Summer School Options

Need to catch up on credit hours? Just want to have some fun and earn credit hours at the same time?

Summer semester may be for you.

While the semester is compressed into 5 ½-week sessions, some courses veer off the usual path, looking at TV and pop culture, 20th century literature, foreign films, public policy and the sociology of aging, to name a few.

Summer registration is taking place now. To check out all summer courses, go to:

Here are some of the courses being offered this summer semester:


Controversies in Public Policy

Gun control. Terrorism. Health care. Police tactics and strategies. Opioid crisis. School shootings.


That’s part of the plan in “Controversies and Public Policy.”

“There tends to be a healthy debate among students in this course. In some ways, the debates are used as a teaching method as students can learn from each other,” says Marcus Mauldin, an associate professor in political science, public administration and nonprofit management who’s teaching the course. “It also exposes students to diverse thoughts and opinions in that we may view policy problems from different perspectives.”

For instance, when it comes to the opioid crises, a psychologist may have an opinion on how to address it that’s different than an economist’s or sociologist’s, he explains.

“In addition, students themselves may frame problems and solutions differently based on beliefs, values, experiences,” he says.

Dissecting exactly how an issue lands on the national or local stage involves politics, the amount—or lack—of public support, the legislative process and the intended goal of a particular policy.

“My hope is that students gain an appreciation of the complexities of public policy and its roles in society,” Mauldin says. “In addition, I hope that students become so curious that they question everything when it comes to policy issues they are interested in.”


Television and Pop Culture

Chandler Harriss won’t even try to convince you that everything on TV is brilliant art. But it shouldn’t be dismissed as a complete and empty timekill either.

“I won’t argue that all TV programs offer something of value (see any show carrying the name ‘Kardashian’), but I will suggest that many TV programs do,” says Harriss, an assistant professor of communication. “If we can learn to become discerning and knowledgeable viewers, then we can find something of value within a broad range of programs.”

He has taken that opinion and carried into “Television and Pop Culture,” an examination of the way TV influences us throughout our society.

“TV helps us construct identities and represents them,” he says. “These identities/representations shape who we become and who others perceive us to be.”

The medium is so intimately integrated into our lives, it cuts a swath across business, art, politics, class, race, gender and sexuality, he explains.

“TV is an ideologically-laden medium that both reinforces and challenges our dominant beliefs about the world we inhabit,” Harriss says.

In the class, students will examine how TV writers and videographers tell their stories, and how costuming, set design, sound and lighting all contribute to the larger picture (pun intended).

“TV is a mode of storytelling,” Harriss says. “Like all media, TV borrows some techniques from other media forms but ultimately it speaks its own language.”

The goal is for students to understand “that efforts to dismiss an entire medium as a ‘vast wasteland’—to quote former FCC Chair Newton Minow—are misguided,” he says. “No medium is perfect, and TV certainly is not, but that doesn’t mean that TV universally fails to offer us something of value. After all, not all books are great, now are they?”


World Cinema

The French are known for their wine, their cheeses, their perfumes.

Monica R. Garoiu wants people to know about its films.

In her “World Cinema” course, she will focus on French films by such directors as Francois Truffaut, Jean Renoir and George Méliès. Students will learn about the major stylistic movements in the country’s cinema.

“We will analyze classical and popular films set in or about France through a variety of critical lenses in order to better understand the complexities and particularities of French cinema,” she says. “We will study major movements—poetic realism, New Wave, heritage films, beur cinema, among others—and their influence, and will emphasize, in particular, issues of social equality and national identity.”

In the online course, the autobiographical elements and technical innovations of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows will be examined. Renoir’s Grand illusion will be viewedfor its poetic style and pacifist message” Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour has been chosen for the “innovative way in which it explores the relationship between memory, trauma and representation,” Garoiu says.

Will the class be watching these films in their entirety? In class or on their own? Will they write essays on these films or will they engage in class discussion or both?

Students will watch the films in their entirety on their own, then will write essays on the film and have discussions through online forums.

Students should leave the class with an understanding of the elements present in French films that make the stylistically different than American ones,” she says.

“I hope that students will acquire basic terminology related to film techniques and cinematic movements and will be able to write and speak about films from a critical perspective,” Garoiu says.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.

1 Comment » for Looking for something unconventional? Try summer courses
  1. Sandy Poggi says:

    Do you offer precalculus summer course for none utc students ? Thank you