May Term - Intensive Learning

The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel courses as well as on-campus courses. The majority of these courses are offered in May, during a three-week term, although some travel courses may run a little over or a little under the three-week period.

Examples of Past Intensive Learning Courses:

Tropical Marine Biology

Biodiversity, ecology, and taxonomy course in Baja, Mexico, involving identification and classification of animals and plants and their interactions and organizations as species, and as part of communities and ecosystems. (Instructor: D. Jorgensen)

The National Park System: Explore Your America

This domestic travel course explores the National Park Service (NPS) through a discussion of the areas it protects and the history of the NPS itself. The course will explore units of the NPS in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Biological diversity from desert to alpine ecosystems will be explored along with historical and cultural areas. The course includes discussion of important events in NPS history (Roosevelt, Muir, and the Civilian Conservation Corps) as well. (Instructor: C. Lassiter)
Photos from the 2010 trip to Texas, New Mexico and Colorado

A Realistic Look at Human Disease and the Rise of Drug Resistant Organisms
An exploration of plagues in human history and a reflection on the appearance of drug-resistance in microorganisms. Students will learn through research, lecture, reading, a lab exercise and film, the history, politics, biology, and potential modern significance of human diseases, such as Plague, Tuberculosis, Influenza and Cholera and the pathogens that cause them. (Instructor: B. Crozier)

Demystifying Food: Why We Eat What We Eat
In this course, we will examine an activity we do on a daily basis: eating. We will explore some of the biology and biochemistry of the plants, animals and fungi which make up our diet. We will look at the ancestors of certain food organisms and discuss how agricultural practices transformed them into the foods we include in our diet. Next we will bring biology into the kitchen-how do we transform the plants and animals from the field into cuisine at the table? We will explore the mechanisms behind the transformation of milk into cheeses and ice cream, the transformation of grains to breads and beer, and techniques involved in food preservation. Finally we will discuss the politics of food and food production, including aspects of organic food and Genetically Modified Organisms. The role of food in our culture and traditions will be incorporated throughout this course. ( Instructor: M. Ramesh)
Photos from the 2008 course

Sex, Drugs, and Rock N' Roll: A Biological Soundtrack
In this course, we will use rock and roll music to explore the biology behind sex, drugs, and the rock and roll lifestyle. We will understand sex through the examination of human reproduction, STDs, and pregnancy. Drugs will take us into the world of street and over-the-counter drug use, addiction/dependency, and the ethnobotanical history of each of these drugs. The rock and roll lifestyle is filled with consequences like hearing loss and tattooing, so we will also delve into these phenomena from a cultural perspective. Investigating the lives and music of people like Hendrix, Curt Cobain, Mötley Crüe, and Aerosmith through books, videos, and movies will give us a human perspective on some exciting biological processes while allowing us to enter the most extreme version of this musical lifestyle. (Instructor: DB. Poli)

Learn more about the Intensive Learning program.

College mourns loss of Vernon Mountcastle '38, father of neuroscience

College mourns loss of Vernon Mountcastle '38, father of neuroscience

Mountcastle did some of the earliest work on how the brain responds to sensory information.

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