The Honors College is offering several colloquia during the spring semester, covering topics ranging from global warming to computer hacking. In addition, the college is giving some students a chance to partner with CitySquare in a colloquium combining social research and biblical studies.
For many years, the Honors College at ACU has prided itself in its colloquial offerings. Each semester professors submit proposals for a specialty class they are interested in teaching. Courses can be taken for 1 or 0 credit hours for the 15 hours of total time spent in the class. Enrollment is usually capped off at 15 students. These often intensive, yet interesting courses create a unique learning environment between student and professor.
Courtney Tee, freshman communications major from Houston, is enrolled in the CitySquare colloquium this semester. As a member of the Justice and Urban Studies Team, also known as JUST, Tee has spent a lot of time with colloquium professors Dr. Stephen Johnson, dean of the Honors College, and Dr. Michael Harbour, Honors coordinator for contextual education.
“I think we have a very different relationship with Dr. Harbour and Dr. Johnson,” Tee said. “They have made themselves available as mentors, teachers and friends and they have been with us through all the experiences the team has had together.”
Harbour is teaching this semester’s colloquium on urban poverty for members of the Justice and Urban Studies Team. The course is being taught in conjunction with his freshman Bible class and a social research class taught by Susie Macaluso. Consisting of four trips to South Dallas over the course of the semester, students will be studying and researching the effects of urban poverty in the Dallas area. The class is focusing on the research of 5 different student groups from political awareness to access to adequate healthcare and nutrition for lower income South Dallas residents.
Harbour is very passionate about giving students experiences to apply their learning outside of the traditional classroom setting.
“These students have the opportunity as freshmen to be on the ground thinking about poverty in South Dallas,” Harbour said. “As far as we know, no one else is doing this kind of work.”
This integrated approach to learning is indeed different than what most students are exposed to in day-to-day classes.
“This colloquium, Bible class and social research are all coordinated with each other. We want students to think sociologically, theologically and contextually about these issues,” Harbour said.
Tee and other members of the team look forward to the semester’s contextual experience, the first of which is scheduled for this Thursday and Friday.
“JUST has become so much more than a class where we think about poverty and justice. JUST has become a community that dives into big questions with the expectation of doing something about it,” Tee said. “This semester, I hope that we learn a lot, but mostly I hope we continue to be fearlessly dedicated to engaging that learning in a very real way in Dallas.”
Students interested in enrolling in colloquia can find out more information by contacting Honors College adviser, Alison Spencer (email@example.com).