Credit Courses

9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., Monday through Friday

Political Science 210: American Government & Politics   

Dr. Chris Baxter

UT Martin’s typical POSC 210 course focuses on the structure of the American political system, with an emphasis on the following topics: the development of the American Constitution; our system of federalism and how the national and state governments divide and compete for power; and the struggles between competing candidates and interest groups for their share of power in the political system.  For GSH, the theme will be “A Government of Laws, or Men? – The Role of the Individual in American Constitutionalism.” 

We will examine the usual 210 topics with an added emphasis on the following theme: The U.S. Constitution is said to be based on a series of principles that reaffirm the equality, intellect and worth of the common man.  But are the all-too-human men and women in our American political community up to the task of providing “government of the people [and] by the people?”  Are the average men and women who comprise our juries effective truth-seekers, or can they be misled by lawyers’ persuasive rhetoric and witness’ imperfect memories?  Can justice truly be blind when judges in some states take millions of dollars in campaign contributions from interest groups?  Do American voters truly live up to their responsibility to be informed voters, or are their votes determined by sophisticated media campaigns?  We will explore the ethical problems that arise when the pursuit of democratic ideals collides with the realities of human nature.  

Philosophy 120: The Adventure of Ideas

Dr. Christopher Brown

This topical introductory course in philosophy will address fundamental questions in: (a) axiology, the discipline that treats ultimate questions about pleasure and happiness; (b) epistemology, the discipline that treats ultimate questions about knowledge and science, and (c) metaphysics, the discipline that treats ultimate questions about reality, God, and human persons. For example, we will be entertaining the following questions: in general terms, what sort of life is most conducive to human happiness? How do certain modern forms of technology both conduce to and make it difficult to live a good human life? How does knowledge differ from opinion? What is the nature of God? Does a good explanation of some phenomenon have to be a scientific explanation? How should we characterize the relationship between the human mind and the human brain? And finally, why should we answer any of these questions in one way rather than in others? 

Mass Media & Strategic Communication 230: Public Speaking

Dr. Jessica Beckham

The goal of this course is to help students become better communicators and to gain an understanding of the art of public speaking. This course is designed to help students adopt communication practices applicable to professional environments. Students will learn how to speak effectively in public and how to craft effective speeches. In short, students should become better speakers and critics of public communication.

Non-credit Enrichment Courses

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Assessing American Exceptionalism

Dr. David Coffey

Is the United States truly exceptional in the history of the world? Are Americans, therefore, exceptional? Or is the idea of American Exceptionalism a myth, nothing more than an expression of patriotic nationalism? We discuss these questions and many more as we explore the concept of exceptionalism against the backdrop of American history. The current political climate makes such a discussion both timely and necessary.   

Utopian and Dystopian Thought

Dr. Chris Hill

It’s still a vexing question: How do we create a perfect society--where everyone’s needs are anticipated and provided, where injustice and corruption are unknown, where human potential can be fully realized? We will spend the term studying theoretical and practical answers to this question, using utopian ideas in literature and political science to serve as possible, though debatable, options. We will read widely from a broad range of sources, including Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Bellamy's Looking Backward and Zamyatin’s We. As the course winds into the 20th century, we will also examine how utopia becomes dystopia and ask ourselves to what extent such outcomes are either avoidable or written into the project from its inception.

Diplomacy & Statecraft in the World

Dr. Carrie Humphreys

With the war between Ukraine and Russia surpassing the one-year mark, the world is speculating whether a diplomatic solution to this ongoing conflict is even possible. What is diplomacy? What is statecraft? How do actors in the world pursue their interests in today’s complex world? These are the central questions we will discuss during this course, which will also include simulated negotiations. Moreover, we’ll explore what makes for successful negotiations and when states are more likely to compromise. We’ll also discuss the role of international organizations like the U.N. in facilitating diplomacy. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to examine various global issues and learn about specific states by “walking in their shoes” during the course.

ATTENDANCE: You are required to attend all scheduled classes and events and complete all assignments to the best of your ability. There will be ample free time for you to enjoy the campus and your new friends.

ACADEMIC HONESTY: It is expected that all work completed will be the work of the student, unless properly cited as a reference source. Cheating, in any form, will not be tolerated.