Carnegie Mellon University
August 30, 2016

Professors Are Excited About Back-to-School, Too

By Emily Stimmel

When you were a kid, “back-to-school” probably meant newly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks full of blank paper, maybe a new backpack or lunchbox—all symbolizing a fresh start and infinite possibilities.

That back-to-school feeling still resonates with professors in Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“I’m always excited to teach new courses!” said John Soluri, associate professor of history. “CMU’s embrace of unconventional approaches enables me to teach different kids of courses.”

Soluri is ringing in the year with new courses about the interactions between animals and human cultures throughout time and the links between coffee and social change.

Bonnie Youngs is also launching a new course this fall, "The French in America"—a fourth-year seminar for French & Francophone Studies students.

“It occurred to me that there is so much French influence around Pittsburgh—North Versailles, Chartiers Valley, Fort Duquesne—and I wanted to know how it got here,” said Youngs, teaching professor of French & Francophone Studies in the Department of Modern Languages.

The course embodies CMU’s interdisciplinary spirit, with students interviewing representatives of French companies in Pittsburgh (in French, of course!) and constructing a Wikipedia page titled “La France dans la région pittsbourgeoise” as a digital humanities project.

The students will present their findings at the Dietrich Undergraduate Colloquium (DUC) in November.

“I always look forward to the DUC. The students who study in Dietrich are so clever and amazing in the ways that they think,” she remarked.

Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy, will be teaching a new, 300-level course called Social & Political Philosophy and the ethics, history and public policy (EHPP) capstone course. Seniors in the class will examine gentrification in Pittsburgh.

Wenner is most excited about the Center for Ethics & Policy’s inaugural Workshop on Ethics & Policy this November.

“We’ve got an amazing slate of scholars coming from across the country and overseas to talk about exploitation and coercion,” she said.

Events are also on Kasey Creswell’s mind. Creswell, who will be teaching Abnormal Psychology this fall, is looking forward to Send Silence Packing. The nationally recognized program is dedicated to raising awareness about suicide and inspiring action for suicide prevention in September.

But that’s not all. “I’m looking forward to the new lineup of shows put on by the CMU School of Drama. My husband (who is also a faculty member in psychology) and I buy season tickets and love the shows!” commented Creswell, assistant professor of psychology.

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