Loyola University Maryland

Messina

Visionary Course Pairing

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Looking Beyond Ourselves:  Writing for Action (WR100S)

Think about your favorite piece of writing—what effect does it have on you? Effective writing has the strength to make someone laugh, think, learn and act. Your mission is to write with strength.

In this class, you will think about how powerful writing affects you both as a reader and a writer. Reading pieces by writers like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan Casey will give you the chance to look through the lens of other writers in order to sharpen or refocus your own.  Activities out of the classroom will serve to broaden your understanding of yourself in the context of your new community as well. In addition, you have the opportunity to take one of two tracks:   the traditional path or the service-learning option. Service offers yet another text to integrate among our readings, discussions, and writing opportunities. On the service track, you’ll be asked to see yourself in direct relationship to those you meet at Tunbridge Charter School. Whether you opt for service or not, we will always try to contextualize our discussions beyond ourselves and to see how writers attempt to move their readers and affect the world around them.

As you look beyond yourself, you will use your writing to envision who you wish to become and perhaps create a new lens through which a child might see him or herself. Along the way, you’ll be writing for action.

Faculty Biography

Andrea Leary is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing, where she has been teaching for the last 20 years. A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, she earned her doctorate from the University of Delaware. In all of her classes, her goal is to guide her students toward excellence in writing while keeping the Jesuit mission of “men and women for others” in their thoughts. Over the past nine years, a main focus has included creating community partnerships and service-learning opportunities for her students. Her students have worked with and for The Arc, on behalf of our neighbors with disabilities, Baltimore Reads, with adult students working toward improved literacy, Tunbridge Charter School, with elementary and middle school students, and Maryland New Directions, with adults seeking job training and employment. Her students have had the opportunity to publish their work in various realms including newsletters, the Baltimore Reads Gazette and Tunbridge to Reading, and a book, Dare to Believe. Most importantly, they have enjoyed the reciprocal nature of service and seeing themselves as active participants in the Baltimore community. For the Loyola community, her second semester first-years have produced five editions of New Hounds, a 12-page newsletter written by and distributed to incoming first-years. Margaret Mead’s reminder guides her teaching:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The Rebellious Self: Philosophical Readings from Sophocles, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (PL201)

Readings from Sophocles and Socrates set the tone for a semester spent exploring historic texts that focus on the rebellious actions and speeches of Antigone, Socrates, his fellow Greek men, and selected modernists.  Themes such as justice, love, duty, friendship, political partnerships, and freedom will be examined as we read, critique, and spiritedly debate original texts. Contentious words and deeds have either positive outcomes or negative consequences. After a thorough understanding of the theoretical concepts and the contextual relevance of our ‘rebellious’ texts, we will compare how each character made manifest her/his rebellion.  Were the motivations purely philosophic or not?  If not, do they still have merit? How is that decided?  After healthy discussions, we will decide our characters’ character.

Once grounded in the foundational concepts offered by the Greek philosophers, we will move forward to the writings of the Federalists, the Founding Fathers, Transcendentalists, and Existentialists.  We will incorporate our on and off-campus experiences to explore the rebellious selves who are the gadflies of antiquity and of today. Note: This is a Service-Learning optional class. The class will tutor grade-school age children at Tunbridge, the local charter school, for two hours each week.

Faculty Biography

Nina Guise-Gerrity graduated from Loyola College before working in industry and coming back to her alma mater.  A most recent product of the Great Books Program at St. John’s College, Annapolis and a current student in Loyola University Maryland’s MBA Program, she teaches and advises mostly first and second year students.  An active member in the school’s Service-Learning and community’s Peace Center, she incorporated both her scholastics and community involvements into her curriculum.   

Mentor Biographies

Christina Spearman is the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life. She started working at Loyola in 2007, and previously served as the Associate Director of Student Life for Student Conduct and the Director of Sophomore Initiatives. She received her B.S. in Communication from Emmanuel College, her M.A. in Counselor Education from Clemson University, and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University. Christina enjoys helping students understand discernment, discussing Loyola’s core values, all things pop culture, and musical theater. Originally from Baltimore, Marie Anderson is a 2011 graduate of Loyola University, where she studied abroad in Ghana and volunteered regularly with the community.  She returned to Loyola as a VISTA for the York Road Initiative from 2012-2013 and is now a full time staff member of the Initiative.  Marie identifies, coordinates, evaluates, and implements a variety of projects and efforts that support the York Road community, including strengthening existing York Road businesses and organizations, and promoting the area as a whole. She develops a sustainable model for the Govanstowne Farmers’ Market and establishes long-term links between Loyola resources and the community.

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