ALEXANDRU ROTARU ’22 | STAFF WRITER • Wabash’s mission statement is to “educate men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and lead humanely.” One way which it achieves this goal is by enabling students to learn about and interact with other cultures and environ- ments outside the classroom. A great oppor- tunity for Wallies to do just that is through immersion courses. There are six immersion courses offered in the Spring semester of 2019, in Political Science, Economics, Biology, Classics, and Rhetoric.
RHE 270: Rhetorics of Deliberative Innovation in Scotland
Associate Professor of Rhetoric Sara Drury will lead an immersion course to Edinburgh, Scotland during spring break. There, the students will compare and contrast theories of deliberation and how they apply in both Scotland and the United States in order to help them “assist the public in coming to solutions,” Drury said. This is the first year for this course.
“The idea [for this course] came out of my sabbatical research fellowship at the University of Edinburgh last academic year,” Drury said. “When I was in Scotland, I was there to do research with a number of collaborators in the United Kingdom
on democratic deliberation and differents processes and its impacts across the United Kingdom.” Drury said.
Students will immerse themselves in the history, culture, and rhetoric of Scotland. The kind of critical thinking and engagement required to excel in this course is what integrates it in a liberal arts education.
BIO 222: Biology of the Invertebrates
The Biology department will be organizing their traditional immersion course to Belize this spring break. Eric Wetzel , Norman Treves Professor of Biology, will lead students as they research invertebrates at South Water Caye, off the coast of Belize and directly on the second largest barrier reef in the world.
“[Marine life] is the vast majority of invertebrate diversity.” Wetzel said.
One of the challenges for this course is the sheer diversity of invertebrate life in the reef. For this reason, students will have specific, single species research projects, so that they can work concentrate and focus their work.
Another challenge this course poses is learning how to snorkel. “Our department has a bunch of snorkeling equipment,” Wetzel said, “so I usually issue that equipment very early – within the first week or so of the course – and I’d tell them ‘You cannot wait until
we go to Belize to use this equipment’. So, I encourage them for the first half of the course to go over to the swimming pool, over into the diving well, and to be practicing.”
On this particular trip, the Little Giants will focus on the impacts of human activity on the coral reef and on the larger picture of coral reef damage. They will be going to the same snorkeling places as four years ago. They will also visit the nearby Smithsonian
Environmental Research Center.
GRE 302/LAT 301: Greek and Latin on the
Bay of Naples
Another first-time immersion course is organized by Professor of Classics Jeremy Hartnett ‘96. “We are taking our upper-level Latin and Greek students to the Bay of Naples for a week, learning about the region as much as possible, reading inscriptions, graffitti, and the like about this very rich historical region.” Hartnett said.
The trip will be to Naples – as opposed to Rome, they typical destination for classics trips- because that is where the most powerful interaction between the Greek and Roman worlds took place. “Greek was still spoken in the streets during the Roman period, so it’s the perfect spot for us to experience the Greek world and the Roman world,” Hartnett said.
Besides exploring remnants of the
Ancient world, the students will also have
the opportunity to explore modern-day Naples and immerse themselves in the Italian culture, as well as the Greco-Roman one. “Naples is a one-of-a-kind city,” Hartnett said. “It’s still laid out on top of the Greco-Roman city plans. The experience of being in Naples is itself challenging and is fulfilling in and of itself, but also makes a perfect laboratory for thinking about pre-modern, urban life.”
ECO 234: Environmental Economics
If you are passionate about economics
and saving the environment, this is the immersion course for you. Associate Professor of Economics Christie Byun will coordinate an immersion course to Reykjavik, Iceland, where students will get a chance to explore topics like geothermal, solar, wind energy, and ecotourism.
“Environmental economics has to do
with balancing competing needs and wants for natural resources and figuring out an economically viable and efficient allocation of those natural resources,” Byun said.
The course will also look into market failures which resulted in pollution – air, water, and noise in particular – and at the secondary effects of everyday activities that go overlooked. Overlooked is the key term to describe what ECO 234 will be looking into. “[The course] gives [students] experience
in considering the application of economic principles and theory towards an area that not a lot of people might consider applying economic theory towards. So, for instance, things like clean air, clean water, even the assimilation capacity of the land – these are almost things we take for granted,” Byun said. Not only will Wallies be able to delve deeper into the impact of quotidian activities, but also explore and discover new ways in which they can make an impact on the environment while also helping the economy.
ECO 221: Economics of the European Union and PSC 322: Politics of the EU Wabash is hosting a pair of courses
that have the exact same immersion trip: Politics of the European Union, taught by Associate Professor of Political Science Ethan
Hollander, and Economics of the European Union, taught by chair of the Economics Department, Peter Mikek. The students will travel to Frankfurt, Germany, where they will visit the German Stock Exchange and the European Central Bank; Brussels, Belgium, and Bruges, Belgium, where they will visit the College of Europe.
In the Political Science course, “[The students] will learn about the views that
the member states have of the EU, the interest they have in how they try to get these represented, and, then, how the EU itself actually functions.” Hollander said. The Economics course will explore how the European Central Bank and the German Stock Market work and how decisions made by these institutions affect the EU.
The EU is one of the major trading partners of the US, therefore their policies directly influence the American economic situation. “You would study Chinese politics if you were doing a class on American politics – because, in the end, the US and China interact a lot,” Hollander said. However, the EU is unique
in many ways, and it could become a model
for future projects of the same kind. “The European Union is an unusual association of different countries, most of them that have a common currency, so the course explores the policies that are made in an environment where countries are very tightly co-dependent.” Mikek said.
Students that go on an immersion trip for the first time will discover not only what makes something European, but also what makes them and the environment they come from American.
“I think if you learn Economics of the European Union, that’s really good,” Hollander said. “I think if you learn Politics of the European Union, that’s really good, but
I think if you learn both, it’s better than just the sum of those two things independently, because – let’s face it – how are you going to understand the political issues that are made if you don’t understand the economic implications that go into it?”
If you would like to take advantage of any of these opportunities, make sure to check deadlines and prerequisites quickly, as applications will be closing in three days.