PreCollege Study Program 

Summer 2020 Curriculum

The Summer 2020 curriculum is designed to focus on writing and to offer an array of courses within the liberal arts and social sciences that will engage students and prepare them for the college experience. Full course descriptions for all courses can be found at the bottom of this page.

Focus on Writing:
We strongly recommend that PreCollege Residential Scholars enroll in one of these writing courses.
The Art of the Personal Essay
Techniques of Fiction

Focus on the Arts:
Digital Art
Survey of Jazz Styles

Focus on the Social Sciences:
Applied Data Analysis
International Politics
Saving the Republic: Lessons from Plato to our Time
Social and Political Perspectives on Digital Media

Course Options

Courses, descriptions and schedules are subject to change.
  • QAC 201/GOVT 201/NS&B 280/PSYC 280: Applied Data Analysis / Manolis Kaparakis
    In this project-based course, you will have the opportunity to answer questions that you feel passionately about through independent research based on existing data. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in generating testable hypotheses, conducting a literature review, preparing data for analysis, conducting descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, and presenting research findings. The course offers one-on-one support, ample opportunities to work with other students, and training in the skills required to complete a project of your own design.
  • ENGL 259/WRCT 228: The Art of the Personal Essay / Lauren Silber
    The personal essay is short-form, first-person, narrative nonfiction that encompasses many genres: memoir, reflection, humor, familial and social history, and cultural criticism. Yet even these boundaries often blur within a single essay, and the personal essay can expand to include almost any topic. Writing personal essays--what author and critic Philip Lopate calls "the self-interrogative genre"--helps us find out what we think, often makes us change our minds, and, ideally, leads us to new insights. In class, we will discuss the assigned readings, participate in group responses to each others' writing (workshops), and write in response to prompts. We will study both traditional and unconventional techniques of nonfiction, focusing on the elements of craft: structure, voice, clarity, the use of descriptive detail, and revision.
  • ARST190: Digital Art / Christopher Chenier

    This experience will introduce students to the digital arts, an area of creative practice encompassing computer-based art from GIFS and graphics to cutting edge digital fabrication tools. While developing the critical and methodological tools to engage problems in our digital culture, students will acquire the practical skills necessary to create and communicate digitally. Sessions will emphasize the ways software is used for project development, prototyping, and experimentation. Most of our time will be spent in Adobe Creative Cloud. The core elements of CC will be covered through workshops in image editing, graphics, layout, and type. Translating digital files into physical objects, students will work with a laser cutter, large format inkjet printers, and a CNC mill.

  • GOVT155: International Politics / Giulio Gallarotti

    This introduction to international politics applies various theories of state behavior to selected historical cases. Topics include the balance of power, change in international systems, the causes of war and peace, and the role of international law, institutions, and morality in the relations among nations.

  • CSPL/GOVT: Saving the Republic: Lessons from Plato for our Time / Sarah Ryan

    More than two thousand years ago, Plato addressed the pressing issues of the day: the rise of the oligarchy, dwindling of public deliberation, increasing political factionalism, and erosion of credible information. Some argue that the lessons of his Socratic exchanges, captured in The Republic, are valuable to this day. In this course, we will immerse ourselves in 403 B.C.E., a crucial moment in Athenian democracy. Following a close reading of The Republic, our classroom will become the Athenian state. Each member of the class will assume a particular place in Athenian society and in the factions of the day (using highly-developed roles from the Reacting to the Past curriculum). As members of the gathered assembly, we will debate divisive issues such as citizenship, elections, re-militarization, and the political process. As our time in Greece comes to a close, we will reflect on the relevance of The Republic for our time. Students will be assessed in four ways: 1. Content quizzes on The Republic, 2. Written preparation for debates/assemblies, 3. Oral presentations in debates/assemblies, and 4. A paper analyzing The Republic’s relevance for the United States, today. This course will be especially useful to students who aspire to run for government office or lead large public or nonprofit organizations.

  • CSPL 317: Social and Political Perspectives on Digital Media / Lauren Rosewarne

    This course examines the intersection between social media, politics, and society, analyzing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to understand their role in our lives, in our political discourse and in shaping our culture. We examine the positives of social media including social activism, the democratization of news, and heightened capacities for community, communication, and connectivity. We also delve into the darker side of these platforms, exploring the proliferation of fake news, hate speech, terrorist networks, and gendered issues including trolling and cyber harassment. This is an interdisciplinary course and in it we will draw upon a broad range of social theories including science and technology studies, communication theory, linguistics, cultural studies, and media studies to understand the complex role of digital media in contemporary society.

  • MUSC 278: Survey of Jazz Styles / Noah Baerman

    In “Survey of Jazz Styles” we will be looking to understand how jazz works. We will be exploring historical developments and chronology, but it is not a history class. We will be delving into some structural issues, but it is not a music theory class – in fact, a background in music theory is not at all necessary for this course. In essence, we will be developing the awareness and tools that will allow us to understand and evaluate what we are hearing when we listen to live or recorded jazz. We will explore how and why the musicians do what they do, and the larger context into which a performance fits.

  • ENGL 296: Techniques of Fiction / Brando Skyhorse
    Every great writer starts out as a great reader. In order to become a great reader, you must learn the proper questions to ask when evaluating a piece of writing. Using a wide sampling of short stories and basic fiction theory, this class will teach you how to get inside a writer's mind by dissecting what we have on the page. Students will participate in daily free writes, learn how to spot the tools and tricks of great writers, and how to apply those to their own writing. We'll also discuss story structure, how to "show" instead of "tell" by writing scenes, and how to edit and revise your work once you've finished a draft of it.

Focus on Leadership

Social Justice Leadership

Acclaimed for its proactive stance on issues of justice, diversity, and social progress, Wesleyan is an ideal place for students with interests in these areas to receive firsthand training. Professional staff from Wesleyan's Office of Residential Life have created a four-part social justice training program that will prepare you to manage interpersonal and social conflict. You will be better prepared for leadership roles, increasing your impact on your next college campus, and engaging with your community as a world citizen. Students who participate in all sessions will receive a certificate.