FRO 100.001 Controversy: Race and Sexuality on the American Frontier

Am I Black or White? Am I Straight or Gay? CONTROVERSY?" Since its founding, and long before recording artist Prince penned these lyrics in the 1980s, America has been a space and a place demanding and mandating polarized definitions of race and sexuality. This course will examine the reasoning behind and ramifications of these dichotomies from the Colonial Period to the present in genres that include literature, film, and music. We will also explore how these binaries affect people who identify as biracial and bisexual. This discussion-based course requires intensive reading, viewing, and listening and will foster your critical thinking and analytical writing. Topics of discussion will include the "one-drop rule," the slavery debate, miscegenation, racial passing, segregation, integration, interracial desire, and sexual passing. Special attention will be given to individuals who and organizations that refuse to follow racial and sexual dictates. Authors will include Thomas Jefferson, Nella Larsen, James Weldon Johnson, James Baldwin, Ann Allen Shockley, Prince, Adrienne Rich, E. Lynn Harris, and Barack Obama.

Instructor: Angelo Robinson

Angelo Robinson

Angelo Robinson is an associate professor of English at Goucher College where he teaches courses in the English Dept., American Studies Program, and the Africana Studies Program. He has published articles on issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

FRO 100.002 Frontiers in Musicality

This course, designed for the total beginner as well as the advanced student, provides the experience and knowledge for you to understand your own musical self. Recognizing that each person has different natural tendencies and relationships to music, the course examines four types of musicians: improviser, composer, arranger, and interpreter. We will explore the issues confronting each type and the techniques available for each type to achieve musical expression. The course will consider different uses of music (concert, commercial, and theater music) and distinguish broad categories of music, such as song/dance, absolute/program music, and folk/art music. Other topics addressed are music theory and notation, music in sociological and historical contexts, the origin and analysis of musical styles, and acoustical versus psychological aspects of music. Course participants will play music and talk about music, and reading assignments will be taken from the writing of major composers and theorists.

Instructor: Jeffrey Chappell

Jeffrey Chappell

Jeffrey Chappell has performed as a concert pianist throughout the United States in recitals and chamber music and has been a soloist with major symphony orchestras. He has also concertized in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Mr. Chappell is a recording artist, an award-winning composer, a jazz musician, an improviser for silent films, and an author of articles for music magazines. He is a graduate of Curtis Institute and Peabody Conservatory.

FRO 100.003 Where the Wild Things Are: Representations of the American Wilderness

This seminar brings together the work of adventurers, children's writers, visual artists, natural scientists, and visionaries to trace changing perceptions of the American wilderness. Their works span the continental United States and range from America's virtual obsession with the cowboy to our tendency to glorify individual forays into the wilderness. Our class will focus on interpreting texts - written texts and visuals texts, fiction as well as nonfiction. We will explore how works such as James Dickey's Deliverance, Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, and a statue in Disney's Epcot Center form a literary and visual record of changes in external but also internal landscapes: What happens to us when we step across the frontier separating the garden from the wilderness, the tamed from the untamed?

Instructor: Mary Marchand

Mary Marchand

Associate Professor Mary Marchand teaches in both the English Department and the American Studies Program. This course comes out of her fascination with American culture and her love of wild places, most notably her family's cabin in northernmost Minnesota.

FRO 100.004 Prima Donnas: Social Constructions of the "Fantasy Female" in Performance

In this course we will together enjoy constructions of the prima donna from early modern times to the present. We will look at her agency as a voice in her culture, and how that voice is presented, received, manipulated and sometimes repudiated by the people who produce it (that means "us"). Prima donnas often hold up images we are passionate to see because they help us negotiate, ignore, or justify something complex in our cultural space. These complexities and ambiguities are essential to the Prima Donna. Through them she becomes a cultural fantasy, so we will look at her, but also at social concerns that help define her. The purpose is not to judge but to look critically at how cultural icons emerge, and how they might resonate with viewers of diverse backgrounds. Some of the figures we will examine include a Renaissance courtesan, castrati, and "stars" from opera, jazz, film, and popular music, including Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Hattie McDaniel, Marilyn Monroe, and a transgendered community in NY. We will move fluidly back and forth between "then" and "now," choosing from contemporary figures that interest you and me. Your assignments will include visual ones, primarily movies or documentaries, balanced by a series of short critical readings for each section. Our ultimate goal will be to look at icons in our own space with a new awareness of how we tell our own stories.

Instructor: Thomasin LaMay


Thomasin LaMay is a singer and music historian with a masters in history and a Ph.D. in music history and performance studies.  She has written about women in music from the Renaissance to modern times, and enjoys all kinds of music.  She has a long standing interest in social justice, including work with the Equal Justice Initiative, The Children's Peace Center, and food co-ops for Baltimore's poor.  She is also a Pilates instructor, and away from work enjoys writing, reading just about anything, and consorting with animals.

FRO 100.005 Screenwriting and Adaptation

This introductory course is designed to develop your understanding and appreciation of the screenwriting adaptation process. We will examine methods for converting source texts into film and we will investigate how that conversion process can reflect specific cultural experiences relative to the two art forms of cinema and literature. In this frontiers edition of the course, we will begin by reviewing prominent models of adaptation ranging from Strangers on a Train to Ghost World and Children of Men. We then will proceed to an overview of the various techniques involved in narrative design as we prepare source texts for adaptation. Our semester will culminate in the planning and execution of a screenplay from source material provided by the student.

Instructor: Bill U'Ren

Bill U'Renn

Bill U'Ren, assistant professor of English, has worked in film adaptation since his undergraduate days at UCLA when he wrote Box 100 for Columbia Pictures. He recently adapted John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat for Canum Entertainment and is working on a remake of The Thief. Bill previously taught film at Johns Hopkins University and at the University of Houston, where his courses received the President's Award. His work has also earned Donald Barthelme and Cambor Awards.

FRO 100.006 Community Radio

This course lets you put the theory of community radio into practice by producing your own radio documentaries in partnership with local community organizations. We currently partner with an organization that provides transitional housing and services for homeless men in Baltimore City.  We will explore the philosophy behind community-oriented radio and study the various ways media skills empower communities around the country and around the world.  This course combines audio production, community-based learning, and writing. Students will travel off campus to work with local community groups.  (Transportation will be provided.)  Students will learn the fundamentals of producing audio documentaries and will have the option of airing their work on local radio stations and local and national internet sites. [No experience is required, but students must purchase recording equipment (less than $100) in addition to the required books]. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to: discuss the value of community-based media; collaborate with others to tell community stories; write radio scripts and academic essays; and perform fundamental audio production tasks, such as recording, editing, and mixing.

Instructor: Phaye Poliakoff-Chen

Phaye Poliakoff-Chen

Phaye Poliakoff-Chen is the incoming Director of the Writing Program at Goucher College.  Before coming to Goucher, she led the youth media program Uniquely Spoken, under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She believes that a strong focus on community concerns leads to the most compelling radio documentaries.  

FRO 100.007 Oceans, the Forgotten Frontier: Submarines, Sea Slugs, and Slime

Oceans comprise 70% of the Earth's surface, yet 95% of this realm is unexplored. In this course, we will examine such topics as ocean exploration, the use of submarines, and rogue waves. We will also delve into the impressive diversity of marine species, including those that inhabit the inhospitable deep sea environment, and some of the more unusual species that glow, take other species hostage, poison their predators, and can navigate using magnetic fields. Finally, we will consider the threats to oceans, including the trash vortex in the Pacific, overfishing, and climate change.

Instructor: Cynthia Kicklighter

Cynthia Kicklighter

Associate Professor Cynthia Kicklighter teaches in both the Biology Department and Environmental Studies Program.  As a graduate student, she dove to the ocean bottom to a depth of 1.5 miles in the ALVIN submarine. Aside from the deep sea, her aquatic interests include coral reefs, salt marshes, giant squid, and marine worms.  Her terrestrial interests including hiking and almost any project that requires the use of a power tool.

FRO 100.008 Childhood Left Behind? Challenges to Education in 21st-Century America

As American students have fallen behind their international counterparts on a variety of standard measures of achievement, many have come to perceive that the U.S. public education system is failing and in desperate need of overhaul.  Fears that our schools are not preparing students for success in the "global marketplace" have led to the development of government initiatives (such as Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" and, more recently, Obama's "Race to the Top" program) that involve imposition of high performance standards, standardized and stripped-down curricula, strict assessment procedures, financial incentivization, and sometimes severe sanctions and even school closings.  In this course, we will address the broader psychological, social, and political underpinnings, implications and repercussions of this "standards" movement in education. At the same time, we will engage with a variety of alternative perspectives in which student performance and motivation are framed in the context of an educational system that, in its zeal to improve the educational product (i.e., achievement outcomes), has failed to account for the importance of social justice concerns, teacher-student relationships, or the valuing of students' needs, interests, and feelings for promoting quality learning and healthy social and emotional development. Through discussion of the work of Kohn, Neill, Rogers, Kozol, Ravitch, and others, we will explore the possibility of a more student-centered, humanistic education that stresses the value of meaningful experience and holistic psychological development.

Instructor: Brian Patrick

Brian Patrick

Dr. Patrick is an Associate Professor of Psychology and teaches courses in social psychology, existential and humanistic psychology, and human motivation. His research interests center on the exploration of students' experiences of connection/disconnection in school. Outside of his work, he enjoys spending time with his wife (an elementary school principal whose experiences inform his teaching in Frontiers) and two children, including coaching his daughter's basketball and softball teams. He also loves a cappella music and musical theater, and has recently had the pleasure of performing with students in Goucher's Musical Theater and Opera Workshops.

FRO 100.009 Living in the Margins: Experiences of Vulnerability

All of us have had moments when we felt nearly invisible: times when instead of being the story at the center we were just a note jotted in the margin. This class will explore the realities of being marginalized by looking at groups of people who are frequently not visible. In the first part of the semester, we will read personal stories, agency reports, and scholarly works to learn about vulnerable populations. Some of the vulnerable populations we will consider are: homeless people, immigrants, the elderly, and children who have been separated from their birth parents. We will consider the history of marginalized people and may explore policies and attitudes that impact them. Together, we will formulate questions, gather information, and share our newfound knowledge. Each student will be expected to be a vital component of the learning environment as we seek to understand the realities of complex situations and people. During the second part of the semester, each student will work independently and with the support of the class and college resources to explore the realities of a marginalized group that they are particularly interested in.

Instructor: Joan Wilterdink


After over twenty years of teaching, Joan Wilterdink still finds it thrilling to observe students’ progress and development into amazing adults over the four years of college. Joan’s household includes three teenage boys, two young daughters she and her husband adopted through the foster care system, and three cats.  Trained as a biological psychologist, Joan loves looking at how behaviors and biology are interrelated.  For her, life is one big laboratory.

FRO 100.010 The Secret Life of Puppets

Puppets are arguably one of the earliest forms of performance--used to educate, add  insight, enlighten or just delight. They were and remain a staple of theatrical performance. A puppet is, however, a very special performer, made from humble materials, fashioned into a living form and finally animated or brought to life by the mind and body of a person either directly or at a distance.  This "bringing to life", this mysterious alchemy at the heart of puppets, is perhaps why this otherwise ubiquitous theatre form often remains the shadows. In this seminar/workshop we will look at the history, forms, uses and theory of puppets and form questions such as: Is Homer Simpson a puppet?  Why do puppets go in and out of fashion? What is the relationship between the puppet and the maker/animator? What stories do puppets need to tell? What drama ensues between the knife, the spoon and the dog when the kitchen light goes out?  Through creative exploration, guided improvisation and the making of original puppet performances, these questions and many more will be answered in The Secret Life of Puppets.

Instructor: Allison Campbell

Allison Campbell

Associate Professor Allison Campbell teaches design in the Department of Theatre at Goucher College. During her career as an educator and freelancer she designed sets, lights or costumes for over seventy productions. Like designing, puppetry allows her to imagine and craft new worlds and, in addition, to perform, to create characters, tell stories and explore in immediate and dynamic ways the intersection between the material and the transcendent -sometimes referred to as, "the magic of theatre."

FRO 100.011 Focused Well-Being Can Maximize Performance

This course is designed for those students with a background in movement, specifically dance and/or musical theatre. The course will consider what is meant by "well-being," and aims to develop an understanding and appreciation of it and how well-being will impact performance. The content of the course will provide the experience and knowledge to understand one's own self and through investigation and examination of well-being maximize one's performance.  

Instructors: Amanda Thom Woodson and Megan Rich

Kathy Flann

Professor Amanda Woodson teaches in and is Chair of the Dance Department. This course aims to share her passion for inventive and explorative movement and her desire to develop informed and intelligent viewers of movement.

Megan Rich joined the Goucher faculty in 2013 and has taught in the Frontiers program and taken students to Edinburgh, Scotland on an Intensive Course Abroad. Megan is a physiotherapist and the owner and director of Megan Rich Physical Therapy. She is a specialist in the performing arts field and continues to be one of the premier physical therapists in the Baltimore area. Her holistic and educational philosophy in her treatment of patients and clients makes her ideal to teach a course on well-being.  

FRO 100.012 Creative Nonfiction Workshop

In this Frontiers version of creative nonfiction, we will study and practice the skills involved in writing memoir, personal essay, and literary journalism. How does a writer render his or her own experiences without seeming self-indulgent or narcissistic? How can we create a voice on the page? Which details are important and how do you know? Is it even possible to report "the truth"? We will examine these issues and more. Students will read the works of David Sedaris, Julianna Baggott, Glen Retief, and other writers. They will produce exercises and drafts, and they'll engage in class workshops. The final project will be a portfolio of the student's own creative work. 

Instructor: Kathy Flann

Kathy Flann

Kathy Flann's creative work has appeared in numerous magazines, and her first book, a short story collection, is entitled Smoky Ordinary. For five years, she taught creative writing at the University of Cumbria in England, where she created mini-courses for the BBC's Get Writing website. Her column, "Letter from America," appears in a UK magazine called Writing in Education. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and also at the Sozopol Fiction Seminars in Bulgaria. Two new books, a novel and a short story collection, are forthcoming from Dymaxicon. 

FRO 100.013 Latino Experience in the United States

There are more than 50 million Latinas living in the United States, making them the nation's single fastest-growing and largest ethnic group. By 2050, Latinas are projected to account for more than 30 percent of the U.S. population. If Latinas in the United States today formed a country, they would rank as the 12th-largest global economy. This course draws on the interdisciplinary field of Latina studies and on a variety of sources from the colonial period to the present to introduce students to the social, political, and cultural history of this vital ethnic group. Readings and assignments will focus on Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Central, and South American communities, examining their experiences living as individual groups and among one another. Key course topics include: past and present immigration, Latina identity and perceptions of Latinas in the United States, the formation and transformation of cultural identity, and the Spanish language in media and education. Central to your active learning will be the community-based learning component of the course through which you will participate in Goucher's Futuro Latino Learning Center.

Instructor: Frances Ramos-Fontán

Frances Ramos-Valdez

Frances Ramos-Fontán has been teaching Spanish language, literature and culture at Goucher since 1997. Her areas of interest include foreign language acquisition and Caribbean Literature. As a recipient of a grant from the Department of Education three years ago, she had the opportunity to design and teach a course on the contemporary Puerto Rican family, which allowed her to share her love for her homeland with Goucher students. She is the proud mother of three children who generate a lot of the energy and enthusiasm she brings into the classroom.

FRO 100.014 Everyday Narratives

Story telling is a day-to-day activity, as common as brushing our teeth. We gather around a fire, a table, a television, a computer and we are compelled to tell each other stories: "Have you heard ...?", "Did you hear the one about ...?" We talk, we paint, we write, we blog, we text and even "facebook" our stories. Telling stories is what we do to make sense of our experiences, to tell each other who we are, to enjoy the thrill of what we can't be, and to dream about what we want to become. In performing these narratives, we are learning about ourselves, about those closest to us, and about the world into which we are venturing. In this course we will be learning to reflect about these stories and what these stories tell us about ourselves and others.

Instructor: Florencia Cortes-Conde

Instructor: Florencia Cortes-Conde

Associate Professor Florencia Cortes-Conde teaches in the Hispanic Languages, Literature and Culture Department. This course comes from her interest in how experience becomes stories and how stories shape identity and language. Her fascination with this theme comes from her bicultural and bilingual experience.

FRO 100.015 Genomes for Jocks and Docs

Are elite athletes or talented artists shaped by their genes or by their training? Can the science of genetics help differentiate between the two? How accurately can a geneticist predict that an individual will develop cancer or another disease? This course will examine how genetics impacts individuals and the ethical and public policy implications of genetic technology. The first half of the course will focus on athletic talent, but examples and readings will cover a range of topics. The second half of the course will focus on individualized medicine from the patient's point of view. No previous background in genetics is assumed or necessary.

Instructor: Mark Hiller

Mark Hiller

Dr. Mark Hiller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.  In addition to Frontiers, he teaches Introductory Biology and Genetics at the basic and advanced levels.  His research interests include deciphering how genetic information is outwardly expressed using the classic genetic model animal, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster

FRO 100.016 The Power of Physical Expression

The body is a powerful tool of expression and an extension of your intellectual self. This seminar and movement lab will explore how basic movement education can enhance your mind's capacity to creatively problem solve, think critically, and analyze a broad variety of social, political, and artistic topics from multiple perspectives. Through readings, discussion, and movement experimentation we will discover together the power of your physical and creative "voice". Prior movement/dance experience is not necessary to awaken a mind/body connection to enhance how you view the world.

Instructor: Linda Garofalo

Linda Garofalo

Full time Instructor, Linda Garofalo, teaches in the dance department and is a performing artist and choreographer. She is constantly inspired by the interdisciplinary and holistic aspects of movement education and its power to develop deep and broad thinkers. She developed this course because of her belief that everybody, not just trained dancers, should have the opportunity to explore and fulfill their creative potential.

FRO 100.017 Perceptions and Misperceptions of the Arab World

In this Frontiers section, we will examine our perceptions of the Arab World and learn about the conflicts and upheavals that have shaped modern Arab society and culture. Throughout the semester, we will be introduced to a wide variety of thought-provoking Arab films, stories, poetry, and music that will spark a new understanding of the major trends and themes of this region. This will be a discussion-based seminar, in which our short essays will be geared toward developing the critical tools and skills needed for academic success in this course and beyond.

Instructor: Zahi Khamis

Zahi Khamis

Zahi Khamis is the director of the Arabic program at Goucher. He is also an instructor of Arabic and a visual artist. His academic concerns are focused on literary theory, comparative literature and cultural studies. Zahi has a B.A in mathematics and an M.A in Liberal Studies.

FRO 100.018 Colors: Sources, Histories, and Uses

What are the causes of color and how do we see color? Is the way we see color different from the way animals perceive color? Has the use of color changed over time and shaped human cultures? How has color influenced history and the environment? In this interdisciplinary course, students will explore these color topics both in the classroom and with hands-on activities in the laboratory. Students will learn about the major causes of color, how light and pigment can be engineered to yield specific colors, the history and use of color and its impact on society. Vision and the biological and social uses of color will be explored both scientifically as well as culturally. A significant portion of the topics will be generated based on student interests.

Instructor: Barbara Amann

Barbara Amann

After 25 years of doing research on zinc binding proteins at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Barbara Amann decided to change her focus to teaching undergraduates at Goucher College. Having grown up with a family of scientists and artists, her interest in color has evolved to include dying silk and wool for spinning yarn.

FRO 100.019 Cross Dressing and Frontiers of Gender

Very recently, Facebook expanded its users’ options under the category of gender. To the traditional male and female were added ten more designations, including relatively recent designations such as genderqueer. Of course, people on both ends of the political spectrum celebrated or lamented this change as a culmination of or final blow to Western Civilization. In reality, however, it was just the latest development in a conversation about gender that has been taking place from Homer through Shakespeare and up to the present moment. In this course, we will try to provide a context for that conversation by looking at the history of cross dressing from the drama of Ancient Greece to recent cartoons and movies, examining the crises of category this crossing of sartorial frontiers reflects.

Instructor: Jeffrey Myers

Jeff Myers

Associate Professor of English Jeff Myers is in his 30th year at Goucher College. Although he has taught courses from "The Classical Tradition" to "Environmental Science Fiction," his specialty is Shakespeare. His publications include his book on Shakespeare and the visual arts, Shakespeare's Mannerist Canon: Ut Picturae Poemata, as well as essays on gender in Chaucer and Shakespeare. He has also served the college as chair of several major committees, the English Department, and the Faculty.

FRO 100.020 Contemplating Infinity

In this course we use Buddhist meditation techniques to contemplate the nature of the infinite. The idea of infinity is fundamental to human inquiry, and we will explore some of the ways it manifests in literature, philosophy, mathematics, and art. Our central mode of exploration will be analytical meditation, in which basic ideas or questions are held lightly in the mind and processed deeply. Students enrolled in the course will be required to establish a daily meditation practice over the course of the semester.

Instructor: Justin Brody

Justin Brody

Assistant Professor Justin Brody teaches both Mathematics and Computer Science.  He has been fascinated since childhood with the nature of mind and the abstract beauty of mathematics, and aspires to be constantly awake to the magic of life.

FRO 100.021 Neurology Meets Buddhism: The Promise of Mindfulness

Modern neurobiology and the wisdom of Buddhism have come together in demonstrating how each of us has the power to change our brains. Only recently have scientists come to understand that the brain changes throughout one’s life and that we are to a considerable extent in control of these changes. Much of this understanding has come from MRI studies of the brains of Buddhist monks before, during and after meditation. In this course the science behind the practice of meditation will be investigated. Studies validating the benefits of meditation in improving emotional and physical wellness, social relationships, academic performance and memory will be examined. Organizations incorporating meditation as an integral part of their operations will be explored- organizations from high tech companies to public school systems. Students will be asked to participate in a contemplative practice.

Instructor: Esther Gibbs


FRO 100.022 Picturing America

In this course, we will explore how important aspects of American cultural identity and conflict have been expressed in visual form from the earliest colonies to the 21st century. We will investigate questions of race, ethnicity, gender, economics, politics and religion, as well as attitudes towards the natural world, looking closely and carefully at a range of paintings, prints, sculptures, and films and undertaking a number of written and visual assignments. No artistic talent or art history background is required, but a desire to analyze and discuss visual material is a must.

Instructor: Gail Husch

Justin Brody

Gail Husch has taught art history at Goucher for twenty-four years; among her research interests is the place of apocalyptic belief in American culture. She is the author of Something Coming: Apocalyptic Expectation and Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Painting, as well as The Button Field, a novel set in late-nineteenth-century New England.

FRO 102.001 Once Upon a Time: Critical Analysis of Fairy Tales

Traditions are passed on in many forms, but one of the most successful vehicles for the transmission of culture and mores is the fairytale. This course will examine the fairytale as a genre, comparing the Russian versions of tales to their Indo-European standards. Where did these tales come from and why? Were they always simple bedtime stories? Are they still applicable today? Through a cross-cultural comparison, students will analyze tales from psychological, physiological, socio-economic, and historic perspectives. An examination of global similarities and differences will allow students access to the past, while permitting a snapshot of 21st-century ideals in contrast.

Instructor: Annalisa Czeczulin

Annalisa Czeczulin

Annalisa Czeczulin, Assistant Professor of Russian, teaches at both Goucher College and the Johns Hopkins University as part of the Goucher-Hopkins Cooperative Russian Program. Her areas of expertise include Slavic Linguistics and Second-Language Acquisition. In addition to teaching, Dr. Czeczulin has extensive experience editing and producing of Russian textbooks and directing study abroad exchanges between the United States and Russia. A former member of the Lyman Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, she is still active in the Russian community in maintaining the Russian Olympiada, the Maryland semifinals of which are presently held at Goucher College on an annual basis.