UA’s “Star Wars” Course Gains National Recognition

By Celeste Houmard, Arts and Entertainment Contributor

The University of Akron is known for many different things, but did you know that it is even known for teaching about the Star Wars series? Our very own, Juan E. Contreras M.E. is the professor of the summer class, “The Films of Star Wars,” and the media is intrigued.

“SYFY Wire” recently highlighted this class, as well as The University of Akron, in a recent article titled, “You can get College Credit for Watching All 9 Star Wars Movies at The University of Akron.” The author of the article, Josh Weiss, could not believe that this could actually be a college course. He stated, “With Solo: A Star Wars Story and Episode IX on the horizon, we wonder if the required number of movies to watch will be bumped up to 11 in future versions of the class.”

Not only was the class featured here on campus, in The Akron Beacon Journal, and in SYFY Wire, it has also been featured on radio shows, TV shows, and many others.

This class was first taught in the summer of 2016 and has been offered ever since. Contreras had the idea for this class about five years ago. He said, “the perfect moment to get the class going was the summer after Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. The popularity of Star Wars making a come back is what allowed me to really get people on board with the idea.”

Contreras said that Star Wars could be used as a great educational tool for potential storytellers, considering it “changed the film industry, but it also grabs from the universal cultural repertoire to craft its story and its heroes, essentially turning it into a modern-day myth.” There are many different opportunities for students to learn about the film industry such as special effects, marketing tools, culture, and religion in film. Thanks to Juan Contreras, The University of Akron is expanding its educational tools and we hope that classes like these will continue to grow.