New multi-disciplinary humanities course to explore the human need to be creative
04.21.2015 | By Rob Vanya
San Jacinto College English professor Mark Johnson displays a poster that publicizes the new humanities course that will be offered at all three campuses starting this Fall. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
San Jacinto College to begin offering new course this Fall
San Jacinto College is launching a multi-disciplinary humanities course designed to provide students a well-rounded educational experience that fosters and improves critical thinking.
“More and more, businesses and industries tell us about the need for students who are well-prepared to be part of a global workforce,” commented Mark Johnson, language arts department chair at the San Jacinto College North Campus. “While being part of a global workforce might mean students trained for STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, math), it also means students who are dynamic, innovative and imaginative creators; students who understand how creativity happens and why.”
This new course, HUMA 1301, will explore some of the most interesting aspects of humanity. Johnson says it will answer the questions, “Why do humans create?” “How do you evaluate creativity?” and “What does a culture’s creativity say about its values?”
The humanities course will launch at the start of the Fall 2015 semester, and will be available at all three San Jacinto College campuses. Students can take the course as a traditional on-campus course, or online.
Instead of focusing on one particular area of humanities, the course will encompass various branches of humanities. “We want students to see how the humanities are inter-connected,” remarked Johnson, who is facilitating the launch of the course. “Consequently, the course will examine virtually all of the humanities – literature, music, art, philosophy, drama, architecture, filmmaking, etc. Students will learn about the human need to be creative, and what all this creativity says about the values of a culture. Students who complete the course will satisfy the required Language, Philosophy and Culture component of college basics, an important part of San Jacinto College’s associate degree plan and transfer path.”
The course will be easy on the pocketbook. “Students will not be required to buy expensive textbooks,” Johnson said. “We’re using free, open-source materials and will use a robust internal communications network. Students will be able to view plays and performances, read texts, listen to audio/music, and interact with all sorts of multimedia that is freely available online. Our instructors are organizing this open-source material into a cohesive course that will save the students money.”
Professors will incorporate a “theming” teaching approach, to help students understand how the humanities are connected. For example, monsters will be the theme of one professor’s course. Students in the class will examine how a culture’s representations of monsters and the monstrous can illustrate what a culture fears, or what it no longer values. Johnson said other professors are developing themes such as “The Need for Heroes,” “Great Storytellers,” “Freedom Seekers,” and “Rule-Breakers.”
Classroom learning will be supplemented with extracurricular assignments. Students will attend theme-related cultural events, such as concerts, art exhibits, plays, poetry presentations, philosophical debates, etc.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.