Converse Students Explore Non-Traditional Learning in January Term
The four-week January Term at Converse College is one of the most popular among students because it is designed specifically for the pursuit of non-traditional learning opportunities through innovative course design, study-travel offerings and concentration on internships.
Course offerings during the 2006 January Term, which begins Jan. 4, include the examination of crime scene forensics, the combination of digital and traditional photography, and the studying of the entire catalog of The Beatles. International destinations for research include Oaxaca, Mexico where students will live with families while studying the local culture; various villages in Italy to examine the development of the European Union and popularity of the Euro; and the British Virgin Islands to learn navigational sailing.
Dr. Edna Steele, associate professor of biology, will take a page from the popular television show, CSI in her “Introduction to Bio-Forensics” course. In addition to guest presentations from forensics experts with local law enforcement agencies, Dr. Steele’s students will take part in blood splatter examination, hair analysis, and victim identification through bones found at a crime scene.
In “Alternative Photography Methods,” Andrew Blanchard, assistant professor of printmaking and photography, will lead students on a reverse journey through the advances in photography. “During the class, students will take a digital photograph, manipulate it in Adobe Photoshop, convert it to a black and white negative, burn it to a transparency and eventually expose it by sunlight,” said Blanchard.
A group of 17 students will travel to Italy and then split into two groups. One of the groups will be led by Dr. Woodrow Hughes, associate professor of economics and business, will explore the development of the European Union, and interview business owners and consumers to gauge the popularity of the Euro. On the same trip, Dr. Catherine West, associate professor of French and director of women’s studies, will guide students in the study of conversational French.
Students of Dr. David Berry, associate professor of music history and theory, will listen to every song ever recorded by The Beatles, and will participate in discussions concerning the contributions to the world of music by the “Fab Four.”
Dr. Jeri King and a group of six Converse students will spend 26 days in Oaxaca, Mexico living as locals. “This is a total immersion course, meaning that the students will be engrossed in the local culture,” said Dr. King. “Oaxaca is located in the Southern region of Mexico and has 16 indigenous groups with differing languages in addition to Spanish, so the students should get the feeling of what it’s like to live in a true Mexican village. They’ll experience life as a local by staying with Oaxaca families and will take language courses at a nearby language institute.”
Dr. Wayne Cheser, associate professor of education and a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain, will take a group of 13 Converse and Wofford College students to the British Virgin Islands where they will learn basic navigation. During their week-long venture, the group will sail and live on two 50-foot fiberglass yachts.
While some of their peers are conducting research, a group of other Converse students will be getting hands-on professional experience through internships. Students will be working for U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., Copa Airlines in Panama, Price Waterhouse Coopers in Spartanburg and the Anderson County (S.C.) Solicitor’s Office.