CPP professors captivate students’ interest though GE courses

By Maria Flores, May 11, 2021

As fall registration continues, Cal Poly Pomona students may be inclined to sign up for the campus’ more novel courses that seek to help students meet their general education requirements while exploring interesting topics from different backgrounds.

Since 2012, English Literature Professor Melissa D. Aaron has enjoyed instructing witches and wizards through the three-unit class, ENG 3520 Harry Potter as Literature and Cultural Studies. In the class, students are sorted into their Hogwarts house and discuss diverse topics, including the series’ merchandise, media representation and intellectual property.

“This course opens itself up to all kinds of different people and different angles,” said Aaron. “For students, I am always thinking about them. It would be wonderful for students to say, ‘Oh humanities, how I long to experience it.’ Realistically, students are looking at it and saying, ‘Well I have to fill that C slot.’ But they might look at this and say, ‘Hey, it doesn’t have to be something miserable.’”

While Aaron transforms muggles into educated wizards, Philosophy Professor Linda E. Reardan invites young adults to express their inner child through the PHL 2060 Philosophy Through Children’s Literature class.

Primarily offered in the fall semester, the three-unit class sparks students’ curiosity through various popular children’s books, including “Frog and Toad” and “Where the Wild Things Are.” Using the children’s books, the course addresses philosophical questions that tackle the meaning of life, reality and community.

“We get together three times a week as a class, and we read children’s stories together,” said Reardan. “You know how children are always asking, ‘Why, why, why?’ That’s philosophy. It is the perfect way to teach introduction to philosophy because it takes away the intimidation factor of philosophy.”

Aside from English literature, third-year agricultural science student, Amanda Penicks, finds thrill through some of her classes that follow the university’s learn by doing motto.

She has enjoyed many in-person courses offered like PLT 3000 Insects and Civilization, which explores biological and historical topics relating to arthropods.

“Arthropods was a fun class. We actually got to catch specimens out in the field of Cal Poly,” said Penicks. “You’re collecting a variety of insects like arachnids, spiders and millipedes. It’s getting your hands on the ground wherever and just collecting.”

Last month, Provost Sylvia Alva announced registration dates will be pushed back from April 5 to April 19 due to the expansion of in-person classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the postponement, it granted more time for students to plan their GE class requirements for the upcoming semester and served as an opportunity for Broncos to discover courses that pique their interests.

“Offering it as a GE course was very important to me,” said Aaron. “I know students do not have a lot of extra credits to play around with. They cannot just take the course because they feel like it. They have to have it fit into something they can take.”

General registration for fall 2021 began on April 21 and will end on June 11. To discover more GE classes, students can visit https://catalog.cpp.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=53&poid=13914.

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