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High-Tech Connections Made Possible in Interactive Classroom

Weissman Center to Offer Leadership Courses During J-Term

Sharon Stranford: Exploring the Mysteries of the Immune System

New Admission Program to Cast a Long Shadow

For Peter Houlihan, a Day at MHC Is Often a Walk in the Woods

Conflicts and Compromises of Public Space Discussion Set for November 14

Weissman Center Panel Discussion Not Run of the Mill

Letting Imagination Fly: Dancer Garcia Morales Visits MHC

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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

November 9, 2001

Weissman Center to Offer Leadership Courses During J-Term

How can you resist a course that promises to help you become media savvy with the help of a textbook called Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry, or gives you the inside scoop about the academic world from writer and sleuth Barry Werth, author of Scarlet Professor: Newton Arvin & America's Need to Blame? During January Term, you can indulge yourself with these and other tempting topics in five new January Term classes being offered by the Weissman Center for Leadership.

The courses are designed to engage students interested in creative leadership, says Weissman Center codirector Christopher Benfey. "January Term seems a perfect time to invite our students to try something new," he explains, "especially subjects not available in regular courses."

Two of the courses should appeal to students with an interest in the media. Public Relations 101 is a hands-on, writing- and "spinning-" intensive introduction to public relations and media relations taught by Kevin McCaffrey, MHC's associate director of communications. Students will learn the basics of writing press releases, opinion pieces, and speeches and how to put together media campaigns and public relations plans. "More and more, the news we read in the papers and see on television is influenced by public relations," said McCaffrey. "Understanding how public relations works is crucial to understanding the news and how public opinion is shaped." Acting as chief communications officers of fictional companies, students will manage both public relations crises and day-to-day communications.

Writer Barry Werth of Northampton will teach Covering the Campus, a course in which journalism and writing students will look at the world and culture of the academy through the prism of the news media. "Colleges and universities form a distinct world," said Werth, "and there is a special urgency for students to figure out what's going on in their world and how to write about it." The first half of the course will be devoted to reviewing media coverage of recent college scandals and analyzing in-depth pieces on college life. During the second half, students will create their own stories in workshop format, investigating and developing narrative approaches for assignments of 2,500-plus words. "College is not just a place where students discover themselves for four years, but a business, a culture, a world that is journalistically meaty," said Werth.

Students who have been enjoying the Weissman Center's series Building Meaning: Architecture and Public Space in the Third Millennium will want to register for one or both of the center's two J-Term courses on architecture. Taught by Gretchen Schneider, who is both a lecturer at Smith College's architectural studios and an architect in private practice, Architecture Workshop is a hands-on introduction to the basic language, skills, and processes of the architectural design studio. Students will make a small design project, working in drawings and models in the convention of "plan," "section," and "elevation." Inside/Outside: Readings in Architectural Theory is an introduction to modern and contemporary architectural writings by designers, theorists, critics, and historians. Instructor Karen Koehler, who teaches courses in modern and contemporary art and architecture at the Five Colleges, will consider such topics as the meaning of space, the role of privacy, the function of politics and economics in architecture, questions of decoration and ornament, as well as issues of memory and desire.

"Often, works of architecture can inspire the deepest of emotions," says Koehler. "They might cause us to long for distant places or remind us of the comfort of our first homes as children, of places where significant moments in our personal lives took place. They might also offer sites of collective memory, where nations or cultures collectively experienced events of momentous importance. These two courses in architecture will give students the opportunity to become more acquainted with the issues and languages of architectural culture of the built world that surrounds us—knowledge that they may then take into their own roles as decision makers about what our world should look like."

For those interested in the leadership skills required to tackle controversial and pressing international issues, the Weissman Center will offer Global Leadership Forum, a noncredit course in which students will select and explore such issues as terrorism, climate change, and HIV/AIDS. Each participant will represent a state or nongovernmental organization (or both) and will collaborate with another student to develop specialized issue expertise. Says Weissman Center Administrative Fellow Abby Ferguson '04, "The purpose of the workshop is to inform students of global concerns in the most empirical way possible, using mock debates and representative roles so that all perspectives of politically divisive issues can be analyzed." Ferguson has been planning the forum with its creator and coordinator Pat Sewell, professor at Brock University in Canada, and she invites interested students to meet Sewell and bring suggestions for focal issues to an informational tea, Wednesday, November 7, at 4 pm in Porter Lounge.

Academic advising for all five January Term courses continues through November 14.

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Copyright © 2001 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Office of Communications and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on November 9, 2001.

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