Loyola University Maryland

Messina

The Good Life Course Pairing

The Good Life: Environmental Issues and Conservation for the 21st Century (BL111)

For several decades, geologists have been pushing for recognition of a new epoch, the "Anthropocene". This name would reflect the impacts that humans have had on the Earth during most of our history.  Life on Earth is amidst the sixth mass extinction in its 3.6 billion year history, a fact backed by science that documents our impact as humans: habitat destruction, introduction of invasive species, and rapid climate change.  But science is also showing us what can be done, in concert with policy and political will, to slow the degradation of our Earth. This course covers the history of the Earth and climate change, sources of biodiversity, conservation biology, population biology, agriculture, and use and abuse of Earth’s resources including energy, water and habitats. The theme of The Good Life will be emphasized as we explore the impacts of human desires and needs on global conditions in addition to exploring our values.  Students will become adept at deconstructing complex systems, and recognizing actions that they can take that could collectively make a difference.  Intersections with economic, social, and philosophical systems will be explored through the lens of environmental justice. This is a course designed for non-majors. Course fulfills the introductory course requirement for the Environmental and Sustainably Studies Minor.

Faculty Biography (BL*111*01G) 

Bernadette Roche is an associate professor in the Biology Department at Loyola, and the Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Minor.  She has been involved in freshmen programs since coming to Loyola in 1997, teaching in first year programs, serving as Core Advisor most years, and serving on the boards of both Messina and the Honors Program.  Bernadette teaches Plant Ecology and Plant-Animal Interactions, as well as introductory biology majors courses such as Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity. She regularly teaches the non-majors Environmental Biology course, and has adapted that course for Messina this year.  Her research is on the evolutionary ecology of a small mustard, the lyre-leaved rock cress. She is also expanding her research into urban environmental education.  In her spare time, she enjoys doing things with her family, singing in the church choir, scuba diving, hiking with the dogs, gardening, cooking, and traveling. 

Faculty Biography (BL*111*02G)

Lauren Spearman is a lecturer in the Biology Department.  She loves teaching the topics of ecology, evolution, biodiversity and conservation at Loyola, and wants students to incorporate knowledge of these fields into how they see themselves and the World.  She has traveled extensively for research and those experiences instilled in her greater purpose for sharing how being both scientifically literate, and simultaneously understanding of other cultures, is paramount for conserving life on Earth.  She has research interests in the fields of taxonomy, community ecology and systematics, and enjoys exploring questions about the little things that run the World – insects! She would love some spare time for hobbies, but for now she can be found happily hiking after her two little boys on weekends.

The Practice of Philosophy (PL201)

What does it mean to lead a philosophical life? Is philosophy primarily an exercise of reason to understand and conceptualize the world, an ethos of grounding one’s life upon profound wisdom, a tool for self-reflection, an avenue toward transcendent experience, or something else altogether? This course brings together a motley cast of characters from the history of Western and Eastern philosophy to investigate the question of what it means to live philosophically. Our readings will range from Ancient Greek thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle to the Bhagavad Gita; early teachings of the Buddha; letters of the Roman Stoic, Seneca; the autobiography of the reformed Medieval ‘bad boy,’ St. Augustine of Hippo; and the mystical writings of St. Catherine of Siena.

Faculty Biography

Jessica Locke is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Her main areas of philosophical interest are moral psychology and Buddhist philosophy. A native of northern California, she also enjoys live music, studying Tibetan language, and memes.

Mentor Biography

Dan began working at Loyola in the fall of 2016 as the Assistant Director of Student Life for Student Conduct.  As a Loyola alum Class of 2012, Dan had the privilege of attending Loyola as an undergraduate and obtaining his degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology.  In addition, Dan earned his Master of Education degree in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University (JMU).  At JMU, Dan also worked as the Graduate Assistant for Sexual Violence Prevention and Education in the University Health Center and as the Graduate Assistant for the Accountability Board in the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices.
Dan’s passion lies in mentoring students.  Whether mentoring is through conduct, Messina, or another outlet, Dan loves challenging and supporting students so they may become the best version of themselves.  Dan’s professional and research interests include: sexual and intimate partner violence advocacy and prevention, healthy masculinity, restorative practices, atheist student development, and training non-student affairs staff in student development theory.  When Dan is not working you’ll find him reading a good sci-fi book, baking some delicious dessert, or enjoying the company of friends.

Mentor Biography

Zachary Hitchens has a Master of Science in college counseling from Shippensburg University, a Post-Masters Certificate in the Advanced Study of Psychology from Loyola University Maryland, and is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Maryland, and a National Certified Counselor. He earned a B.A. from Gettysburg College. Before coming to Loyola in 2012, he worked as a mental health counselor at Lewis University, York College of Pennsylvania, and Shippensburg University. 

A group of students posing for a photo, with the harbor and Baltimore skyline in the background
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