Liberal Studies Courses

LIB 100 - Introduction to Liberal Education. A study of the nature and importance of liberal education, including the education of the adult free citizen, through extensive reading of classical and modern texts and through examination of the contemporary state of liberal education in the university and society. Fulfills Philosophy and Literature Foundation requirement. Three credits. Offered every semester. sample syllabus

(Starting in Fall 2012) LIB 201 - Diversity in the United States. Explores how the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion and physical abilities affect the material lives and media representations of various cultural groups in the United States. Engages historical and current debates regarding issues of immigration, meritocracy, segregation, the economy, the environment, and identity. Fulfills US Diversity requirement. Fulfills Social and Behavioral Sciences Foundation. Offered fall and winter semesters. You cannot receive credit for US 201 and LIB 201.

LIB 300 - Jewish Scriptures and Traditions. Focusing in the textual heritage of Judaism, the ancestor of Islam and Christianity as well as a vibrant religion today, this course explores Jewish traditions and rituals as they originated throughout history and as practiced today in the world's diverse Jewish communities. Part of the Religion theme. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: A course in philosophy or anthropology, junior standing, or permission of instructor. Three credits. sample syllabus

(Starting in Spring/Summer 2014) LIB 301 - Interdisciplinary Research Methods. This course is a survey of selected interdisciplinary research methods. It includes comparative analysis of research methods used in natural and life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, with a focus on integrative and problem-solving methodologies. Procedures for evaluating data, sources, and findings are reviewed. Offered each semester. Credits: 3. Prerequisite: STA 215. You cannot receive credit for US 300 and LIB 301.


LIB 310 - Creativity. An interdisciplinary study of those ideas that stimulate the creative processes and innovation in information and technology in a diversity of human practices, including, but not limited to, artistic, philosophical, scientific, and entrepreneurial endeavors, with a focus on practicing innovativeness and creativity in a variety of areas. Part of the Information, Innovation, and Technology Issue. Offered each year. Prerequisite: Junior standing. sample syllabus


LIB 311 - Meaning. Introduction to concepts related to the construction, expression, propagation and understanding of meaning in a diverse society. Emphasis on multidisciplinary perspectives underpinning authentic individual and/or collective agency per dialogue, democracy, and other critical forms of praxis. Part of Perception Theme. Three credits. Offered once or twice a year, depending on demand. sample syllabus

LIB 312 - Dialogue, Integration and Action. An interdisciplinary examination of the basic interpretations of dialogue in a diverse world. This course engages the theory and practice of dialogue through personal reflection, integration, and action. Students develop this relational art for personal, professional and civic lives, and understand its implication for the possibility of a democratic life. Three credits. Offered every year. sample syllabus

LIB 314 - Life Journeys.  Students will examine their own identity by means of personal and critical reflection through works selected from literature, mythology, philosophy, art, film, and music. Students will gain insight into their own life journey and the life journeys of others, empowering them to be more fully themselves in the world. Part of the Identity Issue. Offered every semester. Prerequisites: Junior standing and WRT 150.

LIB 320 - Voices of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. This interdisciplinary course integrates numerous expressive genres, including autobiographies, oral histories, and music, to examine how activists challenged human rights violations. Narrations of individual transformations show how shared experiences, ideologies, and opposition expanded understandings of human rights nationally and globally during the civil rights movements in the United States. Part of the Human Rights Issue. Fulfills U.S. Diversity requirement. Offered every other year. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

LIB 322 - Wicked Problems of SustainabilitySustainability, as a wicked problem, is an intractable, on-going and high-stakes issue. This course engages students in participatory research on the inextricably linked dimensions of sustainability, such as economics, environment and social equity. Students will work with community partners to address specific interdisciplinary problems of sustainability. Part of the Sustainability Issue. Offered all semesters. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

LIB 325 - LGBTQ Identities.  This interdisciplinary course draws on scholarship in the fields of sociology, literature, history, anthropology, LGBTQ, cultural, and gender studies in order to teach students about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer complex identities (identity formation and development), identifications, and the social, political, historical, and cultural problems underpinning these constructions. Part of the Identity Issue. Offered once a year. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

LIB 330 - The Idea of Nature. An historical and cross-cultural examination of how nature has been interpreted by science, philosophy, religion, literature, and art. Part of Earth and Environment theme. Three credits. Offered winter semester. sample syllabus

LIB 331 - Person and Profession. A study in various professions of the relationship between the person and her/his working life as portrayed in literature, film, art, and social analysis, with special attention to the growth of the idea of profession and professionalism among other concepts of work. Three credits. Offered every other year.

LIB 335 - Sacred Texts - Global Contexts.   A comparative study of sacred texts as literary masterpieces that shape and influence their respective cultural expressions and literary traditions. This interdisciplinary course will examine the multiple intersections of sacred texts with the many faces of globalization. Readings may include selections from: Rig Veda, Upanishad, Bible, Qur’an, and Tao Te Ching. Part of the Globalization Issue. Fulfills World Perspectives requirement. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

LIB 341- Leadership and Social Change. An examination of the theory and practice of leadership in social change movements, focused on developing personal and organizational capacities for leadership in a liberal education context. Students identify a contemporary social issue and create an action plan for resolution, addressing that issue with at least one action step. Part of the Information, Innovation, and Technology Issue. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

LIB 342- Food Matters. This course offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between food systems and food we consume every day. Analysis of competing information and integration of evolutionary, historical, socio-political, cultural and environmental factors shaping our current food systems lead back to the basics of nutrition, agricultural practices and equitable food systems. Part of the Health Issue. Offered each semester. Prerequisite: Junior standing.


LIB 350 - The Immigrant Experience in the U.S. This study of immigrant groups in the United States will focus on the marginalized experience of people who have moved from their "home" cultures, how they have adapted to the new world, and how this experience has helped shape U.S. culture. Emphasis on the fine arts, literature, biography, film, history, and sociology. Concentration on at least two cultures, one non-European. Part of the Marginality and Difference Theme and fulfills U.S. Diversity requirement. Offered fall semester. sample syllabus

LIB 366 - American Society and Media. Interdisciplinary approach to the ways in which mediated mass culture produces meaning in contemporary American society as examined through a variety of critical lenses such as political economy and sociocultural analyses of the organization of the mass media, media content, and audience reception studies of film, television, and/or music cultures. Part of the Information, Innovation, and Technology Issue. Crosslisted with SOC 366. Offered every year. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

LIB 380 - Topics in Liberal Studies. A variable topics course emphasizing the practice of liberal studies in relation to a contemporary problem, issue, or theme. Three credits. May be repeated for credit. sample syllabus

LIB 399 - Independent Reading. A scholarly or creative project initiated by the student who has a special interest in a subject not available in the current curriculum. Student, faculty, and advisors agree on the scope of the study, its components, and methods of evaluation. Variable credit. Offered every semester. Independent Reading Contract

LIB 400 - Visionary Thinkers. A variable topics course that focuses on the life and work of a significant contributor to our culture. Figures in the past have included Aristotle, George Orwell, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Henry Thoreau, Enrico Fermi, Virginia Woolf, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Richard Feynman. Three credits. May be repeated for credit. Offered once a year.

LIB 401 - Visionary Thinkers in the American Mosaic. A variable topics course that focuses on the life and work of a significant contributor to the American mosaic and thereby the United States' vision of diversity. Part of the American Mosaic Theme and fulfills the U.S. Diversity requirement. Figures in the past have included Martin Luther King, Jr., Louise Erdrich, Jim Harrison and others. Three credits. May be repeated for credit. Offered once a year. sample syllabus

LIB 490 - Internship. A supervised work experience through which students can relate liberal studies principles, academic work, and practice. Student, faculty, and advisors agree on the scope of the study, its components, and methods of evaluation. Prerequisite: Senior standing and a 3.0 GPA in the major. Variable credit. Offered every semester. Internship Procedure Document

LIB 491 - Practicum. Three or more hours a week of applying liberal studies principles in a public or community setting. This might take the form of a case study, field involvement, or conference attendance and should result in a statement evaluating the theory and practice of the liberal studies. Variable credit. Offered every semester.

Practicum Coordinators:
Allendale & Traverse City - Dr. Wendy Burns-Ardolino
Holland - Fall 2012: Dr. Jo Miller     Winter 2013: Professor Anne Marie Fauvel
Muskegon - Professor Anne Marie Fauvel

LIB 495 - Senior Seminar (Capstone). Students will contrast classical and contemporary statements on liberal education in relation to the principles and core courses on which the program rests. Students will develop and present their senior theses. Three credits. Offered winter semester. sample syllabus

LIB 499 - Independent Research. Independent research and investigation from an interdisciplinary perspective. Variable credit. Offered every semester. Independent Research Contract

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University Studies Courses

**Please Note: US 300 will be listed as LIB 301 beginning in spring/summer 2014.**

University Studies courses are primarily taught by Liberal Studies faculty. Please refer to the faculty schedule posted on the Liberal Studies home page for information on individual sections.

US 102 - Career Education Class. Designed for students seeking assistance in developing a career and educational plan suited to their needs, goals, and career choices. Emphasis and activities will be placed on personal and career assessment, career and occupational information, planning, and decision making.

US 201 - Diversity in the United States. Examines the multicultural nature of the United States. Focus is on the demography and cultural heritage of multiple racial groups in the United States and on multiculturalism as an issue. Students also study different conceptual ways of explaining the relations between diverse groups of people. Fulfills U.S. Diversity requirement. Part of the American Mosaic theme.
You cannot receive credit for US 201 and LIB 201.

US 180 - Strategies for Academic Success.

US 280 - Topics in University Studies. A variable topics course emphasizing the study of university-wide topics in relation to a contemporary problem, issue, or theme. May be repeated for credit. Offered as needed.

US 300 - Interdisciplinary Research Methods. This course is a survey of selected interdisciplinary research methods. It includes comparative analysis of research methods of research methods used in natural and life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, with a focus on integrative and problem-solving methodologies. Procedures for evaluating data, sources, and findings are reviewed. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: STA 215. You cannot receive credit for US 300 and LIB 301.

US 301 - Internship and Job Search Strategies. Provides a structured approach to organizing and executing a job search campaign for an internship or employment following graduation. Topics include skill identification, job market research, resume writing, effective networking, interviewing, negotiating offers, and job survival skills. Offered fall and winter semesters.

US 380 - Topics in University Studies. A variable topics course emphasizing the study of university-wide topics in relation to a contemporary problem, issue, or theme. May be repeated for credit. Offered as needed.

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Page last modified April 1, 2014