A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Extra Credit: Five More Reasons to Go to Class

By Leah Kerkman Fogarty on November 8, 2010

You’ve read about the 20 great reasons to go to class from the Fall 2010 issue of the Mason Spirit. As promised, we’ve done a little extra credit: five more amazing classes offered at Mason.

21. The American President

Many universities require history and poli sci students to take a course on the American presidents, but at Mason we’ve got the guy who literally wrote the book on them. Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence in the School of Public Policy and the Department of History and Art History, is a presidential historian and former head of six presidential libraries. He has written books about George Washington and Herbert Hoover, as well as Thomas E. Dewey, a Republican nominee for president.

Smith teaches Forty-two Men: The Personal Presidency from Washington to Bush. He’s a regular contributor to C-SPAN on matters pertaining to the U.S. presidency and the cable network was recently on campus filming Smith’s class at Mason.

22. Catch Zombie Fever

So we’re a little bit late for Halloween, but zombies are so in this year! So much so that Anthropology professor Jeffrey Mantz has started a class at Mason devoted to the zombie phenomenon called, appropriately enough, Zombies. Read more about it on our blog.

And be sure to catch Mantz on NPR’s All Things Considered here. He was interviewed by the radio station on his class and the cultural implications of zombiedom. Yup, that’s a word.

23. Mind Your Ps and Qs

Metro riders. Loud, personal phone conversations in public. Trick or treaters who don’t say “thank you.” These are just a few of my least favorite things. And at the root of them all?  A very basic lack of manners.

But Mason’s new class offered in the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism is a godsend for those clueless when it comes to etiquette. Called Professionalism and Civility, the course covers the basics, from making eye contact when speaking with someone to proper table manners.

Read more about the course on our blog. Excuse me, I mean please read more about it. Thank you.

24. Let The Sun Shine

The number of students interested in sustainability issues has skyrocketed in recent years and led to a new interdisciplinary degree program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. You can read more about this new degree program in our feature story, Game Changers.

In the popular Physics of Renewable Energy course, students receive hands-on experience in addition to studying the science behind it. Some of the course’s final projects include a vegetable oil-powered car, a solar water heater, and a mini hydrogenerator.

25. Creepy Crawlies

You might rush to stop your toddler from eating that earthworm, but at Mason you can get credit for ingesting insects. For their end-of-the-semester exam review, students in Environmental Science and Policy professor Rebecca Forkner’s Insect Biology course get a taste of entomophagy, the practice of eating insects either by humans or other insects.

After all, entomophagy enjoys a long culinary tradition, having predated farming. And parts of the world still enjoy a tasty bug-studded meal every now and then. The snacks  offered in Forkner’s class can include chocolate chip termite cookies and spring rolls laced with shrimp and silkworm pupa. Course content ranges from learning the basics of insect classification and morphology to the relationship between insects and human health.

No Comments Yet »

Leave a comment