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Fall 2015 Senior Seminar Course Descriptions

Listed alphabetically by instructor.

All sections
Student teacher section

Brouwer, Wayne
IDS 462-01
CRN: 82570
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
Composing a Life:
Mary Bateson describes the process of understanding ourselves and our meaning as “composing a life.” She uses three metaphors to explain this: (1) there are a variety of influences that weave themselves together like a musical symphony to create the melodies and harmonies that become the song of our lives; (2) this happens only over time, like a musical composition, and often we don't know how it will sound until many bits and pieces come together in a richer whole; (3) the pieces themselves are short stories which, when expressed independently, may take on small and various meanings that may differ from what they express when knit together into a larger mosaic. We will read several memoirs and excerpts from memoirs, and write a number of the stories of our own lives, with the goal to begin processing them together toward a larger symphony of self that has meaning and trajectory which provide new insights about our futures, and the next stages of our lives after college. In the process we will review our First Year Seminar “Liberal Arts Essay,” and also view several deeply moving and insightful movies.

Cho, David
IDS 478-01
CRN: 82566
M 6:00-8:50 PM
Life Together: Faith, Race, and Community:
For this Senior Seminar we will begin with basic questions of what it means to be part of a community, especially in the context of a “Christian liberal arts college” such as Hope College. We will start by reading the work of Shane Claiborne, a graduate of a Christian liberal arts institution himself, currently living in a community called “The Simple Way” in the heart of Philadelphia. From contemplating notions of a faith-based community (or communities), we will go on to tackle the ever-present problem of “race, racism, and racialization” and its role in fracturing or creating certain norms within community/communities that we will critically analyze and reflect. Here we will be reading texts by Beverly Daniel Tatum to help define “race” and think through race identity development, along with the work of Amy Eshleman, (and her colleagues: Jean Halley, Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya), a Hope College graduate herself, to think through patterns of “whiteness” as a racial identity and its implications for learning, community, and the academic context. We will then read a range of authors, topics, and textual genres to reflect on similar issues of faith, learning, race, and community, ranging from Native American, African American, Latina/o American, Asian American and Anglo American topics and authors, and fictional, biographical, and even legal non-fictional work. Finally, we’ll come full circle by reading Claiborne again to reflect on the semester and your four years at Hope as a whole—and beyond.

deHaan, Sander
IDS 402-01
CRN: 82005
MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
MMC 243
Christianity & Literature:
We read and discuss a variety of authors from different times and different backgrounds, but all having a view of Christian responses to issues in life. Students write regular reaction papers of two paragraphs each, and, of course, toward the end of the course, a life view paper, which student in my seminar share with each other and also discuss.

Hoogerwerf, Steven
IDS 455-01
CRN: 81670
T 7:00-9:50 PM
Vocation and Health Care:
This course is designed to explore what it means to think about the meaning of vocation (from the Latin vocare, to call) especially but not exclusively in the context of health care. Using the concept of vocation suggests several questions that might be addressed: What would it mean to be “called” as a care-giver or healer? How would health care be different if one approached it as a vocation than if one considered it simply a career? How does theology, spirituality and ethics become an integral part of the vocation to care for those who are sick? If you do not expect to be working in health care, similar questions can be posed within the context of your own life and work. In fact, I encourage you to frame some of your own questions and share them with me early in the course.

Japinga, Lynn
IDS 431-01
CRN: 82220
TR 9:30-10:50 AM
MMC 241
Female, Male, Human:
This course explores the ways in which gender, sexuality, race, and class shape our ideas about God and humankind, our faith, families, work, and lives. It also examines the ways in which assumptions about gender and sexuality are shaped by Christianity, culture, and the family environment.

Le, Andrew
IDS 495-06
CRN: 82596
TR 3:00-4:20 PM
Location: JHM192
Your Life's Playlist:
Music has been with us from the very beginning. We all have pieces or songs that have carried us through pain, elation, frustration, doubts, and victories. Music remind us of times, places, things, and people. We hear these songs, and we remember; we remember, and we hear. Music has become forever braided into the fabric of our existence; indeed, for many, music has been an integral part of our contrapuntal journeys of education, career, love, and faith. If you could tell the story of your life through music—your life's playlist—what would it be?

Lunderberg, Marla
IDS 479-01
CRN: 82567
MW 2:00-3:20 PM
Making Good on Your Dreams, with Creativity and Grace:
Backpacking across Europe. Signing on for an extended service project. Getting accepted by your top choice of grad schools. Interviewing for your dream job. Establishing a relationship with a significant other. Growing in your knowledge of yourself and your world. As you think about college and about graduating from college, what do you imagine to be your absolutely top-notch, sparkling, over-the-top, utopian experience? In this class, we’ll think about the ways we define our perfect worlds on several levels: personal, political, and global. We’ll talk about our responsibilities in shaping, in making this utopian adventure, and we’ll examine what our ideas of “the perfect world” mean within the context of the Christian faith. We'll consider how we respond when the world we live in doesn’t meet our expectations. (Not just “why do bad things happen to good people,” but why do bad things sometimes happen to me and how do I deal with them?) We’ll read some great writing by others who have dreamed of what a perfect world might look like—and by some who are scary-good at pointing out the challenges to such idealizations. Energetic class discussion will be our goal. Disagreement and rebellion will be encouraged. Writing assignments will include reading responses and short essays which will culminate in the Senior Seminar “Life View” paper.

McCoy, Andy
IDS 495-02
CRN: 82624
T 6:00-8:50 PM
Location Graves 206
Psalms for Life:
This course takes a look at the biblical book of Psalms and its influence on the life and faith formation of its readers—including you! We will examine the Psalms in their biblical setting, in Christian theological understanding, in their historical use for Christian worship, and as they appear in art and culture around the world. We will also focus on the Psalms as expressions of human identity developing over time—identity lived in relationship with God and others.

Portfleet, Dianne
IDS 495-04
CRN: 82568
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
Genocide and Reconciliation and Christianity in the 21st Century:
This seminar will be talking about genocide and reconciliation in countries around the world, reconciliation in families, between churches and among individuals. It will look deeply into the concept of costly discipleship versus cheap discipleship. Each student will be encouraged to examine his/her own life regarding areas where reconciliation and forgiveness need to be offered in order for each of us to grow as whole human beings. The readings will focus on Rwanda and its attempts at reconciliation, on love and forgiveness, on God's reconciliation with us.

Shaughnessy, John
IDS 441-01
CRN: 82008
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
What’s worth remembering?:
In this seminar we will explore what it means to remember from a variety of perspectives (including our own) to discover the ways in which remembering influences our understanding of others and ourselves. Memory will serve as a window for engaging in reflection and critical examination of our life experiences to discern and articulate why we believe what we believe and why we do what we do. We will read and discuss memoirs as one way to encounter people’s reflections on their remembered lives. These memoirs will serve as a framework for the life view paper students will write.

Smith, Temple
IDS 495-03
CRN: 82329
MWF 2:00-2:50 PM
Christian Approaches to Health Care: The ultimate goal for each student is the development a Christ-centered approach to health care and medical practice on a personal level. By examining social, political, economic, and cultural biases students will develop a mature understanding of cultural competence in medical practice that leads to compassion-centered care. To achieve this goal, students will identify the socio-cultural aspects of health and illness and explore social determinants of health (i.e. socio-economic inequality, racism, and social status) that shape health care outcomes, directly and indirectly.

Trembley, Beth
IDS 495-05
CRN: 82569
M 5:30-8:20 PM
Silence, Image, Voice:
Many people in this world suffer in silence, quieted by issues of oppression, shame and fear. At the same time, we as human beings thirst for a different kind of silence, an oasis of calm attention to quiet our minds and, just perhaps, to bring us closer to ourselves and to God. How can images—especially those used in writing and drawing— help you move from silent suffering through attentive silence toward discovery of your unique voice and calling? How can they inspire you to “dare greatly” in pursuit of that calling? How will the world benefit from your “wild precious life?" All are welcome to join this exploration of silence, image, and voice. Together we’ll look at books, films, essays, comics, blogs and videos from people with differing races, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, and ways of living into their faith. Absolutely no previous experience in creative writing or drawing is expected (or even useful). Energized engagement is essential. Curious about whom I quoted above? Willing to work with crayons? Thirsty? Join us!

Van Duinen, Deb
IDS 495-01
CRN: 82006
TR 12:00-1:20 PM

Storytelling and Story-truth: In her bestselling children’s book Tale of Desperaux, Kate Dicamillo writes, “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” Jonathan Auxier offers a different perspective. In his young adult novel, The Night Gardener, one of his characters reflects “A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens 'em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide.” Tim O’Brien, author of the Vietnam War memoir The Things They Carried, offers yet another perspective on story. He writes, “…story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth…That’s what fiction is for. It's for getting at the truth when the truth isn't sufficient for the truth.” In this senior seminar, we will use “story” as a framing concept for our discussions about what shapes us as individuals and as a society. We’ll encounter and discuss a variety of stories throughout the semester – children’s picture books, young adult literature, memoirs, films – as a way of reflecting on the different purposes of storytelling, different ways of telling stories, criteria for evaluating stories, and how stories can affirm or push against our own worldview beliefs.

NOTE: All students taking Senior Seminar during the student teaching semester will take a section of IDS 452 – the seminar designed for this purpose. No other Senior Seminars may be taken during the student teaching semester.

Donk, Tony
IDS 452-01
CRN: 81838
W 1:00-3:50 PM
VNZ 247
Teacher and Teaching—In Whose Image?:
As future teachers you serve a long and intensive “apprenticeship of observation.” Since kindergarten, you have watched teachers do what you yourself will do. In addition, you have seen teachers portrayed in movies, plays, books and a variety of other mediums. Given these observations and portrayals, this seminar will explore thinking around the central question, “In whose image do you see yourself as a teacher and how does this impact your teaching?” Related questions will revolve around contemporary images of teachers, as well as those that reflect power, spirituality, social justice, the life of the mind, vocation and teacher reform. In short, what is the image of “teacher” that you claim and what do you aspire to?