For me, picking a favorite class at Duquesne is difficult, largely because I have enjoyed all of my classes at the University and in the Liberal Arts College. No, I am not just being corny – as a sophomore, I decided to pursue a self-designed major, meaning I have had no core classes I did not handpick for myself. If you have not heard me rant about how happy I am Duquesne has this opportunity, or how happy I am to be part of it, let’s cover our bases.
Officially titled a “Bachelor of the Arts,” the self-designed major program is little known secret in the Liberal Arts College. Only coming to this option after I exhausted all others, I felt like this opportunity fell into my lap as a blessing. After bouncing around different concentrations from Journalism to Sociology, I was able to pull from all different departments in the College to establish my curriculum. If you are unsure of what you want to study, or can’t seem to find the perfect concentration for you, I highly suggest you consider this option! The process involves finding a faculty mentor (my faculty mentor has become a great resource for me, and even wrote me a recommendation for law school), selecting courses, and sharing your proposal with the Dean of the college. The requirements, which are rather standard, allow you to truly draft the path of your education. (Students are required to design a program which consists of 30-39 credit-hours of courses designated 200 and above, of which 2/3 must be designated 300 and above and a minimum of 24 must be taken in the College of Liberal Arts. Students must complete the standard requirements of the University Core, the College Core, a minor, and earn a total of at least 120 credits to graduate.) Learn more about this program here! My major is a self-designed program, which I named Social Justice. My courses have placed me in a variety of courses, with multiple different professors in different departments in the College. For example, this semester I am taking a class in Political Science, Journalism and Multimedia Arts, and Communications. Take a sneak peak at my courses!
All of that aside, my favorite class at Duquesne was probably a course I took last semester in the Comm. Department: Argumentation. This course, doubled listed as a grad class, is for upperclassmen and is taught by Dr. Troup. With weekly assignments, the goal of the course was to give us the tools to develop our own “counter case study” that we could use to educate our peers. Deeply involved in Strong Women, Strong Girls at the time (more on that later), I decided to propose the adoption of a regimented growth plan for the program to the executive directors of SWSG Pittsburgh. Each week, we learned another part of the process, such as addressing communication restraints, separating each argument and its opposing counterargument, and establishing a rebuttal. By the end of the course, I had a complete case brief that I later presented to my higher-ups at SWSG and is awaiting evaluation and possible adoption!
Aside from the applicability of the course, Dr. Troup is a great professor who encourages students to learn the material, instead of getting caught up on grades. Additionally, the assigned reading for the course was a novel by Michael Crichton that grabbed my attention from the beginning and had me completely captivated (I’ve even passed on the novel to my boyfriend, parents, and grandparents!). Magically, Dr. Troup seems to have found the perfect formula to make learning fun and what else can you ask for in a course? Take it!
– Alyssa Federoff