EXL announces new ‘unclasses’

By Kristina Aiad-Toss, News Editor

The EXL Center is unveiling three new “unclasses” centered on community engagement for this upcoming spring semester.

“Unclasses” are different from regular classes because they are created as interdisciplinary “special topics” courses. The EXL Center works with faculty from different departments to design classes that bring together various subjects in an experiential learning atmosphere.

“[‘Unclasses’] seek to focus on a specific problem or issue. They push students to acquire or hone relevant skills,” says EXL co-director anthropology professor Carolyn Behrman. “And, they encourage collaboration among students from different disciplines.”

Behrman encourages students who are undecided to take “unclasses,” as well as those who are interested in “active, engaging, and interdisciplinary” courses.

In addition to the “unclasses” series, the EXL Center provides a place where students and faculty can explore their ideas and connects them with people and resources to help reach their goals.

Taught by mathematics professor Curtis Clemons and sociology professor Kathy Feltey, the first class will research student retention and success and improving the campus climate for commuters. This class is called “Commuter Students: Research for Retention and Student Success.”

Assistant professors McKenna in communications and Lauren Houser in marketing are leading another class called “Public Relations and Marketing Planning and Implementation for Student Design Teams.”

This class, by connecting students to UA’s engineering design teams, teaches them how to communicate scientific information to the public.

The third, titled “Swimming with the Sharks,” will emphasize scientific writing and critical thinking abilities, while also giving students insight into medical and scientific funding organizations.

Amanda Booher, assistant professor of English, and Elyse Ball, research associate in the Office of Technology Transfer, will teach teach this class.

These experiential learning classes are available as special topics, independent studies, or honors project credits upon approval from a student’s department or advisor. They also count as regular electives.

“We seek to support, expand, and create new experiential learning programs on campus,” said Behrman. “And we work to build community connections, supporting existing and creating new experiential learning opportunities with business and non-profit partners.”

On Dec. 7, the EXL is hosting a “Coffee Hour” from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. to provide information about the “unclasses” next semester.

To learn more about the EXL center visit uakron.edu/exl.