Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduate Students

In addition to our undergraduate curriculum, we offer select graduate courses across our graduate degree programs in the Arts, Health, Sciences, and Society, and Children, Childhood, and Education. Limited spaces in these courses are open to juniors and seniors with some prior experience in related areas of study at the undergraduate level. Interested students should email faculty instructors for additional information on these courses and/or to schedule an interview. Most graduate level courses are between 1 and 3 credits, although some are 5 credits.

Art of Teaching

Children With Special Needs

Denisha Jones

Fall advanced 3-credit seminar

All children in early childhood settings and the elementary grades have strengths and weaknesses. All children have areas in which they excel and areas in which they feel insecure. All children have times when academic learning is difficult for them while, at the same time, all children have the capacity to learn. Understanding the individual differences of an entire class of students is a challenge; and in order to meet the needs of our students, we must observe their differences and individual patterns of behavior. This course will explore the concepts of inclusion; special-needs diagnostic categories; designing curriculum that is responsive to children; and differentiating curriculum to support skill development, keeping in mind that each child is unique. The goals of the course are to integrate our perspectives of children’s individual needs while planning classroom inquiry; to explore ways of working with parents of children who require special support; to understand how to access support and feedback for children that require additional assistance; and to consider implications for teaching in an inclusive classroom and school.

Children, Families, and Identities

Denisha Jones

Spring advanced 3-credit seminar

Children must struggle with many issues while making their way toward adulthood. Teachers’ understandings of family culture and the interconnections between development and learning are crucial to children's success in the classroom and central to the content of this course. We will study how families affect the development of children, for no other unit of analysis more richly displays gender, social, and cultural factors and their influence on individual behavior and development. Today, children spend more time than ever before in early childhood programs and grade schools. We will investigate how families and schools provide a framework for the exploration of the social world and socialize children according to cultural norms. Healthy development and learning are intertwined in the context of the child’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. In order for teachers to be equipped to help their students in the areas of social and emotional health, trauma, and toxic stress, we will review research on adverse childhood experiences, and how schools and communities can serve as protective factors. We will also examine racial identity development in young children. As teachers strive to enact anti-racist curriculums and pedagogies, they need a foundational understanding of racial identity development with a focus on the early years. Through readings and case-study analyses, students will explore the importance of teachers’ understanding of the complexities of the lives of children and families in order to better prepare for the challenges of the classroom.

Child Development

Early Intervention Approaches for Young Children and Their Families

Cindy Puccio

Spring advanced 5-credit seminar

This course will explore several early intervention approaches for young children and their families, with a particular emphasis on the theory and technique of play therapy. While the course will focus mostly on child-centered play therapy (CCPT), we will also look at the methodology of other types of approaches and the ways in which those approaches address treatment issues. In addition, course material will highlight cultural considerations, therapeutic work with parents, challenges in treatment, self-reflection, and analysis of case studies. Readings, class discussion, group play-based activities, video illustrations, and reflection will provide students with both a theoretical and a clinical basis for how play-based therapeutic work with young children factors into early intervention.

Dance/Movement Therapy

Movement Observation I

Susan Orkand

Fall advanced 3-credit seminar

This class is the first in a series of three on movement observation and assessment skills. The course provides an introduction to Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and their application in dance/movement therapy. The relationship of Bartenieff Fundamentals, human development, and effort-space-shape will be discussed and explored through movement. Course work in anatomy and kinesiology will be used to support understanding of these frameworks.

Human Growth and Development

Elise Risher

Fall advanced 3-credit seminar

This course will outline the interrelationships between physiological, psychological, cognitive, and sociocultural factors and their effects on human growth, development, and behavior. Students will gain a basic knowledge of brain development and neuroscience, as well as an overview of developmental theories and their relevance to dance/movement therapy theory and practice. In particular, students will explore the developmental basis of mirroring, attunement, and kinesthetic empathy and the implications for functioning in adulthood.

Health Advocacy

Models of Health Advocacy

Linwood Lewis

Advanced seminar

Health advocacy is a field that is concerned with the promotion of health and access to health care in communities and the larger public. Health advocates support and promote the rights of the patient in the health care arena, help build capacity to improve community health and enhance health policy initiatives focused on available, safe and quality care.  This course explores the multiple roles that health advocates assume as they create productive change on behalf of patients/consumers, families, and communities. Advocacy is practiced by improving the way in which health care is delivered within existing systems; by restructuring or reinventing areas of the health care system; and by eliminating barriers to health caused by racial discrimination, environmental destruction, poverty, and illiteracy.  Students will learn to analyze organizations and communities in order to understand hierarchies and decision-making within them and to be exposed to frameworks for conceptualizing and promoting the right to health. The course will also explore strategies to give health advocates and consumers more power in making decisions, defining issues, designing programs, and developing policies. The experiences of individuals and communities, as well as how systems respond to those experiences, will remain a central focus as students explore concepts, models, and practices of health advocacy.

Human Genetics

Gestalt Genetics: Health Humanities for Genetic Counselors

Claire Davis

Fall advanced 2-credit seminar

Genetic counseling is a complicated, bifurcated profession – one that forges connections between technological sciences and lived experiences of risk, health, and illness. In pursuit of expertise, we are steeped in complex concepts, mechanisms, regulations, specifications – part and parcel to the work of health professionals. The science is intricate and engrossing, yes… but what about the care and concern we provide for others, curiosity for individuals and the sense they make of the genetic challenges they face, the value of our work for ourselves, those we serve, and humanity? Health humanities is a discipline which enables us to glean such insights by interacting with the arts and humanities; by reading, writing, watching, and moving, we’ll mine for meaning and understanding, wisdom and wit. This course aims to build empathic understanding and critical consideration of genetic counseling practice by exploring genetics, genetic illness, and the profession of genetic counseling as conveyed through books, films, and other media.

Understanding Barriers and Building Alliance in Genetic Counselling

Meghan M. Jablonski

Spring advanced seminar

In even brief and time limited work, establishing a mutually respectful and empathic working alliance can be key to the effective delivery of counselling. In practice, each individual carries the context of their larger experience into the consulting room, which may present barriers to their engagement in counselling. Through considering factors that may impact an individual’s engagement - such as their relational experiences; spiritual beliefs; experiences with medical care; family and personal values; trauma histories; experiences with racial, socio-economic and/or gender discrimination, etc. - students will consider ways of building a mutually constructed working alliance through which each client is best able to engage in the content of genetic counselling.

In this elective seminar, students will explore cognitive, emotional, cultural and socio-economic factors that may impact an individual's engagement in genetic counselling, as well as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and mindfulness based approaches to building an empathic and productive working alliance. Relevant history, theory, and evidence-based research will be examined and explored through relevant case studies. Students will have the opportunity to formulate case summaries considering contextual factors and working alliance.

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Past, Present and Future

Laura Hercher

Advanced seminar

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is a fast-growing and expanding marketplace. Many assume that DTC options will play a big role in integrating genetics into society, for better and worse. Historically, clinical providers of genetic medicine have cast a cold eye on the commercial companies selling unmediated access to genetic testing, as have government regulators. Today, most positions are more nuanced and the types of testing that are on offer are more varied. Using lecture, case studies and guest speakers, we will examine a variety of the tests and modes of access often lumped together in the DTC bucket, and consider the risks and benefits of online access to genetic testing, the regulatory options, and the role that genetic counselors should play in pre- and post-test counseling for DTC results.