NCLC 103—Human Creativity: Science and Art
This learning community is one of the four that comprise Mason Cornerstones, an integrative first-year curriculum. Students earn 6 cedits, 3 each in art and science. The course considers the nature of human creativity by exploring the essential role creativity plays in both the sciences and the arts. The course begins by examining critical scientific and technological breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution that enabled humans to tap the world’s vast fossil energy resources and bring about a radical enlargement of the human footprint on Earth. Ultimately, it returns to the present moment and introduces students to cutting-edge work in the arts and sciences that aims to harness human creativity in shaping a culture that lives in balance with Planet Earth.
NCLC 140—Self as Citizen
This was the fourth and final “unit”of NCC’s integrative First Year Experience curriculum (discontinued after 2009). This eight-credit learning community carried 3 credits of social science, 2 credits each of literature and fine arts, and 1 credit of information technology. The course considered the construction of self in relation to ideas of governance and explored the ideas and values that influence social contracts for living together in communities in the United States. Self as Citizen figures prominently in this 2008 Inside Higher Ed article on civic engagement in the first year of college.
NCLC 210—Sustainable World
This 4-credit learning community is a core course for Mason's Sustainability Studies Minor and Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA program. The course engages sudents with principles and practices of sustainability on global, local, and personal scales. Campus ecology is a primary focus. Students earn an embedded experiential learning credit through a combination of campus-based service learning and relevant field trips.
NCLC 211—Introduction to Conservation Studies
This 6-credit learning community is the gateway to NCC's Conservation Studies concentration. Through readings and course activities students track the history of environmental conservation in the United States, with a specific focus on the evolution of conservation ethics. They participate in field trips (e.g., fall raptor migration in Cape May, New Jersey; paddling, hiking, and macro-invertebrate study on the Shenandoah River; class meeting on resource conservation at Roosevelt Island) and conservation-related service learning to earn the 2 experiential learning credits embedded in the course. Students deepen their engagement with course readings, and give aesthetic shape to course-related ecological identity work, by composing a nature-based personal essay. Andrew's article on this assignment, Nature and the Personal Essay: Composing an Ecological Identity, appears in Teachers & Writers 44:1, fall 2008.
NCLC 308—Roads and Rivers: American Landscapes in Fiction, Film, and History
This 6-credit learning community integrates literature and history and uses its focus on landscape transformations to present a unique survey of American social, cultural, and political history. To earn one of the course’s two experiential learning credits students do the Road Trip assignment, a semester-long research and (creative or expository) writing project that centers upon a self-directed journey. Andrew's essay on this assignment, Road Trip: Self-Directed Field Work as a Learning Journey, appears in Teaching in the Field: Working with Students in the Outdoor Classroom, University of Utah Press, 2003.
NCLC 495—Conserving Endangered Species: An Integrative Approach
Andrew worked with GMU conservation biologist Dr. Tom Wood and Smithsonian environmental historian Dr. Catherine Christen to design and coordinate this ten-day intensive learning community that took place at the National Zoological Park’s Conservation & Research Center (NZP/CRC) in Front Royal, VA. NZP/CRC researchers delivered discrete portions of the course, which took a hands-on approach to introducing students to the complex challenge of conserving the endangered Eld’s deer of Myanmar (formerly Burma). The course laid the foundation for the Smithsonian-Mason Semester, an integrative living-learning program now offered at CRC thorugh George Mason.