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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Undergraduates enjoy new course offerings

Published: September 13, 2013
Section: News

This semester, as shopping period continues, Brandeis undergraduate students have the option to enroll in 32 completely new courses.

The courses span 21 departments in the arts, humanities, social sciences, lab sciences and foreign languages, and are cross-listed in several majors and minors. Many of the courses take an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to exploring a common topic.

Business majors have new opportunities to think critically about business from a social and cultural perspective through the new electives: “Money, Markets and Morals in American Culture” offered by the Department of American Studies and “Business, Culture and Society” in the Department of Anthology. The latter course is about learning to understand the customs and values of other cultures and applying them to the global business environment, an important skill in a globalizing world.

A popular new course is “Making Mirth: Building Psychological Resilience Through the Power of Play,” a collaboration between the theater and psychology departments. The goal of the class is to improve physical fitness, combat stress and build resilience in a healthy way, through the playing of games, dance, storytelling and improvisation. It is cross-listed as a Psychology elective and a Creative Arts or Physical Education option.

Rocky Reichman ’13, a psychology major, created the class with the help of Professor Susan Dibble, who teaches in the theater department. He has done other work to help people build resilience through storytelling, including Watch Me Bounce, a website where people can submit their personal stories to help strengthen others.

The class, capped at 18 students, filled beyond capacity within the first days of April registration. Students have welcomed it as a much-needed means of relaxing and relieving stress.

“I’ve never taken a class like this before. We learn primarily through dance and improvisational role-play. Every class is a great way to deal with the earlier stresses of the day,” Adam Ossip ’15 said.

Other classes give students the chance to delve into academic fields previously not offered at Brandeis. Korean is now an option for the undergraduate foreign language requirement. Because of the work of the Brandeis Korean Culture and Language Initiative (BCKLI), which was founded last year, students can now take “Beginning Korean.” This can open the door for more study abroad or work opportunities in Asia.

Many of these courses are listed as hidden gems by Brandeis Academic Services, because they offer seminar-style, discussion-based learning and close interactions with faculty who have earned a 4.0 or better in course evaluation ratings.

The fine arts class “Framing the Image: Debates in the History of Photography” is a special one-time offering, but most of the classes will be offered again in years to come.