Students have the option of studying one of the courses listed below, each taught by Covenant professors. Each class will be made up of no more than ten students.
The Art of Place | Prof. Jeff Morton
The subject of place is not a neutral one. Whether we recognize it or not, we all come from somewhere and are presently in a place. In this experiential class we will explore the subject in an art studio context informed by social and critical theory, and theological and Christian thinking about place.
While walking the campus of Covenant College, making maps and notational drawing, and through the act of photography and journaling, we will ask the simple question: where do we belong?
The Language of Nature: How Do Plants & Animals Communicate? | Dr. Heath Garris
Have you ever walked in the forest and thought it was unbearably quiet, but with some stillness you noticed a chorus of bird and insect songs? To us these sounds are foreign. (Some are convinced they are beautiful, others not so much.) To the creatures that produce them, they represent a necessary component of daily life. In fact, much of what we see and hear in nature is masterfully effective communication; we just aren't the intended recipients.
This course is a survey of plant and animal communication, with an emphasis on field-based methods and foundations in scientific inquiry. Students will gain experience in interpreting and identifying communication from plants, birds, bats, and insects and form a basis for understanding the multi-modality of communication in nature.
The Nature of Language: Who talks funny? | Dr. Nola Hecker
No two people speak in exactly the same way. There are differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, word meaning, grammar rules, and more. In fact, not only do different people speak differently, but even individual people change the way they speak in different contexts. This course focuses on the social aspects of language variation and analyzes how we use language to help express our identities and interpret the identities of others. Throughout the course, we will pay special attention to the ways that language intersects with a variety of social categories like gender, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, and religion.
Knowing Our Own Minds | Dr. Carole Yue
Our conscious and unconscious beliefs about how our minds work drive many of our behaviors. For example, our ideas about memory influence how we study, interpret eyewitness testimony, and even how we argue. However, many of our beliefs are inaccurate and can cause us to make bad decisions or miscommunicate without even realizing it.
This course will consider some of our basic beliefs about how our minds work and how we can use psychological science to improve our understanding of ourselves and the people around us.
Jeff Morton, MFA, BFA
Prof. Jeff Morton will teach "The Art of Place." Prof. Morton has been a professor of art at Covenant College since 2000. He also serves as the art department chair. He holds an MFA from Yale University and is one of two recipients of a 2016 Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee State Arts Commission. An accomplished painter with influences found in 17th Century Japanese folding screens, Prof. Morton specializes in various interpretations of landscape in the form of large color-field canvases and small obsessive drawings. Prof. Morton has exhibited his works regionally and nationally, most recently at the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga.
Nola Hecker, PhD
Dr. Nola Hecker will teach "The Nature of Language." Dr. Hecker is an associate professor of linguistics at Covenant College, as well as the faculty advisor for the Covenant College Linguistics Club and Speech & Debate Society. She holds a PhD from Stanford University. While fascinated by many aspects of human language, she is most interested in the areas of child language development, psycholinguistics, lexical semantics, and sociolinguistics. She is also particularly interested in understanding how religious beliefs and doctrinal commitments influence Christians' language attitudes, as well as how beliefs about language influence how Christians view God and their fellow image bearers.
Heath Garris, PhD
Dr. Heath Garris will teach "The Language of Nature." Dr. Garris is an assistant professor of biology at Covenant College, as well as curator and advocate for the Covenant College BioInventory. He holds a PhD in integrated bioscience from the University of Akron and is passionate about teaching environmental science to Covenant students. He believes that environmental stewardship is a calling worthy of Christ's followers who are earnestly seeking to be His agents in the redemption of all creation. In his research, he addresses questions that require ecological knowledge to solve long-term challenges for creation.
Carole Yue, PhD
Dr. Carole Yue will teach "Knowing Our Own Minds." Dr. Yue has been teaching at Covenant College since 2014, and she teaches a variety of experimental and cognitive courses in the psychology department. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the mechanisms and educational applications of human learning, memory, and metacognition.