Quest Section Descriptions | Fall 2015

QS112QS211 | QS212 | QS311 | QS411

QS111: Intro to Quest 

Freshman inquiry seminars use an inquiry-guided approach that lets the student take the lead in finding the answers. These courses minimize lecture and maximize interaction among the students to create an active learning environment. Critical thinking, communication and teamwork are key learning objectives for these courses.

QS111 A: Intro to Quest

Robin Liston

QS111 B: Intro to Quest

Robin Liston

QS111 C: The Arts and Community

Joanne Janssen

In a world in which jobs are scarce and the national and state budgets are tight, many have started to question the value of the arts. In this course, we will examine just what literature, visual art, theater, and dance have the power to do in the lives of individuals and communities. For example, we will learn what happens when a group of prisoners performs Shakespeare's plays, as well as what it means to a group of African orphans to perform their ethnic dances. We will also learn about (and debate!) some controversies relating to the arts. In order to keep our discussions grounded in some local realities, and to experience firsthand the way in which the arts can impact a specific community, this course will have a service-learning component with Baldwin City’s Lumberyard Arts Center.

QS111 D: Family Drama

Tamara Slankard

How did ancient Greek wives use sex to end a war? Why are two brothers named Lincoln and Booth perfecting their street hustle? What’s so funny about a pill-popping Oklahoma matriarch? Take “Family Drama” and find out! Learn about 2,500 years of dramatic literary history with crazy, violent, secretive, dysfunctional familial relationships at the center of every play. No theater experience necessary. No prerequisites. Note: This is a fun, but reading- and writing-intensive course.

QS111 E: Family Drama

Tamara Slankard

How did ancient Greek wives use sex to end a war? Why are two brothers named Lincoln and Booth perfecting their street hustle? What’s so funny about a pill-popping Oklahoma matriarch? Take “Family Drama” and find out! Learn about 2,500 years of dramatic literary history with crazy, violent, secretive, dysfunctional familial relationships at the center of every play. No theater experience necessary. No prerequisites. Note: This is a fun, but reading- and writing-intensive course.

QS111 F: Comparative Mythology

Robert Howard

By its very nature the study of mythology is highly interdisciplinary, bridging the fields of literature, language, the arts, religion, anthropology, and psychology. Thus, this course will appeal to students with broad interests in the arts and humanities. In this course we will begin by exploring the various linguistic, anthropological, and psychological, and structural theories of the origins and purposes of myths. Using these theoretical frameworks as a basis for our readings of the works of literature which are our sources for the myths, we will then see that they yield meanings significant not only for other peoples but also for us today. Myths of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Scandinavia, Britain, China, Japan, Africa, South America, and North America will provide the primary focus of the course.

QS111 G: Intro to Quest

TBA

QS111 H: Rock & Roll: Music, Musicians & Meaning

Trilla Lyerla

This course will survey the many facets of rock and roll from the roots of rock to contemporary rap, grunge and alternative sounds. The course will proceed chronologically with a focus on the social trends that influenced the growth of rock and roll, as well as those that rock itself created.

QS111 I: Religion and the Comic Book

Nicholaus Pumphrey

In 1938, Superman was created by two Jewish kids from Cleveland, and as a result, he contains several Biblical themes. Since his origin, comic books have contained both subtle and overt expressions of religion. Likewise, major events, such as 9/11 and the Holocaust, have shaped the way religions are represented or expressed in comic books. The purpose of this course is twofold: to examine comic books as both subtle and religious expression as well as to examine comics as religion. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be the religions that are primarily discussed; however, there will be potential for studying other religions and cultures. A large part of the course will be reading comics as primary sources and writing response journals.

QS111 J: American Politics

Ryan Gibb

QS111 K: From Short Stories to Film

Martha Harris HONORS ONLY

In this course, students will both read and watch their resources. In a series of examples, ranging from mystery to science fiction, they will compare and contrast written short stories and the movies which they inspired. Students can explore the different genres and presentations to discuss which they prefer and what the stories cause them to consider. Readings and films include "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa" (Field of Dreams), "Rear Window", and "Cyclists' Raid" (The Wild One). In addition, each student will research their own adaptation and present it to the class.

QS112: Self and Other

QS112 A Moby-Dick and American Life

McKay Stangler

Hermann Melville's Moby-Dick is frequently called the Great American Novel, and it is probably the book that comes closest to capturing the American spirit. It is part adventure story, part philosophical exploration, and part treatise on whales. In addition to reading Moby-Dick, students will consider the ecological and metaphysical position of the whale—the creature that has fascinated seagoers and landlubbers for eons—and study the dramatic course of the whale in the 20th century, as it shifted in human perception from wild beast to tender mammal. We will consider the ethical dimensions of hunting whales and consider how the whale, and Melville's Moby-Dick, maintains a solid grip on our collective imagination.

QS211: Scientific Inquiry

Sophomore inquiry seminars continue to use the inquiry-guided approach to help students develop critical abilities as well as how to view the natural and social world through different approaches. Students will uncover ways in which knowledge is created through scientific and artistic lenses, and develop a more informed view of our global society.

  • Prerequisites: QS112 or equivalent transfer credit
  • Corequisites for QS211: Students must enroll in a linked course (noted on the online timetable; all prerequisites for these courses apply). The linked course cannot be dropped during the semester if you are expecting to earn QS credit. 

QS211 A Eco Terrorism

McKay Stangler

Are violence, property damage, and harm to others defensible or justifiable when done in the name of saving the planet? This is one of the thorniest questions in contemporary ethics, and some major thinkers -- and some surprising names -- have argued that the answer is yes. In the height of the Anthropocene, when human influence on Earth seems to be at its most destructive peak, this class will examine environmental texts, ethical arguments, historical examples, and try to see the evidence as closely as possible in an attempt to decide whose greater good and whose virtue takes precedent in such debates.

QS211 B The Human Genome: What does it really say about you?

Erin Morris

The first draft of the Human Genome sequence was published in 2000. What impact has it had on medicine since then? Do we now better understand genetic risk factors? Do we understand how the environment interacts with genes? Why is epigenetics making all the headlines 15 years later? This course will tackle these topics and the new ethical questions that must be asked as we learn more about how genes affect our health

QS211 C The Science Behind Survival in Everyday Life

Molly Anderson

This course will look at science in everyday life and a few situations that test our limits - we will work to define some important characteristics of science and survival through project work, information inquiry, and most importantly peer discussion.

QS211 D Health: Myths, Paradigms, and Science

Erin Holt

Our lifestyle determines our well-being every day, our mental and physical performance, and our long-term health and disease prospects. Understanding how to optimize a healthy lifestyle requires in-depth knowledge of the impact of choices we make. In this course we evaluate scientific research on nutrition and health to assess our current beliefs and knowledge. Our assumptions are put to the test, students learn how to separate myths from science.

QS211 E History and Philosophy of Science

Don Hatcher

This course introduces students to the ways thinkers from various cultures--Greek, American Indian, Latin American, Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and European--have dealt with fundamental philosophical questions. These questions include the following:

  • What is human nature?
  • What is the nature of ethical behavior?
  • What are the foundations of religious belief”
  • What is the nature of human happiness?

QS211 F Scientific Inquiry

TBD

QS212: Ideas and Expressions

  • Prerequisites: QS112 or equivalent transfer credit
  • Corequisites for QS211: Students must enroll in a linked course (noted on the online timetable; all prerequisites for these courses apply). The linked course cannot be dropped during the semester if you are expecting to earn QS credit.

QS212 A Comics and Crisis: Graphic Novels and World History

Joanne Janssen

In this class we will read graphic novels (or what some describe as “serious” comic books) that focus on important moments in recent world history, such as the Holocaust, the Iranian Revolution, the Bosnian War, Military Control of Burma, and 9/11. We will consider why these writers and artists choose the comic book medium (which is often considered to lack seriousness) to write about such grave subjects. We also will notice their different styles of writing and presentation, and we will consider what graphic novels have the power to convey that, say, newspaper reports do not. Along the way, we also will have opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of this relatively new literary art form, as well as the important events in world history that they depict.

QS212 B Ideas and Expression: Sound the Barritus

John Richards

In this course, students will explore historical factors critical to the collapse of Roman imperial unity (350-476 AD). Organized as a campaign simulation (a game), students will act as the major political figures—whether Roman or barbarian—in competition for power, status, and wealth. Through information gathering, negotiation, espionage, and military confrontation, players will compete to preserve or extinguish the “Light of Eternal Rome.” Student success will be determined by playing the campaign scenario and each student’s effort to identify, understand, and avoid the mistakes of their historical counterparts.

QS212 C Personal Relationships

Kimberly Schaefer

Friendships, family, and romantic relationships can bring us a great deal of happiness. Unfortunately, they can also be areas of frustration and pain. This course will examine effective communication within romantic relationships. We will examine experiences that are often filled with great joy, such as courtship, relationship satisfaction, children, and relational benefits. We will discuss experiences that are often characterized as "dark," such as conflict, turmoil, deception, and cheating. In this course, we identify some of the challenges that people face in their relationships and explore the ways in which communication influences and shapes our relationships.

QS212 D Theories of Law

Katie Sellers

This class explores processes associated with rule-making, rule following, and legal reasoning. Taught by a sociologically trained lawyer, the course invites students to explore issues associated with legal practices and institutions and what it means to operate within and along the margins of the law.

QS311: Global Culture and Community

The junior inquiry seminar continues to use the inquiry-guided approach to help students develop critical abilities as well as a better understanding of our global society. Students will explore how various systems of societies function.

  • Prerequisites: QS211 and QS212 or equivalent transfer credits
  • Corequisites: Students must enroll in a linked course (noted on the online timetable; all prerequisites for these courses apply). The linked course cannot be dropped during the semester if you are expecting to earn QS credit.

QS311 A: Global Connections

Ryan Gibb

In this introduction, students study the communities, economies, and cultures from around the world. How does a community respond to natural disasters like tsunami? Why was it not surprising to see China’s government imprison Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo? When a country hosts international games, what can we learn about underlying social pressures? In this Quest class, we will study broader social and political trends by focusing on specific international events. As part of the Quest curriculum, students will hone their writing, speaking, listening, critical thinking, and quantitative/information literacy skills by investigating the world around them.

QS311 B: Windows on our World: Exploring Global Media

Joe Watson

Windows on our World: Exploring Global Media This course examines the ways in which various forms of mass media reflect global cultures, values, and experiences. Students will study various media systems and their economic and political impacts on societies.They will also learn how news and entertainment programming, the Internet, and social media reflect who we are as people.

QS311 C: An Economist and a Sociologist Explain the World

Alan Grant and Carrie Coward Bucher

Economists and sociologists often study similar topics from different lenses; we explore the relationships among governments, markets, corporate enterprises and people. This class offers students an integrative learning opportunity as we investigate the global impact of governments and markets on social institutions, non-profit organizations, and cultures

QS311 D: International Law

Lee Green

An examination of the nature and sources of transnational law, the legal systems of countries around the world, and the manner in which international law is created, interpreted, and enforced by nation-states, international organizations, and non-state actors. Included will be coverage of topics such as human rights law, environmental law, criminal law, the laws governing war, the law of the high seas, and international business law

QS 411: Global Citizenship

The senior inquiry seminar invites students to apply ethical theories, fine-tune critical abilities, and propose change in the world. In the senior year, students build up to a formal presentation of their own original work.

QS411 A: Seminar in Philosophy/Science, Technology and Human Values

Don Hatcher

This seminar provides an opportunity for Baker seniors to apply the academic skills and their understanding of ethics and human values acquired in their previous education to a public policy issue that is, at least in part, the result of current scientific or technological developments. Special emphasis is placed on global issues related to science and technology. As a seminar, the course is student-centered, with each student presenting and defending his or her position paper on specific public policy issue. As in all seminars, the quality of the experience is a function of its students’ preparation, participation and performance.

QS411 B: Biblical Perspectives to Global Issues

Leonard Ortiz

QS411C: Inequality

Erin Joyce

We will examine the concepts of equality and inequality on a global level, whether it be economic, cultural, or social. As this is a capstone course for the Quest program, students will complete a substantial written and oral project. We will study the work of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), as well as other forms of civic engagement, and their impact on reducing inequality in the world.