The academic section of Sassweb is committed to documenting the history and current status of academic issues in Arts & Science. By keeping track of recurrent problems and promoting creative solutions (via the academic forum), we are able to build momentum in achieving positive change to the programme. The list of issues below will be updated as developments unfold -- probably once or twice a term -- and we urge all Artscis to take agency in these developments. This way we can ensure that an Arts & Science education is of the highest quality possible. As always, any anonymous suggestions/questions/concerns with regard to academic issues can be addressed to Suzy Flader ( ) and Gali Katznelson ( ).
The academic section is still under construction -- once the website committee gets its act together (hopefully sooner), there will be a more formal online version of the jpa/spa course binder, moderated and updated by the programme advisors. Until then, feel free to use the new forum to discuss these matters. This page will also serve as a home for other sections that don't yet have a home.
What we should all probably be spending a little more time on.
Official places to find out official things
For information about artsci courses, combined honours programs and course requirements take a look around the following official sites (ie nothing to do with SASS) to figure out what you need to know.
Artsci course websites:
More information about new courses for the 2012-2013 academic year:
ARTS&SCI 3CU3 - Alumni Experience InquiryInstructors: S. Howells (email@example.com), M. Koziol (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This course will explore various theories and models of leadership through experiential education. Alumni of the Arts & Science program will be involved as mentors, and will provide guidance based on their professional experiences. Topics that will be explored include community, diversity, collaboration, power, organizational constraints, groups and teams, organizational change, and change organizations. The course will integrate traditional lecture-style classes with more interactive sessions (such as PBL), designed to encourage the process of inquiry and personal exploration. Additionally, each student will have an opportunity to apply concepts discussed in the classroom through a community fieldwork experience. The syllabus can be found here.
ARTS&SCI 4CB3 - Inquiry into EducationInstructor: B. Marquis (email@example.com)
At the completion of this course students should have a more thorough and thoughtful understanding of issues in higher education. Students should be able to effectively communicate about these issues in a variety of formats and to a variety of audiences. They should be able to recognize their own biases and perspectives about higher education and the implications for these on how they view issues and topics in higher education. Through their capstone assignment in the course students will develop a very detailed understanding surrounding one issue/topic in higher education.
The major topics to be covered will be mutually decided between the students and the instructor during the first two weeks of classes. Some possible topics include:
Students in the course will be evaluated through a variety of assessments including: a capstone (or final assignment) worth at least 35% of the final grade; debates; in-class discussions; annotated bibliography; and, several short assignments. Students will be provided the opportunity to present material in a variety of formats included written 'essay' format, video, pamphlets, posters and graffiti. The different formats will also be targeted at different audiences including their peers, an academic audience, government officials, the general public, high school students and business leaders.
ARTS&SCI 4CG3 - Scientific Research Inquiry IIInstructor: J. Brodeur (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Unmistakably, the Information Age has revolutionized the way we view ourselves as individuals and how we interact in society. In a similar manner, recent advancements in data creation, analysis and storage technology has begun to transform the world of scientific research. From Particle Physics to Genomics to Social Theory, the emergence of "Big Data" has given us greater insight into the order of the natural world, while simultaneously challenging conventional views of how Science should be conducted. In an age where algorithms compete for relevance with scientific models and research is conducted with a "data first" approach, it's important to consider the impact that these advances will have on science and specifically, the scientific method.
In response, this course will seek to answer the following questions:
"How is 'Big Data' Changing the Nature of Scientific Research?", and
"Is the Information Age leading to the demise of the scientific method?"
Students in this course will work in a mix of individual and group settings to address these questions in a number of different ways. An individual research project will allow students to investigate a scientific research area of their interest by evaluating and understanding the state of the science, and assessing the implications of current and future advances on scientific research in this field. Individuals will be aligned into small 'working groups', which will provide support throughout individual research projects, and will work toward addressing the course questions at a larger scale.
To strengthen scientific research and dissemination skills, each group will also conduct a 'skills seminar', where they will instruct their fellow students on the fundamentals of (and give them experience in) important research aspects, such as creating high-quality scientific figures, posters and presentations.
All possible efforts will be made to expose students to scientific research being conducted at McMaster, through tours, guest lectures, and hands-on data collecting experiments. These experiences will be used as context for in-class discussions of the course questions, as well as skill development aspects.
ARTS&SCI 4CM3 - Environmental Education InquiryInstructor: P. Byrne (email@example.com)
The goal of the course is to examine different perspectives on human nature, relationships, and the interconnectedness of environment, place, education, and experience. There will be an emphasis on connecting classroom learning with experiential modules in the local community and perhaps further afield if the class is interested. Evaluation will most likely be a combination of group work, reflection, and a formal paper.
We will be looking at some of the following ideas and questions:
Challenging embedded cultural ideas as an important aspect of education.
Examining cultural narratives about the human role in the environment
Why do we keep destroying the environment if we are aware of our actions?
What does being a part of nature imply philosophically and practically?
How does nature disconnection manifest itself in the lives of children
How do cultural values and norms shape our early perceptions of nature?
Topics to explore: stranger danger, rise of the risk averse society, increasing reliance on technology, less exercise.
ARTS&SCI 4CP3 - Media InquriyInstructor: C. Baade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please find the course outline here.
ARTS&SCI 3G03 - Theatre, Self, and Social DevelopmentInstructor: H. Jafine (Hartley.Jafine@learnlink.mcmaster.ca)
As the course title suggests, this course will explore how theatre can be used as a tool for personal and social development. Over the semester students will participate in Applied Drama exercises designed to develop creativity and transferable skills such as communication and empathy. Moreover, students will explore several approaches to theatre and will devise theatre and non-theatrical creative work using exercises and the self as inspiration. Throughout the course discussions will explore the practice and ethics of Applied Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed and verbatim theatre, which may lead to conversations around notions of power, social roles and stereotypes. Students will be evaluated through class discussion and participation, reflections, scene analysis and other creative work.
Important note: The course is not entirely performance based nor does this course require any previous acting or theatre experience.
Additional information about combining in particular disciplines:Econ Courses Available for ArtsSci 2E03 Students (dated Dec, 2011)
Other handy web resources used in many courses:
(Use the above web communities at your own risk. Overuse of learnlink in particular could have you confused with a Healthsci. Nice folks and all, but man are they weird.)