Skip to main content

Learning Perspective course descriptions spring 2024

All Augustana students must take at least one course in each Learning Perspective (LP) below in order to graduate. First-year students often have one or two LP courses in their first semester. The courses below are appropriate for first-year students and have no pre-requisites unless noted. Not every course listed has seats available. See Arches for current availability.

Perspective on the Arts (PA)

ARHI-161 Global Art in Perspective (PA, G) Works of art from around the world examined thematically and chronologically as visual evidence of cultural heritage.

ART-101 Drawing (PA) Fundamentals of drawing such as value, line, form, space and composition, exploring abstraction as well as traditional subject matters through observational studies. Theory and practice through a variety of drawing media including use of color. $40 lab fees

ART-123 Design: Two Dimensional (PA) Theories of basic design, with emphasis on both formalism and expression in art. Design fundamentals of color, texture, shape, line, value and principles of balance, repetition, variety, harmony and unity explored. A variety of media will be investigated. $40 lab fee

ART-124 Design: Three Dimensional (PA) The theory and language of three-dimensional design and its application to artistic communication, with an emphasis on contemporary practice. Projects emphasize understanding intellectual aspects of three-dimensional form, working processes and techniques in a variety of media. $60.00 Lab fee

ART-211 Painting (PA) Basics of color theory and practice of painting in oil and/or acrylics. Emphasis on developing fundamental painting approaches, conceptual development and individual expressions through color. Art periods, movements and practice researched. $100 lab fee

ART-228 Digital Photography (PA) Introduction to digital photography; a survey of both the hardware and software. Introduction to Adobe Photoshop for image processing. Historical context and creative investigation. No prerequisites. A digital camera of some kind (including mobile phone cameras) is required to participate in the course. Access to a computer capable of running Photoshop is required to complete assignments. $40 lab fee

ART-231 Ceramics: Hand Construction (PA) This course explores methods of hand building in clay with an emphasis on creative thinking and technical facility. Assignments emphasize developing surface design, use of glazes, and a research project. Lectures include viewing and analysis of a broad spectrum of historical and contemporary ceramic work. $50 lab fee

ART-251 Fibers: Loom Weaving (PA) Exploration of weaving methods on the multi-harness floor loom. Materials and processes of tapestry weaving, pattern weaving, and rug weaving investigated through traditional and contemporary applications. Survey of historical and contemporary developments in textile arts, including individual research projects. Development of weaving as a creative, personal expression. $65 lab fee

ART-252 Fabric Design (PA) Exploration of surface design methods on fabric. Fabric painting, printing, tie and dye, and batik. Textile repeats and applications used in the textile industry also studied. Development of fabric design as a creative, personal expression. Survey of historical and contemporary developments in surface design. Student will engage in a research project and master study culminating in a visual response. $60 lab fee

ENCW-201 Writing Poetry (PA) Practice in writing poetry with an introduction to poetic form, voice and techniques. Emphasis will be on generating, critiquing and revising student work, but students will also study the work of published poets.

ENCW-202 Writing Fiction (PA) Practice in writing with introduction to the basic techniques of fiction writing, emphasizing the conventions of the modern short story and the revision process.

ENCW-203 Writing Creative Nonfiction (PA) Practice in writing with an introduction to the various forms the genre assumes (memoir, profile, literary journalism, nature writing, spiritual autobiography) and emphasis on techniques writers use to translate personal and researched experience into artful nonfiction. The class stresses drafting, workshopping, and revising.

ENCW-204 Screenwriting (PA) Practice in writing screenplays with an introduction to narrative structure. Emphasis will be on generating, critiquing and revising student work, but students will also study contemporary scripts and films.

GRD-222 Typography (PA) Overview of typography, its techniques and applications. Basic principles of page layout and composition to include practical investigations in publication design. This studio-based course examines typography as a fundamental communication tool. Emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving in both traditional analog and digital contexts. $40.00 lab fee

GRD-225 Intro to Graphic Design (PA) Overview of graphic design, its techniques and applications. Basic principles of page layout and composition, design skills, typography, and color application. Emphasis on critical thinking and process development. This studio-based course examines the field of design as fundamental communication tool in both digital and analog contexts. $40 lab fee

GRST-253 German Film (PA) An overview of major films, movements, and directors of German cinema in the 20th and 21st centuries, along with the fundamentals of the analysis of film as an art form. Also considers the historical and political contexts in which films were produced. Credit may not be earned for both GRST 253 and GRST 353. Taught in English.

MUSC-101 Introduction to Music (PA) Exploration of the fundamental elements, various forms and styles of music. Includes listening to and thinking about music in various cultural and historical contexts and the live concert experience. Does not apply to major in Music.

MUSC-107 Music in Worldwide Perspective (PA, G) Music in Worldwide Perspective. Introduction to ethnomusicology and survey of indigenous music of the various regions of the world. Does not apply to major in music.

THEA-100 Intro to Theatre (PA) Introduction to Theatre. Theatre as a collaborative, vital and multi-faceted art form that reflects and impacts culture and society. Through study of theatre practice and various dramatic texts from Ancient Greece to contemporary times, this course will examine how the written word is translated into action and images on stage.

THEA-240 Acting I (PA) Introduction to the acting process through study of its basic principles and development of fundamental performance skills. Studio work includes improvisational exercises, scene study and various performance projects. Emphasis on the use of creative imagination in the context of performance.

Perspective on Human Existence and Values (PH)

CHST-240 Intro to Chinese Culture (PH, G) An overview of Chinese culture, with emphasis on various aspects within Chinese society, including religions, literature, art, language and philosophy. Readings are supplemented by audiovisual material, discussion and projects. Taught in English.

COMM-260 Communication and Culture (PH, G) Examines how communication helps create culture and how culture constrains communication, reasoning, and morality; introduces similarities and differences in understanding self and other in cultural contexts.

MJMC-215 News Literacy (PH) Examines forces that shape news today and how the news media have changed. Prepares students to understand journalism and critically evaluate news sources as well as analyze their own roles as news consumers and communicators using current events as a backdrop. Assignments and discussion focus on topics such as: news values, detecting bias, source credibility, journalistic constraints, and media economics.

PHIL-105 Life and Death (PH) An introduction to ethics, approached through an examination of the ethics of living, letting die, and killing. The course will introduce students to major theories of morality, such as utilitarianism and Kantian ethics, and apply these theories to issues that may include euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, and just war.

Perspective on the Individual and Society (PS)

COMM-220 Communication and Social Relationships (PS, D) Examines how family, peer and cultural socialization influences communication in close relationships. Consideration of race, class, gender and sexual orientation as they relate to communication in diverse relationships.

COMM-240 Advertising and Consumer Culture (PS) Traces the evolution of the persuasive strategies, effects and messages in commercial discourse, from its origins in colonial America to today, with special emphasis on portrayals of race, class, family and gender in contemporary America. Course assignments will incorporate instruction on media content analysis and textual analysis as research methods.

ECON-225 Health Economics (PS) The tools and perspectives of economic analysis applied to the health care industry. Emphasis is on the changing nature of the industry and alternative methods of structuring and financing it.

ENVR-101 Social Dimension (PS) This course provides an in-depth examination of the structure and dynamics of complex sustainability problems. We pay particular attention to the role of humans in creating and responding to these problems by investigating the relationships between our natural world and social, cultural, and political institutions. Particular topics may include: population and consumption dynamics; environmental justice; social and behavioral change; environmental policy; and food, energy, and water systems. Students will complete a campus-based sustainability project focused on social and/or behavioral change.

GEOG-120 Human Geography of Global Issues (PS, G) Human geography focuses on social, economic, political, cultural, and human-environment processes and patterns and how they change over space and time. This course examines the interconnections between places around the world and how global flows intersect in our local communities. Major topics include economic globalization, geopolitics, the spatial aspects of population growth and distribution including international migration, health, urbanization, cultural differentiation and the spread of ideas and innovation, and the environmental impacts of development. The course aims to engender a critical geographical perspective on the past, present and future development of the social world.

PHIL-103 Social Ethics (PS) An introduction to the philosophical examination of issues in three areas of social ethics-global problems, family matters, and societal policies. The following general questions will be considered in light of three moral theories (utilitarianism, rights, and the ethics of care): What do we owe the poor and starving in other countries? What do we owe our family members? How should we treat criminals in our society?

POLS-101 American Government (PS) A study of constitutional principles and their implementation to create a functioning national government. Development of basic institutions —presidency, Congress, courts, bureaucracy. Analysis of political behavior — political parties, campaigns, and interest groups. Examples from public policy are used to show the institutions and groups in action.

POLS-103 Global Perspectives (PS, G) Examination of major issues of world politics from various theoretical and country perspectives. Considers issues -- war and peace, international law and organization, economic globalization, climate change, nuclear weapon proliferation and human rights -- which pose questions of justice or represent threats to the peace or to global survival.

PSYC-100 Introduction to Psychology (PS) A survey course of the major areas of interest within the field of Psychology (physiological, cognitive, clinical, and social), including fundamental principles and theories about human behavior as well as the scientific methods used by psychologists to draw these conclusions.

PUBH-100 Introduction to Public Health (PS) This course introduces the interdisciplinary field and application of public health. Students will explore the social, political, and environmental determinants of health, and will be introduced to the institutions that shape health outcomes at the local, national, and global levels. This course will also help students understand how public health impacts the health of populations on a daily basis. Course activities will examine a diverse range of topics such as community health organizations, ethics in public health practice, maternal and child health, control of chronic and infectious disease, health through the lifespan, mental health, nutrition, and more.

SOAN-101 Introduction to Sociology (PS, D) A general introduction to society and culture, socially learned patterns of human behavior, formal and informal organization, collective behavior and social change.

SOAN-102 Introduction to Anthropology (PS, G) A general introduction to society and culture, diverse cultural systems and groups of people from around the globe, and a holistic examination of the many parts of culture. Students will learn the tools, methods and key concepts anthropologists use to study humanity.

SOAN-225 Contemporary Social Issues (PS) Examination of contemporary social issues as analyzed from a variety of sociological perspectives. The course also considers examination of contemporary social issues as analyzed from a variety of sociological perspectives.

WGSS-130 Introduction Gender Studies (PS) This course serves as an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Familiarizes students with key terms, authors, and debates, while paying special attention to how gender and sexuality intersect with race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, ability, and immigration status to create systems of oppression. Students examine intersectional feminism as a framework for engaging in social justice work.

Perspective on Literature and Texts (PL)

CLAS-226 Classical Comedy (PL) The comic plays of Greece and Rome not only offer insights into the social, political, and religious issues of their times, but also helped establish key trends in the development of comedy as we know it today. In this course, students will read representative plays from Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, and Terence, examining them in their particular historical moment, considering particulars of production and staging while also looking at their continuing influence on our own comic productions.

COMM-230 Communication, Politics, and Citizenship (PL) Addresses issues of communication effects and ethics as they impinge on citizens of a free society, with a focus on political discourse in the public sphere. Features rhetorical tactics, communication strategies and argument patterns in political campaigns, public policy, and the media.

ENGL-125B Literature and Business (PL) A literature course for students interested in professional work, finances, consumerism, and the so-called American Dream. Texts will include classic and contemporary works (both written and visual) on work, earning, spending, and seeking economic justice. For First Year and Sophomore students only

ENGL-240 Poetry (PL) Readings of selected poems to acquaint students with historical and contemporary trends and to promote an appreciative and critical understanding of poetry.

ENGL-270 Multicultural Writers of US (PL,D) This course offers students the opportunity to study the literary traditions of the United States and how they have been influenced by various factors like race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, geography, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status. The selection of contemporary writers including African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Jewish, and Native American writers will enable students to discover the varieties of both common and distinguishing factors in the life experiences and literary expressions of writers and other artistes of different backgrounds.

ENGL-275 Intro to African-American Literature (PL,D) Principal works by African Americans representing literary forms and significant currents of thought from the era of slavery to the present.

GRST-251 Outsiders in German Literature (PL) This course focuses on representations of outsider figures in German literature. Students will read poetry, short stories, and novels, and learn to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, themes, and literary techniques. We will also watch and analyze full-length films that feature characters outside the social mainstream. Taught in English.

Perspective on the Past (PP)

ENGL-260 History of British Literature (PP) English literature and social history from Beowulf and the Middle Ages to Virginia Woolf and the modern world. This course will introduce students to the study of literature, emphasizing the aims, methods, and tools of the discipline. Students will become familiar with critical vocabulary, with selected authors and with genre and historical context in a way that will carry over to more advanced classes.

HIST-116 Europe 1800-Present (PP,G) This course will address central moments in modern Europe, including the Industrial Revolution, WWI, fascism, WWII, the Holocaust, the birth and death of Soviet Communism, the Cold War, and the foundation of the European Union. Special emphasis will be placed on developing students' ability to write their own historical interpretations through a critical use of eyewitness accounts.

HIST-121 Latin America 1820-Present (PP,G) Post-Colonial Problems and Conditions in Latin America, 1820-Present. As Spain, Portugal, and France's New World colonies emerged from their respective independence struggles, each former colony would embark on a journey to build a national government, set borders, forge a distinct national identity, and exercise their sovereignty as equals on the world stage. Yet despite their best efforts, many found themselves increasingly hemmed in by a neo-colonial power - the United States. This class blends political and social history as it traces Latin America's post-colonial journey and the accompanying continuities and changes in the everyday lives of Latin Americans from 1820 to the present. Broken up into three units - independence, the early national period, and the modern era - course participants will explore major trends such as nationalism, neo-colonialism, authoritarianism, and human rights, while attending to the ways race, class, gender, national identity and their intersection shaped dynamics internal and external to the region.

HIST-124 Shades of Black/Brown (PP, G) Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latino Experiences, 1492-present. In Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest, Matthew Restall challenges our understanding of conquest and the very image of the conquistador by noting the presence of Africans who also bore arms for the Spanish King. In doing so, he calls attention to an important fact: Africans and their descendants, enslaved and free, have been present in Latin America and the Caribbean since its earliest days. Moreover, they can still be found in virtually every nation in Latin America and the Caribbean - from Mexico to Argentina, from core to periphery. As a result, they have played an important role in the establishment and development of Latin American society, culture, and identity. Cognizant of these facts, this course examines the experiences of Africans and their descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean from the 1500s to the early twenty-first century over three units - black life during enslavement, the fight to live as equals after abolition in Latin America, and the experiences of Afro-Latin Americans/Latin@s in the United States. After gaining an in-depth understanding of the concepts of diaspora and Afro-Latin America, participants will explore processes and themes such as acculturation, social death, agency and resistance, the meaning of citizenship, race and national inclusion, and the migrations of Afro-Latin American to the U.S.

HIST-131 Rethinking American History, 1877-Present (PP) Almost everything most people know about American history is at worst, wrong, and at best, oversimplified. This course examines enduring problems, powerful stories, and common misconceptions about the American past. Students will learn a set of problem-solving skills that historians use to make sense of the past, so that they can reach their own conclusions and recognize sense from nonsense.

PHIL-203 Modern Philosophy (PP) Studies in the Rationalist philosophical tradition of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz and the Empiricist tradition of Locke, Berkeley, Hume. Topics will include perception, knowledge and skepticism, mind and matter, the nature and existence of God, the character of reality.

SCAN-250 Vikings to Volvos (PP, G) An introduction to the history, literature, and culture of Scandinavia and the Nordic region, from the Viking age (700s) until the modern era (iconically represented by the Volvo automobile). Includes discussion of Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Svalbard and Greenland. Course material will address literature, the arts, cinema, indigenous cultures, and popular culture of the region. Taught in English.

Perspective on the Natural World (PN)

ASTR-145 Stars and Galaxies (PN) A non-calculus course intended for all majors on stars, galaxies and the universe. Topics include the formation and evolution of stars, basic stellar astrophysics, the interstellar medium, galaxy evolution and cosmology. Observational techniques and scientific methodology will be discussed. Evening observing sessions in the Carl Gamble observatory will be required. Suggested prerequisite: A math-index score of 840 or higher is recommended (pre-calc ready).

ENVR-100 Ecological Dimension (PN) In-depth interdisciplinary examination of complex sustainability problems (water, food systems, climate change, forests, etc.) including their systemic structure, dynamics, future development, and normative issues. In-depth examination of human dependence upon and alteration of supporting (biodiversity, disturbance regimes, soil resources, hydrological cycle, and nutrient cycles), regulating, provisioning, and cultural ecosystem services. Emphasis on formulating an interdisciplinary model to understand the resilience and vulnerability of complex social-ecological systems (SES) to disturbances and stresses and using such model to assess the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of local and regional sustainability problems. Introduction to key methods used to identify, analyze, and solve the ecological dimensions of such problems. Students will complete an ecologically-oriented campus-based sustainability project. The culminating project and case study will require students to place the ecological component of such systems within the context of the entire SES by emphasizing the two-way interactions (dependence of human well being on ecosystem services and influence of human pursuits of well-being on such services) between the ecological and social components. Includes one two-hour lab per week that focuses on a campus or local sustainability problem.

GEOG-105 Weather & Climate (PN)  An introduction to elements of weather and climate systems and the hazards they may pose to society. How can we (or should we?) prepare and adapt to live in areas of natural atmospheric hazards? Topics include a study of the earth's atmosphere, ocean systems, precipitation processes, severe weather (tornadoes, hurricanes), drought, and climate change. Includes one two-hour lab per week.

GEOL-101 Physical & Environmental Geology (PN) Introduction to the science of the Earth and our environment through topics of Earth materials and cycles, natural resources, tectonic processes, hydrologic systems, volcanoes, earthquakes, paleoclimatology, and geologic time. Additional themes include anthropogenic impacts on our environment, environmental hazards and environmental justice. Includes a weekly 2-hour lab that integrates experiential exercises, computer applications, collections of the Fryxell Geology Museum, and local field trips. Gateway course to the geology major.

GEOL-205 Mineralogy (PN) The fundamentals of crystallography (2-D and 3-D symmetry), crystal and mineral chemistry, and stabilities and occurrences of minerals in geological (near surface, metamorphic and magmatic) environments. Introduction to isotope geochemistry and phase diagrams. Practical identification of minerals in hand samples and in thin-sections and grain mounts using polarizing light, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray fluorescence and VIS/NIR spectroscopy. Includes one weekly 3-hour lab (GEOL-205L). Lab study involves specimens in the Fryxell Geology Museum collections.

PHYS-211 Foundational Physics (PN) A calculus-based introduction to fundamental concepts in physics. Topics include mechanics, fluids, and thermodynamics. The course is taught studio style with lecture, problem-solving, discussion of concepts, and laboratory work integrated into each class session. Course time takes up two back-to-back MWF course slots (130 min duration each class period). Prerequisite or Corequisite: MATH-160.