Tag Archives: college academics

Why The Student-Faculty Ratio Is Important 

By: Ally Romanes 

Having a good or low student-faculty ratio is a statistic college marketers love to plaster all over their websites and marketing pieces. It’s a stat PUC is known to brag about, (12:1!). But what does it actually mean and why should you care about it?

PUC is a small family community campus with a 12:1 student-faculty ratio, which means there is one faculty for every 12 students. This allows students and faculty an actual opportunity to get to know each other on a one-on-one basis which is something you miss when attending state schools with large lecture classes. Here are just a few of the benefits attending a smaller school like PUC affords you.

Get The Help You Need 

It’s great to be able to get one-on-one instruction from your professors. A huge benefit of attending PUC is the professors actually teach their classes. All classes are taught by professors, not by teaching assistants. Small class sizes also allow professors the ability to experiment with different learning styles, which benefit those who don’t always learn in conventional ways. 

Make Connections 

PUC’s 12:1 ratio is great for your faculty relationships as well as your peer relationships. In smaller classes, it’s easier to get to know your classmates, find a study partner, and work in groups. It also makes getting to know each student a lot easier for the professors. Making connections is a big deal as you get older! Imagine how easy it will be to get a recommendation letter when each professor knows you by name and can truthfully say they know how hard you work!

Participate!

Smaller classes mean you will have way more of a chance to share your opinions, ask questions, and stand-out in your classes. That might seem terrible to some of you right now but it’s a huge benefit. And for those of you who are shy, remember, smaller classes mean you’ll know your classmates and professors a lot better so you’re likely to feel much more comfortable with them.

Compete Where It Counts

At PUC you only need to compete where it counts, in Intramurals! PUC doesn’t want students having to compete for their professor’s time or educational opportunities and having small classes makes that possible. 

Join A Family

PUC is a family. The moment you step foot on campus, you’re a Pioneer for life. When you attend PUC, the faculty and staff not only know your name, they really care about you as a person and as you work towards your educational goals, you will find your professors become more than just teachers—they become your mentors, friends, and guides for the journey ahead. 

Interested in joining our Pioneers family? The online application is quick, easy to complete, and always free. Reach out to the Admissions office with any questions you might have by calling (800) 862-7080, option 2, or emailing admissions@puc.edu. 

Don’t wait—apply to PUC now!

 

An Inside Look at PUC’s Emergency Services Programs

The emergency services programs at PUC prepare students to be highly skilled professionals in the emergency and fire responder fields. If you’re considering a career in the fire service, law enforcement, disaster relief, or emergency medical services, a degree in emergency services from PUC may be for you. 

You might have some questions about the EMS programs at PUC. Well, we have answers!

Jeff Joiner has been working at PUC as an associate professor of nursing & emergency services for five years now and he was gracious enough to answer a few of our burning questions. 

You’ve now taught at PUC for a few years. What’s been your favorite thing about teaching here? 

I think my favorite thing as a teacher is seeing what my graduates are doing after graduation. Whether it’s working as an EMT in a big city or small rural area, getting that first paid position as a firefighter or heading back to school to advance their career as a paramedic or a graduate degree.

The EMS program at PUC has been around for over 10 years now. What exciting things are in store for the program in the future?

We’ve got lots of ideas on new courses to add to our program to keep it up to date with current standards of Emergency Management education (and make our graduates better prepared). We’ve recently added a new course in Search & Rescue and are taking advantage of the new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course being offered (now a contextual requirement). We have proposed a new degree track that would allow students to complete their paramedic training within four years and receive a B.S. in Emergency Management. We have just had a new course approved for next year that will allow students to complete an internship in Emergency Management with various, county, state and federal agencies. We have new courses in Business Continuity, Technology in Emergency Management (think drones), and a Wilderness (Medicine) First Responder (WFR) courses in the planning stages. All of these courses will keep PUC Emergency Services graduates on the cutting edge.

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What distinguishes PUC’s program from other EMS type programs, such as Union College’s international rescue and relief program?

While there are definitely similarities with Union’s IRR program, our program at PUC is more focused on domestic Emergency Management positions/careers. Both programs have an EMT component that leads to National Registry and identical courses in Technical Rope and Swiftwater Rescue. IRR has an international component that we do not. We have courses in Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC) that lead to a Department of Transportation (DOT) certificate (how to drive an ambulance); a course in how to manage an EMS agency. Approximately half of our students in Emergency Services are members of the Angwin Volunteer Fire Department and are able to gain valuable experience as a firefighter and EMT while they are still in school. This experience is invaluable when applying for positions upon graduation. This is a very unique opportunity for Emergency Management students.

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Why should someone consider studying EMS?

We currently offer two degrees in Emergency Services – an A.S in Emergency Services which is ideal for the student who is looking for a position as an EMT, Emergency Dispatcher, or EMS manager/supervisor. The B.S. in Emergency Management opens up the world of Emergency Management which includes careers in law enforcement, firefighting, Emergency or Disaster Management, international relief, social services, public health, or medicine. Positions as Emergency Managers can be found at the city, county, state, or federal government level; with domestic or international relief agencies (Red Cross, ADRA, USAID, Samaritan’s Purse, Team Rubicon, World Vision, etc.). In the future, up to ninety percent of EM positions will be in private industry leading the business continuity programs. We now offer a pre-med option for students that wish to pursue a career in medicine. We have had several complete dual degrees in Emergency Services and Nursing.

Can anyone take an EMS class, or are they only for EMS majors? 

There are several Emergency Services classes that are open to all students – EMT I & II, and Technical Rescue I & II. Some even meet general education requirements!

What are graduates of PUC’s EMS program doing? 

Currently, we have graduates of our B.S. in Emergency Management working as Emergency Managers for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the San Bernardino County Health Department, and the city of Beacon Hill. One of our graduates is the Emergency Manager for Facebook. We have some working in Law Enforcement, some as firefighters for CalFire. One is currently pursuing her paramedic certification. Another graduate is completing her MPH in Disaster Management (and doing her last internship at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. One of our graduates is now a Disaster Specialist with FEMA in Washington D.C. Another is a youth crisis worker in L.A.

Out of all your classes, which is your favorite to teach and why?

My favorite is probably the EMT I & II courses. These are the foundation courses in our 2 & 4-year degrees. I’m introducing these students to the field of emergency care. From these first two classes, they will use these skills for the rest of their professional career, be it as an EMT, Paramedic, Registered Nurse, or physician the ER. These students are probably the only students on campus who must be prepared to take a National Registry exam after only two-quarters of college. Many are freshmen. And yet, after only two quarters they are able to go out and get a paying job saving people’s lives. Some of our students do this each year before the end of their first year of college!

If you’re interested in learning more about our emergency services programs visit puc.edu/academics. If you have questions, our team of admissions counselors will be happy to answer them! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor and start learning about all the options available to you. 

 

Academic Spotlight: Health Communication 

The health communication degree at PUC is offered to pre-professional students who want to pursue a career in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other healthcare-related fields, but are also interested in studying communication.

If you want to work in the medical field, communication skills are ranked as one of the top skills employers look for in their recruits. Whether you are working with patients and their families or with other staff, communication is key. Students who study communication are often better problem solvers, collaborators, negotiators, and critical thinkers. 

Fast Facts

  1. 100 percent of our health communication graduates are either employed or in graduate programs for medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, physical therapy school, occupational therapy school, or other graduate programs. 
  2. Strong interpersonal, intercultural, written, and verbal communication skills are in high demand, especially in healthcare, because communication errors are often reported to be the leading cause of mistakes in healthcare. 
  3. PUC’s program is one of the very few undergraduate health communication programs available in the entire country. We are the only Seventh-day Adventist school who offers this degree. 
  4. A health C=communication degree is not an easier way to prepare for pre-professional programs since performance in science courses and MCAT/DAT/GRE, etc. scores are still the key markers for being competitive applicants. But it is one path that provides a broad overview of all types of communication skills healthcare providers will use in their careers. 

A Student’s Perspective

I really like how I can take communication classes on top of science classes. Communication classes break down everyday concepts I feel we normally never really acknowledge. I felt like comm classes really gave me an edge when it came to interpersonal or small group interaction and the professors are the best professors on campus. Communication classes really helped me be more aware of how I speak. I believe anyone entering healthcare should be aware of how they speak and how they can improve. The biggest take away from comm classes at PUC was how it inspired me to become a better communicator for a stronger patient-provider relationship. Taking comm classes helped me realize being a health provider is more than just helping patients but creating a relationship can offer the best patient outcome.” – Myro Castillo, senior 

If you would like to see more information about health communication, check out the course catalog. Speak to your academic counselor or an admissions counselor if you have any questions about PUC’s health communication program. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor. 

 

How To Make The Most Of Class Time 

Sometimes the idea of sitting still and paying attention is too much to bear. I get it, really. With late nights and early mornings you’re probably tired, your classroom is warm, the idea of dozing off might seem very appealing. The thing is, you’re paying good money to be here so fight the urge to daydream your class away; get your money’s worth by making the most of your class time. Here are four simple ways to do just that. 

Be Engaged

Get into the habit of being attentive during class. Some classes are easier to pay attention to than others. A one or two-hour lecture might be more difficult than a class that requires your participation and interaction, so find something to help you stay engaged even if it’s something silly such as keeping track of how many times your professor uses a certain word or phrase. 

Take Notes 

Taking notes during class is also a great way to stay engaged during a lecture. Not only are you forcing yourself to stay engaged, but you’re also helping yourself by writing down things you’ll want to remember later. For some people, the act of physically writing things down even helps them retain that information. 

Ask Questions 

If you don’t understand something, ask. Your professors will always be happy to answer questions if you have them, even if you just need a little clarification. Not only does asking questions give you the answer you need, but it also shows your professor you’re engaged and care about their course. If you’re shy and don’t want to speak up in class, take advantage of office hours. 

Ditch the Phone

Did you know the average American checks their phone on average once every 12 minutes? If you’re sitting in class and you’re bored or having a hard time paying attention the urge to check your phone only multiples. That’s why we recommend ditching the phone altogether. Put it in your bag for the duration of class to cut the temptation. Also, it shows your professors you respect the work they put into their lectures. 

Even on the days you don’t feel 100 percent focused, make the most of your class time. Each lecture will be useful when it comes time to complete your homework or to study for quizzes and exams. Stay awake, stay focused, and make the most of your class time. If you find you’re struggling a bit with your coursework, check out some great resources PUC offers! 

 

PUC in Pictures: Summer 2019

Even though summer is fun and filled with adventures, we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome everyone back to campus for another exciting year! Before the new year get’s underway, let’s take a look at some of our favorite moments over the past few months.

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

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“Home sweet home” -@hgranados4

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👀 check out those moves!

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Give us a follow on Instagram (@PUCNow) and browse through some of our hashtags for a closer look at student life at PUC. #PUCAdventures is a great place to start!

Finish In Four: Stay On Track

Getting accepted into college is a great accomplishment! Now, you will want to have a plan to stay on track and graduate in four years. While that’s not always possible (lots of people take five!), here are some things you can do to ensure you stay on track.

 Meet Regularly With Your Academic Advisor

Your academic advisor is one of the most important individuals on your academic journey. They will help you plan your schedule each quarter and can walk you through your curriculum guidesheet and track your academic progress using the Student Planning tool to assure you’re registered for the right classes at the right time.

 Complete An Average of 16 Credits Per Quarter

To earn a baccalaureate degree in four years, you need to complete at least 192 college-level credits, which is about 48 credits per year, and an average of 16 credits per quarter. That means you should plan for 16 credits a quarter. If you get behind, don’t worry; your advisor can assist you in figuring out how to fit in some extra credits or apply for summer classes! 

 Follow Your Curriculum Guidesheets

Every program has what’s called a curriculum guidesheet, which lists the classes needed to complete the program and contains a sample four-year schedule you can refer to when planning your schedule each quarter. Visit puc.edu/academics/degrees-programs for a complete list of programs and the accompanying guidesheet. 

Note: Undeclared students can still plan to finish in four years if they take an average of 16 well-chosen credits per quarter! You may refer to the “Information for Undeclared Majors” guidesheet for a sample first-year schedule for deciding students.

Track Your Progress with the Student Planning Tool

This helpful tool (available through WebAdvisor) shows you which courses you will need to take to complete your degree. If you’re considering changing your major, you can also run a comparison for a new degree to see which requirements you have already met and how many credits you still need to complete. The Student Planning tool is available through your WebAdvisor account in the Academic Profile section (click on “Student Planning” and select “My Progress”).

 Avoid Transferring Schools

Don’t leave! Since different schools offer varying degrees and requirements, earning a chosen degree on time means committing to a school’s program and tenaciously working toward completing requirements. Plus, we’d miss you.

 Take Your Classes Seriously 

Attend your classes and take them seriously. Did you know if your cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation? That could seriously slow you down. But not to worry, if you are struggling, we encourage you to seek help from your academic advisor and the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). There are multiple resources available to you helping establish academic success. 

Just remember, while stressful at times, your years in college are going to be some of the greatest! By keeping the above steps in mind and accepting the support your Pioneers family offers, you’re setting yourself up for a successful and meaningful scholastic quest. 

 

What’s Your Favorite Class at PUC?

We often ask students to tell us what their favorite class is and why. We always get a variety of answers and it’s fun to get different takes. My favorite class was Organizational Communication taught by Dr. Tammy McGuire. Not only did I find it fascinating to take a deep look into the inner workings of various organizations but you also get to dissect episodes of “The Office” (Give me Michael Scott any day). But this time around we thought we might ask some professors what class was THEIR favorite to teach! 

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“My favorite class is Screenwriting. It is probably the clearest example of how much diversity we have at PUC. In order for students to dedicate two quarters, 20+ weeks to write a 100-page script, they have to really care about what they are writing about and very quickly the class gets personal. Hearing students develop ideas, which typically connect to their unique lives and upbringing is always inspiring. Each individual seems to have a different story and experience that we the class then get to support them in bringing to life. This might be an immigration story from another part of the world, a personal struggle with their parents, or just a unique take on the world. As a class, we all learn from one another and as we hear their stories unfold, work together to make each the best they can be. It never gets old for me because each year the class brings unique students with unique stories. That I can not only help but that in hearing them, I can become a better person myself. It is the one class where the students have as much to contribute to one another as myself.” ⁠— Rajeev Sigamoney, M.S., Professor of Film and Television Production

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“Of course I love all of my classes equally, but maybe I love my HNRS 380 ‘Science of Feeling’ more equally. It’s basically an opportunity for me to talk about embodiment and feeling—my favorite subjects—with clever, engaged students who enjoy wrangling with difficult texts. I also love ENGL 301 ‘Science & Culture’ because, in many ways, it’s the larger-class version of that same course.” ⁠— Peter Katz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English & Director of Honors

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“My favorite class to teach is Field Seminar. This class is taken by our senior social work majors all year long. It is my favorite because in this class my students share about their internship experience, and it is also where students synthesize theory and practice. There are many ‘a-ha’ moments, and I get to experience their growth in the social work field and witness the changes they are making in our community.” ⁠—Damaris Perez, M.S.W., Assistant Professor of Social Work & Field Practicum Coordinator

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“My favorite class to teach is History of American Art. Not only is it my area of specialization, but it gives me the opportunity to discuss in-depth two of my favorite artists, Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. It also inspires me to encourage the diverse student body of the college to appreciate the artistic contributions made by artists of color.” ⁠— Jon Carstens, M.A., Associate Professor of Art

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“I think my favorite is World Civilizations II (1500 to present) because I get to talk about a broad range of topics pertaining to the world we all live in. It also helps that my specialty, modern India, is covered in this class.” ⁠— William Logan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History

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“CHEM 210 laboratory glassblowing. It is very fun to blow glass.” ⁠— Robert Wilson, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry

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“I love teaching all of my classes. Each class is special in its own way and the students in those class inspire me to enjoy every class I teach.” — Robert Paulson, Ph.D., Professor of Physical Science

 

Did you know PUC offers over 70 degrees and programs? Think of all the fun and exciting classes each offer. To learn more, simply visit our academics page on the PUC website or check out this great blog post about some of PUC’s most interesting classes

 

The Honors Program Takes to the London Streets

This summer, Dr. Peter Katz, professor of English and new director of the Honors program, accompanied a group of Honors program students on a study tour to London, UK. These students were taking HNRS 380: London Streets. In this course they learned about Victorian politics and life in London, considering the ethics and obligations of seeing poverty (then and now).

Now that they have returned from their European jaunt, Dr. Katz graciously accepted our request to guest blog about his incredible summer experience.

“I am starting my fifth year as a teacher in the English department, and my first year as Honors Director. (I was also an Honors student at PUC from 2006-2010.) My scholarship focuses on empathy and emotion, particularly through Victorian literature and culture; my teaching focuses on pretty much whatever needs teaching, though somehow it will end up being about empathy and emotion (and animals). I love coffee, martial arts, and animals, though usually not simultaneously. London Streets was my first abroad tour as a professor, and I think it changed me just about as much as it did the Honors students.”

 

In Defense of Victorian Optimism

By: Peter Katz

I completely missed him.

I’d like to think I was concerned with my students’ safety, was looking at my phone to find a route to our next destination. 

But that’s probably untrue. 

 More likely, as I’ve trained myself to do, I skipped over him as part of the scenery. 

 But Sarah didn’t.

 Can we get him some food? He looks really bad.

 Open sores. Brittle, skeletal. Homeless. 

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For the last three weeks, the six students of HNRS 380: London Streets had walked the alleys of Victorian London. They waited beside a young Dickens with his father in Marshalsea Prison. They crowded into the cloying humidity of the attic operating theater in St. Thomas’ Hospital and witnessed the frantic amputations in a race against infection. They stood over the cesspool where the 1854 Cholera epidemic began, scoured the streets with Dr. John Snow as he wrapped his head around a new theory of disease transmission. 

 New institutions lunged up from the cultural fabric, bent and warped the channels through which the city’s bodies flowed. New feelings, new modes of embodiment became possible, even as those structures altered or cut off old formulations—sometimes for the benefit of the working people, sometimes not. 

 This is a value-neutral statement. One of my favorite mantras before I describe how those institutions changed feelings and bodies. Neither inherently good, nor bad. Value-neutral. 

 *****

 Sarah is always driven. We joke that she finishes the course readings before I’ve finalized the syllabus. 

 I’ve never seen her as focused as she was in that moment. She parted the clotted streets of Camden Town with the precision that would make a Victorian surgeon weep. Straight to a coffee shop with premade sandwiches and bottled drinks as though the crowd didn’t exist. She fired off a prescription:

 Protein. Handed me a sandwich. 

 Fruit. 

 Hydration. 

 Rang it up. Back to the streets, back through the crowd. 

 Stop. Spinning, intent, distraught. 

 Where did he go?

 *****

 Value-neutral. 

 For better or worse, one of my other favorite teacher phrases is: now this is an argument, so feel free to push back. History should be contentious. It should challenge our assumptions, pick apart our received knowledge. I don’t give dates and names. I give arguments. 

 Now, this is an argument, so feel free to push back: institutions are inherently value-neutral. They’re a historically continent attempt to address the pressures of population-dense urban centers, of increasingly complex pecuniary and social economies.

 Victorian institutions create problems, to be sure. We shrank before the physical restraints in Bedlam psychiatric hospital. We cringed as the Salvation Army celebrated military metaphors like “opening fire” to describe their social work. We balked as the hospital transformed patients into statistics and problems to solve. 

 But they also fix problems. Bedlam begins conversations about the expression of psychological pain, begins to embrace the infinite multiplicity of human experience. The Salvation Army insists that the poor matter, propels the welfare state to its (European) prominence, protects the poor more than laissez-faire ever could. The hospital defeats cholera, extends life-expectancy, heals and helps anyone in need. 

 The Victorians had their problems: the Empire, horrific misogyny, paternalistic classism. 

But no one can say they didn’t care. 

 *****

 Victorian fiction of the 1880s stages a three-way battle between unbridled capitalism, socialism, and liberal reform. The capitalists rarely earn a voice in these texts; their ideology is just fundamentally broken. 

 The real debate occurs between the socialists and the liberals. The socialists argue that the system is broken and requires a complete overhaul to fix. Anything short of that is a waste of energy at best, or worse, a secret tool of the capitalists. They’re earnest, sincere. The city is broken, and they want to scrap it and start again. 

 The liberal protagonists of these texts present an argument that feels naïve. The system, the city, is sprawling, an often indomitable mass too large to get hands or heads around. The system is broken. 

 But, as Valentine of Children of Gibeon rebukes her brother, “Go away and rail at Competition, while we look after its victims.” 

 If we care hard enough about each individual person, the liberals argue, we might not fix the system—but we’ll fix that person, if only for a while. And if we all care, and all help, maybe the city can fix itself. 

 Is it naïve? Maybe. Is it optimistic? Perhaps. Beautiful? Absolutely.

 *****

 We find him. He’s trying on a new pair of shoes someone had dropped. 

 I look away. It feels like a violation of his privacy to watch—a violation of a concept completely unavailable to him. 

 He finishes, slumps back down against the lamppost. Sarah gives him food. We walk away.

Back to the coffee shop, where some of the other students wait. They talk about the stores around them. Laugh, joke, show each other things on their phones. 

 Except for Sarah. She stands, stares unseeing into the wall as she drinks. She is very definitely not crying. Neither am I.

 I manage to catch her eye. And as we give each other a reassuring hug, I’m quite sure we’re hugging him as well. 

 

London Streets: Honors photo blog

The Honors program’s summer trip to London was an incredible learning experience for both faculty and students. Their course, “London Streets” took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Here are a few of their favorite moments captured on film! 

 

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The first day on the train from Newbold to London, bright-eyed and ready to go. (Left to right, front: Amy Ramos (Exercise Science), Sarah Tanner (English), Grae McKelvie (BS Management); back: Ervin Jackson (Biochem), Sebastian Anderson (Graphic Design), a British person, Isabel McMillan (History)) (All class of 2021)

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On the train, first day of week 2: (Left to right: Ervin, Grae, Sebastian, Sarah, Amy)

 

 

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Where modern epidemiology and germ theory was born. This pump was ground zero for the cholera epidemic of 1854. (Left to right: Isabel, Ervin, Sebastian, Sarah, Amy, Grae)

 

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In the 19th-century operating theatre of St. Thomas’s hospital (front to back: Sarah, Sebastian, Grae, Isabel, Amy, Ervin)

 

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Suffragette propaganda in the People’s History Museum, Manchester (Sarah and Isabel)

 

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Saying goodbye on the last day (Isabel, Sarah, Amy; Sebastian in back)

 

 

 

 

 

London Streets: Reflections On A Summer Study Tour

By Becky St. Clair

For three weeks this summer, Peter Katz, director of the Honors Program and professor of English, led a study tour for honors students in London, UK. Their course, “London Streets” took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Together, professor and students considered the ethics and obligations of seeing poverty both in Victorian times and now, interrogated the intersection between scientific regulation of health and governmental power, and traced the geographic and cultural impact of industrialization. 

“This trip was the best possible way I could have imagined my first excursion into Europe,” said honors student Sebastian Anderson. “It was the perfect balance between checking off the typical tourist attractions and activities while also getting to explore London in a more intimate way through our class trips and our readings.” 

Two participating students agreed to share their reflections on specific parts of their trip with us, so we could share their experiences directly with you, our readers. 

Isabel McMillan, history major

After a walking tour about the crimes of Jack the Ripper, I commented that his story was a female-centric story. I wished that when we told the stories of his victims we didn’t have to focus so much on the men, and could talk more about the women and their stories. One of my classmates pointed out history is male-centered, and society is misogynistic, and our storytelling of history has to be male-centric. 

Contemplating this perspective, I came to the conclusion that while it is not entirely wrong, it’s also not entirely right. 

I remembered this exhibit on a ship I saw in a Swedish museum once. The exhibit’s storytelling began with two of the women who were on the ship when it sank. The researchers did as much research as they could on these women, and learned quite a bit. Part of what they found included records of a woman who was in charge of building the ship, and how she met with the king about its progress. They also discovered records of another woman who ran a business vital to the building of that ship, as well as court documents detailing stories of women involved with court cases (there were laws against women being involved in court cases, and yet..). There was so much more. Most of this history was pre-Victoria. What I’m trying to say is that researching women and their lives is possible. Hard, but possible. 

Another thing I realized in all of this was by saying history is misogynistic and society is created for the white man, it gives people an excuse to not even try researching women. Allowing people to say the only way to tell women’s stories is through the point of view of the men in their lives allows people to not try, and to not feel guilty about their lack of effort. And that is not acceptable.

Sarah Tanner, English major

In looking over notes from this trip, I realized beginning on July 9, I switched from titling my class journal entries “reflections” to “reactions.” It wasn’t a deliberate move, but it matched the intensity of my interaction with the class and topics as we worked through some genuinely difficult discussions. 

 If I could distill this class into one key point, it would be, “bodies matter.” Politics, institutions, and good intentions all have their place, but unless we prioritize human bodies, their needs, and their desires, our ability to successfully empathize and care for those around us will forever be stunted. I want to believe on some level, most people recognize the truth in this, but until one is confronted with the immediacy of this need, it’s easy to overlook. Personally, it took almost stumbling over a homeless man outside the underground in Camden for me to recognize the necessity of enacting care for these bodies. And even then, when faced with the reality of his fraught situation, it was clear not everyone in our group processed the experience in the same way. 

 This class instilled in me a sense of urgency, an impulse to look more closely at the people around me and consider how I can help. And as much as I love modern literature, I have learned to stand in defense of the Victorian optimism that maintains that something can be done for these bodies. It just requires a degree of awareness (I’m convinced) results from trips such as this one. 

 Checking in with a structure or area’s effective gravity and reading it against one’s own response to that place is a practice vital to the optimist’s project. It requires constant self-reflection and comparison to the world beyond what is immediately available in a physical or bodily sense. Paradoxically, it creates a simultaneous drive for introspection and increased connection with others. While seemingly contradictory, I think this oscillation is important; to empathize, one must have a personal attachment to the shared effect, and that requires a degree of knowledge of self and others.  

 This practice is something I will definitely carry with me long after we all fly home; Victorian optimism has taken a piece of my heart. I want to be more aware, to see myself and others as more than separate components of a larger system, to seek out individual bodies in need of physical and emotional care. And more than foundational awareness, I want to be available to anyone who feels that need as well.