2001-2002 Williams Fund Recipients

Law, 2001-2002
A course for undergraduates, "Mediation: Life Skills in Conflict Resolution," developed and taught by Jane Gordon, School of Law.

"Too often," says Gordon, "students learn the reasons why disputes and violence occur, but rarely, if ever, are they taught specific skills for lessening conflict, or its potential, either in their own lives or in the lives of others."

Not only intellectual understanding, but effective performance, is expected in this class that explores mediation as a creative process for the resolution of conflict. Growing in its use in the United States, mediation tools are necessary for success both personally and professionally.

Students in this course gain understanding of the genesis of conflict, how they personally respond to conflict, how to be effective communicators, why mediation is a useful tool in conflict resolution, how to conduct mediation, and how to use conflict to generate positive choices where none seem possible. These skills reach beyond the classroom to the university and the broader community.

The teaching of this course to undergraduate students contributed to the development of an interdisciplinary master's in conflict and dispute resolution which, pending final approval, will admit its first students in the fall of 2005.

Clark Honors College, 2001-2002
"Western History and the Challenge of Globalization" is a curricular revision in the Robert D. Clark Honors College led by Joseph Fracchia and Daniel Rosenberg.

"To study other cultures," says Fracchia, "is not political correctness, it is a historiographical necessity. Only in this way will students begin to understand the increasingly global world we live in, and only by situating it in a world-historical context will students be able adequately to understand Western culture itself."

Conceptual reframing and integration of new materials in order to place Western history in a larger, global context lies at the heart the proposal for this Honors College class in Western history.

Though the emphasis on directed student discussion of primary resources remains the same, the new structure adds content related to major socio-cultural forms that influence the development of Western thought and culture.

Each of the three terms focuses on differing influences, beginning with civilizations in the ancient world, moving to the emergence of the world economic system of the 13th century, and concluding with the rise of the West and subsequent challenges to Western dominance.

Philosophy & English, 2001-2002
An interdisciplinary course developed and taught by Mark Johnson, Department of Philosophy, and Louise Westling, Department of English, called "The Living Body."

"Human beings are creatures of the flesh," says Mark Johnson. "What we can experience, how we conceptualize and reason about our experience, and how we express ourselves in language, art, music, and ritual is closely tied to the nature of our bodies and their interactions with the environments we inhabit."

Philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, movement science, psychology, and literature combine as the broad and eclectic focus of this class. The course explores the importance of the body for who we are, how we think, and how our world becomes meaningful to us. Team taught by the two professors, the class engages the assistance of a specialist in body movement and involves active student participation in teams that combine classroom study and reading with exercises designed to connect philosophic and scientific positions with actual bodily experience.

Biology, 2001-2002
A field research project in Ecuador developed by Peter Wetherwax, Department of Biology, called "Neotropical Ecology."

Wetherwax designed two classes in tropical ecology that culminate with a three-week summer field project in Ecuador. The first class offers upper-division students in biology, environmental studies/science, and general science an opportunity to learn about these fragile and vital ecosystems in the classroom, while the second class allows them a chance to hone their research skills in such varied areas as the Andes and the Amazon Basin.

Students design, conduct, and present independent research projects while in Ecuador. Each student is encouraged to become an expert on one particular aspect of the ecosystem, thus becoming a resource for the entire class.

"There still exists an immense amount of knowledge to be gained from studying tropical ecosystems and a desperate need for more experts in the field of tropical biology," says Wetherwax.