More than Just Ironic

forbesDid you catch this Forbes online post?

They’re so frustrating for so many different reasons (I commented on one a while back), but for now, just consider the name in the bottom right corner of the photo: Mark Scott is a professional photographer whose stock image was licensed from Getty Images by Forbes for this webpage. Continue reading

Study the Humanities and Save America

I came across the above tweet last week and it made me smile. Jack Bauer, the main character in the FOX television show 24, earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA. On one level, it became an interesting answer to, “what can you do with a humanities degree?” You can save the free world, that’s what. Continue reading

Who is the smartest?

6831018124_f526e4d32a_mDoes it even make sense to generalize about students who major in a discipline, using statistics such as test scores and GPAs? Probably not, as each student’s success depends on her own abilities and hard work, strategic choices and realistic advice. Plus, programs at each university have their own character, and those who major in that program often have a significant self-selection bias. Continue reading

Grad Tales Part IV

gradtales4On March 31, 2014, the Department hosted its fourth (and final for 2013-14) “There and Back Again: A Grad’s Tale” event. For this event, Prof. Russell McCutcheon talked with REL grad John Lyles about what he’s been up to since he left Manly Hall in 2010 after earning his B.A. in Religious Studies, with a minor in Biology. Continue reading

Lectures and Films and Blogs, Oh My…

powerrangermaryREL 360 is the course number that we’re now using for a new, 1 credit hour course (repeatable for up to a total of 3 semesters/credit hours), beginning in the Fall of 2014, on what happens when the Humanities bumps into popular culture.

Offered each semester, it is the outgrowth of the past two years of informal movie nights with our student association — although they were successful events they lacked the opportunity of delving into the issues of the films in more detail or linking them explicitly to topics already being examined in other classes. “Popular Culture/Public Humanities” requires students to attend four films each semester (once a month, from 6:00-9:00 pm, room and films to be announced) along with either the Day Lecture (in the Fall) or the Aronov Lecture (in the Spring), and then to write a small number of brief commentaries on these events/issues, some of which (after working through drafts with a faculty member) will be posted here, on our Student Blog.

In the Fall 2014 semester, REL 360 will meet:

Tues Aug 26
Tues Sept 23
Tues Oct 21
Tues Nov 18

In order to earn credit students must attend all events and complete the assignments.

Coordinated by Prof. Finnegan, REL 360 will also involve a variety of other REL faculty, all demonstrating the relevance of the Humanities for studying popular culture by introducing each film and then leading a discussion after, all of which provides a springboard into each student’s commentary on the issues the film or the lecture allows us to examine in more detail.

Speak to Prof. Finnegan for permission to enroll.

While the films will be advertised and remain open to other students, only those enrolling in REL 360 and completing its assignments will earn credit for the course.

It’s Not Always About Credentials

googleofficesOne of our faculty posted this article the other day — “Why Google doesn’t care about hiring top college graduates” — and I thought it worth re-posting here. In the article, Google’s head of people operations, Laszlo Bock, discussed the qualities that the company seeks in people they hire: “And increasingly, it’s not about credentials.” Continue reading

“They Engage in … Clarification”

ted-brownThanks to Amanda Anderson, in 15 minutes or less you can think a little more clearly about challenges to the Humanities in the modern university — and come up with a few possible answers to those challenges.

They help one to develop and integrate a fundamental practice into one’s life. If the dinner table question was not “But what will you do with an English major?”… but rather “What kind of life do you find meaningful or valuable and what books or works of art or college classes helped you to figure that out?” then one might begin to understand what one does with a Humanities major….

In the Currents of Change

savannah fSavannah Finver is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College, double majoring in Religious Studies and English. She is an avid reader and writer. She is interested in the impact of religion on American politics and social order. This piece was originally published in STAC’s student newspaper, Thoma, and when it came to our attention we thought it would make an ideal guest post on the REL blog.

When I first came to STAC, I declared a Childhood/Special Education major for two reasons. The first was that I could not see myself doing anything other than teaching; after all, my mother is a teacher, and I have spent my entire life around young kids. The second was that, knowing myself fairly well, I was certain that I could never, ever, ever work a desk job.

Now, here I am, in the middle of my sophomore year, having recently switched to a double major in English and Religious Studies.

Yeah, it’s a jump. Continue reading

What Does “Omaha!” Mean?

Photo: Craig Hawkins via Flickr

Peyton Manning loves Omaha. Or at least the Denver Broncos quarterback loves to yell “OMAHA!” just before the start of a play. Omaha is just one of the many words he and other quarterbacks yell just before the ball is snapped. Sometimes these words are audibles, quick changes of the play the team is about to run. Sometimes they are meaningless verbiage meant to confuse the other team. Continue reading

Putting a Humanities Degree to Work

hicks_3

“That class [Modern Atheism] introduced a profound change in Hicks’ life. She began to listen to those with different views than her own, began to dialogue, and, finally, began to see. ‘It just all sort of clicked for me,’ she said. ‘You walk past people—the kinds of people that you don’t even see a lot of the time, people who are under-represented in our culture.'” Continue reading