Fall 2014

Registration for fall 2014 freshmen and transfer students opens May 12. The first step in beginning the registration process is to select your themes for English 101 and CORE 101 courses.

CORE 101: SNC Experience is the common intellectual experience shared by all Sierra Nevada College students, employing variable topics grounded in the social sciences (economics, psychology, political science, anthropology and sociology). Topics are selected from areas within art, business, humanities and science to engage entering students while developing the critical skills necessary for a successful and stimulating college career.  The learning objectives of the course will develop the abilities central to active, engaged learning.  Those abilities include critical thinking, problem solving, creativity/innovation, oral communication, teamwork, peer critique, self-reflection, higher-order questioning and active discussion. Students can rank their preference of CORE 101 topics with your faculty advisor.

CORE 101 Topics


Explore the earliest origins of travel and travel’s effect on society and culture. We have traveled since earliest time. Originally we followed food and water sources. Later we made journeys to trade, explore or to conquer. In modern times we travel for business or for pleasure. What influences has travel had on culture, values, technology, and even food? We will look at how travel has shaped our world and what it takes to be a successful modern traveler, including planning our own local travel adventure.

Community, Justice & Peace

Throughout the world, marginalized peoples face inequalities across race, class, sex and age. This course looks at this issue through the sexual exploitation of vulnerable populations such as the Bacha Bazi boys of Afghanistan and locally trafficked young girls in Nevada, which are often subjected to deception, coercion and violence. This class also will explore the issues of justice and peace as they relate to inequality.

Time, Identity and Storytelling

Storytelling is a basic human impulse. We have used it to convey important messages about morality, to remember our own history, to transmit knowledge, to warn of danger and to create common culture from the earliest days of human civilization. In this course, students will learn the value of a good story – how it can be used to influence, to persuade and to communicate. Students will focus on learning to tell stories that convey their identity and allow people to get to know them at a deeper level, facilitating human connection. As part of this course, guest storytellers will share their own stories of identity. The course will be framed by the idea that the stories we tell are a method for framing the meaning of the present moment and building personal histories.

Visual Literacy

Human beings are very visual creatures, and the visual component of communication can often overwhelm its other dimensions. This class looks at a variety of ways that people and organizations use visual media to communicate and persuade, training students to make their own visual communication more effective. We will address questions such as: How can text and image be used together to tell a story? How can you illustrate an idea? What’s the difference between information and propaganda? Students will critique and create photographs, diagrams, infographics, illustrations, presentations, and video. Through this process, they will develop a greater understanding of the ways in which visual media are used to inform us and to manipulate us.

ENGL 101: Freshman Composition is the Freshman English course. Examination of themes and techniques in assigned reading is emphasized to develop evaluation, analysis, synthesis and critical thinking skill. Weekly written work, in–class discussions, essays, research writing and a portfolio documenting revisions are required.

All students at SNC are required to take two semesters of English coursework. Transfer students may be waived out of one or more sections of English if they have taken this course at a previous institution which meets catalog requirements for transfer courses. Transfer credit acceptance will be determined during your meeting with the faculty advisor.

Individual and Society

Writing is more than simply a necessary set of skills.  It is a way of seeking ourselves, situating each of us within the world we create through language, exploring and defining our humanity through the written word.  This realization is the engine that drives this course.  Knowing that writing matters, that the words on the page are a momentary representation of a transient truth, a way of looking at and understanding the world unique to the writer, makes the opportunity to become a better writer an extremely valuable one.  It also means that the well of subjects about which one can write is deep, that the ways of exploring these topics are many and multi-faceted, and that the sophistication of the work produced is limited only by a writer’s skill and commitment.  When we write, we are, after all, delving into the lives and psyches of a most complex creature, one’s self.

Your Story

In our personal, academic and professional lives, the world offers us countless opportunities to write. This course focuses on the practical application of writing with an eye toward future academic and professional success. Interview and profile someone working in your field of study, develop a position on an important public issue you are passionate about, learn how to present yourself as a unique and qualified job candidate, and begin to develop tools and experiences to further your personal and career growth.

Contemporary Literature

In this class, “Contemporary Literature” means novels, short stories, and poems written in the last twenty years that deal with ideas people think about in 21st Century culture: technology, the past, what it means to be human, and those old standbys: love, sex and death. That’s only a partial list.

We will focus on the writing process – how we form our ideas into a cohesive argument – and on the genres of academic writing – summaries, critiques, analyses, and research papers. We will practice various methods of composition, and develop approaches to refining your ideas through this writing process. Though this course is focused on topics in contemporary literature, the skills you’ll learn will be transferable to every class in which you’re required to think about problems from a critical perspective. You will explore how to use writing to learn, to create, and to act, particularly in college but outside the classroom as well. I hope our work will be challenging, fun and will in some way change how you look at (and act in) the world.

ENGL 102: Freshman Composition II builds on and further develops the writing skills introduced in ENGL 101. Students are required to conduct both primary and secondary research, synthesize and integrate researched material into original works, and present individual research in papers and projects.

Transfer students who do not have transferable credits for English 101 must take an English Placement Exam before enrolling in any English courses. Contact Henry Conover at hconover@sierranevada.edu immediately to schedule your exam.

ENGLISH 102 Topics

Contemporary Issues in Education

We all have a stake in education. We have been shaped by our own school experiences; indelible memories, moments that have defined us or altered our futures, educators who have influenced our paths. Our children, present or future, will be part of our nation’s education system. This class is a chance to discuss the American public education system, local, national and global attitudes towards education, ethical and moral dilemmas in education, and alternative models of education.

Specific topics may include bilingual classrooms, gifted and talented programs, environmental education, physical education, art programming, state and national standards, assessment, media coverage, and school funding. Students will write a personal essay about their own educational experiences, a movie analysis, and a compare-contrast essay on high school challenges such as college pressure, cheating, and peer pressure. For their major research project, students will focus on one main aspect of teaching and learning. Students are encouraged to take ENGL 103 (1 unit) simultaneously in order to gain hands on service learning experience in a school setting.

Image and Text

Every field of study, from psychology to business to biology, introduces students to disciplinary habits of mind. That is to say: Each department on campus has different and specific approaches to critical thinking. A liberal arts education, then, is buffet of incredibly rigorous and sometimes wildly different ways of approaching ideas.

In general, your English classes are a chance to use writing as a tool for discovery, to practice looking for patterns, themes, and arguments in writing (your own and others’), and to try on different perspectives. In specific, this course builds on and further develops the writing skills introduced in ENGL 101 with a focus on analyzing images’ messages and conducting scholarly research. Students will examine graphic novels and practice writing in a variety of modes. Students are required to conduct both primary and secondary research, synthesize and integrate researched material into original work, and present individual research in papers and projects.

Imagination and Memory in the Works of J.D. Salinger