These are the courses I currently teach at Ashesi University College, Accra Ghana.
Written and Oral Communication
This course offers an introduction to the practices of reading and writing for general university studies. Students will develop their academic writing and analytical skills through critical reading, group discussion and various writing assignments. Strong emphasis will be placed on revising, with weekly workshops for discussion of student work.
- Discovering how writing and reading can be tools of learning and critical thinking.
- Practicing communicating clearly through writing.
- Learning about elements of argument and persuasion.
- Developing skills for finding, evaluating and citing academic texts and other sources.
- Entering the continuous conversation of academic scholarship.
The Social Theory course provides an examination of various key theorists whose ideas have greatly influenced the world in which we live. The course provides a thematic examination of political philosophy and attempts to consider the social, political and economic conditions that bind societies together. In order to accomplish this Social Contract Theory will form a hypothetical model from which to consider the basis of achieving a stable and well ordered society. Ideas on individual freedom and economic liberalism will be examined in terms of their social progression leading to the formation of liberal democratic states. Then Conservative ideology with its emphasis on preserving custom and tradition will be considered in relation to the revolutionary theories of Marxism. The course will conclude with a section devoted to the effects of Globalization and pose the question as to whether the “New World Order” is destined to be characterized by a sense of apathy and nihilism.
- Introduce the student to new concepts of analysis through various selected texts and ideologies chosen for review.
- Illustrate how social contract theory has contributed to shaping many of the central features of the modern world.
- Gain an understanding of the methodologies that lie within the discipline of Social Sciences.
- Encourage a sense of initiative when undertaking independent research projects and collating data from various sources.
- Develop the ability to present arguments with the use of critical thinking and establish reasoned judgment.
For this course, we are experimenting with social media for better interaction between lecturers and students. Follow the 2013 class on twitter #ashst.
Leadership Seminar 1
In this course we will ask the question:”What makes a good leader?” In assuming the answer contains an element of self-knowledge we attempt to take a closer look at who we are, what our personal strengths are and how we act in different situations. In accordance, a section of the course will be devoted to the Giving Voice to Values curriculum which encourages self-expression of personal values in our everyday lives. Another section of the course focuses on role models, their motivation, habits and civic responsibility. Over the semester, a personal skill should be identified and developed for a final presentation and paper.
- foster critical thinking.
- challenge students to accept leadership roles.
- develop personal strengths and promote self-realization.
- encourage giving voice to values in everyday life situations.
- create awareness of leadership motivations, habits and responsibilities.
Text and Meaning
This course will approach the study of literary theory and critical analysis in an entirely new way! Instead of applying various schools of critical theory to a fixed canon of “great works”, students will examine a variety of text and consider the extent to which interpretation is merely a controlled response to social doctrine. In order to accomplish this, the term “text” will be used in its broadest possible sense, so as to include: literature, newspapers, speeches, advertising, film and documentary. By the end of the course students will be left with a question rather than an answer! But it shall be the very nature of this question that will have developed skills in critical thinking and analysis.
- Become conversant with various schools of critical theory and be able to apply these ideologies to a variety of set text.
- Develop key skills in critical thinking and analysis as a means by which to make decisions with reasoned judgment.
- Gain an appreciation and awareness of high and low brow culture and consider their significance in shaping the society in which we live.
- Create independent thinkers who can apply skills in critical analysis to a variety of work related situations.
- Develop the ability to present arguments that are based upon established principles of logic, sense and reason.
Giving Voice to Values
This seminar style course is an introduction to the ethical standards of the Ashesi Community and an adaptation of Mary C. Gentile’s business curriculum Giving Voice to Values (GVV), a values-based leadership program intended for MBA students in the USA. The course offers a toolkit for effectively handling different kinds of ethical dilemmas or value conflict situations. Assuming we can all distinguish between what is right or wrong, the course takes a practical approach to ethics and asks how we can make sure we give voice to our values, every time. Through writing assignments, self-assessments, scenario scripting and group discussions we jointly practice the difficult art of standing up for what we believe is right. You will develop your self-knowledge and discover your strengths and weaknesses in social situations. You will also get a chance to analyze and practice your actions and options in value conflict situations.
- Establishing personal enablers and disablers to voicing values.
- Practicing how to communicate values effectively.
- Developing skills to handle value conflict situations involving peers, family members and elders but also in university environment specific situations.
- Improving personal integrity and recognizing the value of integrity in others.
- Preparing freshmen for the honour code conversation.
For details see givingvoicetovalues.org
For a more comprehensive and practical guide to WAC I recommend the following book: Bean, John C. 2001. Engaging Ideas. The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. Jossey Bass, San Fransisco.
For guidance on a GVV influenced curriculum, Mary Gentile’s document, linked to above is a good start.
Recommended Teaching Websites:
- The Owl
- Online Writing Materials from Darthmouth
- Free Documentaries
- Open University’s Free Resources, Open Learn
- Khan Academy – Educational videos
- MIT Open Course Ware
- Great Articles and Essays