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Innovative Month courses expand students' worlds

Photos above are from Dr. Kozak's Uganda/Tanzania 2010 trip (courtesy of Dr. Kozak) and Dr. Walls' 2011 Cruise Industry trip (courtesy of student Holli Hipwell).

Photos above are from Dr. Kozak's Uganda/Tanzania 2010 trip (courtesy of Dr. Kozak) and Dr. Walls' 2011 Cruise Industry trip (courtesy of student Holli Hipwell).

Why study about the cruise industry in a land-locked classroom when you can experience it at sea on board a cruise ship?

Why try to learn Greek history and culture in Colorado when you can immerse yourself in both in Greece?

Why dream about someday helping people in need when you can make real change right now in Africa?

"We feel it is entirely necessary to actually experience things rather than just read about them in a text book," says Simon Walls, Business professor and Faculty Lead on the "Cruise Line Industry" Innovative Month.

"I am sure you would agree that's the way to learn!" he adds.

Walls' Innovative Month experience offers two course options -- "Marketing & Tourism in the Cruise Industry" and "Topics in Economics: Cruise Industry" -- both of which include a ten-day stay aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Explorer of the Seas. The vessel has its own climbing wall, ice-skating rink, spa, pools, and more.

Not a bad classroom.

Innovative Month courses are faculty-created and faculty-driven Summer courses that include in-the-field exploration and application of the course's material. The goal is to provide students opportunities for affordable travel with a group of their peers, while immersing them in unique and meaningful itineraries, topics, and experiences.

Anthropology professor David Kozak's students will travel far from the Fort Lewis College campus in many ways. The students in his "Tanzania: Education in Action" Innovative Month course will experience traditional African life up close and personal during home stays in remote tribal villages, offering students irreplaceable chances to practice ethnographic fieldwork techniques. Students will also work side-by-side with members of the Boma N'gombe community to complete a project began during the 2012 Innovative Month, assist with children at an orphanage, and meet and collaborate with international volunteer and humanitarian organizations.

"It's these types of real-world encounters that give meaning to students' work," says Kozak. "It's one thing to study concepts in the abstract in a classroom and quite another to see them on the ground. Especially unfamiliar foreign ground, where students are exposed to things that challenge their perceptions of the world, of other people, and of other cultures. It encourages them to examine their own lives in terms of what they are experiencing and learning."

Other Innovative Month courses offered this Summer include:

  • "Global Business in Costa Rica," with Dr. Simon Walls, Business Administration
  • "Exploring the Magic of Spain by Mountain Bike," with Dr. Catalina Aguilar, Spanish
  • "Revolution! Propaganda Art in Germany and the Czech Republic," with Paul Booth, Art
  • "Greece: The Cradle of Civilization," with Dr. Justin McBrayer, Philosophy
  • "Himalayan Trekking and Mountaineering," with Tim Thomas, Adventure Education
  • "The Irish Nation: Understanding the Irish Experience," with Dr. Bill Dodds, Business Administration
  • "Malaysia and India: Ecopsychology, Globalization and Change," with Dr. Thomas Skurky, Psychology
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