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Transitions Experience (TREX) Courses

Many students wonder if they have what it takes to earn that four-year degree. The College of Arts & Sciences has specifically designed courses that will help you transition from your high school successes to a college student on the path toward graduation.

Our Transitions Experience (TREX) courses will help you understand how to think critically, reason analytically and make connections between disciplines – all skills needed to be successful in college.

Instructions for Selecting a TREX Course

All students planning to enroll in the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio Northern University for the fall semester are required to enroll in a TREX course as part of the University’s general education requirements for graduation.  

Please read through the course descriptions listed below and identify your first five choices among these offerings. Once you have selected your top five choices, input the required information, ranking your course selections as instructed. Every effort will be made to enroll you in one of your selected courses. Please try to input your course selections as soon as possible for a better chance at enrolling in your preferred choices.


Fall 2019-20 TREX Courses

College and Life through Literature

Dr. Eva McManus
This TREX course will focus on a mix of literature and nonfiction works as well as hands-on experiences to provide an introduction to college life and to making choices both here and in other aspects of life. Readings will include works that address challenges characters and real people face in these situations. Hands-on experiences will include an exploration of campus resources.

Critical Digital Storytelling

Dr. Albert Akyeampong
This course will explore the processes involved with creating critical digital video and documentaries and their importance to critical thinking, creativity and lifelong learning. Through critical reflections and discussions of selected readings and digital documentaries, students will tap into their creative abilities and develop strategies for critical and creative thinking in their major area of study. The students will use digital video as a tool for empowerment in telling stories within the community environment. The problems could include issues related to equity, gender, poverty and access to technology.

Emerging Zoonotic Diseases from Anaplasma to Zika: Pandemics Past, Present and Future

Dr. Andrea Graytock
Due to the ease of travel worldwide, local problems can easily become global problems. We will explore emerging zoonotic diseases as an example of how this has happened in the past, what caused these pandemics, and what various fields of science – including molecular and cellular biology, microbiology, ecology, medicine and anthropology – are doing to prevent global pandemics in the future. You will be exposed to how science gets done, from design of studies to data collection, analysis and interpretation. Included is how this knowledge is used to inform our solutions of larger problems. You will perform virtual laboratory investigations to engage in these processes that are used by scientists who investigate infectious diseases. We will explore infectious diseases that have affected people throughout the world. In so doing, we will encounter attitudes and beliefs about the causes of disease and treatment of people with those diseases that are much different than those held by Westerners. What can we learn from these cultures about responses to infectious disease?

Film Meets Communication

Dr. Jennifer Walton
The objective of this course is to introduce students to a variety of communication concepts and processes that will help them succeed in different tasks in the academic, disciplinary, professional and civic arenas. Popular films will be used to illustrate and explain communication concepts, allowing students to make real-world connections in communication through the lens of popular film. We will spend the semester engaging in discussions and assignments that will foster an environment of creative and critical thinking.

Food Ethics

Dr. Jonathan Spelman
What should we eat? In this course, we’ll try to answer that question by taking a closer look at the role that food plays in our lives and the effects of industrial agriculture. We’ll use the tools of philosophy to explore the relationship between food and identity, justice, culture and religion and to investigate how our eating practices impact food workers, the global poor, animals and the environment.

Imperial Presidents?

Dr. Robert Waters
Is the president too powerful? It’s a question that has frequently bedeviled Americans since the founding fathers wrote the Constitution. In an age in which presidents from both political parties have been accused of imperial pretensions and policies – from the criminality of the Clinton years, to “Bush lied, people died” and “signing statements,” to constitutional law instructor Barack Obama’s seeming ignorance of the separation of powers – the question of how much power the president legitimately possesses plays a part in everything from how school children view our government to questions of life and death.

Kings, Prophets, and Storytellers

Dr. Raymond Person
This course examines select stories of Israel's kings and prophets in Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, including a discussion of how these stories may have been transmitted in oral tradition.

Modern French Musicals

Dr. Thomas Finn
This course offers students abundant opportunity, through oral and written analyses, to study the musical and visual elements representative of French musicals in order to understand the artists’ viewpoints on past and future global issues.

Ohio Northern Live

Dr. Shane Tilton
Students will create six television episodes to air on the campus cable access channel. They will develop the show and work on the content throughout the course of the semester. It is OK if you have never worked on a show in the past. The focus of the class is to work together as a class, manage our time to meet a series of deadlines, and use our talents to create a show.

Science Fiction and Philosophy

Dr. Errol Katayama
This course aims to develop and facilitate critical thinking skills by examining a number of philosophical issues (such as the nature of reality, person, mind, and space and time, as well as ethical and political issues related to technology) through science fiction thought experiments.

Sleep on It

Dr. Megan Kraynok
Do you ever wonder why you don't go to sleep until 1 a.m. when you know you have class the next morning? What is happening when you sleep? Why is sleep important? Why do you dream? This course will investigate what normal and abnormal sleep looks like from birth to late life. We will examine sleep habits, sleep disorders, what happens when we get enough sleep (or not) and what sleep researchers are investigating today. We will also monitor our own sleep to figure out how we can sleep better, feel better and perform better!

Sport and Modern Society

Dr. Bob Carrothers
Sports have become an integral part of modern societies, both in the U.S. and around the world. To ignore sports, or treat it simply as a diversion, is to ignore a fundamental element of domestic and international culture that leaves the picture of these societies incomplete. The goal of this course is to apply the critical lens of various academic disciplines, such as psychology, biology, business and especially sociology, to all aspects of sports in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of these endeavors and of society as a whole.

Talking about Conservation Isn’t Enough

Dr. Kat Krynak
Empower yourself to make a difference in the field of conservation biology. This course is designed to promote student exploration of this multifaceted field while providing foundational knowledge of techniques used to protect biodiversity and ecosystem function on local and global scales. Class time will be dedicated to discussions, activities and field trips addressing topics of water protections, land-management, wild-life management, biodiversity protection, environmental education and the cultural dimensions of conservation biology.

Theatre for Social Action

Dr. Joan Robbins
An exploration of the history and practice of theatre for social change. Two-thirds of the course will involve an exploration, through readings, video and discussion, of some of the key examples of theatre companies and/or playwrights engaged in theatre for social action/justice. The remainder of the experience will involve a practical exploration, through exercises and theatre games, of tools for facilitating social action through the medium of theatre.

The Mythbuster Experience

Professor Rich Miller
This course will investigate the myths that have been “busted” by innovators and inventors in the past and present and the ones hoped for the future. We will use critical thinking applications and investigations to study urban legends and media and make and justify decisions by collecting and gathering data. We will also investigate today’s myths that influence societal institutions (economics, education, family, politics and religion) and their degree of impact. Students will be involved in a hands-on mythbusting experience as part of this class.

World War I in Text and Film

Dr. Michael Loughlin
This class shall critically analyze various types of depictions of World War I, employing several history texts, memoirs, films, novels and poetry. We will try to compare the various depictions for historical accuracy as well as the more subtle moral, aesthetic and military aspects of the Great War. Several films and the novels on which the films were based shall be critiqued by using various historical accounts dealing with those subjects. The major focus of the class will be historical accuracy, aesthetic sensibility, moral and ethical choices, and interdisciplinary treatment.