Arts 100 offers interdisciplinary focus on the theme of “home”

What if you could take a course that met the first-year English and reasoning requirements for a Bachelor of Arts, had a thematic focus while exploring several academic disciplines, featured several cool field trips and guest speakers, allowed to you to get to know a core group of fellow arts students, and gave you a thorough grounding in the expectations for university-level writing and research?

At the University of the Fraser Valley, you can.

Now in its second year, Arts 100 is a nine-credit course team-taught by anthropology instructor Nicola Mooney and English instructor Melissa Walter. Open to 60 students, the course, which is the equivalent of three 3-credit courses, has a theme of “home” and approaches that theme from an interdisciplinary perspective.

In this excerpt from the course syllabus, the instructors describe how the theme of home is examined:

“In this course, we examine the more or less idealized homes of our imaginations, along with the larger social, historical, and political structures in which they participate. We will examine a range of literary, philosophical, and anthropological questions about home. How do we define, symbolize, represent, mythologize and idealize it? How must we develop our notions of home in opposition to, and even in the absence of, it? How do new understandings of home contribute to our experiences of belonging, citizenship, and social justice? How is home lived, experienced, and imagined, and what kinds of homes do we want to make?”

Eddie Gardner talking

UFV elder-in-residence Eddie Gardner spoke to the Arts 100 class last year about the Halq’eméylem language and the concept of home.

A student who took the course when it was first offered in 2012 said it provided an excellent transition from high school to university.

“We had the opportunity to learn what is expected of us as university-level students while also having the benefit of getting to know a limited number of professors and students. Because the course was interdisciplinary, I learned the benefit of applying knowledge learned in one subject to my other classes, which helped me greatly in my second semester where my courses were so vastly different,” said Janice Rice, who took the course in her first year at UFV after graduating from WJ Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford.

She noted that she also appreciated the study of “home” as subject matter because, “as most of the students in the program are just preparing to leave their homes, it reinforced the necessity of transition and also helped me to acquire awareness to what ‘home’ is to other groups around the world.”

And she praised the thorough grounding in basic university research and study skills provided by the course.

“The instructors provided excellent study and research tips and made themselves available and approachable so I could start off university without the fear or hesitation I otherwise may have had. I would highly recommend ARTS 100 to any student just entering into university, especially if their interest is in a Bachelor of Arts degree.”

The course is a combination of lectures to the full group of 60 students, and smaller classroom sessions with 15 to 30 students each.  There are also numerous field trips and guest lectures.

Last year the group went to Bard on the Beach to see a Shakespeare production, and visited the Blue Heron Nature reserve, among other activities.

This year the course will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the fall semester. The course code is 90087.



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