New Course Searches for the Meaning of Life

Psychology topics are used in this first-year English course

Dr. Christopher Buchholz, psychology professor, is breaking with traditional teaching and overcoming the barriers of separated studies. In his up coming first-year English course "The Meaning of Life" students will get an interdisciplinary experience. The course will serve as a foundation for future studies and could be offered as earlier as the fall of 2007.

In a seminar setting, Buchholz will be addressing some of the larger questions most academia shy away from. These questions include: Why are we here? What is the nature of reality and the universe? How can I find happiness?

These questions will be answered and defended by the students through critical essays and class discussion. Some of the topics in these discussions include: eastern and western religions, chaos theory, happiness, self-esteem, meditation, neuroscience and the placebo effect. These various topics being discussed in one course is very unusual, but Buchholz hopes to present them in such a way that they will lead to answers for the larger questions.

Buchholz realizes this will be a challenge for first year students but is confident that they will "rise to the occasion." It is his hope that this course will serve as a building block for students, and that they will apply the skills they learn to their future courses.

This collection of studies is an example of a new direction for Roanoke classes. The world is complexly interconnected, and it is important for students to understand the connections between all fields of study. As part of the 2005 strategic plan, the College is embracing the new concept of integrative learning to better prepare students for entering the "real world."

Buchholz earned his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Florida Atlantic University. His research at the College focuses on social psychology and personality and involves a URAP (Undergraduate Research Assistant Program) student researcher. He is a member of the American Psychological Society, the International Society for Self and Identity, and many other professional organizations.

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