Joseph Baldwin Academy

2024 JBA Courses

JBA Session I:
June 8-28, 2024

In a culture of 24-hour news, larger-than-life pundits, and a blurring of the line between news and commentary, rhetoric and argumentation are a way of life in modern America. Argument now occurs in settings such as the halls of Congress, evening news talk shows, popular sports programming, and local city councils. Advocacy, in the form of advertising, is everywhere. As consumers of media and participants in an increasingly adversarial culture, learning the critical principles and practices of advocacy and persuasion provides a basis for informed involvement in the world around us.

This course uses a perspective rooted in classical rhetorical theory as a mode of critical thinking and public involvement to study the processes of argumentation and persuasion in various interpersonal, political, academic and pop culture settings. You will begin by engaging theories rooted in the classical rhetoric of the Greeks and Romans and evolve through contemporary models of argument. As a complement to this discussion of argumentation theories, you will employ various models of debate as a means to practice the ideas they learn. You will engage in argument by participating in visual argument, in-class debates, political debates, and even humor to test your skills.

Finally, lessons learned in all settings will be used as a framework from which to engage political discourses and persuasive popular media campaigns.


Dr. Jay SelfDr. Jay Self, Professor and Chair of Communication, Truman State University.

B.A., Communication, Truman State University; M.S. Communication in Human Relations, Texas Christian University; Ph.D. Communication Studies, University of Kansas

In a world of binge-watching shows on Netflix, curated Spotify playlists, and viral TikTok trends, our relationship with pop culture has never been so tangible. In this class, we will look at popular film, literature, and music from the American past and consider it through the eyes of historians.

What can we learn about society, cultural movements and communities through this lens? We will engage with topics such as Science Fiction and Visions of the American Future, Cowboys and the Mythologizing of the American Past, Popular Music and Social Movements, and so much more! Your recommendation algorithms will never be the same!


Professor Matthew KennedyProfessor Matthew Kennedy, Lecturer, Truman State University; Instructor of History, Kirksville High School

B.S., History; M.A.E. History/Social Science, Truman State University

An Animated Course is an introduction and exploration of traditional cell frame animation. Drawing and sketching skills are recommended. Fundamentals of cartooning, character development and storyboarding will be explored and experienced. Stop-motion photographic and claymation animation techniques are also topics for this course. Students will use their cellphones with free apps to create animations and to complete audio and video post-processing.

The class will be watching a documentary movie about animator Chuck Jones and his long career animating Loony Tunes characters for Warner Brothers. Chuck will impart vital animation tips and secrets. Yes, we will watch classic cartoons in addition to viewing the summer’s best animation offering at the local theater. Students should be confident in drawing and/or interested in making their drawings and characters come to life.


Professor Rusty NelsonProfessor Rusty Nelson, Professor of Art, Design Program, Truman State University

B.F.A., Fort Hays State University; M.F.A., Kansas State University

Prior to higher education, Nelson worked professionally in advertising for fifteen years in Topeka, Kansas City, and Salina, Kansas. His career encompasses multiple areas of experience from advertising and publication design, corporate identity, outdoor billboard and signage design, book design and traditional and digital illustration.  Nelson’s illustrations have been published in regional and national publications such as Field and Stream, Discipleship Journal and Mature Living. Related areas of interest include micro-publishing and bookbinding as well as mural design and production. Technical areas of experience include traditional paste-up, marker comps, type specifying, pre-press offset lithography production as well as digital applications of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.

Do you want to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Chinese language and culture? Join us this summer for an immersive experience that artfully combines language learning with the magic of cinema and hands-on cultural activities. In this course, you will delve into the fascinating world of Mandarin Chinese, mastering the basics of pronunciation, daily-life conversational skills, and Chinese character writing. But that’s only the beginning! Prepare to be transported into the heart of Chinese culture as we take you on an engaging journey through films, dramas, social media, games, hands-on activities, and immersive cultural experiences.

As you improve your language abilities, you’ll also savor the flavors of Chinese cuisine, dive into rich cultural traditions like calligraphy and paper cutting, and connect with fellow students who share your passion for all things Chinese. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some prior knowledge, our course provides a fun, interactive way to learn Mandarin while gaining profound insight into China’s vibrant heritage.

By the end of this cultural and linguistic adventure, you’ll not only have a deeper appreciation for China, but also the ability to converse in everyday Mandarin—an invaluable skill you’ll always cherish.


Dr. Zhijun (David) WenDr. Zhijun (David) Wen, Assistant Professor of Chinese, Truman State University.

M.A. in Linguistics & Applied Linguistics, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China; M.A. in Educational Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition, University of Hawaii

Dr. Wen has also researched second language (L2) acquisition from a psycholinguistic perspective. He provides a creativity-based language methodology, which incorporates the latest research findings from second language studies and learning sciences. This method allows students to learn and use the language simultaneously. It uses advanced technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality to create contextualized, immersive, interactive, and project-based language learning environments. He hopes to offer a whole new experience to learners of Chinese to ensure they build strong skills in Chinese at the fastest possible speed.

Shuddersome: Tales of Poe

From Page to Stage is an introduction to the world of theatre. You will explore the many different areas of theatre from theatre history to stage makeup, all while rehearsing for a production to be performed at the end of the three weeks.

While you do not need prior experience, you do need to have an open mind and the willingness to “put yourself out there.” If you would rather have backstage experience instead of onstage, there will be technical roles available for the production.

2024 JBA Session I Play: Shuddersome
By Edgar Allen Poe
Adapted by Lindsay Price


Professor Heather Darrah, English/Theatre Teacher, Kirksville Senior High School

B.A., Theatre, Truman State University; M.A.T., Educational Theory, University of Central Missouri
Professor Heather Darrah

Professor Elizabeth Anderson, English/Theatre Teacher, Kirksville High School

B.A., Theatre and English, Truman State University; M.A.E., Secondary English, Truman State University
Professor Elizabeth Anderson

This course is designed to introduce you to the benefits of exercise, engage in fitness testing, develop methods of exercise prescription using the FITT principle, all while taking a look at personal health and wellness. Students engage in many types of cardio fitness, dance, and movement followed by learning about the science of exercise, including the health-related physical fitness components. In addition, we will examine the nutritional aspects of healthy eating using the MyPlate representation, understanding how to read food labels, and why hydration is important for health. You will also discover the historical background and social impact that movement and dance have made on people throughout the world, as well as learning to lead and choreograph for exercise and dance. Overall, you will develop a greater appreciation for implementing behaviors that affect your health in a positive way to improve your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual well-being.


Professor Melody JenningsProfessor Melody Jennings, Instructor in the Health and Exercise Sciences, Truman State University

Professor Jennings also owns and operates Melody’s School of Dance and Tumbling in Kirksville, Mo.

B.S., Physical Education, Truman State University; M.A., Teaching of Physical Education, Truman State University

This course introduces you to the world of business through management, marketing, finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship. You will learn what is needed to operate a business and gain valuable skills, such as teamwork and problem-solving. You will also learn key business concepts and use real-world tools, observe their practice in the field, and apply them through teamwork and organizing a business. In addition, you will learn valuable personal financial skills.


Jim BergmanProfessor Jim Bergman, Instructor of Business Administration, Truman State University

B.S., Business Administration, Truman State University; M.B.A., William Woods University

Through a variety of collaborative outdoor activities, you will build leadership skills and increase levels of personal and social confidence through group problem-solving and teambuilders. This class will include a balance of classroom preparation and physical activity in outdoor settings with an emphasis on positive, inclusive practices. Learning experiences may include hiking, canoeing, outdoor cooking, fishing, outdoor games, archery, and geocaching.


Dr. Julene EnsignDr. Julene Ensign, Truman State University Department Co-Chair, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science

M.A.E., Physical Education; B.S., in Kinesiology, University of Illinois; M.S., Therapeutic Kinesiology, University of Illinois; Ph.D., Kinesiology Pedagogy, University of Illinois

Explore the diversity of fascinating reptiles and amphibians of the world, with special emphasis on those species that inhabit Missouri. Through a combination of classroom, laboratory, and field activities, you will examine in-depth information about these amazing creatures.

You will learn how to investigate reptiles and amphibians in a mixture of habitats, including ponds and streams, grasslands, and forests. Through interactions with live specimens and preserved museum specimens, you will learn how to identify various groups of reptiles and amphibians from around the world and all of those species which occur in Missouri. You will also learn about some of the similarities and differences in the anatomy and physiology of these critters.

If you want to learn what a herpetologist really does, then this course is for you.

The course will include:

  • Learning characteristics that define and differentiate reptiles and amphibians
  • Studying the diversity of reptile and amphibian life throughout the world
  • Experiencing and examining reptiles and amphibians in nature
  • Becoming familiar with how these diverse and fascinating organisms live their lives
  • Developing and participating in a survey of the reptile and amphibian diversity and abundance at a local conservation area
  • Taking a field trip to get a behind-the-scenes look at the St. Louis Herpetarium to interact with diverse species and learn what zookeepers and zoos do on a daily basis


Professor Chad MontgomeryProfessor Chad E. Montgomery, Professor of Biology, Truman State University

B.S., Northeast Missouri State University; M.A., University of Northern Colorado; Ph.D., University of Arkansas

The annual amount of data created worldwide is expected to exceed 160 zettabytes by 2025. That’s 160,000,000,000,000 gigabytes! With all of that data available, how does anyone make sense of it?
That’s where data science comes in! Using principles from computer science, statistics, math, and other interesting fields, data scientists are able to compile, process, and analyze large sets of data in order to form conclusions. But that’s just the start of it! Data scientists also need to be able to communicate their findings to an audience.

Data scientists have to tell stories! In this course, you will learn how to explore data, make inferences, and tell compelling stories about your findings.


Professor Ethan GabelProfessor Ethan Gabel, Lecturer, Truman State University; Instructor of Mathematics, Kirksville High School

B.A., Mathematics; M.A.E. Mathematics, Truman State University

Come explore the diverse and fascinating world of fungi with us. We will explore the ways that humans have interacted with fungi throughout history including their impacts as pathogens, food and medicine. This field-based course will cover all aspects of the wide world of fungi, from those that rot the food in our fridge to the others that are prized by chefs for their culinary attributes. We will explore the diversity of Missouri mushroom species through fungal forays in the forest, mushroom identification, and an introduction to using modern molecular techniques for DNA-based identification. We will also learn about indoor and outdoor mushroom production.

This course will also include an overnight field trip to the southeast corner of the state.


Dr. Bob JohnsonDr. Bob Johnson, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Science, Truman State University

Dr. Bob received a B.S. in soils, environmental and atmospheric science from the University of Missouri, Columbia and shortly thereafter co-founded the  Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. He went on to graduate school at the University of California, Davis completing an M.S. in Horticulture and Agronomy from  in 2014 and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology in 2020. He teaches classes in Soils and  Plants among others. His research focuses on mycology and diversified farming practices.

Emily Dickinson says the experience of a good poem is like having the top of your head come off. The haiku master Basho says it’s like being alive twice. We all have a favorite book or poem, a piece of writing that has moved us to new ways of thinking, feeling, or living in the world. One of the best ways to appreciate such moving writing is to let it move us toward creating our own poems, stories, and essays. In this course, we will consider the possibilities and challenges of imaginative writing.

We will explore the creative process, from generating ideas to shaping and revising, and we’ll seek to share our work with others—reading, performing, and publishing our collective and individual efforts. You will find out how your own writing process operates by learning how other writers work.

Francine Prose says that literature “sets up a series of rules that the writer is instructed to observe, [and] reading will show how these rules have been ignored in the past and the happy outcomes.” We’ll spend our time recklessly learning and ignoring all the rules, remembering the poet John Ashbery’s advice to writers: “Let us leave the obedience school!”

In addition to reading, writing, and work shopping, we’ll get out of the classroom to write with our feet, about the world, not as we’ve seen it on TV, but as we really find it, including both on-campus and off-campus explorations. Students who complete this course will grow as poets and storytellers, but also in their broader ability to communicate vividly, as they learn to think about audience and adapt expression to the reactions it provokes.


Professor James D’Agostino

Professor James D’Agostino, Professor in English, Truman State University.

B.A., Loyola University of Chicago; M.F.A., Indiana University; Ph.D., Western Michigan University.


JBA Session II:
July 6-26, 2024

Explore how the computer has been integrated into the image-making processes by incorporating traditional art processes, such as drawing and markers, with modern Graphic Design software. Learn how professional artists, designers, and illustrators use the power of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other software to create digital artwork and enhance images to create digital graphics such as maps, posters, and postcards.

The basic features of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be explored through tutorials and original artwork will be produced when techniques are mastered. By the end of the course, you will have a digital and print portfolio consisting of several projects. You will also use digital cameras, scanners, and output to laser/inkjet printers. Quad-Core Intel Macintosh computers (the industry standard platform) power this exploration into the realm of digital imagery.


Professor Matthew DerezinskiProfessor Matthew Derezinski, Professor of Art, Design Program, Truman State University

B.F.A., Visual Communications, Kansas State University; M.F.A., Visual Communications, Kansas State University

How do film composers influence the audience’s emotional response and in what ways do they create music that elicits a particular location or time period? How do they balance the music with dialogue? In this course, you will investigate the development of movie music from the early improvised organ playing of musicians like Fats Waller for silent films to more recent music from the biggest composers in Hollywood, including Erich Korngold, Max Steiner, Henry Mancini, Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, Randy Newman, and Howard Shore.

You will investigate how the specific musical elements of melody, harmony, counterpoint, tempo, rhythm, and orchestration can be used to enhance scenes that deal with themes such as romance, sadness, chase, horror, magic, and fantasy.

As a final project, you will create your own soundtrack to an original movie that you record throughout the session and make an original board game of film music trivia. Field trips will be taken to the Kirksville movie theater for a class screening of a new release and to the Truman television/radio station for a tour of the media equipment.


Dr. Jesse KrebsDr. Jesse Krebs, Professor of Music, Clarinet, Truman State University

Krebs has performed guest recitals in Costa Rica, England, Thailand, Ireland, and throughout the United States. He joined the music faculty at Truman State University in 2005. In addition to instructing the clarinet studio and directing the Truman Clarinet Choir, he teaches the Music and Political Protest Junior Interdisciplinary Seminar. Before coming to Kirksville, he was the Clarinet Instructor and the Director of Chamber Winds at Bainbridge College in Georgia, and he served on the summer faculty for the Cultural American Music Program in the Florida Keys. With colleague Dr. Xin Gao, he hosted the inaugural American Single Reed Summit at Truman in 2018. Dr. Krebs frequently performs as a substitute with the Kansas City Symphony and has been featured as a concerto soloist with the North Carolina, Central Florida, and Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestras.

B.M.E., University of North Carolina at Greensboro; M.M., University of North Texas; D.M., Florida State University

Game Design and Theory is an introduction and exploration of not only board games but tabletop games of all types and the role these games play in our lives. This course will analyze game fundamentals, everything from dexterity to worker placement to abstract mechanisms.

We will examine the player experience with respect to choices and options on each turn, looking at how games abstract larger concepts, allowing players to experience situations never available to them in their everyday lives. We will move from modern classics like Catan and Carcassonne to tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons as we explore gaming possibilities.

The course will discuss game theory in terms of design approach, interaction of art and function, system probability, and cost-benefit analysis. The class will be playing games often, learning how different systems interact both on the game board but also around the table, as social interaction plays a large part in many tabletop games. The culminating project will be designing our own boardgames using the systems we’ve explored in class.


Professor James MiscavishProfessor James Miscavish, English, LEAD Innovation Studio, Park Hill School District

B.S. E.d., University of Missouri, Columbia; M.S. E.d., Northwest Missouri State University; National Board Certified Teacher

Did you know you are 50% genetically similar to a banana? All living organisms from the simplest bacteria to more complex organisms like humans use the same genetic material to pass on their traits – DNA. DNA is the molecule of life. But what exactly is DNA and how does it make you, you and a fly a fly?

In this course you will learn the basics of DNA and heredity, and then dive deeper to understand how DNA is used to create a fully functional organism. We will also explore new technologies in DNA editing that are making our hopes of changing disease-causing mutations in DNA a reality. We will discuss the science behind these techniques and then discuss some of the ethical and moral issues they raise. Finally, we will investigate the ethics and laws surrounding genetics such as do you own your own genes, who is allowed to have access to your genetic code, and what are your legal rights concerning your genetics?

Our learning in the classroom will be supplemented by many activities in the lab. We will learn about and use many biotech tools and molecular genetic techniques. Activities will include extracting DNA from strawberries, genetically modifying bacteria, and investigating your own genetics to name a few!


Dr. Sarah BerkeDr. Sarah Berke, Assistant Professor of Biology, Biology Department, Truman State University.

B.A., Biology and Psychology, Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill.; Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

The course will introduce you to the scientific process by exploring fundamental concepts in chemistry in the context of contemporary environmental and societal issues.  A broad range of topics will be explored throughout the session, including the atom and atomic structure, molecules and chemical bonding, chemical nomenclature, writing and balancing chemical equations, the mole and molarity, and the relationship between chemical structure and function. You will participate in several laboratory experiences in which you will learn to work safely in the laboratory and make careful observations of chemical reactions and phenomena in order to draw useful conclusions from your experiments.  You will also have the opportunity to explore and share new topics through brief class presentations.

A key component of the course involves inquiry based learning as a means to understand the process by which new scientific knowledge is developed.  For example, in the laboratory, you will synthesize a compound of unknown composition and use a variety of tools to deduce the structure of this new material.  Examples of other experiments include determination of water hardness of samples from local sources, the synthesis and analysis of biodiesel, chromatographic characterization of chemical mixtures, analysis of artificial blood, the study of dyes through the making of tie dye T-shirts, as well as the opportunity to develop and perform chemical demonstrations for your peers.


Dr. Brian LampDr. Brian Lamp, Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Truman State University

B.A., Augustana University (SD); Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, Iowa State University

This course teaches you much more than the “do’s” and “do nots” of surviving a horror movie. Using a combination of films, literature, and discussion, you will study the horror genre, using monsters as a metaphor to explain the nuances of different cultures and societies. You will explore many STEM fields along with the humanities, learning practical skills of disaster preparedness alongside critical-thinking skills in the classroom.

From shelter building to crisis management, you will learn to take care of yourself and others in times of disaster. Surviving is only half the battle. The films and literature of the horror oeuvre will serve as a jumping-off point as we use monsters as a metaphor for exploring current and historical cultures and societies.

The students final project will be to use what we have learned about disaster preparedness and horror movies to create a Public Service Announcement that uses your critical-thinking skills to link our new knowledge of these ghouls with an actual problem we could all face.


Professor Tyler UnsellProfessor Tyler Unsell, Director of Debate and Forensics, Park Hill School District

B.A., Truman State University; M.A.E., Truman State University

They are some of the earliest and greatest stories of all time.  They’ve been sung by bards, told around campfires, echoed through marble halls, set to music, and accompanied by popcorn in modern movie theaters.

In this course we will ask:  What is mythology?

What are the stories that comprise Greek and Roman, Nordic, Mayan, and other world mythologies?  Why were they significant and why do we keep telling them?  We will read and compare creation myths, divine pantheons, hero myths, and modern retellings of ancient mythology using a variety of critical lenses.

Students will draft a fantasy team of gods, heroes, and creatures to compete in an Olympic Fantasy League, work together to solve puzzles in a mythology escape room, create movie trailer-like skits, and learn to tie a toga, all while studying some of the world’s greatest literature.


Professor Wendy DomanProfessor Wendy Doman, English/Spanish Teacher, Kirksville High School, former adjunct English MACC, former consultant Truman State University

B.A. English, Brigham Young University; M.A. English University of Kansas

Neurobiology’s model organisms (mice, worms, flies) will frame our discussion of what a neuron is and what nervous systems can do.

In this lab course, you’ll be scientists exploring how the nervous system helps us move, think, and feel. You’ll get to see neurons ‘talk’ to each other, learn to make hypotheses about how that happens, and your most definitely figure out how to test your hypotheses with near state of the art physiology experiments. Basically, you’ll be doing the same work as professional scientists!

All of your experiments will be on each other or on worms and flies. Neurobiologists use a variety of organisms to understand the biology of the brain. You see, all nervous systems are similar and each organism provides advantages for answer particular neurobiological questions.

You only have 3 main jobs: pay attention, ask questions, and have fun!

One last note: this lab has LOTS of information that may be new to you. Don’t worry! We will go over everything in class. On day one, you’ll get a copy of a lab book with basic information about our experiments.


Dr. Brett BerkeDr. Brett Berke, Associate Professor of Biology, Truman State University

B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Iowa; Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Yale University

Are you interested in traveling to the Spanish-speaking world? Do you enjoy exploring museums, visiting touristic sites, trying new foods, and watching cortometrajes? Are you interested in participating in an immersive experience? If so, this class is for you!

In this course, we will explore three Spanish-speaking countries: Colombia, El Salvador and Puerto Rico through the lens of food, artisanal crafts, tourist attractions, and methods of transportation. Students will explore famous sites in each country, read schedules for the metro and buses for each, read reviews to find lodging, learn how to regatear (bargain) in markets, order street food, and create their own trip to a particular destination in one of these countries of focus. In class activities, students will listen to music, watch videos, read infographics, reviews, and articles, as well as participate in interpersonal activities such as information-gaps. Students will also create posters, Flipgrids, podcasts, and presentations in Spanish. At the end of each week, students will present on one tourist site, a type of transport, or a famous dish to conclude our exploration of that country.

This course is designed for beginners and/or students with some previous Spanish knowledge (does not need to be extensive). This course will focus on learning vocabulary related to food, transportation, activities, lodging, wants and needs, expressing likes and dislikes, telling someone where they are going, telling time, describing different destinations, and comparing options in Spanish. As a culminating project, students will present and create a trip with a budget of $5,000 to one of these three countries. Students will include food, activities, transportation, and lodging in their proposal, along with other necessities.


Professor Kathleen PlackeProfessor Kathleen Placke, Spanish Educator, Ritenour High School

B.A., Modern Languages, Concentration in Spanish, Truman State University; M.AE., Foreign Languages, Spanish, Truman State University

In this studio art course, we will study historical examples of mythological hybrids, ranging from Egyptian gods to Greek monsters to the common North American Jackalope. Students will then take inspiration from a culture of their choice to make one of these creatures or invent a new one of their own! We will discuss these creatures’ place in their respective stories and try to understand the purpose of their hybrid nature.

This course also takes a hybrid approach to soft sculpture, combining textile arts with sculptural techniques often used in the movie and prop industry. We will begin by learning to sew simple stuffed forms and then progress to designing more complex shapes and sewing patterns. In addition, students will learn how to make molds of their hands or faces and cast these in rubber, resin, or foam.  These cast parts will be altered and combined to create truly uncanny creatures.  As students gain confidence with sewing, we will begin upcycling found textiles like old jeans, shirts, gloves, or socks. If time allows, near the end of the course, we could either create our own bestiary or work together to build a giant inflatable monster.


Professor Danielle YakleProfessor Danielle Yakle is an Assistant Professor of Art at Truman State University teaching Fibers and Sculpture

Bachelor of Fine Art, Truman State University; Master of Fine Art, University of Kansas

Professor Yakle currently teaches in Truman’s Sculpture and Fibers areas, as well as instructing Intro to Art students in the creation of public art projects.

As an artist she works primarily in soft sculpture and multimedia installation.  Her recent work includes elements of viewer participation and is intended to incite feelings of discovery but also frustration. Many of her pieces are crafted from handmade, wool felt and the highly tactile and hide-like quality of this material is a driving factor in her creative practice. Much of her research focuses on the dyeing properties and structural possibilities of wool and other fibers.

The course covers the major American conflicts from the start of the 20th century to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the focus of the course will examine these conflicts from the U.S. foreign policy perspective, some attention is given to the role of domestic public opinion as well as foreign perspectives on the conflicts.

There are three learning objectives for this course. First, students should gain a deeper understanding of US conflicts over the past century and how these conflicts shaped the US into the global leader. Second, students will attain a better theoretical understanding of why countries fight. Finally, students will discuss and attempt to determine what countries can attain from conflict and if it’s worth the price.

Aside from the normal classroom activities, the class will take two field trips. The first will be to Laclede, Mo., to visit the Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site. Students will take a tour the famous U.S. General’s boyhood home and see how he lived and discuss his accomplishments. The second trip will be a two-day trip to the World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo. There we will explore wartime documents and memorabilia before undertaking role-playing activities where students will decide how to deal with the growing differences between the U.S. and its Soviet allies near the end of the war in Europe.


Dr. Michael RudyDr. Michael Rudy, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Truman State University

B.S., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; M.A., Eastern Illinois University; Ph.D., University of Missouri