable organizations such as OXFAM, and citizens) have gained a sense of immediacy made possible through the split-second international transmission of information. The course begins with an historical overview of the evolution of the "world system" and proceeds to take up such topics as: different theoretical views of international relations; trade; transnational corporate investment; the alleged "homogenization" of culture; terrorism and conflict; the environment; and international wealth distribution. The course also investigates the roles of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans or ED1011 and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001

SS2711 Human Sexuality
This multi-disciplinary course gives students the opportunity to learn about human sexuality from psychological, sociological, political, historical and cultural perspectives. Each semester begins by exploring cultural and historical aspects of sexuality, as well as a look at research methods that have been used and are being used to inform our understanding of human sexuality. Topics for the rest of the semester are student driven and vary from semester to semester. Past topics have included sexual behavior and expression across the lifespan; sexual and gender identity; communication in sexual relationships; and sexuality, media, art and the law; This course utilizes a seminar-style format in which students prepare for and engage actively in weekly roundtable discussions about the topics being studied. The course also provides an opportunity for students to undertake individual or small group projects on a topic of particular interest to them. Pre-Requisites: SS1011 or SS1211 or SS1311 or SS1411 or SS Core Trans and EN1011 or EN1015 and FY1011 or FY1001


Solvegi Shmulsky
Chair, Social Science and Education Department