What sort of classes would OU faculty members devise if money were no object? Well, for one thing, they would bring in the best guest lecturers in their fields to stimulate interest and inspire students to delve more deeply.
In 2004-2005, President Boren began a program to provide extra funds to enhance courses already scheduled to be offered during the academic year in either the fall or the spring semester. Courses eligible for consideration must be semester-long, regularly scheduled courses. This program will be continued in academic year 2017-2018.
This fund provides up to a maximum of $20,000 in one-time funds per selected course to bring in several (about 3-5) experts in the field during the semester to interact with the students enrolled in the course and to give a lecture open to the public. In some cases, the visiting expert might also speak at a Presidential roundtable discussion that would include other undergraduate students and faculty.
Fall 2017 Presidential Dream Courses
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Daniel W. Pullin, Price College of Business
Innovation & Entrepreneurship (ENT 2113) is for the student who wishes to gain entrepreneurial knowledge and skills that apply to multiple life paths in a wide array of settings. World class guest speakers and deans from 10 different OU Colleges will address the role of innovation from a cross-disciplinary perspective, and entrepreneurial opportunities in a variety of disciplines including technology, humanities, the physical and social sciences, and beyond. The course teaches how to think like an entrepreneur and how to integrate that style of thinking into the ways you live and work. It is an opportunity to examine how you might fit into the world of entrepreneurship. The course also features the nuts-and-bolts of creating, analyzing and launching enterprises such as new venture startups, social businesses, "intrapreneurship" in established companies, family businesses, franchises, and multiple other enterprises in which an innovative and entrepreneurial perspective is both valued and necessary.
Era of Russian Revolutions
Melissa K. Stockdale, Department of History
Most scholars regard the First World War and the Russian Revolution as the two seminal events of the 20th century. In the past two years, the experience of the world war has been explored in numerous publications and public commemorations, generating fascinating new insights into the war’s legacies. Similarly, 2017, which marks the centennial of the Russian Revolution, is stimulating lively new studies and debates. This Presidential Dream Course on the Russian Revolution will help students understand how this world historic event inspired such tremendous hopes and evoked so much fear and violence.
Africa and the Urge to Help
Andreana Prichard, Honors College
As “Kony 2012,” Matt Damon’s “H2O Africa” organization, TOM’s Shoes, Product (RED), Global Brigades, or mission trips to Africa suggest, the relationship between the international community and Africa is often characterized by a sense of wanting to “help” or to “save” Africans. Economists, scholars, policy makers and global health workers, however, debate the efficacy of the myriad aid efforts directed towards Africa: while some argue that aid and intervention are essential to solving the “emergency” that characterizes contemporary Africa, others declare that aid and intervention do far more harm than good on the continent. Both critics and supporters will concede, however, that so-called “humanitarian” interventions into Africa haven’t always had the most humane results. This class will take up the complex and sometimes ironic history of “humanitarianism” in sub-Saharan Africa through an exploration of several topics—such as slavery and abolition, HIV/AIDS and Ebola, mission work, and cash payments and child sponsorship initiatives. We will also explore the development of the discourse of “humanitarianism” and “helping” as directed towards Africa, and we will attempt to examine our own relationship with the continent and it’s past, present, and future.
Journalism Under Siege
John Schmeltzer, Gaylord College of Journalism
Mike Boettcher, Gaylord College of Journalism
Journalism has never been more dangerous. Whether it is covering the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, covering riots in the streets of Baltimore or reporting on a presidential campaign, journalists say they have never felt so unsafe just doing their job. Journalism Under Siege will explore the increasingly tense events journalists are asked to witness and report upon. Whether it is the images of atrocities moving across the world’s wire services or being assaulted while doing their job, journalists are dealing with the trauma of events from which they mostly were able in the past to shield themselves. The course will discuss the changes that have impacted journalism in the past 20 years as the internet has brought the sounds and sights of crisis into the computer terminal sitting benignly on a desk.
Exploring Medieval & Renaissance Studies
Joyce Coleman, Department of English
MRS 3023 provides an overview of the history, literature, art, and music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including hands-on work with medieval manuscripts and early printed books. This course will be taught by a series of OU faculty lecturing in their area of expertise, coordinated by a faculty member who will be present at every class and will serve as instructor of record. As a Presidential Dream Course, we will also be bringing in guest speakers and holding associated events, to all of which the students will be invited. The course has been approved for general-education credit and can be used for major credit in English, History, and History of Science.