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Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Spectrum recommends: best classes

Classes to consider ahead of spring 2022 course registration

Students have a number of terrific options for classes in the spring semester.
Students have a number of terrific options for classes in the spring semester.

The semester is almost done, which means spring enrollment is underway.

Lucky for you, the staff of The Spectrum has compiled a list of some of the best classes at UB:

ENG 398 — Ethics in Journalism

Bruce Andriatch isn’t your typical lecturer; he’s a seasoned journalist and the assistant managing editor of The Buffalo News. For the past 35 years, Andriatch has enjoyed a front-row seat to some of the biggest issues facing our region. Never one to shy away from a tough ethical decision, Andriatch teaches his students how to think like a reporter. His lessons are more than just theoretical; they are guided by decades of experience. Andriatch challenges his students to debate real-world problems and view everything through the lens of an ethicist. He’s beloved for his soothing personality and unparalleled care for all those who step foot in his classroom.

  • Justin Weiss

ENG 387 (GGS 335/AMS 335) — Women Writers

Women Writers is one of those classes that sticks with you long after the semester has ended. Taking students through various authors, from Virginia Woolf to Zora Neale Hurston to Audre Lorde, the class offers tremendous insight into the writings of women from different cultures, races, classes, sexualities and time periods. What the course does best, though, is create an environment for rich, emotional discussion. With themes ranging from motherhood to the importance of the kitchen in creating communities, the texts encourage students to evaluate their own experiences against what they have read. It’s a class that promotes literature as a way to connect to oneself and as a way to connect readings in the contemporary world. If nothing else, the course creates a desire for the same introspection and community that the authors either write about or desire.

  • Kara Anderson

PSC 334 — Model European Union

Model European Union isn’t only one of the nerdiest classes in the course catalog; it’s also one of the most enjoyable. Students select an EU member nation to represent and then work together (and against each other) to develop a solution to a real-world problem facing the EU. The one-credit course only meets once a week, so it shouldn’t add much to your workload — the hardest thing you’ll do is write a short policy proposal. While the seminar is offered in the fall, students who have taken the class will have the opportunity to partake in an EU simulation in either Belgium or New York City with students from other universities over winter break. If you like throwing shade at your classmates while outlining a defense policy, you’ll love Model EU. 

  • Grant Ashley

COM447 — Communication Graphics 

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If you’re a communication major and want to take a class that will truly help you in the real world after graduation, Communication Graphics, or COM447, is the course for you. The class is exactly what it sounds like — a tutorial on graphic communication and different graphic design skills. The workload isn’t bad and is easy to plan around because the syllabus is mapped out perfectly, leaving you comfortable every step of the way. The assignments are interesting and teach you various methods of graphic design, from advertisements to motion graphics to Photoshop. The course is offered in the fall and spring semesters and currently meets remotely, for those who have lost interest in in-person learning. I could barely edit photos before taking the class, but now I’m confident in my ability to create presentable advertisements or marketing designs as I hunt for a job.

  • Hunter Skoczylas 

PSC 347 — Logic of Political Violence 

Maybe this is just the nerdy political science major in me speaking, but this class was my favorite because it attempted to explain one of the least rational aspects of the human experience — violence. Given the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Syria’s use of chemical weapons on citizens and countless genocides spanning the globe, the answer to the riddle of violence seems unsolvable. But if you want a better understanding of why defective militaries, terrorist groups and even governments inflict violence upon fellow human beings, then PSC 347 is where you’ll find it. As the name suggests, the topics are heavy, so be prepared to have conversations about genocide and amputations on a random Tuesday afternoon. Despite the somber content, the class offers an important window into the harsh and violent realities we are often isolated from in the U.S. There is a lesson for everyone, from the zealous political science student to the biology major just trying to fulfil a pathway. And if you have the pleasure of taking this course with Dr. Kathman, you can enjoy the visual aids he carefully crafts in MS Paint. 

  • Natalie Doller 

EVS 310 — Ecological Methods

A class where you catch butterflies, take beautiful photos of the fall foliage and go kayaking on Lake LaSalle may seem like a far-fetched fantasy, but it’s reality in EVS 310: Ecological Methods. Ecological methods is a lab course meant to be taken concurrently or after EVS 309: Ecology. Nick Henshue, who is known for his sarcastic personality and his infectious love of outdoor education, teaches this course, which covers all the ecological methods. Catching butterflies teaches you how to identify milkweed, a plant where monarchs lay their eggs, and the importance of citizen science. Taking pictures of tree canopies is a catalyst for learning how to use different programs, including a statistical programming language, to calculate the canopy’s coverage percentage and understand tree density in a given area. Professor Henshue’s course seamlessly combines hands-on experiences with classroom learning and will make your semester the most fun and informative one yet.

  • Julie Frey

HIS 370 — Modern Korean History

If you have even the vaguest interest in history, you should definitely give Mark Nathan’s course a try. HIS 370 explores a history that’s massively overlooked and topics that ushered in the current world order of polarization and duality of state that define the Korean Peninsula today. Nathan is a fantastic teacher who really cares about what you have to say, and is genuinely interested in your progress both inside and outside of the classroom. The content tackled in this class is really eye-opening and provides a rare glimpse into the different culture, society and way of life found in the Korean nation from the end of the Chosǒn dynasty (in 1910) to modern day North and South Korea. I think everyone should take the time to learn about Japan’s colonial rule in Korea, and the ethical problems that stemmed from this, which are still pertinent in political and social discourses today. Anyone looking to learn about a new part of the world or engage with a different culture and history outside of the Western framework we know so well would be well-suited to take this course.

  • Sophie McNally

ENG 350 SEM — Introduction to Writing Poetry and Fiction

If you have a passion for creative writing and want to pursue it as a career, then this class is the perfect place to start. This introductory course will not only help beginning writers explore the craft of fiction and poetry, but it will also introduce them to various fundamental techniques, vocabulary and diverse readings. Stephen McCaffery, a Canadian Poet born in Sheffield, England, goes the extra mile for his students. Professor Mccaffery explains all the different techniques and makes writing papers a clear and enjoyable experience. If you ever find yourself craving a creative writing course, this is the class to start in! 

  • Christopher Ng

GEO 481 - Geographic Information Systems 

GEO 481 provides a basic introduction to Geographic Information Systems, its applications and its uses. This course is designed for students who are interested in spatial analysis and mapping various data. Although the class mostly features geography majors, the lack of prerequisites makes it an enticing option for all students, regardless of major. The four-credit course includes a lab that is taught once a week, in Ellicott’s Wilkeson Quad. Students will learn multiple topics, from the basics of GIS to data analysis to GIS applications that are used in the private sector. It’s a great introduction for any interested student.

  • Dan Eastman
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