Center to Offer Leadership Courses During J-Term
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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 usknowledge that
they may then take into their own roles as decision makers about
what our world should look like."
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.
advising for all five January Term courses continues through November