May classes give Roanoke students a world of experiences

Roanoke students do light repairs in Cambodia during a May course that explores travel writing while visiting tourist attractions and rural parts of the country.

Roanoke students do light repairs in Cambodia during a May course that explores travel writing while visiting tourist attractions and rural parts of the country.

From eating tarantulas in Cambodia to taking a road trip across the United States and learning the secrets of gambling, Roanoke College students are not taking typical collegiate courses this May.

The official title of the program that most students and faculty refer to as "May Term" is the Intensive Learning term. The name comes from the intensive nature of the courses which allow students and faculty members to focus their attention on one subject for three weeks.

Each Roanoke student must complete a May Term course. Students may choose from on-campus, field trips or travel courses, which include both foreign and domestic locations.

Each course is taught by a member of the Roanoke faculty.

Here are a few of the classes happening this month:

Back to our Roots: Urban Farming and the Locavore Movement 

Warning: This class description may leave you hungry. Students are making mozzarella and strawberry rhubarb, milking goats and spending several days living and working at a North Carolina farm during this unique course that explores food origins and the local food movement. The class, led by Dr. Elizabeth Holbrook, is giving students a hands-on view of how to sustain themselves on a diet of foods produced locally. It's a rare chance to see urban farming up close and trace foods' path from the farm to the dinner table.

The Mathematics of Gambling

This on-campus course, taught by Dr. David Taylor, closely examines the multi-billion dollar gaming industry that relies heavily on mathematics. Students in this course are using analysis of probabilities involved in gambling and playing other games. They are also learning game winning strategies of roulette, black jack, poker and other board games. There are casino night activities where students will be able to apply their newfound skills.

Exploring the Biological Diversity of the Southern Appalachians

Students interested in the outdoors likely are the ones taking this field trip course taught by Dr. Rachel Collins. Students are exploring the biodiversity of the Southern Appalachian region through field trips to nearby forests. The class also is traveling to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in Tennessee for five days. Students keep field notebooks and learn how to identify trees, wildflowers and animals that are common to the region.

The National Park: Explore Your America

A road trip through the Wild West of the United States may be on many bucket lists. Dr. Chris Lassiter is guiding students through Texas, New Mexico and Colorado as they explore the National Park Service. Several aspects of this course involve studying ecosystems, history and culture. Students will discover the natural beauty of such national sites such as Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, the Great Sand Dunes and Cliff Dwellings.

Sustainable Operations: The Right Road to Profitability

From solar and wind power to manufacturing and health care, Roanoke students are learning business sustainability practices and advising real companies during this course led by Dr. Chris McCart and Professor Michael Hutkin. The group is traveling to Appalachian State University to study wind farms, the BMW assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., and to Charleston, S.C., for additional instruction. Students will share insights with local businesses and suggest operational changes that will benefit companies in the long run.

Cambodia: Travel Writing

Dr. Paul Hanstedt chose the location of Cambodia as the country for his travel writing course. The course is designed to provide students with the ability to write in the context of world travel.  Students are not only experiencing tourist attractions, but they are also venturing out into the rural areas of the country.  The course is giving students a wide variety of experiences as they are immersed in a culture that is very different from their own.

Ghana: Exploring Ghana through Service

This course is the combined effort of Dr. Shannon Anderson and Dr. Richard Grant. Students are given the opportunity to experience Ghana through service. The group spending time working with well-established service organizations that deal with poverty and healthcare in both urban and rural settings. Students are also learning about the country's history and culture. The course includes visits to important national sites and markets so that the class can experience Ghana's culture for themselves.

Mexico: Tropical Marine Biology

Students interested in marine biology are observing wildlife firsthand in tropical waters. Dr. Darwin Jorgensen is teaching students ecology and taxonomy of pants and animals in Mexico. Armed with goggles and newfound knowledge of sea life, students are observing coral reef, sea grass flat, mangrove swamp, and rocky shore habitats.

Spain: Walking the Camino

These students are covering a lot of ground in northwestern Spain during a Spanish history and language trip led by Dr. Lynn Talbot. First, starting in Portugal, they hiked the historic pilgrimage route, the Camino Portugués from Tui to Santiago de Compostela. They're also brushing up on their Spanish speaking skills with two weeks of language classes in Santiago.
Follow the students' adventures on their class blog.

Check out this slideshow for scenes from several May Term courses.

Released: May 23, 2013
Contact Name: Public Relations
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