North Central Faculty exercised their imaginations by creating experiences that were intellectually and personally stimulating for both students and faculty. Topic-based courses provided unique opportunities for students and faculty to engage in informal conversations around a shared experience or activity. Such experiences enabled students and professors to exchange ideas at a depth not possible within the structure of course schedules and timetables.
Frozen Assets: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Frozen Treats in Naperville
This course gave students an opportunity to explore, sample, and review frozen treats such as gelato, ice cream, and frozen yogurt available at several venues with peers from different majors.
Given growing options, what is our "best" frozen treat choice in Naperville?
How are culture, history, psychology, social behavior, arts, economics/business, and science influencing our choices and their availability and/or reciprocally influenced by our choices and their availability?
Why does a student of this type matter to us as liberal arts students, consumers, and developing professionals?
Writing for Social Justice: Storytelling in the Style of MLK
For Martin Luther King, Jr., writing was a fundamental part of the struggle. Through speeches, letters, and books, he documented the injustice he witnessed and called on America to live up to its promise that all are created equal. Students learned to follow his lead and raise their voices. A dedicated group of students in a supportive environment worked on crafting their own stories about identity, diversity, and the demand for social justice.
Not Hicks! An Introduction to Agribusiness
What does it mean to be green? How can we conserve our natural resources? Why is sustainability important? What is the significance of alternative fuel sources? How do pesticides and GMOs impact our land and water resources? How do they impact humans? These are all questions that are rooted in agriculture and agribusiness. Students developed first hand responses to each of the above questions as well as others that emerged through on-site collaborative learning on farms and at agribusinesses in Kane and Dekalb counties by discussing with different farming families and other agribusiness owners how their livelihoods impacted society and the environment.
Research in Informal Learning Spaces
Museums and aquariums provide important opportunities for informal learning related to a range of disciplines as well as important family experiences. The course focused on doing research and evaluation in informal learning spaces. Students travelled to the Dupage Children's Musuem, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Brookfield Zoom and the Museum of Science and Industry to learn how these institutions use research and evaluation. Additionally, students had the opportunity to learn about specific research techniques and were able to practice those techniques.
Movement, Music, and Math: Modern Western Square Dancing
Followed by a brief history of the development of square dancing as an American folk dance, participants will be shown several connections between square dancing and mathematics. Students were taught around 100 calls and 10 concepts (call modifiers) primarily from the first 3 levels of square dancing. The "final exam" was a dance called by one of the top square dance callers in the country. Neither dancing experience nor specialized knowledge of mathematics was required, but having a knack for spatial visualization helped. All majors were welcome.
Exploring the Intersection of Art and Science
This course explored what the visual arts can teach us about the organization of the human mind and how we can use what we know about the human mind to better understand the visual arts. The course included exploring the Art Institute of Chicago, dissecting a cow eye, creating art, and viewing a film (IMAX or 3D). No science or art experience was required.
Experiencing Middle Eastern Cultures in Chicago
This course took students to the heart of Chicago to experience and observe different manifestations of Islamic art, architecture and culinary traditions. The students had the opportunity to witness the diversity of histories, cultures and religions of the Middle East through viewing select objects at the New Galleries for Islamic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. The sampled the products of exquisite Turkish culinary traditions at Galata restaurant in the West Loop, and also had a chance to watch a play by an Iranian playwright at Silk Road Rising Theatre.
Keeping Score: Exploring Great Film Music
Music can call attention to thing seen and unseen and has the incredible power to clarify complex narrative developments and the inner feelings of a character.
This course aimed to familiarize students with both basic concepts and theoretical ideas pertaining to how composers generate musical scores to aid the visual medium and the narrative of film. The course had both survey and topical components, used class time for film screenings, listening and discussion. The primary objective was to share own processes by which composers could create and manipulate a sense of mood and place. Another primary goal was to introduce various theories of how musical affect can be measured through established techniques of film scoring.
North Central College faculty designed Cardinal Conversation Experiences to be intellectually and personally stimulating for both students and faculty. Operating on a pass/no pass basis, these courses may offer academic credit without traditional exams, papers or course evaluations. A Cardinal Conversation classroom could have been almost anywhere -- a neighboring community, city, state or country or on-campus.