Scientific Inquiry: 2000-2001 Programs

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The Circle of Life: Health in the Human Environment
(Note: A Fall quarter program only. The Winter and Spring Quarter options have been cancelled.
This program will end Fall quarter.)

Faculty: Cindy Beck & Julianne Unsel
Enrollment: 52
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: Yes

This Fall quarter program will study how biology and environment come together to shape a complex human society. We will investigate how the material realities of human biology scaffold the social institutions and social relations of our everyday lives. This program will combine a critical study of the human biological sciences with US economic and social history. Using the United States as a case study, we will investigate how our basic human wants and needs -- food, shelter, health care, love -- have been molded into the modern environment that makes up our post-industrial, mass consumer society. We trace the circle of life through the sciences of human nutrition and wellness, to human genetics, sexuality and reproduction, and to the physiology of aging. Our main themes are: a) a non-threatening introduction to contemporary biological sciences, b) a history of attitudes toward biology and the human body in the United States; c) an analysis of how human biological needs are and have been supported and subsumed within a mass consumer society; and d) an assessment of the current situation with an interest toward progressive political reform. Over the course of the quarter, program instruction in biological sciences will be paired with historical analysis of how social institutions have recognized and responded to human needs within prevailing contexts of race, class, and gender. Credit awarded in such areas as human biology, nutrition, communication, US history, philosophy of science, history of science. The quarter will focus on nutrition, body image, gender issues, and health issues in the context of the national political campaign. Books are still being selected, but will include Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies (Sizer et al, 8th edition), Monica's Story, by Morton; Brumberg's Body Project, and Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race. Total: 16 credits; taught all day Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. This program is preparatory for careers and future studies in the health professions, human services, public policy and education.

Computability and Cognition: The Scope and Limits of Formal Systems

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Al Leisenring, Sheryl Shulman
Enrollment: 50
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing; one year of college and intermediate algebra.
Faculty Signature: Yes. Students must successfully complete a take-home entrance exam obtained from Al Leisenring, The Evergreen State College, L 3220, Olympia, WA 98505 or Sheryl Shulman, The Evergreen State College, SE 3127, Olympia, WA 98505, or the Academic Advising Office.
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: Yes
Travel Component: None

By Reasoning I mean Computation
— Thomas Hobbes

A variety of beliefs surround the nature of human cognition. For some, like Hobbes, thinking consists of nothing but the manipulation of symbols according to certain rules. For others, thinking is characterized not by a system of rules, but by a network of associations. This program will explore the strength and limits of a variety of computational models of human cognition. We will study the mathematics of formal systems, topics in philosophy and linguistics and recent work in artificial intelligence, as well as various topics in formal computer science.

The mathematics of formal systems constitutes the foundation of the program. Topics in mathematics, such as mathematical logic, theory of computation and formal language theory, will be selected because they have clear implications for computer science and cognitive science. Problem assignments will give students the opportunity to improve their skills in proving theorems and in devising strategies for solving problems. They will have the opportunity to learn at least two programming languages and to do a computer-based spring quarter project.

In addition to these activities in which the student is working within a formal system, we will focus on the limitations of formal systems and in particular examine one of the great intellectual achievements of the 20th century—Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, which states that every axiom system for arithmetic is necessarily incomplete or inconsistent. This result and others like it, establish inescapable limits to the power of formal systems in general, and to computer programs in particular.

The seminar will examine a variety of issues in cognitive science. Readings during the year will focus on the intellectual foundations of contemporary debates about the nature of cognition, with particular focus on traditional philosophical debates about the nature of mind and their implications for artificial intelligence. One primary focus of the seminar will be on the current debate between those who favor computational models of the mind that are based on symbol manipulation and those who favor systems that model neural networks.

Beyond intermediate algebra there are no math prerequisites for this program. A more advanced mathematical background is desirable, however, not so much for its content, but for its exposure to the mathematical way of thinking. It will be assumed that students have sufficient aptitude and motivation to think logically and to deal with abstract concepts and symbolic languages. There are no computer science prerequisites.

  • Credit awarded in mathematical or symbolic logic*, philosophy, computer programming*, discrete mathematics*, formal language theory*, theory of computability* and cognitive science*.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter. Students may enroll in a four-credit course with faculty signature.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in teaching, mathematics, computer science, philosophy and cognitive science.


Data to Information

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Neal Nelson
Enrollment: 50
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Students must be proficient in high school algebra and an entrance exam is required. Contact Neal Nelson for exam information (360) 866-6000, ext. 6738. Note: Neal is waiving 1 qtr of programming experience.
Faculty Signature: Yes. Students will be admitted based on an entrance exam assessing high school-level algebra and problem-solving skills. Entrance exams will be given during the Academic Fairs, May 10, 2000, and September 18, 2000, and during the week before classes begin.
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

Are you interested in how your PC or the Internet really works? How Java programs run? Do you like building things, solving puzzles or doing mathematics?

Data to Information is an entry-level program in computing and mathematics with a strong emphasis on individual and collaborative problem solving. The program also emphasizes weekly readings and discussions of books or papers on various topics in society and technology. Data to Information covers material in a core computer science curriculum at a liberal arts college, concentrating on mathematical abstractions and fundamental algorithmic and data modeling concepts. There is an intense hands-on laboratory component of Data to Information where students develop their own logic, programming and design skills.

A primary focus of Data to Information is problem solving, however, real world problems often do not have clear-cut textbook solutions, so throughout the program all students are expected to develop the ability to search out the necessary information and develop the necessary skills to effectively solve mathematical and technical problems. We guide you through this process of “learning how to learn” in the fall and winter quarters.

The name “Data to Information” refers to our study of how bits, bytes and raw numbers gain meaning by having an appropriate structure imposed upon them, thus transforming data to information. Organizing data into different structures can produce different results—through interpretation, correct or incorrect, raw data becomes information. Thus, with appropriate algorithms and data structures, computers can correctly manipulate data to draw pictures, transmit information around the globe or compute answers to mathematical problems.

The program is organized around four yearlong and interwoven themes. A computational organization theme begins with digital logic and machine organization and continues with concepts of software architecture, operating systems and computer networking. A programming language theme concentrates on learning how to program in three major programming paradigms: functional programming, imperative programming and object-oriented programming. Various mathematical abstractions are studied through the year to build mathematical skills and to develop important theoretical foundations of the program. Finally, there is an on-going seminar theme in which we explore social, historical or philosophical topics of society and technology.

  • Credit awarded in programming, data structures and algorithms, digital logic, computational organization, software architecture and operating systems, discrete mathematics and topics on science and technology.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in computer related fields, science and mathematics.

The Development of Sail Power: Scientific Principles, Historical and Cultural Processes

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Dean Olson, E.J. Zita, Sarah Pedersen
Enrollment: 46
Prerequisites: High school algebra.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: $700–$2,000 for field trips.
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: Boat trips: two overnight trips per quarter, fall and winter quarters, plus a two-week voyage spring quarter. A two-week land-based field trip in Baja California during winter quarter.

This yearlong program combines the practical skill of operating college sailing vessels with an intensive study of navigation, science and cultural studies. We will use the theme of navigation as our window to non-Western cultures and to maritime literature. We will use the evolution of navigation as our window to the history of Western science and technology, social structure and the political economics of industrialization, exploration and trade. We will sail the waters of Puget Sound while studying Pacific Northwest history and reading maritime literature about the age of sail. Students will study the mathematics of navigation and piloting, and about the physics of sail power while learning to sail aboard the Resolute (44-foot Annapolis yawl) and the Seawulff (38-foot custom cutter).

We will begin fall quarter with a wide-ranging study of the oral tradition of navigation in selected non-Western cultures. We will study people who navigated the seas guided by oral traditions, their sense of place in the stellar universe, experience and their physical senses. We will then begin our study of Western navigation technologies, the evolution of sail configuration and changing vessel design and material selections. Piloting and sailing skills will be developed in the classroom and on local waters.

In winter quarter the focus will shift to the more recent history and contemporary evolution of modern navigation methods. We will read about the development of longitude, modern nautical charts and navigation systems, and we will practice using sextants and GPS for celestial navigation. Readings will explore the nexus of social structure, political economic change and scientific inquiry from the 17th through the 20th centuries. A field trip to the west coast of Mexico is planned, and day sails in local waters will continue when weather permits.

In spring quarter we will focus on the Pacific Northwest. Readings will examine indigenous cultures, regional history during the age of sail and maritime literature. Field trips aboard the vessels will take us throughout the Puget Sound and into the San Juan and Canadian waters.

This program will be intellectually as well as physically challenging. Students who join the program must commit to spending hours each week on the boats, often in inclement weather and uncomfortable conditions, as well as keeping up with a normal load of college-level reading, writing and other academic assignments. Studies in both fall and winter will include quantitative treatments of the science of sailing, from the physics of fluids to the vector forces involved in tacking the vessels and piloting in strong currents, as well as astronomy as it relates to celestial navigation. Students should be familiar with algebra and fractions and be willing to learn more mathematics. In spring quarter, the skills emphasis shifts to library research, close reading and essay writing. Students should be well prepared to read and write extensively. Careful reading, thoughtful discussion and effective writing will be emphasized all year.

  • Credit awarded in political economy, sociology, history, science, maritime studies and nautical sciences.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in science, literature, maritime studies, political economy, history and maritime trades.
    Syllabus Overview and other information may be found here.


Environmental Analysis: Applications of Chemistry and Geology to Issues of Surface and Ground Water

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Jeff Kelly, Clyde Barlow, James Stroh
Enrollment: Fall 52, Winter 37, Spring 12
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing. College chemistry, college algebra and physical geology recommended but not required.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: Optional two-week field trip, spring quarter, to Southern Nevada and California, approximately $500 for transportation, logistical support, food, incidentals and personal items.
Internship Possibilities: Yes, under special circumstances with a faculty signature.
Travel Component: Optional two-week field trip to Southern Nevada and California.

This program will engage students in geological and chemical studies of ecosystems, using theoretical and experimental methods. Topics in geology and chemistry will be developed that are appropriate to problems of aquatic and terrestrial pollution. The program will connect themes dealing with geology, hydrology, analytical chemistry and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Techniques of chemical analysis and instrumental analysis will be developed in an advanced laboratory. Technical writing will be emphasized. Students will participate in projects involving research on geological and chemical issues and problems of ecological and environmental significance.

During fall quarter, the program will address topics in geohydrology, local geological history, analytical chemistry and aquatic chemistry. Students will participate in field trips and laboratories involving analytical chemical techniques, GIS workshops and quantitative data analysis methods.

During winter quarter, the chemistry focus will shift toward instrumental methods of analysis and the geochemistry of surface and ground water along with continued work in geohydrology. Methods and procedures will be developed to analyze for trace materials in the natural environment using atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively-coupled plasma spectroscopy, polarography, ion chromatography and GC-mass spectrometry. Group projects will be developed that will carry through spring quarter. Computers will be used extensively for data analysis, simulation and control of analytical instrumentation as well as for continued work on GIS.

Spring quarter will be devoted largely to project work. An optional sample-collecting expedition will be undertaken early in the quarter to obtain soil and water samples from arid regions of the U.S. Southwest to assist in ecological analysis. Extensive sample analysis and presentation of results in both oral and written form will occupy the rest of the quarter.

  • Credit awarded in analytical chemistry*, instrumental analysis*, geohydrology*, Geographic Information Systems*, geochemistry* and environmental research*. Students leaving at the end of fall quarter will receive lower-division credit. Students who strengthen their knowledge by completing at least fall and winter quarters will receive upper-division credit for both quarters.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in geology, hydrology, chemistry, environmental analysis and environmental fieldwork.
  • This program is also listed in Environmental Studies.


Evolutionary Biology

Fall/Group Contract
Faculty: Linda Kahan
Enrollment: 25
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing; good reading, writing skills; one course of college-level biology or any Evergreen program that offers the equivalent.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. — T. Dobzhansky

This program will study several of the most interesting aspects of evolutionary biology, including the evidence for the theory of evolution and important theoretical issues such as adaptationism, rates of evolution and the role of extinction. We will read Darwin’s The Origin of Species as well as a number of more modern books. The class will be conducted entirely on a seminar basis. One seminar will be devoted to discussion of assigned chapters of a standard text and two others to the discussion of other reading. There will be substantial weekly writing assignments. Each student will also complete an individual research project that will involve reading a series of papers from the primary research literature, writing a review paper and presenting the topic to the class orally in the tenth week.

  • Credit awarded in evolutionary biology*, philosophy of biology* and independent research in evolutionary biology*.
  • Total: 12 or 16 credits. Students may enroll in a four-credit course outside of the program.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in any field of biology or applied biology and science education.


Health and Human Development

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Rita Pougiales (Coord), Elizabeth Kutter (F),
Stuart Matz, Mukti Khanna, Susan Finkel (WS)
Enrollment: Fall - 100, Winter/Spring - 87
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. One year of college-level work.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: $40 for fall quarter retreat.
Internship Possibilities: Spring quarter only.
Travel Component: None

Attitudes about health reflect the basic world view and values of a culture, such as how we relate to nature, other people, time, being, society versus community, children versus elders, and independence versus dependence.
— Joseph Hartog, M.D. and Elizabeth Ann Hartog, M.A.

We will investigate the biological, cultural, spiritual and social forces that influence healthy human development so that we may develop strong foundations for further work in the areas of health, human services, anthropology and education. Program material will be presented on the basis of two important assumptions. First, health and development are mutually influenced by biological and social forces. Second, culture defines and influences our understanding and facilitation of health.

Drawing particularly from human biology, anthropology, communication and human development theories, the program will examine the interactions of culture, mind, body and spirit in the facilitation of healthy human development. Emphasis will be placed on physical and cognitive development, perception, interpersonal and intercultural communication, mind-body interactions and the influences of nutrition, environment, gender, culture and world view on human health.

An early fall quarter retreat will provide an opportunity to begin forming a learning community. During fall and winter quarters, through workshops, lectures, seminars, guest presentations, group and individual projects, students will develop skills and knowledge to support their selection of a spring quarter project or internship in an area of interest.

The program will encourage development in reading, writing, self-awareness, social imagination, research and communication, as well as strategies to facilitate students’ own good health.

  • Credit awarded in human biology, human development, cultural anthropology, theories of human learning, approaches to health, interpersonal and intercultural communication, nutrition and composition.
  • Total: 12 or 16 credits each quarter. Students with strong background in science or those pursuing language study may substitute a four-credit course, (i.e., chemistry, college algebra, statistics, language) with faculty signature.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in the health professions, human services and education.
  • This program is also listed in Culture, Text and Language and Social Science.


Matter and Motion

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: John Bullock, David McAvity
Enrollment: 50
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Precalculus math required. Students must be ready to start calculus. High school chemistry or physics recommended.
Faculty Signature: Yes. Students must pass a math entrance exam. Exam will be available March 1, 2000, from the Academic Advising Office. Students will be notified when they pass the exam.
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

Matter and Motion is an integrated study of chemistry, physics and calculus for the motivated student preparing to do advanced work in the physical and biological sciences. The program is strongly recommended for all pre-med. students. Students will learn computer applications and work in the chemistry and physics laboratory. There will be small-group workshops and seminars plus whole-group lectures in chemistry, physics and calculus. Students should plan on devoting more than 50 hours per week to this program.

  • Credit awarded in general chemistry, university physics and calculus.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in any science field and medicine.


Physical Systems

Fall, Winter, Spring/Group Contract
Faculty: Don Middendorf
Enrollment: 25
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. One year of college calculus and physics.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: Fall quarter textbooks will cost over $400 and must be purchased by the second day of class. Additional costs include journal subscriptions and overnight field trip, approximately $100.
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

This yearlong program will examine some of the main models by which we describe and understand the physical world. We will emphasize the unifying concepts and common mathematical structures of several major branches of physics. This approach is necessarily mathematical and the required mathematical methods will be developed as needed and in the context of their use in the physical sciences. Quantitative problem solving will be emphasized, yet a deep conceptual understanding will be the main goal.

The specific subject areas covered are those of standard intermediate-level physics including classical mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics and topics in contemporary physics. Mathematical topics will include multivariable calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. In order to gain a better understanding of the scientific process and to become aware of current “hot” research areas, students will be required to subscribe to three journals—Science News, Physics Today and the American Journal of Physics. These journals will be used in student presentations about recent developments in all branches of physics as well as for discussions about the philosophy of science and current political issues requiring physics for a better understanding. We will try to understand science as a process of constructing better models and ask about the ramifications of embracing one model over another. We will spend a significant amount of time examining the seemingly bizarre experimental and theoretical results of modern physics. Although we will find many strange and provocative answers, our goal will be to learn to ask even more sophisticated questions about the nature of physical reality.

This program will be challenging and demanding yet fun. Students will need to devote a minimum of 45 hours per week to the academic work.

  • Credit awarded in dynamics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, multivariable calculus, differential equations and philosophy of science. Upper-division science credit is possible for all credits contingent on upper-division performance.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in physical sciences, engineering and applied mathematics.


The Physicist’s World

Fall, Winter/Group Contract
Faculty: Tom Grissom
Enrollment: 24
Prerequisites: None. This all-level program will accept up to 25 percent or 6 first-year students.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

The 20th century has brought about a revolution in our understanding of the physical universe. We have been forced to revise the way we think about even such basic concepts as space and time and causality, and about the properties of matter. An important part of this revolution has been the surprising discovery of fundamental ways in which our knowledge of the material world is ultimately limited. These limitations are not the result of surmountable shortcomings in human understanding but are more deeply rooted in the nature of the universe itself.

In this program we will examine the mental world created by the physicist to make sense out of our experience of the material world around us, and to try and understand the nature of physical reality. We will ask and explore answers to the twin questions of epistemology: What can we know? and How can we know it? We will start with the pre-Socratic philosophers and continue through each of the major developments of 20th- century physics, including the theories of relativity, the quantum theory, deterministic chaos, and modern cosmology. We will trace the development of answers to such questions about the physical world, and we will specifically examine the nature and the origins of the limits that our answers impose on our ultimate knowledge of the world. No mathematical prerequisites are assumed. Mathematical thinking will be developed within the context of the other ideas as needed for our purposes. The only prerequisites are curiosity about the natural world and a willingness to read and think and write about challenging texts and ideas.

This program will cover everything you always wanted to know about physics but were afraid you wouldn’t be able to comprehend. We will discover that these ideas are not accessible only to physicists, but are within the grasp of anyone curious about them and willing to work to satisfy that curiosity. We will read primary texts, such as works by the pre-Socratics, Aristotle, Lucretius, Galileo, Newton and Einstein, plus selected contemporary writings on physics. In addition to the other texts, a book-length manuscript has been written for this program that will serve as an extended outline and guide to the works and ideas that we will read and discuss. Fall quarter will concentrate on the period up to the beginning of the 20th century; winter quarter will cover developments during the 20th century.

  • Credit awarded in philosophy of science, history of science, introduction to physical science, introduction to mathematics and quantitative reasoning and expository writing.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in the humanities and sciences.
  • This program is also listed in First-Year Programs and Culture, Text and Language.


Structure and Function in Biology and Chemistry

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Paula Schofield, Jim Neitzel (F), Andrew Brabban, Carolyn Viviano
Enrollment: 75
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing; general chemistry and good facility in mathematics.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

This program covers the whole range of topics that we describe as laboratory biology—“indoor” biology, in contrast to field biology and ecology. Based on their strengths and viewpoints, the faculty team will develop an integrated treatment of the topics traditionally called molecular and cellular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics and physiology, along with basic organic chemistry. The boundaries that once separated these topics hardly exist any longer and students will benefit from an integrated study of them. The program will center around the theme of structure and function at a wide range of scales, from the molecules of organic chemistry through the integration and regulation of physiological processes in a large organism. Our studies will always emphasize that organisms are genetic systems that have attained their condition through evolution, are in a continuous state of evolution, and operate within an ecological context.

This is traditionally an intensive program. Its subjects are complex, and the sophisticated understanding we expect to develop requires devoted attention and many hours of work each week. We will use some lectures in this program, but a great deal of learning will also happen in small, student workshops that will require active problem solving and help to develop the ability to clearly explain your solutions to others. Students and faculty members will work together closely to create a supportive, cooperative atmosphere, but students should think twice about enrolling if they are unsure of their commitment or are subject to severe stresses in their lives.

Lab work is central to the program. Students will learn techniques of organic and biochemistry, along with modern molecular genetic methods for studying genes and proteins. We will use microbial systems for most work, probably expanding to work on plant and animal systems later. Spring quarter will probably include options for more intensive study of specific topics, including lab explorations.

  • Credit awarded in organic chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry and genetics.
  • Total: 4, 8, 12 or 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in biology, chemistry, health sciences and environmental studies.

Undergraduate Research in
Scientific Inquiry
 (NEW! Not in printed catalog)

Fall, Winter, Spring/Group contract
Betty Kutter, Burt Guttman, Jim Neitzel (F), Janet Ott, Dharshi Bopegedera (WS), E. J. Zita, Clyde Barlow, Jeff Kelly
Prerequisites: Junior/senior standing
Faculty signature: Yes
Credits: 4-16

Advanced science students interested in upper division research projects may contact the above faculty for details.

Whole and Holy: Alternative Herstories of Healing

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Janet Ott, Sarah Williams
Enrollment: 25
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above
Faculty Signature: Yes. Faculty will assess students’ writing skill and degree of interest in the program. To apply, students must submit a writing sample to Janet Ott, The Evergreen State College, Lab I, Olympia, WA 98505, (360) 866-6000, ext. 6019, or Sarah Williams, The Evergreen State College, SE 3127, Olympia, WA 98505, (360) 866-6000, ext. 6561, prior to or at the Academic Fair, May 10, 2000. (See Janet Ott’s Web site or call her for writing sample details.) Faculty will conduct phone or in-person interviews. Students will be notified of acceptance prior to fall registration, May 15, 2000.
Special Expenses: $50 for materials.
Internship Possibilities: Yes
Travel Component: None

To heal: deriving from the same roots as the words whole and holy. We intend to explore healing as that which is whole and holy by examining alternative herstories-forms of healing involving body, mind, spirit and the environment from so-called feminine perspectives. We will learn about the historical roots of the healing practices we use today, our division of mainstream and alternative medicine and the patriarchal and reductionist effects of this division on physiology, emotional literacy and the evolution of the soul. In addition to books, films, lectures and seminars, we will expect each student: (1) to engage in an apprenticeship, community service-learning project, an internship, participatory or collaborative research, (2) to go on a mid-winter retreat, and (3) to develop the discipline of a healing practice (e.g., a martial art, nutritional plan, exercise routine, herbalism, goddess worship, healing touch, yoga, music, gardening or apprenticeship with an indigenous healer).
From witches, midwives and alchemists to their takeover by corporate medicine men, we will examine the historical contexts of healing versus curing. Our studies will be concerned with the contemporary resurrection of traditional healing practices. We will ask ourselves, what does the resurrection of traditional healing practices such as acupuncture, herbalism, body work and other alternative forms of medicine have to do with the energetics of healing and the rise of personal power out of tribal authority?

We want highly motivated, self-directed students who are interested in, and capable of, integrating intellectual work with personal process. We want to develop a student-directed learning community where experiential knowledge is put into conversation with academic scholarship.

Books might include: Woman as Healer, Emotional Literacy, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, For Her Own Good, An Illustrated History of the Healing Arts, A Touch of Healing, Molecules of Emotion, The Healing Circle, Mother Mysteries, Man and His Symbols, Ecotherapy, The Healing of America, Anatomy of the Spirit, Gaia and Gaia: An Eco Feminist Theology of Earth and Healing and All Sickness is Homesickness.

  • Credit awarded in history, comparative religion, ecofeminism, political theory, physiology, nutrition, anthropology, women’s studies and environmental policy.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in the creative arts, biology, counseling, cultural studies, environmental studies, health sciences, healthcare services, history, religious studies, social work and women’s studies.
  • This program is also listed in Culture, Text and Language.


Introduction to Natural Science

Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Linda Kahan, Rachel Scherr, Kaye V. Ladd, Dharshi Bopegedera
Enrollment: 75
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing; high school algebra.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

Introduction to Natural Science is designed to provide a basic conceptual and methodological background of science for students who want to continue in the natural sciences but who do not have the necessary mathematical preparation to take the calculus-based science in Matter and Motion. It will cover key concepts in physics, chemistry and biology necessary to prepare students for more advanced study in environmental or biological sciences e.g., Marine Life or Molecule to Organism. Program activities will include lectures, laboratories, workshops and seminars. Seminars will focus on the history, philosophy and/or sociology of science, addressing issues such as how scientific ideas are developed and how they change, the relationship of scientific ideas to other intellectual trends in society, the notion of scientific method, fraud and scientific integrity, the nature and composition of the scientific community, etc.

  • Credit awarded in general physics, general chemistry, introductory biology and history/philosophy/sociology of science.
  • Total: 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in natural sciences including environmental sciences and graduate and professional studies in the health sciences and medicine.


Astronomy and Cosmologies

Spring/Group Contract
Faculty: E. J. Zita
Enrollment: 30
Prerequisites: Maturity, good thinking skills and facility with algebra. This all-level program will accept up to 25 percent or 8 first-year students.
Faculty Signature: Yes
Special Expenses: $30 for equipment, $200–$300 for binoculars and tripod and $300 for possible field trip to the Southwest.
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: Possible field trip to the Southwest.

Learn beginning-to-intermediate astronomy through lectures, discussions, intractive workshops and observation, using naked eyes, binoculars and telescopes. Students will build (and take home) learning tools such as celestial spheres and spectrometers, research a topic of interest (in the library and through observations), learn to create a Web page, and share your research with classmates.

We will also seminar on cosmologies: how people across cultures and throughout history have understood, modeled and ordered their universe. We will study creation stories and world views, from ancient peoples to modern astrophysicists.

Students are invited to help organize a field trip to clear skies, perhaps to Chaco Canyon.

  • Credit awarded in astronomy, physical science and philosophy of science.
  • Total: 16 credits.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in astronomy, physical sciences, history and philosophy of science.
  • This program is also listed in First-Year Programs.

More information can be found at


Concepts of Computing

Spring/Group Contract
Faculty: Charles Howerton, Arlen Speights (half-time)
Enrollment: 48
Prerequisites: All-Level program 35 enrollment limit. 17 Freshmen and 18 Sophomores-Seniors.
Faculty Signature: No
Special Expenses: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: None

This spring quarter offering will examine fundamental ideas in computing and mathematics that underlie today’s computing technology. There will be hands-on lab work together with an examination of the models, methods and abstract concepts behind software and hardware systems.

The program is intended for students who have an interest, but limited background, in computing. It will be useful for students who want some exposure to computing as a basis for future work in a variety of disciplines that use computing (especially the sciences). This program is also helpful, though not required, for students interested in additional course work in computer science or mathematics.

Topics may include programming, algebra and discrete mathematics, computational organization, the World Wide Web and logic or the historical, philosophical, social or ethical implications of computing.

  • Credit awarded in mathematics and introductory computing.
  • Total: 16 credits.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in science, mathematics and computing.
  • This program is also listed in First-Year Programs.