|New LVC Classes Create Record Label, Explore Evil, and Introduce Students to Authors
Lebanon Valley College students are encouraged and enabled to take an active role in their education, and there is perhaps no more active participation example than the creation of a new class. This coming spring semester and for the first time in LVC history, a course that was conceptualized, proposed, and designed by students will begin. R||:evolution Records Label is also the first class with the “IDS” designation as an interdisciplinary studies course.
“The actual work of the label began over a year ago, but the class to staff the regular operations of a record label is beginning this January,” said Jeff Snyder, professor of music. “The interdisciplinary studies designation reflects the variety of academic skill sets necessary to run a business – obviously the music recording functions, but also financing, accounting, business and marketing, graphic design, copyright regulation, and e-commerce.”
Snyder will co-teach the class with Mathew Samuel of the Digital Communications Department. The class is nearly full, with 24 students representing actuarial science, music business, music recording technology, digital communications, business, and self-designed majors.
The class will function like a business – the weekly class sessions will be like business meetings. Managers – upperclassmen – will provide progress reports on their respective areas of responsibility and collaborate with the rest of the team. The bulk of the actual work is conducted outside of class.
The label’s first project is to produce a compilation CD of works by retiring LVC music professor Dr. Scott Eggert, a composer whose work has an international following. The CD will launch during the fall R||:evolution Music Conference next October. The students will spend this semester mastering the audio and ordering the tracks, designing the album cover, creating a record label website, and developing a marketing plan for the CD launch as well as for the entire record label.
While the record label prepares students by building a business and marketing a product externally, a Spanish class next semester will prepare its students by bringing an expert into the classroom. Central American Literature is an upper level Spanish course that introduces students to literary analysis through close reading of Central American texts. What is unique about this class, though, is that one of the authors of these readings will actually visit the classroom and talk with students about their analyses of his text.
“As part of the course, Costa Rican author Daniel Quirós will come to LVC and talk to our students about his novel ‘Verano ardiente,’ one of the assigned texts for this class,” said Dr. Gabriela McEvoy, assistant professor of Spanish. “Having Quiros in our classroom will be a unique experience for our students as they will have the opportunity to interact with the author and get a first-hand experience on his creative writing process, and ask him specific questions about his book.”
In addition to meeting the author, the class will have an optional study abroad component, as students travel to San Jose, Costa Rica, for a week to learn more about Costa Rican history and culture. The Spanish students will join students from the Latin American History course taught by Dr. Michael Schroeder, assistant professor of history, for a truly cross-curricular experience.
“Students will improve their oral expression by spending a week in a Spanish-speaking country and being immersed in the language,” McEvoy said. “In addition, they will develop a greater appreciation of Central American culture by being exposed to different aspects of Costa Rican daily life through home stays and explorations of the city.”
The class is supported by the Darrell Woomer Diversity Program Endowment.
From one interdisciplinary course to another, assistant professor of religion Dr. Matt Sayers will teach an always-popular course titled “Evil,” which will engage students with a theme, question, or problem central to religious experience, doctrine, and practice from an interdisciplinary perspective.
“I think people are just plain curious about evil,” Sayers said. “What is it? Where does it come from? How do we explain it? The last question has occupied people for as long as they have had time to ponder anything beyond survival.”
Sayers will review the religious responses to evil—with some forays into philosophical thinking on the subject—then shift to the responses of different academic disciplines, primarily sociology and psychology.
“Each discipline seeks to explain why people do things we call ‘evil,’” he said.
Finally students will read topical literature to try to understand the human side of the experience of evil.
“I think the primary benefit to students in my course is understanding how human beings justify their own behavior, how they justify belief in God, how they respond to evil, and how we can understand the experience of evil as something intrinsic to the human experience,” Sayers said.
“Evil is a significant part of a human life, so if students can really engage and tackle this issue, then I think they can gain the skills necessary to figure out other issues, to figure out how to live their own life. When Socrates says ‘The unexamined life is not worth living,’ I think he means we need to examine not only our own lives, but human experience in general to understand what it means to be human, so we can live a full and fulfilling human life.”