Summer 2020 Pre-Mester Program

Pre-Mester Classes will be offered remotely:  July 7, 2020, Update

This new program offers entering students a chance to get a head start at Rhodes under the close guidance of an outstanding faculty member.  Students select one of six courses to take for three weeks beginning at the end of July, during the period before Welcome Week and the start of the fall semester.  Rhodes Pre-Mester is… 

  • For First-Year Students – All courses are open only to entering students and have a maximum enrollment of 10.
  • Foundational – All courses fulfill one of the College’s Foundation requirements.
  • Intensive – Courses cover a semester’s worth of content in a concentrated three-week period.
  • Diverse – Courses range from computer programming to Icelandic sagas!
  • Safe – Small class sizes allow for appropriate distancing.
  • Community-centered – Students immediately become a part of the Rhodes community, through special academic and social programming.
  • Career-focused – A week-long career workshop follows the completion of the three-week course.

 The Pre-Mester embodies the Rhodes Edge – it’s a program in which students can begin to become intellectually ready, leadership ready, and graduate school/career ready, all before the fall semester starts!

 Dates:  July 27-August 14 (three weeks of class, plus an additional week for the career workshop beginning August 17)

 Cost:  $4,624 (includes tuition, housing, 2 meals a day, programming, and the career workshop). 

Limited slots are available. Deposit and sign up now!

Available Courses and Professors:

  • First Year Writing Seminar 151— A Force More Powerful: Non-Violent Resistance From Athens to Memphis (F2s) – Prof. Joe Jansen
  • English 190—Introductory Topics in Literature:  Myths and Sagas of Medieval Iceland (F4) – Prof. Lori Garner
  • Humanities 101—Search for Values (F1) – Prof. Geoff Bakewell
  • Computer Science 141—Programming Fundamentals (F6) – Prof. Catie Welsh
  • Chemistry 120 & 125—Foundations in Chemistry and Lab (F7) – Prof. Will Eckenhoff 
  • Psychology 150—Introduction to Psychological Science (F8) – Prof. Matt Weeks

What should people do when others bring violence upon them? Do humans have a right to self-defense, even if that means meeting violence with more violence?  When we turn to history for answers, the most common opinion from the societies of the ancient Mediterranean world to Medieval Christendom to contemporary America is that force must be met with force, whether individuals suffer violence from a single assailant or fall victim to violence from their own governments.  Yet, some dissenting views exist, most notably those of Socrates, Jesus, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.  In this course, you will examine the various forms of non-violent resistance that these thinkers espoused. By confronting the radical nature of their political, social, and (sometimes) religious projects, which vigorously challenged the status quo of their societies, you will develop your own views about violent and non-violent resistance, all the while sharpening your critical thinking skills and enhancing the quality and persuasiveness of your writing. 

About the professor: Joe Jansen joined the Department of Greek and Roman Studies in 2005 after completing his doctorate in Classics at the University of Texas at Austin.  When he is not teaching Greek and Latin language and ancient civilization courses, he can be found contributing to the History Department, the Political Economy and Search programs, and First-Year Writing. His class on non-violence came about from a research project on civil disobedience in ancient Athens and his study of the writings and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King.

This course focuses on the rich storytelling traditions of medieval Iceland. The endlessly diverse sagas and eddas introduce readers not only to feats of dragon-slaying heroes, disputes among Old Norse gods, fantastical tales of giants and Valkyries, and legendary explorations as far as North America but also to the more everyday aspects of medieval life—foodways, material culture, healing practices, gender roles, laws and customs, and settlement patterns across Iceland’s dangerous and beautiful landscape. Alongside our study of these Icelandic texts, we will examine global perceptions of Vikings in other parts of the medieval world as well as post-medieval lives of these enduring stories, as found, for instance, in fantasy literature, modern film, and even medieval-themed video games.   F4

About the professor: Lori Garner joined the Rhodes College English Department in 2009 and teaches courses in medieval literature, Old and Middle English, the history of the English language, first-year writing, and modern grammar. Her publications and current research projects involve such topics as Old English charms and remedies, early English architecture, medieval folklore, and pilgrimage.  She serves as faculty sponsor for the English honor society (Sigma Tau Delta), the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club, HerCampus, and the Dungeons and Dragons Club.

This HUM 101 Pre-mester class counts as one of the three F1 courses needed to graduate from Rhodes.  It has multiple aims:  to introduce you to seminal texts and contexts from the Western intellectual tradition, beginning with the ancient Near East and continuing through ancient Israel and Greece; to help you analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view; and to further your commitment to active, ongoing, life-long learning.  I am by training and temperament a classicist and ancient historian; my take on our course clearly reflects this fact.  But you will find my intellectual interests deep and broad-ranging.  I hope yours are as well.

About the professor: Professor Geoff Bakewell is a classicist in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies, where he currently holds the Irene B. and J. Walter McDonnell Chair.  He has published widely on ancient Greek literature, history, and philosophy, and is currently writing a book on Plato’s Republic.  A previous book, Aeschylus’s Suppliant Women: The Tragedy of Immigration (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) was a finalist for a best book prize from the American Political Science Association.  He has won a national teaching award, and dabbles in contemporary literature and film studies.  And he believes that terrible puns are a gift to humankind.

This course teaches one how to think as a computer scientist, by teaching the process of building abstractions to hide implementation details, and of controlling the intellectual complexity of designing large software systems by decomposing problems into simpler sub-problems. This course is aimed at helping students acquire the reasoning and abstraction skills needed to design algorithms and implement them as computer programs.  Though computer science is more than just programming, knowing how to translate your thoughts into code is an important skill for a computer scientist to have. This course will use the Python programming language as the vehicle for exploration of fundamental computer science concepts. We will explore the joy and beauty of computing and see how computing skills are applicable in everyday life. This course does not assume any previous programming or computer science experience.
About the professor: Catie Welsh is an associate professor in computer science. She joined the Rhodes faculty in 2013 and enjoys teaching a wide variety of courses within the computer science curriculum. She received her BS in Computer Science from Ursinus College, a MS from Lehigh University, and a PhD in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Her research interests include bioinformatics and computational genetics.

A study of the basic concepts and principles of chemistry. Topics to be considered include stoichiometry, acids and bases, atomic and molecular structure, bonding, kinetics and thermodynamics. F7 awarded only with satisfactory completion of CHEM 120 and CHEM 125.
CHEM 125 First Year Chemistry Laboratory
Co-requisite course for CHEM 120.
An experimental introduction to the physical and chemical properties of matter. 

About the Professor: Professor Eckenhoff has been a faculty member at Rhodes College since 2015 and specializes in the area of inorganic chemistry. He earned a BS in Chemistry from Allegheny College in 2006 and his PhD from Duquesne University in 2010. Prof Eckenhoff then worked as a post-doctoral fellow under Rich Eisenberg at the University of Rochester followed by a two-year visiting teaching position at Hobart and William Smith Colleges before coming to Rhodes. His research interests are in developing novel hydrogen generating catalysts for artificial photosynthesis and solvatochromic molybdenum complexes with potential applications in sensor technology.

This course will cover major content domains in the discipline of Psychology, including biological, cognitive, developmental, social and personality, and mental health. In addition, themes that are relevant to all of these domains and that link content areas will be discussed, with emphasis on ethics and cultural/social diversity. This course is also intended to foster an appreciation of the role of scientific reasoning in understanding human behavior and the mind.
About the professor:  An experimental social psychologist by training, I have been teaching in the liberal arts setting for almost twenty years.  This introductory course is one of my favorites to teach because we get to think about how psychological scientists ask questions and develop answers about the human experience.  As a researcher, I value working alongside undergraduate research collaborators and engaging them in the discovery process.