Adult Community Exploration Series Offers Free Courses

June 01, 2017

June 14 through July 26, 2017

A free program of courses for adults will be available this summer through the Adult Community Exploration Series (ACES), an initiative of the Community Education Council and Grinnell College.

The four courses, each taught by a Grinnell College faculty member, will be held on Wednesday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Caulkins Room of the Drake Community Library, 930 Park St., Grinnell. Refreshments will be served at each session.

Although all of the courses are free, advance registration is required. For registration or more information, please contact the Office of Conference Operations and Events.

June 14 — Armchair Linguist

What do linguists do, exactly? Diagram sentences in their sleep? Translate alien speech? Keep track of proper comma use and apostrophe placement? Not exactly, although we can see aspects of the real work of linguists in each of these imagined tasks.

The goal of this course is to practice analyzing language as a linguist does, by asking why language works the way it does and collecting data to assess our hypotheses. Language data is all around us, so this is a task that can be done without ever having to leave your chair! Assistant Professor of Anthropology Cynthia Hansen, who holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, will teach the course, which is the only course that meets just once.

June 21, 28 — Exploring the Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip

The final Calvin and Hobbes strip, published on Dec. 31, 1995, closes with Calvin saying to Hobbes, “…let’s go exploring!” That is precisely what this course will do with the 10 years of Calvin and Hobbes strips and a few things its creator, Bill Waterson, wrote. Calvin and Hobbes has remained quite popular and its continuing relevance makes one wonder what about it is enduring. The strip focuses on a 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger/imaginary playmate.

Reading the strips today, they do not seem dated, suggesting the underlying themes must be enduring. After all, the title characters are named after 16th century theologian John Calvin and 17th century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Teaching the course will be Associate Professor of Education Paul Hutchison, who became smitten with "Calvin and Hobbes" when the comic strip first appeared in his local paper when he was a junior in high school. He holds a Ph.D. in science education from the University of Maryland.

July 5, 12 — Chasing Pathogens

Since the 18th century, investigators have grown increasingly sophisticated in tracking down pathogens. This course will concentrate on the investigatory strategies used to identify these threats as well as scientists’ attempt to treat or cure pathogens.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Erick Leggans ’05, who holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, will teach the course.

July 19, 26 — Tropical Forests and Sustainable Development

What is a tropical forest? How are such areas faring in the 21st century? Why should we care, and what, if anything, should we do? This session will take an interdisciplinary approach to examining tropical forests, the communities that depend on them, the pressures forests and forest communities face, and sustainable development alternatives in these regions.

The course also will delve into broad issues of environmental change and human development. Teaching this course is Associate Professor of Anthropology Monty Roper, an applied anthropologist who teaches in both the Department of Anthropology and the Global Development Studies Concentration. He holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh.

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