For such a small school, Hillsdale College offers many great classes taught by renowned professors that are typically found at bigger schools. These interesting courses leave students hungry for more.
Each semester, professors from all departments offer special elective courses on a multitude of subjects, from the history behind Iron Maiden’s songs to more “Hillsdalian” history courses on topics including the nature of war. Often, these classes are experimental and only offered for a semester.
The process to add a course to the course catalog can often take months. According to Registrar Douglas McArthur, the process begins at department roundtables, where members of a particular department discuss and critique the course. Then, the proposal goes to the dean of Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences. After that, the course must pass the education policies committee. Finally, the course must pass an all-faculty vote.
Some students dream of adding more diverse classes- from a feminism in science class to classes about modern economic trends. Could these pass the test of Hillsdale faculty?
Last semester, history major Jack McPherson took a month-long course on the Nature of War taught by Victor Davis Hanson. McPherson said he would enjoy more opportunities to study unique aspects of history with visiting professors.
“Politics and history are a lot more tied together than people think,” McPherson said. “We have a really great amount of professors, but perhaps we could bring in more professors with specialized knowledge of history.”
Sophomore politics major Avery Lacey also mentioned the addition of combining politics with other aspects of the current curriculum- specifically, religion.
“I’m really interested in how different religious groups understand politics within their own religion, and how their understanding of the role of God and human nature influence their understanding of government,” Lacey said.
Biology major Erin Flaherty had a few suggestions for additions to her field. She said she would enjoy modern psychology and EMT classes. In addition, she voiced interest in a class that would discuss influential women and their achievements in various scientific fields.
“[Women] actually had a lot of important roles, even though they aren’t credited, like Rosalind Franklin,” Flaherty said, referencing an influential chemist who was significant in advancing understanding of a number of areas.
Jackson Frerichs, an accounting major, said he would appreciate the addition of a course covering the causes and effects of the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. He said that this course would explain the problem from different perspectives and angles, from the average middle-class family to the government’s “too big to fail” mindset,” to the Lehman Brothers’ choices that lead the company to go bankrupt.
Phil Bernston, who has not yet declared his major, said that he would be interested in something even more diverse- a class on gardening or horticulture. Bernston not only finds gardening a relaxing hobby, but also as an important way he can connect with his father.
“My dad is a bigtime gardener,” Bernston said. “He started with only four plots but now made his own irrigation system. I do go out there, too. It’s very relaxing and we always have great conversations.”
Though Hillsdale College students may feel swamped by both core and major classes, these interesting courses could add an edge to any major, or serve as fun electives for the interested student of the liberal arts.