Friday, December 1, 2023

Unique classes to take at MSU

November 12, 2023
Photo by Grace Montgomery | The State News

As students enroll in spring semester courses, some might receive their top choices while others are scrambling to find interesting classes to fill up their schedule

For students looking for engaging electives or courses to supplement their credits, here are a few unique options offered at Michigan State University this upcoming spring semester.

FW 101: Fundamentals of Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology and Management

This three-credit course is for students who enjoy the outdoors, wildlife watching and grew up fishing or hunting, fisheries and wildlife professor Emily Pomeranz said.

The class is mainly lecture-based, with the second half of the course dominated by guest lecturers who share their professional experiences. 

Even for those not interested or familiar with the environment, Pomeranz said, students can alway take away something from this course.

“I think that cuts across whatever your major is or what your career career goals might be,” Pomeranz said. “It's really focused on how some of that science is used. It's not just about social and biological science, but it's about its application and how they lead to decision making.

ANS 140: Fundamentals of Horsemanship

Fundamentals of Horsemanship is a two-credit course for students to begin or enhance their horse riding skills. Students begin riding lessons on the third day of class at the MSU Horse Teaching & Research Center.

“Students learn about basic position and riding, how to use their aids when riding, how to keep balance when they're riding and in control of the horse,” course professor Paula Hitzler said

The class has been offered since 1991 and helps interested students learn the nuances of horse riding; students who are more experienced can even go on to compete at horse shows

“It's very, very difficult at the type of horse shows that we go to,” Hitzler said. “If you're not falling off, you're technically riding, and then there's riding at a level where you're teaching the horse things. You're maybe riding young horses that don't know anything or you're riding at a level and perfecting your skill set.

This course requires approval from the department due to the limited instructor to rider ratio for students who are not animal science majors.

JRN 492: Special Topics 

One section of this special topics class, Bias Busters, is a one-credit journalism course giving students the opportunity to publish a book while in college. As part of a series, each book works to debunk misconceptions with 100 answered questions. Some examples of books that have been published include “100 Questions and Answers about The Black Church.” 

The “100 Questions and Answers” series was developed by journalism professor Joe Grimm, who has been teaching at Michigan State for 15 years.

When asked to develop the class, Grimm said he thought students should add content to a website through interviews and writing. But his friend suggested instead that the class write a book themselves.

Over the years, Grimm's classes have sold about 20,000 books so far.  He said taking the class can be “very fulfilling,” as students are able to meet new people and learn from their stories

“You are helping people,” he said. “You get to talk to them about very important things that are close to their hearts. It really gets you out of this little microcosm of the world that we live in, in East Lansing.” 

As a one-credit class that requires four main assignments, students are more likely to fit the class with their schedule and budget

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“The more students we have in the class — because it is a hundred questions — the easier the class is for everybody,” Grimm said. “We have a formula that works, helps people get published and learn something about other people. It’s a one-of-a-kind class.” 

ESHP 190: The Art of Starting

Students interested in starting and owning business can take this three-credit course class. As a foundational class, it gives students the opportunity to gain an understanding of an entrepreneurial mindset.

It also offers people in the class much insight into different facets of the business world, like politics, economics and complex financial concepts

ENG 153: Introduction to Women Authors 

This four-credit course, covering the writings of women from all backgrounds and how they have redefined their respective genres, will definitely appeal to avid readers

The course focuses on dissecting the intertwined aims of feminism and literature and challenges students to think about how identity can be bound to different racial, cultural, sexual and historical backgrounds.

With different sections that hone in on various niches for students to choose from, ENG 153 has much to offer.


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