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These are the current course descriptions including any pre- and co-requisites. You can also view all current courses, course requirements and course descriptions by downloading a PDF of the ODU Catalog.

Common Core Seminar Description


CORE or Discipline Specific 279 CORE: What is the Common Good?
3 Credits
This is the second of three interdisciplinary courses that, together with the fourth-year capstone course in the major, comprise ODU’s core seminars. All sections of this seminar listed below will extend the discussion of human nature in CORE 179 to address the question, ‘What is the Common Good?’ Students will examine the role of individuals belonging to multiple and increasingly diverse communities. Students will have the opportunity to translate knowledge into action through a community service component. While each section will approach the question of the seminar from a unique perspective, all sections share common learning outcomes and a common text or texts. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111.


Section-Specific Descriptions:

ART 279A CORE: Global Community in Art
3 Credits
This course introduces students to the concept of art as an agent for social change through case studies of community/communal art “movements” through history from around the globe as well as the United States and our local community. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. This course fulfills the Arts requirement (Art/Music/Theatre).

ART/HST/POL 279C CORE: American Political Thought: Nature and the Common Good
3 Credits
A study of the concept of nature as used in Anglo-American thought and how these usages influence an understanding of the natural, social, and political environments of the United States. Special emphasis given to American political theory, its illustration through the 19th century American landscape movement, and the inability of U.S. thinkers to appreciate the common good. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in POL/HST/ART 335 or POL 348F.

BIO 279A CORE: Disease: Myth and Reality
3 Credits
What is the obligation of a person with an infectious disease to their community? This class will explore the different agents that cause infectious disease, modes of transmission, control of infections and public health measures. We will also look at the role infectious disease has played in the history of the western world from the bubonic plague in Europe, the smallpox epidemic among the Native Americans and the current AIDS epidemic. This course will fulfill the Science requirement for non-science majors. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer credit. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in BIO 348B.

BIO 279B CORE: Biological Evolution
3 Credits
Evolution is the thread that connects all biological communities. In this class we will explore the historical understanding of evolution as well as its modern interpretations. The evolution of human and non-human communities and its effect on the common good of the human community will be emphasized. We will also explore the diversity of life on earth from an evolutionary perspective. Students who have taken or are taking BIO 202 cannot take this course. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer credit. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111.

BUS 279A CORE: Leadership and the Common Good
3 Credits
This course integrates readings in the humanities, experiential exercises, video analysis, and case studies in the service of helping students develop their own unique leadership philosophy. Engagement in the course will strengthen students’ capacity to lead others. The transition from self-leadership to a consideration of community and the common good is explored. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111.

CORE 279A CORE: Our Bridges and Borders
3 Credits
We will explore how we build bridges with people with whom we do not normally interact. We will explore ways to eliminate or expand borders in order to strengthen communities. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. This course fulfills the diversity, global, and multicultural requirement.

CORE 279C CORE: Uncovering Fairytales, Myth, Folktales, and Ghost Stories
3 Credits
This course will be concerned with digging deep into the oral culture of myth, folk and fairy tales and even the supernatural that help create the human condition. This course explores the topic of the “common good” as it relates not only in these classical tales, but as it reflects your own personal folk or mythic journey. Prerequisites: ENG 111; CORE 179 or appropriate transfer credit.

CRJ/POL 279A CORE: Environmental Values and Policymaking
3 Credits
This course explores how the “common good” might be considered a way of judging government’s actions with respect to the natural environment. Some environmentalists wonder if conventional thinking—even democracy itself—is up to the challenge. Course will illustrate real-world technical complexities and uncertainties, and the existence of competing worthy (and costly) common objectives besides environmental protection, stand in the way of any easy solutions to environmental problems. This course is necessarily interdisciplinary since neither nature nor policymaking is organized by academic departments. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in CRJ/POL 258.

CRJ 279G/PJU 279G CORE: Interpersonal Negotiation and Mediation
3 Credits
This course introduces basic and intermediate level skills useful for resolving interpersonal conflicts and reconciling relationships post trauma. Building on an understanding of conflict theory and communication, the course uses skills of active listening, problem-solving and bargaining in family, work and community conflicts. Emphasis will be placed on training through simulations and role-play. Particular attention will be focused on the areas of interest-based negotiation, principled mediation and victim-offender reconciliation. These topics will serve as the vehicle for addressing the question of the seminar: How shall we live in the world in the light of divine and social justice? Prerequisites: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status; ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in PJU 230, CRJ 237, CRJ 379B, or PJU 379C. This course partially fulfills the Social and Behavioral Science requirement.

ENG 279A CORE: Conflict and Community
3 Credits
How are communities—particularly the idea of the common good—affected by large-scale conflict? What happens to individuals and society when divergent or opposing definitions of the common good clash? This course seeks to explore answers to these questions through the lens of a particular major United States conflict (the Vietnam War, for example). Using memoirs, novels, poems, and film—and by interviewing participants, veterans, and survivors of conflict—we will attempt to gain not only an understanding of the various communities affected by that conflict but also lasting insight into the effects of war and other social upheavals on the idea of the common good. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. This course fulfills the Arts requirement (Literature).

ENG 279D CORE: Studies in Trauma Literature
3 Credits
Collective memory is not simply the memories shared by a cultural group. Often associated with the Holocaust, this concept concerns the act of “bearing witness,” of acknowledging trauma in order to bring about social healing. This course will examine visual, written, and physical memorials to the Holocaust, September 11th, and other twentieth century tragedies. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. This course fulfills the Arts requirement (Literature).

HST 279A CORE: History of Western Monasticism
3 Credits
This seminar explores the history of monastic communities from their earliest development to the end of the Middle Ages. Particular attention will be paid to communal life in Judaism and early Christianity, the development of coenobitism in Egypt and Greece, the institutionalization of Western monasticism, ninth and twelfth-century reforms, and the rise of the mendicant orders in the twelfth and thirteenth century. Comparison will also be made to traditions of communal life in other World religions. Over the course of the seminar students will consider the paradox of the anti-social community, the pursuits of active and contemplative life, the practicalities of stability, recruitment and governance, and issues of liminality and marginalization. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111.

HST 279B CORE: World Powers 20th Century
3 Credits
A study of the international history of world powers during the 20th century, with a special focus on the breakdown of the "old world order" through nationalism, ideology, war and revolution - and the search for a "new world order". Special attention will be paid to the relationship between intellectual, political, economic, cultural and religious forces in history. Prerequisites: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111.

HST/ART/POL 279C CORE: American Political Thought: Nature and the Common Good
3 Credits
A study of the concept of nature as used in Anglo-American thought and how these usages influence an understanding of the natural, social, and political environments of the United States. Special emphasis given to American political theory, its illustration through the 19th century American landscape movement, and the inability of U.S. thinkers to appreciate the common good. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in POL/HST/ART 335 or POL 348F.

PJU 279G/CRJ 279G CORE: Interpersonal Negotiation and Mediation
3 Credits
This course introduces basic and intermediate level skills useful for resolving interpersonal conflicts and reconciling relationships post trauma. Building on an understanding of conflict theory and communication, the course uses skills of active listening, problem-solving and bargaining in family, work and community conflicts. Emphasis will be placed on training through simulations and role-play. Particular attention will be focused on the areas of interest-based negotiation, principled mediation and victim-offender reconciliation. These topics will serve as the vehicle for addressing the question of the seminar: How shall we live in the world in the light of divine and social justice? Prerequisites: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status; ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in PJU 230, CRJ 237, CRJ 379B, or PJU 379C. This course partially fulfills the Social and Behavioral Science requirement.

PHL 279A CORE: Ethical Issues of Sex and Marriage
3 Credits
An examination of ethical principles and their application to ethical issues of sex and marriage. Includes consideration of whether communities formed by sexual relationships and marriages promote the common good of larger communities. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111.

POL/CRJ 279A CORE: Environmental Values Policymaking
3 Credits
This course explores how the “common good” might be considered a way of judging government’s actions with respect to the natural environment. Some environmentalists wonder if conventional thinking—even democracy itself—is up to the challenge. Course will illustrate real-world technical complexities and uncertainties, and the existence of competing worthy (and costly) common objectives besides environmental protection, stand in the way of any easy solutions to environmental problems. This course is necessarily interdisciplinary since neither nature nor policymaking is organized by academic departments. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in POL 258.

POL 279B CORE: Political Philosophy and the Western Tradition
3 Credits
Consideration of past and present attempts to develop a comprehensive understanding of politics: Plato–Aquinas, Machiavelli–Hegel, Marx–present. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in POL/PHL 348D.

POL/ART/HST 279C CORE: American Political Thought and the Common Good
3 Credits
A study of the concept of nature as used in Anglo-American thought and how these usages influence an understanding of the natural, social, and political environments of the United States. Special emphasis given to American political theory, its illustration through the 19th century American landscape movement, and the inability of U.S. thinkers to appreciate the common good. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in POL/HST/ART 335 or POL 348F.

SOC 279B CORE: Nonviolent Social Change
3 Credits
The course addresses the philosophical and religious foundations, theory, history, and practice of nonviolence as a method of social change. The course will include study of some of the great nonviolent leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Building on a nonviolent foundation, the course explores strategies for social organizing, designing campaigns for social change, fundraising, coalition building, recruiting, marketing ideas, media relations, and empowering grassroots leadership. The class will explore common elements of successful social change movements throughout history including: labor, women’s, human rights, poor people’s, peace and environmental. In relation to social change, the course will address the question, “What does it mean to belong to a community?” Students will work with diverse communities and have the opportunity to translate knowledge into action through a community service component focused on the common good. The course requires at least 10 hours of service outside of the class. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in SOC 320 or SOC 322.

SOC 279E CORE: Health and the Community
3 Credits
Health is integrally connected to the realization of the common good within communities. Ensuring the conditions that allow for human flourishing demands an examination of how communities and societies promote health, prevent disease, and respond to the illnesses of their members. This course provides an overview of cultural and social aspects of health at the individual, community, and societal level. We will explore how individual health beliefs and practices vary across cultures, how disease and illness are constructed within societies, how healthcare providers can best interact with diverse patients, and how social structure maintains health inequalities. Specific topics will range from a micro-level examination of the role of traditional healers, folk remedies, and decision making to a macro-level view of power and inequality. The course will also critically examine the dominance of the Western biomedical model, its influence on defining and treating illness and how it compares to non-western and/or alternative models of medicine. This course fulfills the diversity, global, and multicultural requirement. Not open to students with credit for SOC 310.

SWK 279A CORE: Women’s Issues and the Common Good
3 Credits
Perspectives on selected policy issues affecting women nationally and internationally. Attention is given to the impact of history, the power of stereotypes, the family as an economic institution, institutionalized violence against women, and changing institutions. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. Not open to students with credit in SWK 250. This course partially fulfills the Social and Behavioral Science requirement and fulfills the diversity, global, and multicultural requirement.

SWK 279C CORE: Politics of Aging
3 Credits
Political, economic, and ethical perspectives on selected policy issues affecting the aging population in the U.S. Policy issues include: economic resources and needs of the aging population, impact of the “baby boom generation” on the current support structure, and elder abuse. Intergenerational equity is also analyzed. Emphasis is given to the broad implications of economic life for elderly persons, besides society’s differential treatment of older adults as a group. Seminar participants will actively participate in a short-term community-building project to promote the common good. Prerequisites: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status and ENG 111. This course partially fulfills the Social and Behavioral Science requirement. Not open to students with credit in SWK 275.

THL 279A CORE: Catholic Church in the World
3 Credits
This course discusses and analyzes three trends that characterize the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council: Evangelization, Ecumenism, and Inter-religious Dialogue. The course includes meetings with representatives of organs of the Catholic Church and Catholics of different cultures and language groups living in the Columbus area; members of Christian churches and communities in dialogue with the Catholic Church who live in Columbus; and representatives of non-Christian religions living in Columbus. Prerequisites: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status and ENG 111.

WGS 279A CORE: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
3 Credits
This course explores the common good through gender, its history, representation, and relationship to culture, society, and art. What is the relationship between gender and society? How has gender been influenced by society and vice versa? We will examine the ways diverse communities have responded to these kinds of questions in the past. We will also examine the ways in which gender is represented, viewed, treated, and discussed today. Issues such as the women’s suffrage; gender policies in religion, business, and education; and gender bias will be discussed. Readings will be multicultural and multidisciplinary. Films, the visual arts, and popular media will also be included. Prerequisite: CORE 179 or appropriate transfer status. Pre- or Co-requisite: ENG 111. This course fulfills the diversity, global, and multicultural requirement.