Mini-University Sessions

Below is information for 2017. 2018 Mini University session information will be available in August.

Saturday October 7

Mini-University Sessions 1
Fit, Fat, Functional: Two out of Three Ain't Bad, Ford 102

Trying to decipher the research underpinning recommendations about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle can be frustrating. This presentation will cover the fundamentals of the physiology of health and illness, with an emphasis on simplifying the sometimes complex relationship among three health states: fit, fat and functional.

-Peter Harmer, Professor of Exercise Science

Prospecting for Urban Realities: Kubrick, Antonioni, Gerster and Jia, Smullin 129

Filmmakers compose their urban ‘realities’ by tapping into the pulse and cultural feel of cities, by adjusting historical contexts and social conditions. With this in mind, we will explore representative films by Kubrick, Antonioni, Gerster and Jia.

-Aili Zheng, Professor of German 
Hearing the Voices of the Enslaved, Eaton 106

Historians of American slavery face a daunting research problem. Most of the primary sources that grant us insight into the lives of enslaved people in nineteenth century America were written (and then preserved) by slaveholders and their descendants.  For the most part, these sources show us slavery as the masters understood and experienced it.  One way slaveholders maintained their power was by outlawing slave literacy, meaning that we have few letters, diaries, or other documents written by enslaved people. In the 1930's, however, the federal government funded a project that conducted and transcribed interviews with thousands of formerly enslaved people, most of whom were in their 80s or 90s.  This 20-volume collection of interviews offer us an invaluable, though far from perfect or complete, window into the lived experience of enslavement.  In this session we will read and discuss two particularly interesting interviews from this collection.

-Seth Cotlar, Professor of History

Mini-University Sessions 2
Karl Marx:  For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing, Eaton 106

What set Karl Marx on the road to revolution ? This session examines the ideas of the young Karl Marx and his emergence as a radical thinker and revolutionary activist.

-Bill Smaldone, Professor of History
Science Education for the 21st Century, Collins 410; Capacity 24

 In this hands-on session our guests will have the opportunity to learn about the most current trends in science education. Students interested in careers in a medical or allied health field, research, and teaching benefit greatly from our student-centered curriculum that emphasizes integrative and investigative experiences in the laboratory and the classroom.

-Stasinos Stavrianeas, Professor of Exercise Science

Mini-University Sessions 3
"Philosophical Pluralism", Smullin 129

One way to defend variety is to say that each of several things is worthy in its own right: "vanilla ice cream is great, but so are chocolate and pistachio!" Another way is to observe that each thing is diminished without the other. This line is harder to illustrate than the first, but philosophy offers some interesting examples. I will consider, in particular, a case where looking beyond English -- in fact, beyond the Indo-European language family -- facilitates deeper insight, insight which is, in turn, expressible in English. The case involves Descartes's famous phrase, "I think therefore I am", and I will draw from it a political lesson.

-Ivan Welty, Professor of Philosophy

Exploring Graph Pebbling Puzzles and Problems, Ford 102

Graph pebbling is a fun collection of puzzles and an active field of mathematical research.  In this session we'll play some versions of the graph pebbling game and discover some pebbling theorems recently published by Willamette students.

-Josh Laison, Professor of Mathematics

175 Years of Birds, Bees, Flowers & Trees at Willamette, Collins 205

How wild and exotic is the nature of Willamette University? In this class session we’ll go back in time and consider what we can learn from the oldest trees on campus. We’ll look at global maps and learn how local migratory birds connect us to both the high Arctic and deep tropics of the Equator.  We’ll learn about some of the extraordinary diversity of flowers on campus and the types of bees and other critters that visit them.  We’ll learn how our campus has changed in the last 175 years and imagine what it might be like another 25.

-David Craig, Professor of Biology