Over the past year, Nathan Tice, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and chair of physical sciences, along with Marie Louden-Hanes, Ph.D., professor emerita of art history, combined forces to create an art and disease course for students at University of Findlay.
Scholarship of Diversity, also known as Special Topics in the Field of Art, is built upon a previous course the two professors taught in spring 2020, known as The Interface of Art and Science: The Legacy of Da Vinci. “The idea or the thesis of the Scholarship of Diversity class would be that disease and illnesses along with how society interprets and deals with those impacts of culture, you can see those in creative works,” said Tice. “For example, based on how society viewed AIDS in the 1980s, this led to a huge art movement.”
The course engages students in the arts and the sciences at the same time and looks at how art and disease influence each other, specifically how illness has impacted societies and expression of the human experience. “Art is the expression of what people are going through and experiencing in these times of disease and pandemic,” stated Tice. “We want students to learn and understand that this topic is appropriate for the times and that humanity has gone through these times before. There will eventually be an end, but we have to understand that society will be changed.”
Scholarship of Diversity/Special Topics in the Field of Art covers several different topics and is discussion-based. Throughout the semester students are encouraged to bring topics they’d like to talk about to class and get in touch with their creative side.
“This course has been super interesting. We’re connecting the dots of disease. Infectious disease, especially, has really guided humanity’s culture not just from a scientific point of view, but from an artistic point of view,” said Dominique Ysquierdo, a student in the class. “It’s kind of mind-blowing, when you start really digging into it. There’s a lot of theoretical approaches to the discussions we have in class as well.”
One of the benefits of the creation of this course is the opportunity to collaborate with other departments since Tice’s courses fall in the College of Sciences and Louden-Hanes teaches in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “We’re excited to let others know that it’s not just two people from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences or two people from the College of Sciences – it’s across cultures, across colleges, and across disciplines,” mentioned Louden-Hanes.
“This form of teaching is great for the students and it’s great fun for the faculty to get into another area and learn the way another discipline is taught,” said Louden-Hanes. “We’re finding we do a lot of things exactly the same, just the topic is different. Teaching this course with Dr. Tice is a valuable experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
For the upcoming spring 2022 semester, Tice and Louden-Hanes will be offering a Scholarship of Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Practice course that will be covering the topics of faith and science and will be taught along with Bill Reist, former senior pastor at College First Church of God.
Tice and Louden-Hanes would also like to thank Darin Fields, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs, and Christine Denecker, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the center for teaching and program excellence, for their support for the development of the program.