Loyola University Maryland


The Good Life Course Pairing

The Good Life: Writing Toward Happiness (WR 100)

This course will use the genre of the essay to explore how individuals and groups create definitions of happiness based upon values, beliefs, cultural backgrounds, societal influences, and more. We will consider how authors, artists, philosophers, and religious figures have framed our ideas of happiness, success, and fulfillment—as well as influenced our pursuit of these ideas. Students will analyze historic and contemporary definitions of happiness as well as develop their own working definition over the course of the semester. All coursework will be geared toward learning how to articulate and refine our ideas through the processes of writing and research. By examining happiness at a global, local, and personal level, we can begin to better understand ourselves and bring that understanding to the forefront of our consciousness. 

Faculty biography

Professor Laurence Ross is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writing Department and teaches Creative Nonfiction for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth during the summer months. He has published his art writing and essays in many journals and magazines, including The Georgia Review, Brevity, Bluestem, The Offending Adam, Hyperallergic, Pelican Bomb, and HuffPost. He is also a frequent contributor to BmoreArt, a Baltimore-based magazine that reflects the art and culture of Baltimore and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic region. 

Food: How our Food Choices Impact our Health, our Environment, and our Society  (BL 120)

The development of agriculture was one of the great innovations in human history, allowing our species to expand to the current population size of over eight billion. However, this change in diet has had broad implications for both humans and the health of the earth. This course investigates the science and issues involved in food production and consumption. Topics include evolutionary changes in the human diet; food and the environment; the impact of diet on human health; and social justice issues related to food production and accessibility. Good food, especially in the company of friends and family, is one of the great pleasures in human life. The Good Life theme will be extended in this course to also consider how your food choices impact other humans, other organisms, and the Earth itself. This is a course designed for non-majors and serves as a core course in the natural sciences; the course also can be taken by prospective biology majors as a free elective. This course fulfills the requirements for the minor in Environmental and Sustainably Studies.

Faculty biography

Dr. Elissa Miller Derrickson is an Associate Professor of Biology.  She grew up in Pennsylvania, received her BS from Shippensburg University and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include the evolution of physiology and life history traits in mammals. Her research has taken her to Canada, Colorado and locally to study reproduction of Peromyscus (field mice) in their native habitat.  In addition to her interests in biology, she also likes traveling, reading fiction, cooking, and eating!   

Mentor biography

Katie Benoit grew up in central Massachusetts before coming to Loyola as an undergraduate. She recently completed her Masters in Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies from Ohio University and her role on campus is the Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventures in the Department of Recreation and Wellness. You can find Katie running, biking, cooking, or spending time with her cat, Crawford, when not at Loyola!

Virtual Advisor

WR 100 satisfies the Composition core requirement for all students. BL 120 satisfies a core requirement for non-science majors. This course pairing is not recommended for students considering a major in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Forensic Studies, Engineering, or Elementary Education.

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Advising and Support

Evergreens: Your personal guides to life at Loyola

Loyola student leaders support and guide students through their first-year experience.

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