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Roadmap Short Courses

During Roadmap, students participate in a short course taught by a faculty member at the University of Richmond. This faculty member will also become a student's academic advisor until they declare a major (unless the student is a Richmond Scholar).

Students can expect an interesting course that is interactive, yet mimics a real course (over the three days of Roadmap) at the University. The purpose of the courses is to help ease anxiety and familiarize students with what to expect in their courses during the academic year. While there are no tests or exams during Roadmap, there is often group work and small projects that students will complete.

June 30 Update: all short courses are full, except for the Rhythm & Blues short course! No prior music experience needed, so register today!

Roadmap Short Courses
Politics ... with Zombies!

Taught by Stephen Long, Ph.D.

Zombies! For decades, American society has been obsessed by the idea of the undead wandering the streets, attacking the living. From the George Romero-directed classics to today’s “The Walking Dead,” popular films and television series have explored the idea of a zombie apocalypse. These films have created a following of zombie fans and have inspired doomsday preppers around the country. In virtually every zombie film, however, government and the political authorities fail catastrophically. This short course explores some of the tropes of the zombie genre, particularly how zombie fiction portrays political and governmental responses to the zombie apocalypse. From this examination of the zombie genre, we will be able to draw parallels to broader societal concerns about disaster preparedness, epidemics, and political capacity.

Associate Professor of Political Science and Global Studies
Global Studies Concentration Advisor: Politics and Governance
International rivalry
Political causes of military effectiveness
Alliance politics
Nuclear proliferation
Rhythm & Blues

Taught by Mike Davison, Ph.D.

The course investigates the importance and history of the blues. Students will discuss aspects of the blues—including form, harmony, melody and rhythm.  Students will also write their own blues lyrics.  A detailed investigation of the blues will culminate with the students’ composition and performance of their own “Roadmap Blues.” Previous background in music helps, but is not required for this short course!

Professor of Music
Director of Jazz Ensemble
Trumpet performance
Jazz studies
The Small Things Matter

Taught by Joe Boehman, Ed.D.

You are about to begin the next big adventure of your life. Despite what you may think, college is not designed to prepare you for a job, but to prepare you to lead a life of purpose. This course will help you identify your passions, potentials, and talents so that you will be able to build the capacity to positively impact the world you inhabit. To do this, we will look at how to “do” college in a purposeful way, under the premise that a small investment in the right places can be transformational. 

Dean of Richmond College
Associate Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Men and Masculinities
Issues Impacting College Men
Higher Education Administration
Organizational Effectiveness/Transformation
Work/Life Balance
Sports Physics: The Vertical Jump

Taught by Christine Helms, Ph.D.

The vertical jump is an important element in athletics. It is important in dunking a basketball, spiking a volleyball, catching a football, and winning a header.  The vertical jump is also a great tool for exploring physics. In this Roadmap short course, we will measure our vertical jump and examine physical principles behind jumping. We will discuss and measure concepts such as conservation of momentum, velocity and time of flight. In addition, we will discuss how various disciplines overlap, merge and diverge from one another with our example of the vertical jump highlighting sports medicine, physics, biology, and data science.

Associate Professor of Physics
Atomic Force Microscopy
Building the Community: Mandela's Way

Taught by Dr. Kasongo Kapanga, Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Languages, Literatures and Cultures

When vying for harmony in human societies, competing voices and loyalties sometimes interact with explosive results. Attempts to harmonize differences may offer opportunities to explore the foundation of mistrust upon which opposing parties defend their positions and justify their postures. Such claims may be espoused by an individual (such as in the case of the refugees), social clusters (ethnic), or even national/bigger entities (nations).  Focusing on South Africa, this course intends to explore how Nelson Mandela’s leadership worked to soothe a high tension-filled situation by emphasizing the common threads (the togetherness or ubuntu) that bind fates together.  How did Mandela successfully appeal to both sides to avert a social catastrophe and forge a consensus—however imperfect—to strive for harmony and togetherness? This discussion-based class will have three distinct focal points: (a) the rationalization of division; (b) the othering of the other as one’s obstacle to happiness; and (c) Mandela’s unique experience.  Over the summer, we will have short reading assignments to prepare for class discussion.

Professor of French
Chair, Department of LLC
Francophone Literature
Post-Colonial Criticism
Evolution, World History, and Humankind

Taught by Dr. Erik Craft, Associate Professor, Economics

Jared Diamond's bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel provides a compelling argument of how biology and geography combined to determine the relative development of societies up to around 1500. He provides an answer to the question why Western Europe colonized the Americas rather than vice versa. We will cover the key chapters of his book, which establish his argument, after which we consider how evolution has shaped the behavior of individuals, not just societies.

Associate Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL)
Economic History of the National Weather Service
Sex Ratios
Traffic Citations
Data and Privacy in the Digital Age

Taught by Dr. Douglas Szajda, Associate Professor, Computer Science

The Internet has placed a wealth of information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, much of this data, in the wrong hands, can be used to cause considerable harm.  This course will examine the types of information accessible via the Internet, the potential effects of its disclosure, the means through which this information is harvested by various organizations, and the techniques available for protecting it. Along the way you will be introduced to issues related to the essentially infinite lifespan of digitally stored data, as well as the basics of cryptography. We will finish with a simple, but powerful, model of computer execution, which we will use to illustrate some methods by which computers are "hacked''.

Associate Professor of Computer Science
Computer and Systems Security
Computer Networks
How Numbers and Information Influence our Lives

Taught by Dr. Shital Thekdi, Assistant Professor of Management, Robins School of Business

Modern technologies have allowed for many aspects of our lives to be informed by data and information. Businesses, the public sector, and societies are also becoming increasingly reliant on information-related technologies. This course will explore how these technologies are being used; how to gain insights and tell stories using the information; benefits and risks associated with these technologies; and how this new technological landscape will impact your college careers and beyond. Throughout the course, students will analyze data and develop insights related to real business, public sector, and societal issues.

Associate Professor of Management
Risk Management, Uncertainty Analysis
Operations Research
Storytelling and Social Change

Taught by Dr. Sylvia Gale, Director, Bonner Center for Civic Engagement

What is a story? What impact do stories have? How do stories help us to form a shared sense of identity with others? How do stories move people to action? In this course, we will explore the roles that stories—and especially life narratives—have in contemporary movements for social change. In the process, we will produce stories about our own lives, and consider the difference these stories might make.

Interim Executive Director, Bonner Center for Civic Engagement
Writing Your Way

Taught by Dr. Elisabeth Gruner, Professor of English

Writing through the transition. Writing is one of the best ways to make sense of the world, as well as an indispensable skill for college and life. In this short course you will read examples of personal and reflective writing by writers undergoing various transitions in their own lives, using them as models for your own writing about this new period of transition.

Professor of English
Children's and Young Adult Literature
Fantasy Fiction
Fairy Tales and Retellings
Victorian Fiction
Women and Literature
The Novel

Taught by Dr. Olivier Delers, Associate Professor of French

In this Roadmap course, we will look at how books are adapted into films. Our goal will be to challenge the common assumption that film adaptations are necessarily inferior and can only produce a lesser copy of the original. We will address this conceptual question by studying two sets of texts. First, we will watch Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, 2010), a film that deals with religious and political violence in the Middle East, before reading excerpts of Scorched (Wajdi Mouawad, 2003), the play on which it is based. We will then turn out attention to Blue is the Warmest Color (Julie Maroh, 2010), a graphic novel that documents the coming of age of a young lesbian girl in France, before watching clips of the film adaptation by the same name (Abdelattif Kechiche, 2013) and analyzing how the film transforms the story into a richer narrative but also a more problematic one.

Associate Professor of French
18th Century French Studies
Film Studies

Wrap-Up Session

Some of the short courses prepare a presentation of what they learned and experienced during their short course for the entire Roadmap cohort on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

Many of last year's participants said this was one of the highlights of the Roadmap program.