Summer courses heat up at UTPB with religion, fake news, and more

Lounge by the pool, or graduate sooner?


Staff Reports , Staff Writer

Well, you can lounge by the pool, or step up your time toward completing graduation sooner. Students, it is time to sign up for summer classes now in order to save your seats. All sessions are on! Not only will a plethora of classes be offered in order to assist you to meet graduation requirements, new courses have been added to the list. Everything from the online graduate course “The Rhetoric of Religion: Teaching, not Preaching” (can you write objectively about religion in the University classroom?) to the Maymester course: HIST 3348, that is listed as “US 1945-Present” but is really a “United States History Since 1945” course taught through film. The course will offer more than a dozen classic films that cover that entire period and will be placing them within their historical, political, and cultural context. This course will be taught by Professor Derek Catsam.

“The Rhetoric of Religion” is offered as a graduate course or by special permission of the instructor. It explores how sacred words are persuasive in and of their own selves. Students engaged in any disciplines who plan on teaching: You are likely to encounter students who integrate religion into many subjects. What do you do in a course that requires evidence to support claims, when some students provide faith (that does not rely on evidence) as their support? This course explores those avenues, including the separation of church and state.

ENGL. 6389.783 (“Rhetoric of Religion”) focuses largely on composition or writing courses. However, other disciplines (such as science) may be brought into the discussion as well. Students will have a hand in directing this course. It is being taught by Dr. Myra Salcedo, who said:  “It comes as no surprise to encounter religion in literature textbooks (as literature emerged from religious discourse).  However, my recent scholarly research indicates that religion is also present in American university writing/composition textbooks. Consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’  In the top fifty composition textbooks (researched over the period of fifty years) ‘Birmingham Jail’ has been a persistent reprint (according to scholar Lynn Z. Bloom’s “Essay Canon”). Composition students often attempt to pull in sacred sources as evidence due to readings in textbooks that touch on religion. This course explores the conflicting scholarship negotiating the sacred in secular writing spaces. It offers engaging and negotiating with religion, and other controversial subjects, as literacy discourses. It finds a ‘way in’ to discuss the most contested issues of our society. Where do you stand?”

In addition is MATH 3301 taught by UTPB Professor Dr. Paul Feit. He states: Statistics will be taught for the first time this summer.  This is a hefty quantitative course, which is why it has only been taught over a fifteen-week semester in the past.  As an experiment, it will be taught over a full summer (10-week) rotation.

The Communications Department will offer an 8-week section of COMM:1315 “Public Speaking” during the first 8-week term. It’s a great way to meet the general education requirement.

During the second 8-week term is COMM:4370 “Rhetorical Criticism.” Students have said that this is one of those courses that changes the way they see the world. In this climate of “fake news,” it’s helpful to learn how to evaluate the messages we hear, and this course gives students a set of tools for doing that. It counts as an upper-level elective, said Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Harlow, who will teach the course.

Also, for the first time this Summer, the UTPB Psychology Department will be offering “Psychology of Religion” online, in both undergraduate (PSYC :4389) and graduate (PSYC: 6389) sections. This Full Summer course surveys central issues in the psychology of religion and spirituality, with an emphasis on psychotherapy, measurement, and research methods. It covers the foundations and history of the psychology of religion, religion through the developmental lens, the construction, definition, and expression of religion and spirituality, current methods in research and measurement, multicultural issues, clinical competency, and applied areas. It is a discussion-based course, using online discussion boards and other online assignments. It is taught by UTPB Assistant Professor Dr. Kevin Harris, co-editor of Assessing Spirituality and Religion in a Diversified World and co-author of Measures of Spirituality.