Russell Scholars Program

Complete 6 of Your 8 Required Core Courses

Co-taught, Entry-Level Courses   (see Upper-Level Courses below)

Welcome to College!

 

RSP 100 College Writing

This course introduces students to the style and standard of writing expected of them in college. Students read expository writings grouped around a theme and use the ideas they encounter to develop and refine analytical essays in response. Emphasis is placed on building the skills of critical analysis and the writing process, specifically reading, drafting, rereading, revision, editing, and proofreading. Students are encouraged to integrate ideas from RSP Seminar into class discussions and individual essays, when appropriate. At the end of the semester, an RSP 100 student will be able to engage with complex readings and compose analytical essays that focus on a central theme using language that is relatively free of sentence-level error.  Fulfills the College Writing Core requirement.  3 cr.

 

 RSP 101 Russell Scholars Creative Writing

 

Feed your imagination!  This course is offered as a continuation of RSP 100 to help students define and meet their writing goals. Classes meet twice a week and include individual conferences. Creative Writing emphasizes style, organization, and development, with some emphasis on mechanics. Students must exercise the self-discipline necessary to work independently.  Fulfills the Creative Expression Core requirement.  Open to all USM students who have completed College Writing.  3 cr.

 

RSP 103 (EYE) Russell Scholars Seminar: Culture, Community, and the Environment

With a few exceptions, all first-year Russell Scholars are required to take this course. This seminar explores the relationships between culture, community, and the environment from an educational, theoretical, and practical framework.  It focuses on development as a person, as a learner, and as a member of a community by examining contemporary global issues from more than one perspective.  We consider the values and approaches of different cultures in order to better understand the current challenges facing any community - population growth, natural resource use, economic pressures, environmental impact, and other threats to cultural survival and ecological balance.  Students have the opportunity to engage in critical thought about how they might make an impact on the local level.  Collaboration with peers is a valuable component of the course.  Fulfills the Entry-Year Experience Core requirement.  3 cr.

 

 RSP 110/111, 210/211 Russell Scholars Learning Community Laboratory

 This forum for all Russell Scholars convenes in an informal environment to address topics such as campus issues, current events, and student interests. Students learn about the educational goals of this learning-community, resources available to them on campus, and each other.  Peer Mentors--older students in the Russell Scholars Program--play a role in leading discussion and activities in at least one meeting.  Lab also invites students out of the classroom to enhance the learning experience on campus and in the local community. An important part of the course includes attending fun campus events with your friends: students choose selected events in the USM events calendar.  Variable credit; most students register for the one-credit experience unless they also choose to engage in one of RSP's service learning partnerships.  Offered every semester.

 

RSP 199 Picturing Place

This course acknowledges the importance that special places have in our lives.  In all their complexity, contradiction, and beauty, places play a role in shaping who we are and who we may become.  Often, we experience personal revelation in meaningful places; responding with imagination can sustain and grow our connection. Writer Rebecca Solnit describes a sense of place as “the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.”  Students will learn from examples to develop such a sixth sense, aiming to map their own connections to place in creative ways.

Using the camera’s eye, students will get a different view of familiar places.  Photography will be emphasized as an accessible way to capture and articulate aspects of place.  Using words, students will also work with description and free-writing.  Assignments will blend word and image and encourage good design practice as well as achievement of creative discoveries. Projects may include designing postcards, implementing a technological mapping tool like StoryMap, claiming a campus location to study further, and building a virtual site for a physical site. Class visits include the Osher Map Library as well as significant outdoor areas of campus: the Community Garden, Walker Pond, and the Aboretum. Class culminates with immersive field trip to the Schoodic Institute near Acadia National Park - for time to create in a beautiful place. No special equipment or previous experience necessary.  First 7-week session Fall 2020. Open to students who have completed College Writing.  3 cr.  

 

Innovative Upper-Level Courses

Engage in Collaboration and Community Building!

 

RSP 204/ANT 204 Gulf of Maine

The Gulf of Maine class describes the methods and theories used by archaeologists, geologist, marine scientist, environmental scientist and policy makers to understand changes in human life ways and environmental conditions over time. Attention is given reconstruction of changes in sea-level over time: excavation and interpretation of archaeological materials from maritime sites; understanding of species distribution and interaction over time; and policy making related to environmental change of the Anthropocene.. Issues in coastal erosion, declining cod stocks, predator-prey relations, environmental restoration and cultural heritage be covered. Six integral laboratories will focus on the Gulf of Maine. Some attention will be given to specific topics such as regional climatic change, the Casco Bay Estuary Project and research institutes focused on marine environments in the Gulf of Maine.  Fulfills the Science Exploration Core requirement.  Open to all USM students.  3 cr.

 

 

RSP 205 Exploring Culture: On Campus & Off                    

Exploring sites at USM and beyond, this course offers "open, accessible, inclusive, and welcoming" experiences of culture in the community.  Students will visit gallery spaces, attend local theater productions, and practice their own culture making and critique.  We'll examine relationships between words and images, inspiration and expression, theory and design.  As we engage with current examples in these venues, several questions arise: How does culture reflect and embody ideas and values?  What is the role of the artist and the audience?  How can we define cultural literacy?  What are the ethics of looking?  Fulfills the Cultural Interpretation Core requirement.  Open to all USM students.  3 cr.

 

RSP 299 The Sea Around Us: Visions of Shipwrecks, Sailors, and Sea Change

Considers the impact of the sea on the lives of those who live near, with, and on coasts.  From voyage to discovery, inspiration to disaster, the sea ferries ships and ideas and new questions.  How might we gain perspective if we think of our landlocked lives as connected by water, or as John Gillis says in The Human Shore, if we remember how to live with oceans?  Topics will include how the sea is represented in story and art as well as current challenges to the coastal environment and its inhabitants.  To celebrate Maine's Bicentennial, class is capped off with a visit to Winslow Homer's studio at Prout's NEck, where he did some of his best sea paintings inspired by the sandy beaches and crashing waves.  Fulfills the Cultural Interpretation Core requirement. Open to all USM students.  3 cr.

 

RSP 310/311, 410/411  Russell Scholars Learning Community Laboratory

This forum for all Russell Scholars convenes in an informal environment to address topics such as campus issues, current events, and student interests. Students learn about the educational goals of this learning-community, resources available to them on campus, and each other.  Peer Mentors--older students in the Russell Scholars Program--play a role in leading discussion and activities in at least one meeting.  Lab also invites students out of the classroom to enhance the learning experience on campus and in the local community. An important part of the course includes attending fun campus events with your friends: students choose selected events in the USM events calendar.  Variable credit; most students register for the one-credit experience unless they also choose to engage in one of RSP's service learning partnerships.  Offered every semester.  

  

RSP 325 Into the Wild: Environmental Thinking

            

Considers the evolving human relationship to the natural world. Topics include the wilderness idea, animal encounters, a sense of place, landscape change, and how to access the sublime in our everyday lives.  How can we treat the new diagnosis of nature-deficit disorder? What role do individuals play in the health of the environment?  Includes precursors like Thoreau, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold, as well as a special student-led campus project for the landmark 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  Fulfills EISRC, the Ethical Inquiry Core requirement.  Open to all USM students.  3 cr. 

 

RSP 402 Russell Scholars Capstone Seminar: Community and Commitment

 

Graduation is getting closer.  Join us to explore some questions that shape this pivotal moment: How can you put the passions of your academic major to work?  What constitutes meaningful work?  What is our responsibility to ourselves and to the world?  What is the common good?  What does citizenship mean?  Students will design a substantial Service Learning experience that directly supports their major and create a multimodal showcase for their research.  Course will include readings, hands-on activities, and special guests from the academic and professional world.  Co-taught by the Director and Associate Director, the course is structured to provide a significant mentoring experience for you in your last semesters at University.  3 cr.