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 Dream Courses Announced
Five courses have been selected as Presidential Dream Courses for the upcoming Fall semester. They include Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ENT 2113), Era of Russian Revolutions (HIST 3803), Africa and the Urge to Help (HON 3993), Journalism Under Siege (JMC 4970), and Exploring Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MRS 3023).
Spring 2017 Presidential Dream Courses
Modern Control Theory & Applications
Andrea L'Afflitto, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Control theory is progressing at an extraordinary fast pace and has realized dreams that would have been considered as "magic" before 1800 and science fiction until a few decades ago. We can now control our appliances by tapping on the surface of a mobile phone, driverless cars are a reality, and permanently injured persons regain the ability to move their limbs.
James Baldwin: Literature and the Long Civil Rights Movement
James Zeigler, Department of English
This course will examine the writing, activism, courage, and enduring relevance of James Baldwin. He was the most renowned and influential literary author involved with the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Renewed popular and critical attention to his work in recent years has addressed the election of President Barack Obama, resurgent anti-black racism in U.S. public culture, and the efforts of Black Lives Matter to pursue the unfinished aspirations of the Civil Rights Movement.
Searching for Hamlet
Sara Coodin, Department of Classics and Letters
Su Fang Ng, Department of English
Is Hamlet a political thriller or a psychological drama? If Hamlet has a psyche, does he also have a body? Can early modern humoral theory help us account for that body, or is the actor’s body more vital for locating the “real” Hamlet? Through these and other questions, we will challenge ourselves to think and rethink the most renowned work of fiction written in the English language, exploring the diverse, often contradictory ways that Hamlet has been read, performed, and interpreted over its 400-year long history.
The Films of Kelly Reichardt
Michael Lee, School of Music
Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt has established herself as a signal voice in American and global cinema today. The director of six independently produced feature films, her work invariably finds its way onto the top-ten lists of influential critics. Her work is now widely seen as central to the "slow cinema" movement, a critical term used to describe films that unfold slowly in minimalist narratives in which keen and even minute observation delivered in long takes substitutes for the mythic, sentimental, and polemical strategies dominant in Hollywood films.
Nutritional Neuroscience: The Metal in Your Head
Michael Wenger , Department of Psychology
Iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA): they used to be called "tired blood'' in the 1950s and 1960s. However, instead of what might be considered a mild inconvenience, ID and IDA are major health concerns, representing the single most prevalent nutrient deficiency in the world, with some estimates suggesting that more than 1.6 billion people world-wide are affected. The majority of those affected are children and women of reproductive age, although there are important effects later in life as well. Although the risk factors for ID and IDA include poverty and other resource limitations, both are prevalent in developed nations and in resource-rich contexts. Understanding the relationships between iron status and brain health requires the ability to think about those relationships simultaneously at multiple levels of analysis: the biochemistry of iron homeostasis, the cellular neuroscience of iron and its effects on neurotransmitters and brain energy use, the systems-level neuroscience of the effects of iron on brain circuits, and the cognitive psychology relating all of this to the ways in which we function in the world.