Newman Studies Program

Newman Studies Program (NSP)

The Newman Studies Program is an innovative, educational opportunity exclusively offered to Newman University students that prepares Newman graduates to adapt to a rapidly changing world in which future professions do not yet exist.

St. John Henry Newman presents his vision for a Catholic university education in his book, The Idea of a University. Newman extols the value of all the disciplines, from literature to science to business, and argues that they must be deeply rooted in the liberal arts and ultimately brought together in pursuit of truth and goodness. For Newman, higher education should produce an enlargement of mind that allows the graduate not merely to succeed in society but to elevate it. The Newman Studies Program encompasses the ideas developed by St. John Henry Newman.

St. John Henry Newman

St. John Henry Newman

The Four Educational Pillars

The Newman Studies Program focuses on four principles based on St. John Henry Newman's educational philosophy.


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Active Learning

Learning happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. The Newman Studies Program credits its innovative active learning strategies as a key to student success. With a curriculum full of labs, practicums, co-ops, internships, role-playing, service-learning courses and field experiences, the Newman Studies Program provides students with great learning experiences that matter.

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Critical Thinking

All the courses in the Newman Studies Program have been designed to produce critical thinkers — students who analyze evidence, question assumptions, test hypotheses, generalize from observations and draw conclusions from data. These are not just skills; they are mind-habits that are in greater demand by employers than any single major or course of study.

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Throughout the Newman Studies Program, students have opportunities to learn in interdisciplinary contexts. The capstone of the Newman Studies Program is a four-course sequence that introduces students to big ideas: The Human Story, The Creative Spirit, The Quest for Meaning and The Universe We Live In. These courses are team-taught by faculty members from across the university who bring their unique perspectives to bear on some of the most important questions of all time.

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The ultimate goal of the Newman Studies Program is to empower students to make connections — between each other, between different fields of knowledge, between faith and reason and between themselves and the world they will transform.

NSP Disciplines

The Newman Studies Program is focused on the following four disciplines:

Accordion - NSP

THE HUMAN STORY focuses on the power of stories. Stories are told by people, about people; and as thinking, feeling individuals, we understand the past, present and future through stories. Leaders from a variety of disciplines often utilize the power of stories throughout their careers.

America Through Baseball This course offers a historical, sociological, and statistical look at America (particularly the 20th century) through the lens of America’s Pastime, baseball.
The Ancient Quarrel - Literature and Philosophy in the Golden Age of Greece This course surveys a wide range of ancient Greek tragedy, comedy, and philosophy in order to raise fundamental questions and glean lasting insights about the possibilities and challenges of human life.
Business Ethics A timely course designed to ground the student in fundamental theories of ethics in the Judeo-Christian tradition while investigating the perceived conflicting principles of business and ethics. This course compares and contrasts the objective of a profit-making entity with the moral and ethical demands of the individual and society.
Comparative Genocide An examination of genocide from 1900 to the present. Topics include international intervention in genocide, violations of human rights, and attempts to bring justice and reconciliation.
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Comparative World Religions This course will examine many of the major world religious systems in order to sympathetically understand the meaning of these religions for their practitioners, and to understand the significance of religion in general in modern secular society. Smith
Computers in Society This course will examine the changing scope of technology in our lives. Hambrick
Gender Studies An interdisciplinary analysis of gender as a socially constructed institutional phenomenon. The course considers theories of gender from biology, psychology, and anthropology; it analyzes how gender plays out at both the micro level (personal identity and social interactions) and the macro level (the institutions in which we live and work); and it explores the relationship between gender differences and gender inequality. Hane, Regan, and or Smith
Globalization The aim of this course is to enable students to describe the world in which we live today using historical and sociological methods to determine the social, economic and cultural forces that have created 21st century globalization, and to explore the opportunities and challenges presented as a result.
Home & Immigration This course will examine ways that people construct an image of a home and respond creatively when that image is disrupted by external events. Bontrager
Killer Communications Applying theories of communication, both verbal and nonverbal, to murder and specific categories of killers. Fort, Wilkerson
Mindful Leadership The course introduces students to the concept of creating organizations whose cultures can be characterized as responsible, just, and compassionate.
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Reaching and Teaching the Diverse Learner: This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of multiple perspectives in a global society and develop multiple modality, culturally aware curriculum experiences. Bequette
Screening the Anthropocene This course brings together the disciplines of climate science, film studies, and deep ecology to critically examine the relationship between human beings and the environment through the lens of contemporary film.
Spirit of Acuto The history and mission of the Adoratrici del Sangue di Christi .
Stories in Performance This course will use performance to examine storytelling as a method for understanding culture and personal history.
Surviving the Robot Apocalypse This course examines some of the most important ways current and emerging technology is shaping the human story. Using analysis, narration, and reflection, we will reflect on the role of technology in our communities and social institutions as well as in the formation of ourselves as particular individuals. An important goal of the course will be to examine the specific ways technology is influencing your own major program of study and anticipated career path.
The Fragmentation of Knowledge – The Divorce of Science and Wisdom Traditions This course will explore the reasons for the fragmentation of the once close relationship between humanities (philosophy) and science (mathematics) from ancient through medieval times, and whether the future holds hope for reconciliation.
True Zombies and Zombie Truths By reflecting on the figure of the zombie, this course provides a critical, multidisciplinary, performative encounter with ourselves.
The Transformation of Society This course aims to equip students with an interdisciplinary, Global understanding of social transformation that is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching, as a prelude to students’ embarking on class projects that are meant to transform society.
Vaccine Contract Vaccine policy and implementation have been an area of discussion for approximately one hundred years, in the context of whether society should mandate vaccines or allow the individual to make their own decision. The goal of the course is to explore historical, political, and educational theories that have influenced the current state of how vaccinations are implemented/viewed in society. Leveritt
The Voice of the People This course will engage students in dynamic dialogue based on readings which will focus on the African American journey for equality and justice in the United States post-slavery.
World Religions This course is a comparative study of world religions. We will examine many of the major world religious systems in order to sympathetically understand the meaning of these religions for their practitioners, and to understand the significance of religion in general in modern secular society. Smith

THE CREATIVE SPIRIT focuses on the importance of creativity. The creative spirit permeates and transforms the human experience through both invention and innovation. Creativity engages our imagination to dream of what is possible, and it is an integral component for students to be able to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Art & Craft of Happiness Through the lens of affective (or contemplative) neuroscience and through the practice of personal writing and mindfulness meditation, students will explore and nurture virtuous qualities of mind such as compassion, well-being, charity, altruism, kindness, and love. In other words, we will learn and apply the mental skills and attitudes that lead to happiness. Duxler, Regan
Avengers Assemble:Comic Books as Modern Myth This course covers the history and mythology of comic books and explores why superheroes have been so important to our cultural mythology since WWII and especially since 9/11.
Brave New Worlds Imagining Utopias and Dystopias. This class will examine how humans have imagined what the human future might look like — whether a future of perfection or of disaster. McFall
Bread & Circuses This course will examine the impetus to use public space and funding to support the arts and entertainment. We will explore why civilizations have done this in the past as well as how and why has that tradition continued.
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Connecting Art and Mathematics In this course students will explore and experience how art and mathematics are manifested through each other. Steiner, Werner
Detecting the Truth Using Detective Fiction to Investigate the Methods and Matter of Philosophy and Criminology
England Study Abroad This class explores the human creative spirit by encountering British history and culture through literature and the arts.
Fire in the Voice Creating Black Identities Through Artistic Process From the Civil Rights Era to the Present
Foundation and Philosophy of Education This course is designed to explore the complex paradoxes that make up the reality of formal and informal education. It is interdisciplinary in nature, and explores how the creative spirit--both individual and communal--seeks meaning and motivation in the historical, political, philosophical, and sociological forces that impact teachers, teaching, and schooling in the United States. Wen
Inferno Exploring the history of Hell through the perspective of Dante, his influences, and legacy.
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Memories of Combat Memories of Combat: How veterans remember and reform their experience of combat. This course will examine and compare the ways veterans remember and represent their experience of combat first hand, how historians throughout the 20th century have presented combat, and how creative artists have portrayed it through novels, movies and poetry. McFall
Microbial Musings In this course, students will explore how different kinds of literary texts and modern scientific approaches to study are interrelated, and how texts manifest the way people think of microbes, plagues, and related scientific discoveries. Crane-Laracuente, Jones or Evans
Philosophy of Sports The Sporting Life. This course will examine how and why human creativity has so often manifested itself through sport and how this has impacted contemporary society. McFall
The Enchanted Loom Mind and Meaning in our Universe Smith
The Imaginal World The role and relevance of the imagination in a world without soul Smith
The Imaginal World The role and relevance of the imagination in a world without soul Smith
Unmasterable Pasts This course looks at the ways societies have tried to ‘master’ uncomfortable pasts. In doing so, they have to wrestle with how to construct and reconstruct their past. How do you remember past crises/atrocities/oppression? How do you re-present the past? What role do monuments and memorials and art in general play in shaping people’s perspective on the past? Kelly McFall

THE QUEST FOR MEANING focuses on answering profound theological questions. Each human person is created with a desire for truth. According to the Catholic tradition, that desire is matched by a God who reveals Himself, in part, through both nature and Scripture and completely in Jesus Christ. By drawing on both natural truths and revelation, the Catholic intellectual tradition seeks to understand creation, human life and the God who seeks us.

Border Crossings In this course, we will analyze borders to discover their political, economic, religious, cultural, and geographical elements and their effects on faith and human rights. Bontrager
Divine Dream Theology & Fantasy (This course will cover theological ideas contained in fantasy literature & film) Papsdorf
Dying Well In this course, students will contemplate a wide array of issues related to the care of the dying and those who love them, as well as treatment of the dead. Among those issues, students will reflect upon the role of faith in issues related to death.
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Umbarger, Siple
Faith and Reason This course looks at the different ways that we seek Truth, specifically divine revelation and science. The conflict between science and faith often makes the news, but this class will look at the TRUTH of the relationship between science and theology. Umbarger, Oberley
Feast & Famine This course examines food, and how we share it, through the lens of faith. Bontrager
Food & Faith This course will focus on food, particularly the ethical and theological issues raised by its production, distribution and consumption in the 21stcentury. Papsdorf
Gospel, Church, Inculturation Moving Toward A Global Understanding of Church: This course will examine the need for and the challenges of inculturation facing the Church as it continues to transition from a predominantly European/N. American context to one that is centered in the global south (Africa, Asia, and Latin America).
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Holocaust/Legacies This course will address the long-term legacies left by the Holocaust. It will address the experience of the Holocaust for victims as well as perpetrators and bystanders. It will then look at a variety of ways in which this experience, its memory and its history has shaped and reshaped contemporary society. McFall
The Inklings This course will consider themes and symbols of a Catholic Christian worldview as expressed in the works of the Inklings, who explored the true, the good, and the beautiful, as well as the mystery of iniquity and the problem of suffering through literature. Umbarger
Issues in Contemporary American Society This course will ask students to consider the nature of contemporary America. It will do so through a close examination of a variety of texts (written texts, movies, televisions shows, podcasts, etc.) Each will be one prominent in the public discourse and each will have an ethical/moral component. McFall, Papsdorf
Law and Ancient Order: An examination of the relationship between Law, Theology and Society in the ancient western world.
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Reacting to the Reformation A study in the development of the church through the use of Reacting to the Past games. Papsdorf, McFall
Renaissance and Reformation Renaissance and Reformation – This course compares and contrasts the various schools of thought that flourished in the 15thand 16thcenturies: Protestant, Catholic, Secular Humanist, and others.
Saints, Sinners and Senators This course offers an examination of the transition from polytheism to Christianity in the Late Roman world, with an emphasis on theological, philosophical, social, and political themes.
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Theology & Entertainment This course investigates the various locations and expression in theology in entertainment. We examine forms of popular culture including television, film, leisure activities/hobbies, and sports. Further, there are many theological themes expressed in popular culture and we interrogate the meaning of that output.
Theology of Science Fiction In this course we investigate the ways in which theology and the story-telling of modern fables (science fiction tales) interact. Papsdorf
What is Business For? This is a course that examines shareholder and stakeholder theories of the firm in light of fundamental principles of Catholic social thought.
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THE UNIVERSE WE LIVE IN focuses on science. Scientific reasoning and discovery have transformed the way we think about the world around us and our place within it. At the same time, cultural, historical and social factors provide context for scientific inquiry and are complementary paths toward understanding the universe in which we live. Data analytics plays a major role in nearly every career, so it is imperative that students learn the scientific process.

Bioethics This course is a study of classical ethical theories and moral principles as they apply to complex issues in healthcare, research and environmental science. Singh & guest lect.
Bioethics on Trial Students will put selected biological and environmental issues on “trial.” Fort, Jones
Body & Soul This course will investigate the nature and meaning of the body by combining the perspectives of biology, specifically anatomical studies, and theology. Papsdorf
Breaking the Code This course will develop critical thinking skills and through lab work enhance scientific reasoning skills by learning to code and create computer projects. Hambrick, Rogers
Cancer Treatments Students will be exposed to the historical significance of the disease called cancer. They will explore treatments of the past, present and future. They will cover case studies eliciting emotional, financial and long term impact of cancer. Huschka, Weilert
Chemistry of Cooking The course will examine the chemical nature of food and related biomolecules, the physics related to cooking methods, and the culture that defines a particular cuisine. Ethical consideration of food distribution will also be included. Laboratory exercises will include preparation and evaluation of selected recipes.
Controversy in Science This course will look at different scientific controversies to consider the nature of science, and its relation to our everyday lives. Special attention will be given to how science is taught, both currently and historically. Oberley
Election Forecasting We will consider and review the historical, and socio-legal, basis for the current local, state and federal voting systems and then examine several voting methods and those methods’ reliability. Edwards, Steiner
From Zero to Infinity One way humans have sought to understand the universe is by measuring various aspects of it. Yet not everything can be measured. What meaning can be found by investigating the immeasurably large (the infinite) or the immeasurably small (the infinitesimal)? What about that which exists only as the absence of measure (zero)? Drawing on both ancient and modern sources, this course will explore philosophical and mathematical approaches to understanding the nature of infinity, the infinitesimal, and zero.
Good Vibrations, The Sounds of Music. An exploration of how musical instruments work and how science and technology provide man with the means of musical expression. Oberley
History of Science A survey of the history of science based both on games and traditional lectures/labs. McFall
Nanoworld: Ethical Risk and Technological Reward In recent decades, physicists have extended their accounts to the subatomic nanoworld, making it possible to intervene in the basic machineries of nature and life. Our goals in this course are to understand from a scientific and philosophical standpoint the expansion of technological power into the nanoworld, and to reflect on the moral and ethical implications of opening this new domain. The course, thus draws on the experimental natural sciences and philosophy, each of which needs to be understood as to its practices, truth claims, and standards for evidence.Investigating this sort of hybrid subject matter requires familiarity with varied discipline-specific practices. Accordingly, students will conduct laboratory experiments and engage in long-form, iterative essay writing.
Primates and the Primordial This course explores human beings in the context of our primate evolution and how our understanding of that evolution has been influenced by the portrayal of humans as primates in literature and the cinema.
Science & Science Fiction This course will explore science fiction’s long history of both describing and encouraging, reflecting and recalibrating the impossible.
Science & Society A history of the development of Science as a discipline and mode of inquiry as well as an examination of some ways that science has made a significant impact on society from critical thinking and research methods to application in technology and popular culture. Students will assess how the scientific revolution and its legacy have come to shape cultural, historical and social factors influencing the world in which we live.
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Scientific Controversies This course will look at different scientific controversies to consider the nature of science, and its relation to our everyday lives. Special attention will be given to how science is taught, both currently and historically, and will look in depth at the Next Generation Science Standards. Oberley
Science of the Anthropocene This course takes a broad look at some of the global-scale environmental changes and challenges brought about by collective human activities. Emphasis will be placed on investigating scientific evidence as well as exploring current and future technology that could be utilized to mitigate and adapt to environmental changes. Huschka
Structure in Math and Literature In this course, we will explore how ideas from mathematics, rhetoric, and literary study have intersected and continue to intersect. Crane, Sponsel
Tech Power and Philosophy This course provides a philosophical treatment of the concept of technology, equipping students to reflect critically on the technologies by which they live, work, and act.
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When Science and Philosophy Collide We typically think that science and philosophy inhabit two different intellectual worlds. This course explores the relationships between philosophy and the natural sciences as methods of understanding the universe in which we live. Alan Oberley, John Gerard Brundgardt
Vaccines Outbreak! The Vaccine Quandary? The course examines the preservation of the human race in regards to vaccines and how the scientific method provides a basis for the benefits of continuing their use in the future. Meg Trumpp, John Leveritt

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