Monday, October 25, 2021
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Top 5 classes you didn’t know you wanted to take until now

UMKC offers some truly interesting classes that allow students to satisfy not only credit requirements, but also their desire to learn and enjoy doing so. Even though enrollment has closed for Spring 2019, it’s never too early to start planning ahead. Here are five of UMKC’s most obscure classes you didn’t know you wanted to take until now.

PHYSICS 131L – “Backyard Physics”: This 1-hour online class will not only count as an elective, but can also satisfy students’ lab science credit requirement in only eight weeks. Professors Riggs and Pursley require students to complete four labs in which they will conduct their own simple experiments to help in mastering the concepts learned in the pre-lab assignments. Riggs and Pursley’s course is a great way to satisfy a graduation requirement while using creative learning in a low-pressure, fun environment.
What do students need before signing up? Riggs says students don’t need a background in physics.

“They do need to know how to work independently and be creative problem solvers,” said Riggs.

PHYS-ED 189BE – “Beginning Equestrian”

Truly a hidden gem of a class, Professor Dilley took over this 2-hour off-site class when Professor Dwight retired this semester after having co-taught it with Dilley for the past five years. The class is comprised of one horseback riding lesson a week and a minimum of 1 hour per week of physical training outside of the lesson. While students do pay an additional fee to ride and must provide their own transportation, the class offers incredible flexibility since there is no set meeting time, and the only requirement is that 14 lessons are completed within the 16-week semester.
So, how did professors on an urban campus think to offer an equestrian class for students?

“Dr. Carole McArthur (UMKC School of Dentistry professor) takes riding lessons at the barn we partner with,” said Dwight. “At one lesson, she noticed that William Jewell College offered a class for their students [at the barn] and pitched the idea that we should, too.”

HISTORY 348 – “Border Wars”

If the name of this class makes you think about the historic athletic rivalry between the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas, you’re on the right track. However, Dr. Mutti-Burke said the overall focus of the class will be centered around the role this region played in the American Civil War. Students cover many topics, including experiences of enslaved people, warfare strategies, post-war reconciliation attempts by both sides and how Missourians and Kansans have remembered the series of border wars throughout history.
“Is this a case—maybe the only one—in which a sports rivalry reflects actual history?” Mutti-Burke asked.

You’ll just have to take the class and find out.

ENGLISH 5508 – “Harlem Renaissance”

Dr. Bar-Nadav’s class about the 20-year period known as the Harlem Renaissance epitomizes Black Excellence and refers to a moment in history in which the black community exploded with cultural and artistic feats, the majority of which were centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Legends such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker and Aaron Douglas gained notoriety, and black creators finally began to get the credit they deserved.
“Artists of the Harlem Renaissance believed that art could create real change in people, effectively carving a space for equal rights and free expression,” Dr. Bar-Nadav said.

Since this is a mindset that many artists of all backgrounds still hold dear to this day, students are sure to find beauty and satisfaction in learning about such an integral part of American history and culture.

CONSERVATORY 342 – “This is Your Brain on Music”

Dr. Groene’s class gives students a crash course in how the human brain and behavior interact and change in the presence of music. Students will study the physiological, motor, social, emotional and cognitive domains of those relationships. According to Dr. Groene, a music education and therapy professor, the class is open to non-conservatory students and is only offered in the spring every two years. “Due to any pending changes in the General Education 2.0 plans,” Dr. Groene did not have much information about future course offerings.

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