Dr. Catherine Blunk

New Drury classes challenged students inside and outside the classroom

From analyzing how attorneys are portrayed in books and movies to comparing French baguettes with American sandwich bread, Drury students had a large field of new and interesting classes to explore this past school year.

FREN 110: Food for Thought: Cuisine and Culture in the French Speaking World

First-year students of any major immersed themselves in French culture through this course. Dr. Cathy Blunk taught the class, which included weekly food tastings.

“Not only do the tastings allow the students to appreciate a sensory experience from each significant historical period in French cooking, but they also provided opportunities to work on articulating what they encountered both orally and in writing,” Blunk said.

ENGL 219: The Lawyer in Literature and Film

This new course allowed students to explore how the image of lawyers, law and, ultimately, justice itself has been portrayed throughout history. Taught by Dr. Rich Schur, this course covered everything from “To Kill a Mockingbird” to modern lawyers in John Grisham novels – a fifty year period that Schur says represents a dramatic shift in ideology.

“During the 1950s and the Cold War, our legal system differentiated us – at least in our self-perception – from the Soviets and was necessary for democracy and freedom,” Schur said. “More recently, literature and film seems to question whether our system works so well or if law seems biased toward a particular side.”

RELG 385: From Babylon to Berlin: A History of Anti-Semitism

In this course, students explored the history of anti-Semitism around the world from as early as the fourth century BCE, up to today, where they reviewed contemporary examples.

“We read, discussed, looked at art, and watched films about anti-Semitism,” Professor Teresa Hornsby said of the class structure.

Drury students collect data in the Carribbean

BIOL 329: Introduction to Marine Biology

This was the first of two courses that allow students to master key concepts in oceanography, marine ecology and genus and species identification of Caribbean corals and fish.

In the introductory course, students learned in the classroom setting. In the winter term, these students were eligible to enroll in BIOL 330, a field studies course taught by Dr. Teresa Carroll in the Caribbean waters of Roatan, Honduras.

The data gathered in the field studies course contributes to the Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS) database.

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Story by Mandy Seaman, M.A., Associate Director of Web Communications at Drury.

Total immersion in French challenges Drury students

“Life is a foreign language, we all mispronounce it.”
Christopher Morley, Thunder on the Left

Eleven Drury students worked hard this summer learning about a foreign language and life as they spent part of their summer in France on a language study abroad trip. The students spent the bulk of their time at the Institut de Touraine in Tours, France. Their goal was total immersion in the French language. After the experience they can emphatically say: mission accomplished.

Drury students outside Chambord castle in Chambord, France

The program, led by Drury French Professor Dr. Catherine Blunk, was a beneficial and challenging experience for the students, many of whom were beginning French students. The study abroad opportunity could be utilized to fulfill a student’s foreign language requirement, a Breech School of Business study abroad requirement, or earn credit toward a minor or major in French. This was the first year that students were able to complete their entire foreign language requirement solely with a study abroad trip.

The full immersion process took many of the students out of their comfort zones. Classes at the Institut de Touraine, where the students studied, were taught solely in French. The students lived with host families, allowing them to experience language and culture from the locals. The change from a familiar and comfortable language to foreign language may have been overwhelming, but total immersion is an intense way to quickly adapt to the new language. This teaching structure encouraged the students to apply learned knowledge and to keep learning.

Students were able to journey throughout the country, visiting Paris, several castles, and students engaged in independent travel throughout Europe.

“The program was very rigorous, even from the first week,” explained Dr. Blunk. “But the language skills they gained at the end of the experience, as well as the French cultural exposure, were the most significant benefits of the trip. At the end of four weeks, I could see them thinking in French.”

The trip cost the students between five and six thousand dollars, but many students offset a large portion of that cost with CW Titus Foundation Scholarships for Language Study Abroad. Through an annual grant to Drury from the CW Titus Foundation, students are able to apply for those scholarships if their study abroad involves studying a foreign language.

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Author Amber Perdue is a soon-to-be senior Public Relations and Advertising major at Drury University and a 2009 graduate of Kickapoo High School.