Staff Picks: Courses We Love

Photo credit Thomas Allen. Used with permission.

Registration is open, and that means our Spring Quarter 2021 installment of Staff Picks is here as well. Among our staff, Drama 141, History 205, and Psychology 109 stood out as exceptional courses to consider for next year. Below, Emily Dickinson, Josie Bigger, and Callie Gerber explain just what it was that made each class so special.

DRMA 141 — Playwriting I with Professor Tammi Doyle 

I was fascinated with Professor Doyle’s playwriting class. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like going in, but I knew I would be introduced into the life of a playwright and furthermore, theatre. 

The class included reading short 10-minute plays, crafting our own 10-minute play, and watching the school’s production for that quarter. I enjoyed getting to write as a playwright because it was a brand new format of writing for me and I got to choose my character’s fate. I ended up writing an entire play after taking the class because Professor Doyle left me inspired. In the world of digital, this class brought me back to a time when entertainment was simply entertainment.

-Emily Dickinson

HIST 205 — History of WWII with Dr. Brian Casserly 

I never considered myself a history buff until I took Dr. Casserly’s WWII course. You can tell that he is passionate and knowledgeable about the content of the class and that energy is contagious. I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of the events leading up to and during WWII and am constantly surprised by the new things I’m learning.

While the class is homework-heavy, Dr. Casserly makes sure to be available for any questions and also provides very thorough lectures and other online materials. There are weekly quizzes and discussion posts, plus two papers. The class is fully online but there is a weekly Zoom session for guided conversations with the other students about the class content. Some people might loathe college textbooks, but the assigned reading for this class is engaging and easy to understand — plus, it also has pictures!

-Josie Bigger

PSYC 109 — Positive Psychology with Professor Maggie Seibel 

As someone that’s super interested in psychology and wellness, I felt like positive psychology would be a good class for me to take. I was blown away by this class and how much it changed my perspective about myself and the world.

This class had your typical textbook readings (which I found fascinating) and four exams, but my favorite part of the class was the real-world applications. Each week, we had to do global thought patterns which involved doing some sort of psychology experiment. For example, one of the weeks I had to prove something I believed to be true, wrong. I chose to challenge my social anxiety, and work towards being more comfortable in social settings (even though I believed my social anxiety would never go away). I did three things to work on my social anxiety, and social situations began to get easier for me. This class helped me realize that my thoughts can’t dictate my actions.

If you’re interested in working on yourself and learning about psychology, I highly recommend Positive Psychology with Maggie Seibel.

-Callie Gerber