The Bigger Picture
During your second year at McDaniel, you will select a course from the innovative Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) program. These courses examine issues, topics or sets of questions that are best understood when they are explored from multiple disciplines of study. The courses are often team-taught by faculty from different departments who bring varied perspectives to the course each week; they also help broaden students’ campus experience by exposing them to professors and other students outside of their chosen majors.
SIS courses may combine any number of shared experiences, from guest lecturers to discussion groups, in order to compare and contrast different perspectives. The topics are broad in order to offer a wide range of choices for students. Sample courses include:
- Southern Appalachia: Music, Literature and the Environment – this course dispels the “hillbilly” myths and reveals the richness of the culture and the landscape of the southern Appalachians as seen through a multi-disciplinary lens
- Living in the Margins: The production, perpetuation, and experience of stereotypes and discrimination – although many laws have been passed to end discrimination, the beliefs that support prejudice remain powerful. This course investigates the psychological causes behind stereotypes and the social and economic effects of being discriminated against.
- Drama Therapy – this group process emphasizes play, spontaneity, embodiment and role flexibility; these techniques can be used in clinical, educational, corporate, and social service settings.
“I took the ‘South Park’ class and am still trying to figure out how the duo managed to incorporate highly debatable topics in such an elegant way, which allowed students to effectively discuss the issues at hand. I had never watched South Park before taking their class; I had always been told that it was pure trash. But now I can't help myself and like watching to see what issue is being discussed.” — Derick Wolfson, 2012
“I took The Arab World. I really enjoyed going on a trip to the Saudi Arabian Embassy, the Bahraini Embassy, and the Islamic Center. The trip was right after Saudi tanks crossed the causeway into Bahrain after there were protests in Bahrain and it was really interesting to hear the Bahraini ambassador talk about Bahrain and even more interesting to hear her dismiss the idea of a Sunni-Shiite class difference in Bahrain. The trip was a way for me to see how governments in the Middle East ‘take care’ of the problems that face their countries.” — Emily Schafer, 2013
“I took the course, September 11th and Its Aftermath. The idea of SIS is really important. It's important to connect material that you're learning to other subjects and SIS is a great opportunity to learn how to do so. Rather than a specific memory, I remember loving that we read novels and poetry and political texts. We connected literary works to political issues and I learned a great deal.” — Betsy Warner, 2012