Ithacranium is the IC Honors Program blog, created and edited by students. The blog, which originated as a newsletter in spring of 2010, is updated weekly with new and relevant content.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Victoria Wolak and Grace Wivell, Class of 2014
My name is Victoria L. Wolak, but most people call me Vicky. I am a junior writing and French double-major with a minor in honors. My passions include mochaccinos, baked goods, grammar and education reform. I got involved with the Why Are We Here Film Series last year, and worked with Kelsey Greene ’12 and Elizabeth Bleicher, associate professor of English, to develop the course.
My name is Grace B. Wivell, and I’m an over-enthusiastic Junior English Education major, and Honors Minor. I possess a strong passion for education, drink too much coffee and have an undying love for cows (having grown up on a dairy farm). I’m excited to have the opportunity to help build a student-led honors course, one which I hope will grow and inspire change for a better world.
The two of us met during the fall semester of our freshman year, in Prof. Bleicher’s first-year honors seminar, “Why Are We Here?: Youth Culture and the Problem of College.” The multidisciplinary course examines issues that pertain to American young people, such as standardized testing, college admissions and pop culture. A unique aspect of this course is that it is mostly student-driven. Students take turns planning lessons and leading discussions every week. Throughout the development of the spinoff film series, we have kept the student-led element as the driving force of the course.
The Why Are We Here Film Series includes a delectable array of films, both documentaries and feature films, as well as articles, but it is the students who bring the most to the table. The course itself is interdisciplinary in nature, but while in class the students (already) move beyond the broad “limitations” of its education, film analysis, documentary studies, and media literacy focuses to bring in their own unique academic backgrounds, ranging from English to environmental studies, as well as their personal experiences and passions. This creates a varied and powerful classroom experience, and acts as a strong base to build upon for the remainder of this year’s course and, hopefully, for future classes.
Though we are technically “co-teachers,” we prefer to act as discussion facilitators. Teaching our peers has been both an exciting and rewarding experience. As they learn from us, we are also learning from them. It is this synthetic thinking and group learning, so highly valued in Ithaca College’s Honors Program, which will make the course successful and valuable to not only the Ithaca College community but also the greater community of our ever-expanding world.
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