CIE for alumni - Class Descriptions

Attend one of our Common Intellectual Experience (CIE) classes with current UC Faculty for a sampling of what our students are learning today. 

Darwin and Concepts of Time

with Hugh Clark, Ph.D.  

Friday at 1:00 p.m. in Bomberger 228

Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin is a fascinating and controversial text at many levels.  A level that is rarely invoked, however, is the issue of time:  for evolution as Darwin theorized it to occur, it needed timeā€”not hundreds of years, as biblical literalists believed was available, but millions, even hundreds of millions.  We are going to look at Origin… in light of debates about time that raged through the first half of the 19th century.  We are going to begin our session together investigating the origins of geology in England, where the scientific study of the earth’s history really began.  For this reason I hope many can bring along a smart phone, a tablet, or even a computer, so we can look up some of the individuals who redefined the history of the earth and thereby made Darwin’s theory at least plausible.


Happiness and Thinking, Fast and Slow

with Kelly Sorensen, Ph.D. 

Friday at 1:00 p.m. in Pfahler 106

Here’s some bad news: our minds are running error-prone software.  The errors are due to the fast intuitions and judgments we make without careful thinking.  The good news is that Daniel Kahneman has written something like an owner’s manual for that mental software in his recent book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Fast thinking isn’t all bad news, Kahneman says.  In fact, our fast thinking “system” is a necessary and unsung hero, despite its occasional errors.  And our slow thinking reflective “system,” although lazy and easily fatigued, can help us fix some of those errors.  We will explore together whether Kahneman is correct, and how our lives might change if we were to act on his claims.  Does marriage make us happier?  Does money?  Would you be happier if you moved to California?  What kinds of vacations most raise our well-being?  We’ll focus on the last four chapters (35-38) of Kahneman's book, which concern how the fast and slow systems affect our happiness.

Urban Natures

with Patrick Hurley, Ph.D.

Friday at 3:00 p.m. in Pfahler 209

Poets in the Romantic Era were writing at a time of great transformation within British society. While many scholars focus on the critical sentiment towards the Enlightenment found in various poems, others point to the embrace of a revolutionary spirit inspired by the American Revolution. In our exploration, however, we will focus on the rejection of the urban as part of the industrialization process in favor of the recuperative elements of the pastoral countryside. In short, we want to consider what “urban natures” were reflected in these writings? How do these poems draw on particular imagery to highlight the tension between urban experiences and the beauty of the countryside? How do the authors construct particular relationships to nature within each place? And what might these poems tell us about the role the Romantic poets saw for nature in coping with today’s everyday stresses?


Sappho: Fragments of the Past

with Ellen Dawley, Ph.D.

Friday at 3:00 p.m. in Olin 108
How much can we really tell about people of the past from the works they leave behind?  The Greek Lyric poet Sappho (600BC) is known today from reputation and from fragments of lines, which have been arranged and rearranged by modern scholars in search of their meaning and beauty.  Where should we begin and where should we stop?  In addition, should Sappho serve as the token female voice from the past?  How does she fare compared to the heroes of the Epic of Gilgamesh?  In this class, we’ll examine some of Sappho’s fragments and see what we were willing to unearth. 


Study with StudentS
Whether you’re interested biology or history, join our students in their regularly scheduled classes and get a taste of Ursinus academia today.

Friday at 9:00 am

  • Calculus II (MATH112) with Rosemarie Wait
  • Cell Biology and Genetics of Health and Disease (BIO102Q) with Dr. Beth Bailey
  • Cell Biology and Genetics of Health and Disease (BIO102Q) with Dr. Carlita Favero
  • CIE II (CIE200) with Dr. Scott Deacle
  • CIE II (CIE200) with Dr. Jennifer Stevenson
  • Developmental Biology (BIO345) with Dr. Rebecca Lyczak
  • Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves (PHYSICS122Q) with Dr. Thomas Carroll
  • Human Anatomy (BIO305) with Dr. Ellen Dawley
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology II (BIO/ESS205) with Dr. Tina Wailgum
  • Intermediate Spanish II (SPAN112) with Cindy Biel

Friday at 10:00 am

  • Animals & Society (SOC/ENV 288) with Dr. Jonathan Clark 
  • Cell Biology and Genetics of Health and Disease (BIO102Q) with Dr. Beth Bailey
  • CIE II (CIE200) with Dr. Kelly Sorensen
  • CIE II (CIE200) with Dr. Nathan Rein
  • Concepts of Wellness & Fitness (ESS100) with Kristin Paisley
  • Freshwater Biology (BIO 336) with Dr. Kate Goddard
  • Neurodiversity (NEUR350/PSYC495)with Dr. Jennifer Stevenson
  • Structural Biology (BIO/BCMB429W) with Dr. Rebecca Roberts
  • Women in East Asian Culture (HIST345) with Dr. Hugh Clark