New physics, communication courses added to help department, students grow
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
The new semester has brought the addition of new courses to Sam Houston State University. Among these additions are “Humor in Communication” and “Physics Boot Camp”.
“Humor in Communication” is a Communication Studies course (COMS 3365) taught by France Brandau-Brown, Ph.D., that discusses how humor works and what functions humor serves in communication.
“Humor’s used in so many ways,” Brandau-Brown said. “There’s humor as aggression (like making fun of others), humor in intimacy, children, families, organizations and healthcare.”
In science (and social sciences) the goal is to understand, explain and predict behavior. In this course the main purpose is to understand, explain and predict humor.
“We’re hoping this addition will raise the department’s portfolio to raise the number of students in the department,” Brandau-Brown said.
The number of majors in the communication studies program has recently increased; its students need a greater variety of social science-oriented upper level courses to choose from. This course serves multiple purposes for the communication studies department, not only adding a class, but also potentially bringing in more students.
A website called Teaching Humor lists almost 30 courses being taught presently on humor including University of Maryland, Arkansas State University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University and Queens University of Belfast.
“Physics Boot Camp” (PHYS 1401) is an entry-level physics course for students who are interested in possibly majoring in physics or engineering without having taken any previous physics classes.
This four-hour class taught by Joel Walker, Ph. D., offers possible majors a chance to “try it out” with no prerequisites on coursework.
“[It also ensures] that our incoming students have the required leveling in quantitative and computational skills that will allow them to be successful once they start taking regular physics classes,” Walker said.
In the long run, the course is designed to aid students in either simplifying physics for them in the future or an easy transition into engineering colleges.
“We are looking to expand awareness among those students with an eye toward engineering that completing their first three years of physics and mathematics at SHSU forms an excellent foundation for transferring on to a dedicated engineering college,” Walker said.