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Spring 2015 Senior Seminar Course Descriptions

Listed alphabetically by instructor.

All sections
Student teacher sections

Baer, Marc
Knapp, John
IDS 473-01
CRN: 13527
MW 3:00-4:20 PM
GRAVES 119
Exploring Faith and Calling
: This seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to the related issues of Christian belief and vocation. We’ll read C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and Os Guinness’s The Call as well as books on history and business. Readings and discussions are intended to give students the freedom to explore questions about faith and calling and to learn from the insights of each other.


Cole, Ernest
IDS 495-01
CRN: 12948
TR 9:30-10:50 AM
LUBBERS 121
History, Memory, and the Creative Potential
: This course examines the interconnections between our past and configurations of the present. It seeks to establish and reformulate a connection between history and identity not only in terms of how the past shapes and defines our sense of self but also how on the basis of that past we can reinvent and reconfigure a present and influence the future. From the readings in class, the course would raise a series of questions regarding our different life experiences and offer a framework for contextualizing and analyzing those experiences. The aim of this is to formulate through discussion and class activities a framework for a critical awareness of self both in spite of and because of our past experiences. In essence, we are what we are and what we hope to be because of and notwithstanding our past. Since the course draws from an existential framework of humanization and incompletion of human reality, we would, in addition to reading three memoirs, two essays, and personal testimonies (of students in the class), focus on three parables from the Bible to analyze the connections between history and the construction of individual identity. Together as a class we would consider how in the words of Freire “education bases itself on creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality, thereby responding to the vocation of persons as beings only when engaged in inquiry and creative transformation.”


Cunningham, David
IDS 495-02
CRN: 12077
W 6:00-8:50 PM
VNZORN 151
The Drama of Christianity
: This seminar focuses on the theory and practice of the theatrical arts as a means of exploring theological themes. Its title, “The Drama of Christianity,” is designed to point us in two directions: first, that the Christian faith and worldview may itself be understood in dramatic terms, as analogous to a play in performance; and second, that certain features of drama, such as the interrelationships among author, actor, and director, or the relationship between the performance and the audience, that can usefully illuminate key elements of the Christian faith. This two-way conversation, between Christianity and the theatre, will provide a context within which students can discuss their faiths, their philosophies, and their engagement with both secular and sacred accounts of the meaning of life. We will read the work of drama theorists and theologians such as Peter Brook, Constantin Stanislavski, Shannon Craigo-Snell, and Hans Urs von Balthasar, as well as writers for (and about) the theater who work in many modes, ranging from Shakespeare and Mozart to Edward Albee, Caryl Churchill, and Tony Kushner.


DeJongh, Matt
IDS 495-03
CRN: 12078
TR 3:00-4:20 PM
MMC 237
Treasures Old and New
: Most of us can't remember what life was like before computers, cell phones, and the Internet. Where is technology taking us? Better yet, where do we want technology to take us? In this course we will reflect on what it means to live a good life, and discuss the role that digital technology may play in the process. We will delve into the insights and try on the practices of ancient and modern Christians who have learned to tame the siren call of novelty. And we will begin to envision how each of us can participate in shaping a good future in the midst of rapid technological change.


Dunn, Susan
IDS 455-01
CRN: 12702
R 6:00-8:50 PM
SCICTR 1111
Called to Care
: This course is designed to explore the meaning of calling, especially (but not exclusively) within a career that includes caring for others. The concept of calling raises several questions that might be addressed: What does it mean to be called into a caring profession? How would the care of others be different if one approached it as a calling rather than simply a job or career? How do theology, faith and ethics become integral parts of being called to care? How does our relationship with God shape our career journey when we believe we have been called to care?


Hemenway, Stephen
IDS 464-01
CRN: 12703
T 6:00-8:50 PM
MILLER 239
Faith and 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, and poetry. 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.


Holmes, Jack
IDS 495-04 IDS 495-05
CRN: 12339 CRN: 12791
MWF 12:00-12:50 PM T 6:30-9:20PM
LUBBERS 222 LUBBERS 222
Peace, Diversity, and Globalism
: We live in an age of national sovereignty, multiculturalism, globalism, and asymmetry. This combination makes it difficult to maintain peace. Members of the seminar will write about their life view and how it impacts their consideration of international issues and the maintenance of peace. Since this is a challenging topic in a complex world, participants will be able to focus their papers on different parts of the topic. Sharing viewpoints with other member of the seminar will be an important part of the seminar.


Japinga, Lynn
IDS 431-01
CRN: 13522
TR 9:30-10:50 AM
GRAVES 203
Female, Male, Human
: This course explores the ways in which gender, sexuality, race, and class shape our ideas about God and humankind, our faith, families, work, and lives. It also examines the ways in which assumptions about gender and sexuality are shaped by Christianity, culture, and the family environment.


Kreps, Dean
IDS 474-01
CRN: 13670
R 6:00-8:50 PM
DEVOS 2A07
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, gender 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.


Le, Andrew
IDS 495-06
CRN: 13168
TR 3:00-4:20 PM
MMC 239
Your Life's Playlist
: Music has been with us from the very beginning. We all have pieces or songs that have carried us through pain, elation, frustration, doubts, and victories. Music remind us of times, places, things, and people. We hear these songs, and we remember; we remember, and we hear. Music has become forever braided into the fabric of our existence; indeed, for many, music has been an integral part of our contrapuntal journeys of education, career, love, and faith. If you could tell the story of your life through music -- your life's playlist -- what would it be?


Montaño, Jesse
IDS 440-01
CRN: 13523
TR 4:30-5:50 PM
MMC 159
Roots and Routes
: The course is dedicated to travel, writing, and hope. Its goals are to look at life as a journey, both literally and figuratively and be able to write creatively and critically about both.


Otis-DeGrau, Amy
IDS 495-07
CRN: 12340
M 6:00-8:50 PM
MMC 239
I’m Home!! Unpacking Study Abroad and Becoming A Global Citizen
: a senior seminar course that will explore the study abroad experience in light of the Hope College global learning outcomes of curiosity, empathy, knowledge, responsibility and self-awareness. What does it mean to be a global citizen today? How has the study abroad experience helped to shape my worldview? How does faith influence my actions in my community, both locally and globally? This course is currently restricted to those students who have studied off-campus for a semester or academic year. Permission to enroll is available in the International Education Office, Martha Miller Center 117.


Pearson, Mark
IDS 495-08
CRN: 12792
MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
SCICTR 1135
There's no place like home
: Making a home for ourselves is one of the fundamental activities of human life and one that involves nearly every aspect of our lives. It is a process in which our ideals are lived out, as the homes we make for ourselves reflect the kinds of people we'd like to be and the lives we'd like to lead. This process of making a home also ties us to the land and connects us in important ways to the world around us and to the people around us. In this course we'll examine the notion of home through the four fundamental relationships of human life -- to self, to God, to other people, and to the world. Using essays, memoirs, films and poetry, as springboards for our discussions, we will talk about a wide range of topics -- from practical considerations such as the art of making bread and the importance of eating together, to ecological implications of our home-making decisions, to theological critiques of the ways we make our homes and communities. This course is intended to spur thought and reflection about this important human activity so that as students go out into the world and make their homes, they can live intentionally into their ideals.


Portfleet, Dianne
IDS 495-09
CRN: 13201
TR 12:00-1:20 PM
LUBBERS 222
Genocide and Reconciliation and Christianity in the 21st Century
: This seminar will be talking about genocide and reconciliation in countries around the world, reconciliation in families, between churches and among individuals. It will look deeply into the concept of costly discipleship versus cheap discipleship. Each student will be encouraged to examine his/her own life regarding areas where reconciliation and forgiveness need to be offered in order for each of us to grow as whole human beings. The readings will focus on Rwanda and its attempts at reconciliation, on love and forgiveness, on God's reconciliation with us.


Shaughnessy, John
IDS 441-01 IDS 441-02
CRN: 12738 CRN: 13524
TR 1:30-2:50 PM TR 9:30-10:50AM
AWFCTR B03 SCICTR 1030
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.


Tyler, Jeff
IDS 471-01
CRN: 13526
MW 1:00-2:20 PM
LUBBERS 220
Dying, Healing and Thriving: Seeking the Good Life
: How do we best deal with disappointment, setback, and suffering on the way to the “good life”? How do we lead robust lives in the shadow of death? Based on literature, film, and student contributions, this seminar explores how people of faith have understood and experienced dying, healing, and thriving.


Van Til, Kent
IDS 495-10
CRN: 13528
TR 9:30-10:50 AM
MMC 237
God, Money and Work
: The terms for “wealth, poverty or possessions” come up more often in the Bible than do terms such as “grace, hope, or faith;” yet, Christians rarely think about the importance of our material goods and the labor it takes to create them. This course seeks to address that lack by bouncing between Scripture and current money and labor issues. Among them will be: vocation, global wealth/poverty, inequality, luxury, stewardship, etc. Reflecting on these things should be of service to you as you take up your career, and as you write your Life View paper.

For Student Teachers:

Educ & Christian Ways of Living
W 1:00-3:50 PM
Brouwer, Wayne
IDS 452 04
CRN: 12701
VNZORN 276
Composing a Life
: Living is easy. Understanding life is difficult. Figuring out who I am and why I am and how I should move into my future seems almost impossible. Yet some clarity emerges when we play back the chapters and surroundings and people that got us to this point. And reading the memoirs of a few helpful guides can also make a difference. We will do these things, as we "compose our lives," and inso doing will emerge with greater insight about who we are becoming, and what trajectory seems best for our next steps.


Dell'Olio, Andrew
IDS 452-02
CRN: 12699
AWFCTR B04
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. Inherent 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 a calling. 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?


Donk, Tony
IDS 452-01
CRN: 12698
GRAVES 206
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?


Hwang, Yooyeun
IDS 452-03
CRN: 13652
Location TBD
Education and Christian Ways of Living:
Am I a healthy person? Am I a happy person? And am I a good person? Through readings and discussions, we will ask these questions and try to understand who we are. As a group, we will explore how to take care of our souls and add depth and meaning to our lives. We will then turn to our vocation as teachers capable of sincerely loving and serving others, and together find a path toward becoming those teachers beloved of God.