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Faculty Focus: Dr. Philip Benesch and Disciplinary Perspectives
03.01.13 |
LVC’s General Education Program requires all students to take a Disciplinary Perspectives (DSP) seminar in their junior or senior year. These capstone classes incorporate the viewpoints of at least two disciplines and offer students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in their majors to the analysis of a complex issue.

Dr. Philip Benesch, associate professor of political science, is teaching the DSP course “Marx and Marxism” this spring. He noted that these upper-level classes tend to attract a broad range of majors. “We get a lot of music, sociology, history, and political science majors in this class,” he said. “Having people from so many different backgrounds and majors sometimes means that the students take a while to meld together as a class, but I try to get them to take responsibility for directing the class and presenting the material in their own voices, in ways the whole class can understand.

“It’s a balancing act,” he admitted. “But I’m very committed to the notion of interdisciplinarity. That’s what should lie at the heart of the liberal arts college—to try and make education accessible to all within the College. Rather than locking up political ideas within the political science major, I want all ideas to be something students can investigate.”

Benesch’s commitment to the broad, interdisciplinary liberal arts canon also serves him well as the advisor for LVC’s pre-law minor. “We kept it a minor deliberately,” he explained. “Law schools tell me they want to see a diversity of liberal arts backgrounds—political science, history, philosophy.” Designating pre-law as a minor also makes it an option for students who wouldn’t be able to carry two majors. “Since we set this up in 2006, we’ve added business ethics, visual communications, and information law, which looks at copyright and intellectual property requirements,” he said. “We’re trying to enable students to come from a diversity of disciplines and hopefully give them better information about what they might anticipate in law school.”

Disciplinary Perspectives Courses at LVC

- American Science and Technology
- Film and the American Identity
- Color and Culture
- Video Games: History, Theory, and Sociology
- The College Colloquium
- The 20th-Century World
- The American Presidency
- Religion and Literature
- Myths and Their Meaning
- Atomic Bomb: History Science, and Culture
- Drugs and Behavior
- Marx and Marxism
- Issues in Contemporary Europe
- Water Worlds: Cities
- Liberty and Justice
- Paranormal Phenomena
- Special Topics
- Evolution for Everyone
- Political Philosophy
- The Holocaust: A Case Study
- Psychological and Social Aspects of Disease and Disability
- European Union Simulation
- The Search for Jesus
- Death, Dying, and Beyond

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