Courses offered this spring that always fill are History of Art II: Renaissance – Modern; Readings in Power, Leadership & Responsibility; English Grammar; Classical Children’s Literature; Renaissance British Literature; The Two World Wars; and Theology of the Body, according to Registrar Douglas McArthur.
These classes come from numerous departments: art, business, education, English, history, and religion. Only half of those disciplines – English, history, and art – are in the top 10 most popular majors at Hillsdale, so many students take the classes to learn from disciplines that they might not otherwise encounter.
The children’s literature class fulfills requirements for a couple of minors, but no majors. Students discuss stories such as Aesop’s fables, fairy tales, and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Authors range from Hans Christian Andersen to A. A. Milne to C.S. Lewis.
Professor of Education Daniel Coupland quipped that his elevator pitch for the class goes like this: “I usually turn to the person next to me in the elevator and depending on his or her facial expression, ask one of three questions: What role does our imagination play in helping us become more fully human? How can nonsense reveal truth about reality? Do you believe in fairies?”
Dani Morey ’17 said the class revisits books you read as a child and reminds you that those books have lessons even for adults.
“Each class period feels like an adventure into your past rather than a class,” she said.
Professor of Law Bob Blackstock has taught Readings in Power, Leadership & Responsibility for 20 years. About half of the students who take the class are business majors, he said. To accommodate the number of interested students, the class is offered in three different sections next semester.
“The course uses great works of literature and history to discern the human qualities, habits, and practices of leaders who have succeeded greatly. Or failed greatly,” Blackstock said.
Blackstock makes the case that we are most likely to find happiness when we serve others virtuously. Doing so isn’t bad for business, either.
“Hands down the best class at Hillsdale,” said senior and marketing management major Ashlee Moran. “It’s not everyday that you walk into class and your professor says, ‘Let’s talk about human happiness.’”
Theology of the Body, an upper-level religion class taught by Professor of Philosophy Nathan Schlueter, centers around Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body lectures, which treated love, marriage, and sexuality. Schlueter said very few of the students who take the class do so for their majors.
Senior Maria Theisen, who is majoring in psychology and English, said she took the class to learn practical applications for subjects addressed in her faith.
“It allows us to appreciate how and what we were created for, especially in terms of human relationships, and to see those themes throughout our culture,” Theisen said.
Senior Reuben Blake also recommends the class.
“It’ll change your life,” he said.
Underclassmen might find these courses filled by the time they register, but there’s no need to lose hope. Because the classes interest so many students, McArthur recommends emailing professors early to get on their waitlists. That way, students have a higher chance of taking the courses they want after 7 a.m. on registration day.