Photo of a masked student in class

Check out some interesting courses to take during the summer semester

By John Garcia

With summer just around the corner, students are looking forward to the sunshine and an exciting lineup of summer classes. Undergraduate registration for the summer semester starts today (April 12), depending on the school (graduate program registration may already have started or may begin in the coming weeks).

Whether you are looking to lighten your course load for the fall semester, finish some prerequisites, or simply learn something new, The Daily wanted to highlight a few of the interesting, unexpected, and eye-catching classes available to CWRU students. From integrative pandemic studies to examinations of student stress—especially topical subjects these days—the summer is packed with many opportunities to explore your interests or find new ones.

The courses highlighted here—many suggested by departments—are categorized in the following subject areas:

  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business, Law and Politics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Science and Tech

Need more inspiration? Check out the Registrar’s website for additional course listings.

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

SASS 368: Whatever It Takes: Creating Paths Out Of Poverty for Children

This course will examine current community-based strategies for providing urban youth who live in high poverty with multiple needs the educational, social and economic support they need for stronger futures. The course will begin with a review of the debated root causes of poverty in the United States and an exploration of the short- and long-term effects of poverty on children. Students will understand how poverty differentially affects different populations and geographic areas across the United States and globally. Special attention will be given to the complexity of urban poverty issues and the corresponding need for holistic interventions. 

Meagan Ray-Novak, doctoral student

SOCI 202/AFST 202: Race and Ethnic Minorities in The United States

This is a survey course that looks at the relations between racial and ethnic relations in the United States from an historical and contemporary perspective. This course will look at relations between: European colonists and native Americans; whites and blacks during the period of slavery, Jim Crow, the civil rights era and contemporary period; immigrants at the turn of the 20th and 21st century; Mexicans and Puerto Ricans; and the pan-ethnic groups such as Latinos, Asian Americans, and Arab Americans. We examine the origins of racial/ethnic hierarchies, the social construction of identities, and stratification of racial and ethnic groups. This course will take a macro perspective that examines larger structural forces (e.g., colonization, industrialization, and immigration) to explain inter-group relations, and a constructionist perspective to understand how power manufactures and maintains the social meaning of identities (looking at stereotypes and hegemonic discourse).

Marissa Gilbert, doctoral student in sociology

DANC 122: Dance in Culture

This class will feature movement days, video viewings, lectures and discussions. Dance in Culture will introduce students to a historical and cultural overview of many different theatrical forms of dance from various cultures specifically selected to encompass geographic diversity and represent different periods in history. Basic craft elements of the structures of theatrical dance will be introduced to provide a foundation for viewing dance and developing a personal aesthetic.

Rebecca Benard, senior instructor

Business, Law and Politics

OBRH 250: Leading People

The principal goals of this course are to help students learn about the context in which managers and leaders function, gain self-awareness of their own leadership vision and values, understand the options they have for careers in management based on their own aptitudes, orientations and expertise, and develop the fundamental skills needed for success in a chosen career. Through a series of experiential activities, assessment exercises, group discussions, and peer coaching, based on a model of self-directed learning and life-long development, the course helps students understand and formulate their own career and life vision, assess their skills and abilities, and design a development plan to reach their objectives. The course enables students to see how the effective leadership of people contributes to organizational performance and the production of value, and how for many organizations, the effective leadership of people is the driver of competitive advantage.

Tracey Messer, assistant professor of organizational behavior

At least a sophomore standing

ECON 313: Experiential Entrepreneurship 

Prereq: ECON 102.

Experiential entrepreneurship places students in a startup (founded by the student or someone else) for a semester, while simultaneously teaching students key concepts for startup success in a classroom setting. Each session covers tools and concepts that every entrepreneur should understand, and students should be able to apply these tools and concepts to their host companies. 

Scott Shane, the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies

LAWS 5126-900: International Development Law

This seminar gives participating students an introduction to a basic analytical framework of international development law. As an introductory matter, the initial lectures will give a brief overview of the historical, theoretical and political ramifications of international development law within a post-WWII context.

As a specific focus, the seminar will examine the role of global finance in the process of economic development and highlight recent trends within emerging capital markets. As an underlying theme, the seminar will examine social impact investing as a new approach to international development. This particular model has been chosen since this type of financing is designed to blend the resources of multilateral banks and institutions (e.g., the UN, the World Bank), with multilateral development institutions such as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) along with host government, private equity and private foundations’ support.  This multi-faceted approach will give the students a firm grounding in the various actors, priorities and sources of funding to design international development projects which address Environmental Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues.

Rumu Sarkar, adjunct professor

Graduate/professional students only; requires permission of both student’s program director and the School of Law.

Health and Wellness

BIOL/HSTY 277: Pandemics, Past and Present: Integrative Approaches

Open to all

A video about this course is available: 

This course is an interdisciplinary course to further student’s understanding of pandemics, by integrating different approaches to comprehend the impacts and challenges of civilizations dealing with major outbreaks of disease. This course is taught at an intermediate level that will be accessible to students from a breadth of academic focus. There are no explicit prerequisites, but the course instructors will review past coursework to ensure readiness for the course. Pandemics have impacted humans throughout history. Two current global pandemics are circulating; caused by the recurrent yearly influenza virus, and the novel SARS CoV-2. Throughout this course, students will gain perspective on how we study and view pandemics both historically and currently. The course integrates the significance, challenges and consequences of living in times where deep biological and epidemiological understanding of viruses and technological advances have become part of the tools humans need to live with modern pandemics, and predict future outbreaks. Each week of the course is taught by a different instructor, to cover 4 themes: the historical perspective, the spread of disease in populations, the life cycle/molecular biology of the influenza virus and SARS CoV-2, and the technology of testing, therapeutics and vaccinations.

Leena Chakravarty, instructor in the Department of Biology
Dianne Kube, lecturer in the Department of Biology
Jonathan Sadowsky, Theodore J. Castele Professor in the Department of History
Sarah Markt, assistant professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

BIOL 112: Biology’s Survival Guide to College: How Stress Impacts a Student’s Ability to Thrive

Stress can test the limit of an individual’s ability to maintain balance, thrive and survive. This non-majors biology course explores how cells, organs and organ systems work together to maintain homeostasis. Equipped with knowledge of how the body functions, students will explore how common stressors experienced by college students (sleep deprivation, lack of relaxation, poor diet, and others) can test the limits of maintaining homeostasis. Understanding the body’s stress response and how stress impacts well-being will enable students to make informed decisions about how to promote balance in their own life.

Rebecca Benard, senior instructor

Science and Tech

DSCI 354/454: Data Visualization and Analytics

Pre-reqs: DSCI 351/451 and DSCI 353/453.

This course will provide a unique focus on applied data science and using visualizations to improve the analysis of datasets and communicating the results. Students will learn how to communicate data results to various audiences and to make figures that effectively communicate their data by studying open datasets and research-based datasets in multiple fields. Visualization techniques like scatter, line, bar, interactive, and map-based visualizations will be covered, as will differences in sparse and large data sets. Focuses of the course will include identifying problems in data with visualizations; the impact of visualizing data on modeling; types of visualizations to use for different types of data; and data visualizations for different audiences. Learn more about DSCI 354/454.

Laura Bruckman, research associate professor

ASTR 103: Introduction to the Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

This introductory astronomy course describes the universe we live in and how astronomers develop our physical understanding about it. Topics covered include: the properties of stars; the formation, evolution, and death of stars; white dwarfs, pulsars, and black holes; spiral and elliptical galaxies; the Big Bang and the expansion of the Universe. 

Bill Janesh, instructor of astronomy