New courses spring into Guilford

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From courses that cover the relationship between gender and crime to public speaking and debate skills, Guilford students will have the opportunity to explore new subjects with the College’s new courses this semester.

“I think new courses offer a fresh look at new information,” said Terry Schwartz, visiting assistant professor for sport studies. “I teach my students that it’s important for them to know what they don’t know. Each time they explore a new topic, they discover new things that they had no idea exist.”

Schwartz is teaching one of these new courses, “Sport Management Programming.” Though currently categorized as an experimental class, Schwartz believes it is an essential course for students pursuing careers in sports management.

“The reason we’re providing this course to students is because it’s never been taught on this campus before,” said Schwartz. “I’ve been in the business for some 35 years and, outside of academia, every place a student is going to go when they graduate from here, the first thing they’re going to ask them is to do a program and none of them know how.

“And so that’s where the passion comes from, it’s ensuring our students know how to orchestrate effective programs for communities or colleges or wherever they might go.”

Professor of Political Science Ken Gilmore expressed similar sentiments on the benefits of the new course he is teaching, “Speak Up: Public Forum Debate.”

“There’s so many reasons why debate is such a great way to learn things,” said Gilmore. “There’s just so many skills that debating teaches you: teamwork, organization, research, evidence, argumentation, logic, critical thinking, note taking, extemporaneous thinking. And consistently, for the past 30 years of teaching, consistently, the debates are the highlights of teaching.”

Gilmore’s new course stemmed from the Quality Enhancement Plan, a required action plan submitted by Guilford to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools so that the College remains an accredited institution. The Quality Enhancement Plan focuses on how to address an institution’s problems, while promoting student learning and the institution’s mission.

“The reason it’s called ‘Speak Up’ is that the Quality Enhancement Plan for Guilford College that came out of our accreditation is called Speak Up and we promised that we would create a public speaking/debate club,” said Gilmore. “And so, while it’s intended to teach students the skills of debate, it’s also there to meet our requirements for accreditation.”

Other new classes, such as Visiting Instructor for Justice and Policy Studies Ziwei Qi’s “Women, Crime, and Criminal Justice” course, were added as special topics.

“I just joined Guilford last fall semester and before that I had been teaching this course as an elective course in another university,” said Qi. “And I’d been talking with faculty in the JPS department and they’re very supportive. They were saying they’re always looking for special topics courses in criminal justice, and that women and crime is one of the leading topics they think they would love to incorporate.

“When I mentioned this, they fully supported me.”

Qi’s class acknowledges that criminal justice studies have been male-dominated and seeks to find solutions to this issue.

“For me, when I started teaching this course, there are so many things I don’t know about it because then again, when you’re educated as a criminal justice major, most of the time we’re studying the criminality of men. We’re never even being educated about the criminality of women,” said Qi.

“And I hope that by taking this class, students will not only be able to broaden their understanding in terms of gender and crime, policy and where are the problems and how to solve them, but also … working as a leader to not only personally participate in anything that could potentially transform our system, but also (to encourage) everybody else to get involved.”

Despite the differing motivations and skills taught in each new course, according to Qi, Guilford students will develop their personal perspectives by taking part in the new classes, while also learning about fresh topics.

“I hoped I could at least transform their idea to think outside the box, to change the habitual thinking in terms of what we’ve been commonly told or know in everyday life,” said Qi. “To become more observant or become more critical about the truths and the facts we’ve been told every day and … try to be more compassionate to others.”