Spring 2014 Senior Seminar Course Descriptions
Listed alphabetically by instructor.
Student teacher sections
IDS 495 05
TR 12:00-1:20 PM
Biblical Master Narratives, Movies, and My Story: This course explores
the notion of the "biblical master narrative" as an organizing
device for understanding the Bible's story line. We will explore a variety
of master narrative schemes as laid out by biblical writers and biblical
scholars, and as realized in a variety of movies based on the Bible.
This exploration is designed to help you shape and organize your own
narrative as you develop your life-view paper.
IDS 495 07
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
Forgiveness, Second Chances, and Making a Difference: We will learn
about the work of Shakespeare Behind Bars, travel to Brooks Correctional
in Muskegon, MI, read works about forgiveness and talk deeply about
second chances, forgiveness- of ourselves and others, and how to use
to make a difference.
IDS 495 02
M 6:00-8:50 PM
Life Together: Faith, Race, and Community: For this “Senior Seminar” we
will begin with basic questions of what it means to be part of a community,
especially in the context of a “Christian liberal arts college” such
as Hope College. We will start by reading the work of Shane Claiborne,
a graduate of a Christian liberal arts institution himself, currently
living in a community called “The Simple Way” in the heart
of Philadelphia. From contemplating notions of a faith-based community
(or communities), we will go on to tackle the ever-present problem of “race,
racism, and racialization” and its role in fracturing or creating
certain norms within community/communities that we will critically analyze
and reflect. Here we will be reading texts by Beverly Daniel Tatum to
help define “race” and think through race identity development,
along with the work of Amy Eshleman, (and her colleagues: Jean Halley,
Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya), a Hope College graduate herself, to think through
patterns of “whiteness” as a racial identity and its implications
for learning, community, and the academic context. We will then read
a range of authors, topics, and textual genres to reflect on similar
issues of faith, learning, race, and community, ranging from Native American,
African American, Latina/o American, Asian American and Anglo American
topics and authors, and fictional, biographical, and even legal non-fictional
work. Finally, we’ll come full circle by reading Claiborne again
to reflect on the semester and your four years at Hope as a whole—and
IDS 495 06
TR 12:00-1:20 PM
Human Rights and Human Wrongs: The content of this course will focus
on "Human Rights and Human Wrongs" as they manifest themselves
internationally, nationally and at the individual level. Students will
be challenged to consider their values, ideas and beliefs from a religious,
philosophical, political, economic and ethical perspectives as they intersect
with the notion of rights and wrongs. As they reflect, articulate and
concretize their opinions, students will be discussing, reflecting openly
and sensitively, engaging in peer learning and communicating with me
regarding a myriad of issues related to the notion of human rights and
wrongs. Every student will be responsible for a class presentation and
a "life view" paper that articulates in a coherent and disciplined
manner their views on this subject as it developed and became increasingly
sophisticated in their years at Hope College "in the context of
the historic Christian faith" and as it prepares them for "lives
of leadership and service in a global society."
IDS 402 01
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM
Christianity & Literature: Through an examination of a variety of
literary statements - in poems, plays, films, novels, etc. - this course
focuses on a major problem confronting the Christian and Christianity
in the contemporary world. Representative variants: "The Human Image," "Crises
and Correlations," "The Search for Meaning."
IDS 495 04
TR 9:30-10:50 AM
Sports, Society, and the Sacred: This course will explore the relationship
between religion and sports as it manifests itself daily on playing fields,
in the media, in our minds, in our lives, and ultimately in our expressions,
and even lack of expressions, of faith. Although Christianity and its
many forms (Catholicism, Protestantism, even Christian Science) will
be the basis of much of our exploration and discussions, another world
religion – Islam – will also be dealt with as we delve into
broader views of the sacred in sports. In this way, students will garner
perspectives outside those commonly known to them and often discussed
too little. However, Christian scripture will be explored on many occasions
side-by-side with sociological sports concepts that will challenge students
about the ways they perceive these “two” religions – sports
and Christianity. What is sport? What is religion? How do they differ?
How are they the same? And, ultimately, how do they coexist with values
and choices defined in American life? This course will assist each student
in applying biblical principles and personal beliefs to issues relevant
to the ways they live out their lives as consumers, participants, and
believers, and even non-believers, in sports and religion. Through assigned
readings, films, current events presentations, a life view paper, typed
response journals, and contributions to class discussion students will
form reasoned positions on a variety of issues relating to sport and
religion in contemporary American society.
IDS 465 01
TR 3:00-4:20 PM
Issues in Science & Religion: This course asks you to develop and
articulate an understanding of how you view the relationship between
religion and science using the broader categories of faith and reason.
This process of discernment will take place in the context of: (1) theologian
Mikael Stenmark's categories for classifying the diverse views of how
faith and reason can be related to one other: irreconcilability, independence,
reconciliation, and replacement; (2) a series of discussions and short
papers concerning the key issues and questions that often appear in faith
vs. reason debates; and (3) case studies of the life views of theologians,
scientists, and other scholars.
IDS 464 01
T 6:00-8:50 PM
Faith & Friction in Literature: With Kafkaesque craftiness, I have
metamorphosed two previous seminar topics--“Faith and Friction
in Fiction” and “Faith and Friction in Nonfiction”--into
a single course that explores many genres: novels, memoirs, short stories,
films, dramas, poems, and biographies. Scary “F” words--fate,
failure, foolishness, fear, and friction--meet sacred “F” words--faith,
family, friendship, freedom, forgiveness--in this seminar. Students of
every belief and disbelief are welcome to examine issues of dogma and
doubt, grace and good works, suffering and salvation, relativism and
reconciliation. Many writers echo Christian perspectives, but some open
doors into the riches of world religions. For every assumption, another
challenge appears; for every answer, another question surfaces. Among
the writers currently on the list of finalists are Frederick Buechner,
Dorothy Day, Annie Dillard, Shusaku Endo, Mahatma Gandhi, Graham Greene,
Rhoda Janzen, Stephen King, Anne Lamott, Mary Doria Russell, Alice Walker,
and Elie Wiesel.
IDS 455 01
T 7:00-9:50 PM
Vocation and Health Care: This course is designed to explore what it
means to think about the meaning of vocation (from the Latin vocare,
to call) especially but not exclusively in the context of health care.
Using the concept of vocation suggests several questions that might be
addressed: What would it mean to be ""called"" as
a care-giver or healer? How would health care be different if one approached
it as a vocation than if one considered it simply a career? How does
theology, spirituality and ethics become an integral part of the vocation
to care for those who are sick? If you do not expect to be working in
health care, similar questions can be posed within the context of your
own life and work. In fact, I encourage you to frame some of your own
questions and share them with me early in the course.
IDS 474 01
R 6:00-8:50 PM
Ethical Issues in Sport: This course uses sport as a vehicle to examine
significant ethical issues in our world today. Current issues involving
sport and ethics will be incorporated into the class discussion as
they unfold. Race relations, drug use, violence, HIV/AIDS, religion,
issues, role models/heoroes, and issues concerning athlete income are
just some of the topics that will be covered. Engagement in classroom
discussions, classroom debates and a life-view paper are required.
IDS 495 03
TR 9:30-10:50 AM
Decoding Pluralism: Christianity sometimes makes claims to exclusivity.
Either you’re a Christian or . . . , well, nothing. But is this
necessarily so? Must any of us, whatever the faith we bring to a community,
automatically exclude (on one seemingly arbitrary basis or another) someone
else and their faith? This will be the central consideration of our senior
seminar. At a time unprecedented in human history, we live in a world
of competing “exclusives” – one in which a plurality
of voices all make claim to our listening and our ways of looking at
the world. We will consider various authors, some who are exclusionists
and some who are not. We will consider the arguments which they use and
the contexts which seem to have nurtured each of these perspectives.
And we will “try on” exclusionist and inclusivist perspectives
IDS 472 01
MW 3:00-4:20 PM
Christianity & the Marketplace: The course examines how Christianity
can contribute to problems associated with the American market economy
and business. Beginning by building a framework to examine the relation
between the biblical message and economic activity, the course will examine
specific issues, including ethics in the workplace, income distribution,
and international trade and globalization.
IDS 495 08
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
Catholics, Protestatns, and the World: What
do Catholic and Protestant Christians believe about salvation, the Virgin
Mary, purgatory, baptism and Eucharist, sexual ethics, and God's providence?
Where do they agree and where do they differ? How should Christians think
about Buddhists who insist that enlightenment comes by grace through
faith (in Amida Buddha)? How should Christians converse with Muslims
who think Jesus is coming again? In this course, we will discuss differing
Christian worldviews, including an in-depth look at Catholicism, consider
how Christian worldviews interact with each other and with other faiths,
and try to figure out how we can talk with one another across our differences
on these issues and more.
IDS 495 01
MWF 1:00-1:50 PM
Science and Human Values - Genetic Engineering and Human Evolution: Bioethics
and genetic engineering of humans, other animals, and plants: What if
you could make your children smarter than you or resistant to debilitating
diseases? What if we could make super soldiers that were more aggressive
in battle, heightened senses and fast healers? Should we create super
humans? Is it okay to eradicate disease by increasing resistance in the
human genome? Is it fair and safe for future generations if we want to
alter the human genome? What about cloning your favorite pet or your
deceased loved one? Should companies be able to patent, or “own”,
genes? What about modifying food products to be nutritious, faster growing,
better tasting? Is it okay to make super-bacteria as long they “eat” oil
but do not infect humans or other animals? Can we influence the evolutionary
process? What do we do when we don’t know the 50-100 year consequences
of a science experiment? These are issues that will directly affect you
and you family within the next decade!
IDS 495 09
MWF 2:00-2:50 PM
A Sense of Place: This course will examine finding one’s place
personally, professionally and spiritually through reading and discussing
literature in which sense of place, belonging and identity are emphasized.
Themes such as what defines home and what makes one feel at home and
part of a community will be discussed. The impact of socioeconomic status,
national origin, race and religious identity on defining a sense of place
will also be explored in this context. All of these topics will be discussed
in relation to finding and forming new community upon transitioning to
life after college.
IDS 441 01
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
What's Worth Remembering?: In this seminar we will explore what it means
to remember from a variety of perspectives (including our own) to discover
the ways in which remembering influences our understanding of others
and ourselves. Memory will serve as a window for engaging in reflection
and critical examination of our life experiences to discern and articulate
why we believe what we believe and why we do what we do. We will read
and discuss memoirs as one way to encounter people’s reflections
on their remembered lives. These memoirs will serve as a framework for
the life view paper students will write.
IDS 433 01
TR 12:00-1:20 PM
Bringing Hope to our World: This is a senior seminar focused on readings
from three impacting books. The first book is Rich Christians in an
Age of Hunger. Another is entitled The Good of Affluence. The third
that is extensively used is The Holy Bible. All three books approach
the question of what does it mean to serve God's kingdom on this earth
(from which we will draw very different conclusions). The content is
centered around the concept that all of us have a vocational calling
to impact God's Kingdom on this earth. This calling is true regardless
of career choices. The focus of discussion will come from the content
of the books and will challenge us to meet the needs of the poor and
marginalized citizens of our world. The format of the course is discussion
oriented on most days. The life view paper will require students to
reflect on their experiences in life from their early years through
at Hope and their perceived future pursuits.
For Student Teachers:
Educ & Christian Ways of Living
W 1:00-3:50 PM
IDS 452 04
Composing a Life: We will read reflections on identity formation written
by others, hear from engaging presenters on how life gains meaning, watch
videos that explore the meaning of life, and write our own spiritual
autobiographies in ten chapters.
IDS 452 02
The Vocation of Teaching: Heeding a call from God and fulfilling one's
vocation often produces conflict -- possibilities become paths not
chosen, opportunities vanish, others' expectations of us may be abandoned.
in fulfilling a vocation are trials of one's strength and of one's
faith. These trials are woven into the fabric of lives dedicated to
The focus of this senior seminar is to examine and understand the rewards
and consequences of following a vocation, both generally and specifically
as teachers. We will do this by reflecting on both readings and films.
The centerpiece of our discussion will be the spirituality of teaching.
How does our relationship with God shape our personal and professional
journeys as individuals who believe we have been called to teach?
IDS 452 01
Teachers and Teaching: In Whose Image?: As future teachers you serve
a long and intensive “apprenticeship of observation.” Since
kindergarten, you have watched teachers do what you yourself will do.
In addition, you have seen teachers portrayed in movies, plays, books
and a variety of other mediums. Given these observations and portrayals,
this seminar will explore thinking around the central question, “In
whose image do you see yourself as a teacher and how does this impact
your teaching?” Related questions will revolve around contemporary
images of teachers, as well as those that reflect power, spirituality,
social justice, the life of the mind, vocation and teacher reform. In
short, what is the image of “teacher” that you claim and
what do you aspire to?
IDS 452 03
Accelerating Change, Increasing Complexity, and the Quality of
our Educational Systems in the 21st Century: When a Culture undergoes profound
the members of the culture experience confusion and insecurity because
they are caught between conflicting value systems, roles, and ideals.
The old role models, ultimate truths (myths), value systems, and ways
of thinking and problem solving no longer seem to work in the new culture.
We are currently in such a time of accelerating change and increasing
complexity. These changes profoundly affect education and students
because the educators will need to be actively involved in understanding
complex changes occurring and prepare their students for the world
in which they will have to function after they leave the school system.
This course will explore these complex changes, what kind of new thinking
skills will be required, what kind of people will be needed and what
skills they will need not only to survive, but to be active participants
in the changing culture. One of the main themes recurring in the readings
will be the idea that to become a better teacher, the teacher must
a better person.
Van Duinen, Deborah
IDS 452 05
Real Faith, Real World: In this seminar, we will explore important issues
that confront teachers in their professional lives and how one’s
faith informs responses to those issues. Students will guide the topics,
but we will likely address real-world challenges that teachers face such
as child poverty, professional ethics, public perceptions of teachers,
burnout, teaching as service/calling, school leadership and others. The
goal of the class is for each person to understand (and get comfortable
with) their own faith and to figure out (and get comfortable with) how
to bring their faith perspective to bear on real-world teacher problems—bringing
your real faith into the real world.