Dignitas 1101-1102             Sections and Course Descriptions 2014-2015
Course Section # Instructor Mentor TA
Your College Adventure: Learning, Leading, Living at CSS 1 Shawn Olesewski and Justin Juntunen Amy Strafelda
The Art of Sister Mary Charles: Engagement and Transcendence 2 Peter Spooner Tasha Engesser
Star Wars and Servant Leadership 3 Joelle McGovern Thomas Gallegos
Fairy Tales in the Modern World 4 Jill Gaeta Olivia Krejcarek
What Does It Mean To Be Human? 5 Sr. Paule Pierre Barbeau Elizabeth Stuhaug
Gender Norms, Violence, and Dignity 6 Kelly Mullan Kelsie Nelson
Dignity Through the Benedictine Tradition 7 John Bauman Rachel Harmston
The Guest/Host Relationship: The Joys, Dangers, and Complexities of Hospitality 8 Rob Larson Veronica Cich
Global Health and Social Justice 9 Shirley Slettedahl Kimberly Rice
I'm Not Your Team Mascot:  When Money and Power Collide with Race 10 Christina Woods Jacob Anderson Marvel
Dignity and Consumption 11 David Vosen Casey Stepien
Dignity in the Arts 13 Kelly Mullan Cassidy Dunkley
35 Dumb Things Well Intentioned People Say 14 Christina Woods Abbey Dehler
Lessons in Dignity, Leadership and Making a Difference 15 Cheryl Skafte Bre Agee
Dignity and Consumption 16 David Vosen Casey Stepien
Dignity and Diversity 17 Mary Bridget Lawson Alexsandar Radakovic
Personal Finance and Dignity 18 Jennifer Pilon Sam Hoffman
Global Health and Social Justice 19 Shirley Slettedahl Kimberly Rice
What Does It Mean To Be Human? 21 Sr. Paule Pierre Barbeau Nicole Breuer
Honors Classes (HON 1111)
Course Section # Instructor Peer Mentor
Utopia, Dystopia and the Idea of Human Perfectibility 1 Thomas Morgan Michael Bruner
God or Not? New Debates on Religion and Secularism 2 Randall Poole Katherine (Kat) LaFleur
Wanderers, Philosophers, Pilgrims and Mystics 3 Denise Starkey Maddie Haeg
Utopia, Dystopia and the Idea of Human Perfectibility
4 Thomas Morgan Emily Lundgren

 

 

 

DIGNITAS COURSE DESCRIPTIONS - 2014 - 2015

DGN 1101 001
Instructor: Shawn Olesewski and Justin Juntunen
Your College Adventure: Learning, Leading, Living at CSS
Tuesday/Thursday 12:00 - 12:50 p.m.
What is your purpose here at CSS? Is it to get a job when you leave or is it about something more? In this course we will explore what it means to be a student in the classroom, develop outside of the classroom, and gain meaningful leadership experience here at CSS.

Do you learn well by doing? Our course will both be active and reflective. Toward the Dignitas learning outcomes we will create experiential learning opportunities for students each week. Each semester we will have 2 off campus trips/experiences in the wilderness or within the Duluth community. The required trips dates are tentatively planned for September 19th - 21st and February 20th - 22nd or April 17th - 19th. The Spring trip dates will be confirmed before Winter Break. If you're looking to be a leader on campus, this course will be a great opportunity for you.

DGN 1101 002
Instructor: Peter Spooner 
The Art of Sister Mary Charles: Engagement and Transcendence 
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00 - 12:50 p.m.
Sister Mary Charles McGough, OSB (1925-2007) was a much loved Benedictine Sister and an artist of great talent. She is well known for woodcut prints and traditional Christian icons, and is the subject of a 2014 exhibition and book resulting from a collaboration between the Tweed Museum of Art, UMD and St. Scholastica Monastery. She used her art to teach the value of creativity to all people, to communicate ideas of social justice, and as a form of worship. Through the lens of her art and life, this course explores the core values of Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Diversity, Benedictine Values, Catholic Social Teaching, and Dignity. The course will make use of a large collection Sister Mary Charles's art at St. Scholastica Monastery and local churches, and the Tweed Museum exhibition.

It is taught by Peter Spooner, who curated the exhibition for the Tweed Museum and assisted St. Scholastica Monastery in the development of the book, and an archive of Sister Mary Charles's art.
Course activities include looking and talking about art and artists, exploring creativity from an interdisciplinary standpoint, hands-on activities, local field trips and guest speakers. Students are expected to actively participate, complete short projects, essays and presentations, and visit several local cultural sites on their own.

DGN 1101 003
Instructor: Joelle McGovern 
Star Wars and Servant Leadership
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00 - 12:50 p.m.
This course will explore the relationship between two of the main characters (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker) and discuss the importance of forgiveness and redemption as well as explore the connection between agape love and servant leadership. To draw deeper connections between self-awareness, friendship, and forgiveness, students would be required to read and discuss Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith along with scholarly articles and texts related to Servant Leadership. Experts in the areas of Servant Leadership and interfaith dialogue will be invited to speak about human dignity, our Benedictine Values, Diversity and Catholic Social Justice. In addition, academic program directors will be invited to share what servant leadership looks like in various careers.

DGN 1101 004
Instructor: Jill Gaeta
Fairy Tales in the Modern World 
Tuesdays/Thursdays 1:00 - 1:50 p.m.
In this course we will look at the evolution of fairy tales and how they have shaped, reinforced, and reflected our cultural values. The first semester will focus on the origins of fairy tales as instructive stories intended to assimilate youth to the norms and values of their respective societies, establishing concepts of good and bad/evil, gender roles, and perceptions of difference. We will look at how these tales have endured and manifested in contemporary American society through film, television, and literature, as well as investigate how our experiences with these tales have shaped our own personal values and how those values situate us in society. In the second semester, we will look at how in recent years the values established in classic fairy tales have begun to blur with an increasing romanticization of figures once presented as incarnations of evil, such as vampires, werewolves, and zombies. In addition to examining the cultural origins of these figures and how they came to represent evil in Western cultures, we will investigate why our society has begun to heroize them, replacing for example Cinderella's Prince Charming with Bella's Edward Cullen. We will examine what this blurring of lines says about our society's shifting values, our collective identity in a modernized society, and about living in a world that is no longer ideologically black and white but is instead increasingly grey. 

DGN 1101 005 and 021
I
nstructor: Sr. Paule Pierre Barbeau, OSB
What Does it Mean to be Human?
Tuesdays/Thursdays at 12:00 - 12:50 p.m. or 1:00 - 1:50 p.m.
In every age people ask themselves what it means to be a human being. Is it possible to be more than a human being - a superhuman or post-human? Is it possible to be somewhat less than a human being? Are all human beings created equal? What do we mean by "equal?" How do we know right from wrong? Do we have to be taught? Does diversity have a higher purpose, or is it just an artifact of genetics, biology, geography, culture, or some other factor? Do all human beings have the same core values? If so, what are they? We will explore these questions and many more from the point of view of philosophy and theology, Benedictine Values and Tradition, and Catholicism. We will use various works of literature, poetry, film, and music. The semester grade will be based on various assignments, including reflection papers, two high-stakes assignments, participation in class discussions and out-of-class activities.

DGN 1101 006 
Instructor: Kelly Mullan
Gender Norms, Violence, and Dignity
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.  
What happens to people who defy gender-based social norms and expectations? What forms of violence do they experience, and why? Who has power to enforce gender norms, and how do they use violence maintain it? This class aggressively begins the dignity-themed process of using intellectual inquiry to challenge stereotypes.

DGN 1101 007
Instructor: John Bauman
Dignity through the Benedictine Tradition
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
Together, we will discover the meaning of dignity through the study of The Rule of St. Benedict, the Benedictine Values, our family narratives, readings, works of art, music, and mass media. This will be accomplished by having in-class discussions, making observations of and reflecting on human interactions, and gaining insights from those who live the Rule as part of their life's calling. We will explore dignity through the Benedictine Tradition and how it relates, or doesn't relate, to our own lives. We desire to celebrate the extraordinary of our existence.

As a student in this course, you will be prepared for classes, read numerous texts, engage in class discussion, participate in course activities, write short papers, produce and present multi-media presentations, create and present oral assignments, work together in small groups, and participate in on and off-campus activities. These assignments will be spread out over 2 semesters, covering the full academic year culminating with a presentation to the entire College.

DGN 1101 008
Instructor: Dr. Robert Larson
The Guest/Host Relationship: The Joys, Dangers, and Complexities of Hospitality
Tuesdays/Thursdays 1:00 - 1:50 p.m.  
In this course, we will explore the intricacies of the relationship formed between the role of the host and the role of the stranger or guest in the hospitality phenomenon. Using popular and celebrated film, literature and other mass media, we will develop a deeper understanding of this worldwide, fundamental interactivity. Throughout the course, we will explore hospitality from human and non-human perspectives, through fiction and non-fiction, philosophy, theology, and psychology. 

What are the pleasures and dangers associated with the stranger? What are the assumptions and liberties of the host? How do the guest and host roles relate to the designations of ‘the self' and ‘the other'? How do we know when we are the host or the guest? Is it possible to mistake or underestimate one's role? How might diversity, privilege, conflict, and assumption affect the guest/host relationship?

From popular game shows and telephone operators to Internet access and the Heavens, we will explore the many associations and ‘callings' of the host body. Similarly, we will explore the role of the stranger in its myriad forms. Our discussion will lead toward a clearer picture of stewardship, intentional being, and the potential for conscious ambassadorship in a complex, multi-dimensional world. Ultimately, we seek in this course a newfound dignity and sense of respect as we endeavor each role in our daily lives.

DGN 1101 009 
Instructor: Shirley Slettedahl MSA, MSN, RN
Global Health and Social Justice
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
Examines the process of globalization and how it has dramatically affected the health and social justice of all people. Global health, viewed as a human right, involves personal and population health issues, community problems and concerns that transcend national boundaries. We will explore why certain populations bear an unreasonable burden of poverty and disease, and what we, individually and collectively, can do to tackle some of these health inequities.

DGN 1101 010 
Instructor: Christina Woods
I'm Not Your Team Mascot:  When Money and Power Collide with Race
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. 
Whose values get to determine whether an image promotes dignity versus discrimination, respect versus racism? Does America care less when the victim of racism is a low-income person  versus someone like Magic Johnson? From professional sports to pop culture, we will examine contemporary issues of cultural understanding verses cultural exploitation through the lens of local Native American culture and people. For centuries, non-Indians have stolen and distorted elements of tribal cultures for their own purposes, usually ignoring the impact of the process on Native people;  the same commercial exploitation happens everyday to African American, Latino, Asian American and Muslim communities. When we as people of color find the very core of our identity being stolen, perverted and stereotyped for profit, there are real costs for everyone. As people of color and allies, we will explore how local communities and movements are fighting back against the invisible systems of oppression, and examine how being in solidarity with our neighbors is not so much about helping "others" as it is about saving ourselves.

DGN 1101 011 
Instructor: David Vosen
Dignity and Consumption
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. 
Worried about your carbon footprint? Should you pay more for organic food? Is your bottled water better than the alternatives? Is there enough water and oil to peacefully support our ever expanding and consuming human race? How do we find a dignified balance between our personal use of resources and the conservation of this unique blue planet?

In this section of Dignitas, we will begin the semester by examining our personal consumption of resources (water, food, and fuel). This journey will be enhanced by thought provoking articles, music, films, and field trips. In the second half of the course, we will investigate the cumulative effect of individual choices and their implication on past, present and future resources of the earth. All topics will include an underlying theme of chemical process and the scientific method.

The semester grades are based on a variety of assignments: reflection/research posts and replies online, class attendance and participation, activities to estimate your personal consumption of resources (Fall), participation in events and field trips (Fall), 1 reflection paper (Fall), 1 research papers (Fall & Spring), and a semester presentation (Spring).

DGN 1101 012 
Instructor: Tom Morgan
Brave New Words: The Dark Side of the Human Condition
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. 
Classic and contemporary novels that describe distressing possibilities for our future will be the readings. We will read these novels critically and perhaps compare them to recent nonfiction social and political commentary. Three novels per semester will be read and several films will be watched. The course sequence includes considerable class discussion, regular short reflection papers and two short text-based papers.

This class fulfills the fall Dignitas requirement. Dignitas is a year-long common experience for first year student that serves as an introduction to The College of St. Scholastica: who we are, what we stand for, and how to find your place in this community. It provides a framework for your college experience by introducing you to the key components of a St. Scholastica education: community, reflection, intellectual challenge and social justice.

DGN 1101 013 
Instructor:  Kelly Mullan
Dignity in the Arts
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. 
From the Dust Bowl to the Civil Rights movement and beyond music, art, and theatre have been both a reflection of, and an impetus to social change. This class will look at the United States over the last century to see the role the arts have played in connecting people and moving policy. We will aim to find ways in which grassroots movements can promote human dignity.

DGN 1101 014 
Instructor: Christina Woods
35 Dumb Things Well Intentioned People Say
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
Have you ever found your self standing with your foot in your mouth? Have you ever felt so different, like you just don't fit in? Do you get confused about diversity, privilege, values and conflict?

In this section of Dignitas we will work on an examined life, using technology, media and readings to explain how power and privilege contribute to the shaping of cultures' and societies' construction of ethnicity, race, religion, class, gender and sexuality; examine your assessment or analysis of issues relating to social justice; listen to, consider and articulate conflicting perspectives; value difference as a source for creative change; navigate differences, similarities, and commonalities in personal values and knowledge. This course involves speakers, field trips and simulations to challenge our thinking.

Our larger history is shared, but we all bump up against our personal history, always trying to make sense of our place in the world.  Your goal, to gain authority in who you are and use intellect, skills and experience to navigate those uncomfortable places in life. 

DGN 1101 015
Instructor: Cheryl Skafte
So, How Are the Children? Lessons in Dignity, Leadership and Making a Difference 
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. 
It is said that the health and well being of the children in any given community is an indicator of the health and well being of the entire community. So, how are the children of Duluth doing? This class will explore the impact that poverty, racism, classism and "-isms" have on young people, as well as the broader community. Guided by class readings, guest speakers, experiential learning opportunities and a hands-on service learning project where students will serve as volunteers at a local elementary school, students will examine and discover their role as leaders, advocates, mentors and citizens of this complex world. Ready to find out your capacity to be an agent of change? Interested in exploring the meaning and purpose of your life? This class is for those students who want to harness the power of their potential to make their world and their community a better place. Please note that there is a service learning component to this class. Students will be asked volunteer for 20 hours a semester at Myers-Wilkins Elementary School. Typically, students are asked to serve their volunteer hours between 2PM and 6PM, Monday - Friday.

DGN 1101 016
Instructor: David Vosen
Dignity and Consumption
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. 
Worried about your carbon footprint? Should you pay more for organic food? Is your bottled water better than the alternatives? Is there enough water and oil to peacefully support our ever expanding and consuming human race? How do we find a dignified balance between our personal use of resources and the conservation of this unique blue planet?

In this section of Dignitas, we will begin the semester by examining our personal consumption of resources (water, food, and fuel). This journey will be enhanced by thought provoking articles, music, films, and field trips. In the second half of the course, we will investigate the cumulative effect of individual choices and their implication on past, present and future resources of the earth. All topics will include an underlying theme of chemical process and the scientific method.

The semester grades are based on a variety of assignments: reflection/research posts and replies online, class attendance and participation, activities to estimate your personal consumption of resources (Fall), participation in events and field trips (Fall), 1 reflection paper (Fall), 1 research papers (Fall & Spring), and a semester presentation (Spring).

DGN 1101 017 
Instructor: Mary Bridget Lawson
Dignity and Diversity
Wednesdays 7:00 - 8:40 p.m. 
This course will be an "inside-out" approach to exploring dimensions of our own human diversity and cultural backgrounds. We will examine the forces and dynamics that shape our values and beliefs and then focus on the social construction of race, class and gender. Our class will specifically examine racism, sexism, classism and homophobia through films, readings, lectures, online tools, and community presentations. We will also celebrate, discover and honor our unique identities! Each student will write reflections and essays based on assigned readings, class dialog, films and lectures. Students will be required to attend two cultural events/ experiences outside of Dignitas and conduct one informational diversity related interview followed by a reflection paper. Everyone will also be expected to participate in classroom diversity activities, tools and surveys which will be graded. We will read "Racing Across The Lines: Changing Race Relations Through Friendship" first semester.

Second semester, students will prepare and present a topical Diversity Poster based on a 5-page research paper and lead a 30-minute defined diversity training with a small group of self-selected peers. This class will require weekly preparation, writing, and engagement during class. Our classroom community will be rooted in the Benedictine values of respect and dignity for self and others.



DGN 1101 018
Instructor: Jennifer Pilon 
Personal Finance and Dignity
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
In this section of Dignitas, students will learn about personal finance concepts and develop personal finance goals after better clarifying their own values. Students will develop the ability to make informed financial decisions related to earning, saving, spending, borrowing, and giving. Students will better understand and appreciate how their personal financial choices can impact their own financial health and the lives of others.

Societal perspectives on wealth and poverty and will be examined and challenged through the themes of human dignity, diversity, Benedictine values, Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic social teaching. Students will participate in service projects to help the poor, both on campus and the greater community.

DGN 1101 019
Instructor: Shirley Slettedahl MSA, MSN, RN
Global Health and Social Justice
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
Examines the process of globalization and how it has dramatically affected the health and social justice of all people. Global health, viewed as a human right, involves personal and population health issues, community problems and concerns that transcend national boundaries. We will explore why certain populations bear an unreasonable burden of poverty and disease, and what we, individually and collectively, can do to tackle some of these health inequities.

DGN 1101 020
Instructor: Julie Kim
What do General Vang Pao and Kanye West Have in Common? 
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
This class will foster a deeper understanding of human dignity through the lens of race, racism, and identity development in a predominantly white culture/society. How do we as people of color build the "beloved community," according to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with our circles of family and friends, at CSS and beyond? Through the analysis of texts, shared experience, and application of theory, we will dive deeply into questions of identity, values and purpose, and answer questions such as: How do the messages from society influence our identity development as people of color? What happens when we decide to live a value-driven life, free from stereotypes, and become who we want to be? What happens when we go from "surviving" to living a life without fear?

  


Honors Sections 

*Students must have successfully interviewed for the Honors Program at CSS prior to enrolling in these sections.

HON 1111 001 and HON 1111 004
Instructor: Tom Morgan
Utopia, Dystopia and the Idea of Human Perfectibility
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m. or Thursdays at 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
This course will explore the idea of human perfectibility in Utopian and dystopian literature. We will concentrate on the dystopian critics. Some of them have seen that human perfectibility is unfeasible or at least difficult in view of the "dark side of the human condition." Others have depicted, often brilliantly, the dangers of external, coercive approaches to human perfectibility. This course will help students approach great books (philosophy and fiction) and to think, speak and write critically about what they read and hear.

HON 1111 002
Instructor: Randall Poole
God or Not? New Debates on Religion and Secularism
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
The past ten years or so have witnessed new, highly contentious debates over religion and secularism. On the one side is the so-called "new atheism," championed by a series of best-selling books such as Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Sam Harris's The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future, and Christopher Hitchens's God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. On the other side are new works in defense of religion, including Karen Armstrong's The Case for God, Anthony Flew's There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, and David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. Related to but distinct from the issue of the rationality of religious belief is the debate over secularism, separation of church and state, the place of religion in public life, and whether religion has contributed more to violence, war, and terrorism or to peace and justice. This course will explore these debates and their relation to human dignity. The course will be coordinated with the 2014-2015 St. Scholastica Peace and Justice Lecture Series, "Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil."

HON 1111 003
Instructor: Denise Starkey
Wanderers, Philosophers, Pilgrims and Mystics
Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
Socrates counseled "know thyself." Augustine prayed "to know myself so that I may know You." Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya described herself as a "doorkeeper of the heart." Women and men in diverse places, times, and cultures have taken meandering paths in the search for meaning, dignity, truth, and even home. In this course, we will map the journeys, waypoints, and unbroken trails of these spiritual pioneers. Reading wanderers, pilgrims, mystics, and philosophers will encourage students to discover tools and insights for their own intellectual journeys. In addition to weekly readings and common Dignitas assignments, students participate in course discussions, make a creative presentation, and write both formal (2 essays a semester) and informal papers.