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Endeavor Communities

For the 2019–20 academic year, there are six topic-specific communities. No matter the topic, students in a Richmond Endeavor community:

  • Live together with other Richmond Endeavor students within a first-year residence hall
  • Move-in early and participate in the Roadmap to Success pre-orientation program
  • Enrolls in their community's fall-semester course
  • Enrolls in their community's spring-semester course
  • Have their Richmond Endeavor faculty member as their academic advisor, beginning in the summer (before summer registration) and continuing until major declaration
  • Have a dedicated peer-advisor (called a Navigator) who will also help beginning in the summer and continue through the school year

2019–20 Endeavor Communities

Crusades and Holy Wars: Then and Now

Faculty Member: Martin Sulzer-Reichel, Ph.D.
Navigator: Brooklyn Griffin

Roadmap Short CourseHospitality International

Fall Semester Course: FYS 100: Crusades and Holy Wars (1 unit)
Satisfies: first-year seminar graduation requirement

What perpetuates conflicts and allows catchwords to be reborn and reused over and over again? Is there an inherent force in the way a story is told and retold? Does it create myths or do myths create stories and even locations? All this goes into exploring the relationship between peoples, beliefs, and locations from the Middle East to the United States today. This course will concentrate on how lasting and formative historical narratives are. We will use the crusades as a case study for the relationship between historical events and their reception and re-use in the course of history up until our current political and social lives. We will start with questions about what actually happened during the crusades, how we know what happened, and how reliable our sources as well as academic articles about them are. From there, we will look into what drives the conflicts, especially between the Middle East and the West today.  After centuries of warfare between Islam and Christianity, we will look behind and beyond the rationales of the conflicts. In the end, we will see that the mutations of historical narratives are not limited to the crusades, and we will try to determine the extent to which this might be a general human reaction to events that are too complex to cope with. Finally, we will look into the mechanisms and strategies that evolve over time, and how they might not only be the result of making complex realities manageable, but also become the nucleus of future conflict.

Spring Semester Course: IDST 190: Crusades and Holy Wars (.5 unit)
Description: The students will be required to develop individual research projects that specifically look at the change of historical narratives over time and how they affect our perception of our own identity today. We will do this with a special regard to our local narratives here, for instance by looking into the representation of Virginia's history, be it in context with the civil war, with the history of slavery, with public artistic representations as for instance on Monument Avenue, with the representation of Virginians in the context of greater American and social history.

NOTE: If you are participating in SMART, or IQS programs, please note that you cannot participate in this Endeavor course, due to class time conflicts. Students in these programs can participate in another Endeavor course.

Endeavor to Change: Calculus I

Faculty Member: Della Dumbaugh, Ph.D.
Navigator: Alex Kirk

Roadmap Short Course: Inside Hidden Figures

Fall Semester Course: MATH 211: Calculus I (1 unit)
Satisfies: general education requirement for symbolic reasoning (FSSR), required course for students interested in business or any bachelor of science degree program.

Description: Don’t let the class name fool you - this is more than your average math class! This class uses the traditional content of calculus as an ideal platform to foster skills in engaging in dialogue about challenging, contemporary issues, crafting more meaningful personal and professional relationships, and recognizing differences between local and global behavior, among others. It also affords the opportunity to cultivate and identify workplace skills acquired through learning Calculus such as, although not limited to, strategic problem solving (breaking larger problems into smaller pieces, for example), collaboration with teams of diverse group members to complete challenging tasks, and boosting confidence through overcoming challenges. Drawing from recent research on exercise and the brain, the course will also promote a healthy mind-body connection through physical activity and mental acumen.

Spring Semester Course: IDST 190: Endeavor to Change: Calculus I (.5 unit)
Description: We will plan a spring project based around service learning for our Endeavor students. Each student will work with a K-12 student at a designated school, preferably enhancing mathematics understanding. This component of the course will allow our UR students to observe how other students learn and grow. It is designed to extend our understanding of change and, in particular, how to measure it. Outside of the tools of calculus, it can be difficult to measure and document change. Naturally, each student will have a Moleskine notebook to capture their reflections on these experiences and we will meet weekly to discuss them as a group.

NOTE: If you are participating in SMART, or IQS programs, please note that you cannot participate in this Endeavor course. Students earn MATH 211 as part of these programs. Students in these programs can choose a different Endeavor course to participate in.

Geographic Dimensions of Global Development

Faculty Member: David Salisbury, Ph.D.
Navigator: Jaclyn Opie

Roadmap Short Course: Exploring the Cultural Landscape

Fall Semester Course: GEOG 210/GS 210: Geographic Dimensions of Global Development (1 unit)
Satisfies: general education requirement for social analysis (FSSA), required course for Geography and the Environment major

Description: Never before have we had access to so much information and so many tools to better understand our diverse and changing world. Despite this, we struggle to understand not only ourselves but other cultures and environments. In this class we will learn geographic concepts to facilitate interpretations of our relationship with the world and each other. Place, space, scale, landscape, distance, accessibility, networks, and human-environment interaction are just a few fundamental aspects of human geography we will investigate. The course will engage global development from a sustainability perspective and utilize geographic tools and concepts to envision a sustainable future across the globe. The course is an ideal introduction to global studies, geography, and sustainability while also serving to strengthen student understanding of social analysis more broadly.

Spring Semester Course: IDST 190: Geographic Dimensions of Global Development  (.5 unit)
Description: Coming soon!

The Rights of the Criminally Accused

Faculty Member: Jennifer Bowie, Ph.D.
Navigator: Sandeep Kumar

Roadmap Short Course: Capital Punishment and the Supreme Court

Fall Semester Course: FYS 100: The Rights of the Criminally Accused (1 unit)
Satisfies: first-year seminar graduation requirement

Description: We will tackle important and controversial questions surrounding criminal procedure and the role of the Supreme Court in the development of the rights of the criminally accused from a social scientist perspective. Through the study of key decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court along with other readings regarding the criminal justice system, students will be able to critically examine the substantive and procedural aspects of criminal law. During the course, we will wrestle with the approaches taken by the Supreme Court to balance the constitutional protections of the criminally accused with legitimate law enforcement goals and practices. We will study the decisions of the Supreme Court and law enforcement practices with a critical eye in understanding the real-world implications each has on the criminal justice system and the world around us. Finally, we will develop research projects that examine criminal justice reform as it relates to the rights of the criminally accused.

Spring Semester Course: IDST 190: The Rights of the Criminally Accused (.5 unit)
Description: The spring semester project will entail two Supreme Court simulations. For the Supreme Court simulations, student teams are assigned the roles of justices or attorneys (representing either the appellant or respondent in the case). The students are given a hypothetical case (on an issue the Supreme Court has not decided yet). Each legal team will research and submit their written arguments to the class. Prior to the oral argument the justices read over the written arguments and prepare questions to ask the legal teams during the oral argument. At oral argument, which I hold (usually if available) at the law school’s Moot Court room, each legal team has 25 minutes to make their case to the justices. The justices have the opportunity to ask questions.  In addition to developing a range of skills, the simulation projects advanced the students’ research, analytical, communicative, critical thinking, and creativity skills. Additionally, the simulations provided the students with an opportunity to understand the Supreme Court’s work firsthand.

NOTE: If you are participating in the IQS programs, please note that you cannot participate in this Endeavor course, due to class time conflicts. Students in IQS can participate in another Endeavor course.

Slavery in Contemporary Imagination

Faculty Member: Melissa Ooten, Ph.D.
Navigator: Rowan Cai

Roadmap Short Course: Social Justice and the City

Fall Semester Course: FYS 100: Slavery in Contemporary Imagination (1 unit)
Satisfies: first-year seminar graduation requirement

Description: This course explores the history of U.S. slavery and its manifestations in popular culture today. We will not only learn about the historical context of slavery, but we will also explore contemporary films, music, art, literature, and public history sites that grapple with slavery and its meanings in our society today. Examples range from Oscar-winning films like 12 Years a Slave, Black Panther, to Childish Gambino’s Grammy-winning song “This is America.” Prominent historian Ira Berlin’s seminal article, “American Slavery in History and Memory and the Search for Social Justice” will serve as a framework for much our exploration throughout the semester. Berlin asserts that American history cannot be understood without slavery yet it has only been in the 21st century that prominent dialogues about the continuing meaning of slavery have taken place. Berlin ultimately argues that slavery has become “a language, a way to talk about race in a society in which race is difficult to discuss.” This course, then, will give students a strong grounding in the history of slavery in the U.S. then focus on having students analyze popular material to better understand this “language.”

Spring Semester Course: IDST 190: Slavery in Contemporary Imagination (.5 unit)
Description: The proposed project is a community-engaged mapping project. In this project, students choose sites in the city on which to conduct both primary and secondary research. Once students have chosen their sites, we will collectively take a trip to the archives and also a city tour of the sites. Students will work in small groups to research their sites and the class will eventually compose a collective map of their sites (or they may choose to re-interpret an existing city map or trail, like the Richmond Slave Trail).

The World & The U.S.: Global Perspectives of America, Past and Present

Faculty Member: Monti Datta, Ph.D.
Navigator: Jackson Puckey

Roadmap Short Course: The Mindful Leader

Fall Semester Course: FYS 100: The World & US: Global Perceptions of America, Past and Present (1 unit)
Satisfies: first-year seminar graduation requirement

Description: The United States of America is arguably the most powerful country in the history of world. Some love America for what is and does, giving rise to pro-Americanism, whereas others dislike America just as much, giving rise to anti-Americanism. With the rise of President Trump, however, many at home and abroad are wondering what the future of the United States will be. Will the long-standing Transatlantic Alliance between America and Europe come to an end? What might be the impact of the Border Wall between the United States and Mexico? Is the rise and popularity of President Trump an outlier, or is he a harbinger of more populist leaders to come? What exactly does it mean to “Make America Great Again?” What is “America,” to what extent is the “American Dream” still alive, for whom does America belong?

In this course, we will take a deep dive into the nature and origins of pro- and anti-American sentiment, from the dawn of the American republic in Jamestown Virginia in 1619, to the triumph of the US after World War Two, to the American retreat from globalism and the rise of populism under President Trump. Students will explore key debates on how individuals and countries have perceived America over time and examine a diversity of documents including qualitative sources (e.g., the writings of foreign observers like Charles Dickens and Alexis de Tocqueville, the speeches of US Presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump) and quantitative sources (e.g., public opinion surveys about the United States from Eurobarometer and the Pew Global Attitudes Project). In addition to meeting all of the prerequisites of a First-Year Seminar (FYS), students will be involved in Dr. Datta’s research agenda on the US Image and Anti-Americanism.

Spring Semester Course: IDST 190: The World & US: Global Perceptions of America, Past and Present (.5 unit)
Description: Students will be exposed to Dr. Datta’s research on the US Image and Anti-Americanism. Students will be given a fair amount of latitude in the research projects they select that overlap with (but are not identical to) Dr. Datta’s research. Some sample research topics include, but are not limited to: The rise of populist leaders like Donald Trump; The rise of populist groups like Britain’s UKIP and Germany’s AfD; The pros and cons of the US Border Wall; The rise of China and the decline of America; and The extent to which the American Dream is really a dream deferred.

Fast Facts

Number of Students per Community: 16

Residence Hall: Lora Robins Court
(co-ed residence hall by pod) 

Additional Cost to Participate: None