Honors College holds class celebrating Bicentennial

Elise Franco

Next fall the Experimental and Integrated Studies division of the Honors College is offering a seven week, one credit hour course called Bicentennial Community as Classroom.

The new course is designed to tie in with the city of Kent’s bicentennial, said Margaret Garmon, part-time faculty member in the College of Communication and Information and columnist for the Record-Courier.

“We thought this would be an opportunity to take a community project that’s been ongoing and incorporate it into the classroom,” she said. “The idea is to get students more involved in not only learning more about their university, but also their community.”

Garmon, who will be teaching the class, said it is considered interdisciplinary, which means it will focus on a wide variety of topics to suit the major interests of students who enroll.

“We’ll take a look at historical, artistic, political and sociological aspects of the community, just really taking a look at Kent for the community that it is,” she said.

Garmon said she plans to have guest lecturers, such as a geology faculty member and the Kent city manager, visit the class.

She also wants to give geologic tours of the city.

“We have Hilltop Drive on campus, but do people ever think ‘Well, why is that big hill there, and then why is it just flat?'” Garmon said. “It’s because a glacier came through here.”

Additionally, each student will be required to complete a research project appropriate to their field of study, she said.

“I really want the students to have some say-so as to what they want to research and do their projects on,” Garmon said. “It would be silly to say, ‘everyone has to do the project the same way.’ That would be kind of counterproductive.”

She said she wants to take advantage of the resources the community has to offer. For example, Garmon said she would like someone to come in and speak from the perspective of the places of worship that were present during the shootings on May 4, 1970.

“A lot of people don’t know that as much turmoil as there was in the community at that time, the churches were really responsible for talking to people and basically having everybody pull together for something that really wrenched this community apart,” she said.

She and Larry Andrews, dean of the Honors College, agreed that this short course should be important in paving the way for more permanent courses on the history of Kent.

“My desire is to revitalize the Experimental and Integrative Studies program with new short classes set in the community and taught by community or campus volunteers,” Andrews said, “and to begin offering a regular course on Kent under the ‘City-as-Text’ model of the National Collegiate Honors Council.”

The class will be held Wednesday from 3:20 to 5:15 p.m. starting

Sept. 15 and ending Oct. 25. The seven-week-long course is not restricted to Honors students; any student at Kent State can enroll.

Garmon said she wants students who take Bicentennial Community as Classroom to be able to learn about the community they live in and think about what makes up that community, but have fun at the same time.

Contact undergraduate studies and Honors College reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].