Advanced Special Topics Courses (390’s and 490’s)

Fall, 2014, Offerings

Courses numbered in the 390’s and 490’s are offered only once or twice and focus on a specialized topic. These courses are rarely appropriate for first-year students.

BIO/GEO 395 Paleobiology (crosslisted in Biology and Geology)

MWF 10-10:50; lab F 1:30-4:20. Professor Whitenack.

A study of temporal and spatial changes of the Earth’s fauna within the context of evolution and geological processes.  Our study begins with an introduction to invertebrate and vertebrate paleobiology that focuses on classification, relationships, and evolutionary history.  We then focus on analysis and use of paleontological data in evolution, systematics, paleoecology, and extinction.  One laboratory per week, plus field trips.  Prerequisite:  Biology 220 or Geology 120.

BLKST/WGSS 390 Explorations in U.S. Black Feminisms (crosslisted in Black Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

TTh 3-4:15. Professor Gilbert.

An exploration of the ways that women intersect with notions of race. We highlight the use of metaphor in literature, politics, and culture in the United States to offer ways of understanding the realities of black women in the contemporary United States. The multidisciplinary perspectives we consider include black feminisms and black women’s intellectual thought, media studies, and cultural criticism. Students who wish to explore further issues concerning women, race, and metaphor may wish to enroll in English 322 during the Spring 2015 semester.

ENVSC 390 Environmental Geography

TTh 11-12:15. Professor B. Haywood.

An introduction to environmental geography using bird populations as indicators and vectors. We investigate the geographic distribution of species and major migratory routes before following select bird species through the maze of threats facing global bird populations. Students discover how birds serve as “canaries in the coal mine,” biological indicators that provide a salient lens through which to explore present-day environmental challenges at multiple scales. From energy production and urban development to industrial agriculture and residential lawns, students investigate how global systems of commerce, culture, and ecological processes are intertwined with the lives of birds. Prerequisite: Environmental Science 110 or permission of the instructor.

GHS 490 Applied Toxicology

MW 11-12:15. Professor Adkins.

A study of the current challenges facing the field of toxicology. Toxicology relies on understanding how the dose of a chemical can impact the response in living organisms.  Using the primary literature in toxicological case studies, students examine novel health outcomes, such as reproductive, developmental, neurological, and immunological endpoints. In addition, students learn about atypical doses at which some chemicals may operate, critical windows of developmental exposure, and the fetal origins of some adult diseases. Our study stresses the complexity of real-world exposures, such as antagonistic or synergistic effects from exposure to multiple contaminants and the variability in individual susceptibility. Prerequisites: Junior/senior standing, and at least one Biology course numbered BIO 220 or above or one Chemistry course numbered CHEM 110 or above.


NEURO 490 Neuroscience of Art Therapies

MWF 9-9:50. Professor Jeff Hollerman.

An investigation of the neural basis of therapies centered on the arts. We examine the current status of our understanding of the neuroscientific processes underlying therapeutic interventions that focus on patient immersion in activities involving either creation or experience of artistic works. We consider neuroanatomical, neurochemical, neurophysiological, and neurohumoral dimensions in examining the potential therapeutic effects of these practices and their underlying mechanisms. Potential therapeutic targets to be discussed include both psychiatric and neurological disorders. Our investigation is largely discussion-based and draws substantially on primary sources. Prerequisites: PSYCH 206 or BIO 385, and one of the following: PSYCH 154 or BIO 380 or NEURO 110.


PSYCH 490 Psychology of Adolescence

TTh 3-4:15. Professor Chowdhury.

 An examination of the theories, research, and empirical findings associated with biological, psychological, and social aspects of adolescent development. Topics include development of identity and self-concept, social and moral development, family and peer relations, adolescent sexuality, influence of media, and psychopathology in adolescence among others. Examination of cultural variations in adolescent development is an underlying theme in most discussions. Prerequisites: Psychology 206 and one core course in Psychology.