Beginnings and Endings: Beginning Creative Writing Workshop

Emily Carr, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

In all of her work, Dr. Emily Carr is committed to creating charismatic, emotionally-resonant spaces where intellectual discourse is warmed by the heat of feeling. Her experience teaching music to Quaker children early in her career encourages her to think of all of her classes as laboratories: spaces for exploration, imagining together, sharing what we’ve created, and thinking metacognitively about what happens in these inventive moments.

Course Description: 

In this mixed-genre workshop, we will examine, experience, and experiment with a variety of ways to begin and end (anything). Together, we will write, read, reflect upon, and live a series of beginnings and endings. Together, we will increase our curiosity (and decrease our fear) of both. Along the way, you’ll develop a deep understanding of your own artistic process, grow the practical discipline that is a necessary complement to artistic discipline, learn how to give and receive painful feedback, and experience the joy of transforming writing from a private endeavor into a public act, an attempt to communicate. This course will not only stimulate your development as a writer but will also—and perhaps more importantly—catalyze personal growth: as a maker, as a thinker, as a literary citizen, and as an essential member of the New College community.

The Good Life

Nicolas Delon, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies

Nicolas Delon has been teaching philosophy and environmental studies at New College since 2018. In his office, he’s especially interested in animal ethics, Nietzsche, psychology, and wellbeing; outside his office, he enjoys running, riding his bike, cooking, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Course Description: 

Do you want to live a good life, at New College and beyond? Everyone wants to. In this class, we’ll explore the many dimensions of a good life—happiness, well-being, meaning, and morality—through an exploration of the philosophy and psychology of the good life. Our exploration will mix theory and practice to hone the basic skills of a good life—nurturing social connections, rewiring our minds through the cultivation of healthy habits, and growing skills that will help you today and tomorrow such as journaling and daily routines. It’s also an introduction to great philosophical questions, critical thinking, and ethics. Will making the world better and helping others make you happy? Do you need money to be happy? Is success a matter of luck? How can college make you a better person? Do we need more philosophy? We’ll face these difficult questions honestly and cheerfully to give everyone the tools they need to thrive, and help others thrive, at New College and beyond.

Writing the Self

Sonia Labrador, Associate Professor of Spanish Language & Literature

Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez teaches Spanish language, Caribbean, Afro-Latin American and Latin-American literature and culture. She is originally from the countryside in Puerto Rico, and a first-generation college student, both experiences that have influenced her teaching and research.

Course Description: 

Remember when you wrote your essay to apply for college? How much have you changed since then? What are your personal and academic expectations during your college experience? If these are some of the questions you are asking yourself this seminar is for you. This seminar will provide a space for you to explore and reflect on how we create your “self” and present it to others in the context of college life through the study of Spanish-American prose that use the I, (first person voice) to tell the story of becoming: autobiography, testimonio, letters, memoir, and novels. This seminar will help you to develop an awareness of what kind of learner you are, and want to be, by reading authors who told their stories as learners, and presentations by resources from New College who will assist you in developing the skills you need to become the learner you want to be.

Intergroup Dialogue

Maribeth Clark, Associate Professor of Music

Maribeth Clark is a musicologist (music historian) who teaches a wide range of courses related to music and listening. In her research, she is particularly interested in activities on the fuzzy edge of musical experience, such as whistling, dance, and soundscapes.

Sarah Hernandez, Associate Professor of Sociology & Latin America and Caribbean Studies

Professor Hernandez is a sociologist interested in social justice, specifically economic democracy. Her teaching experience expands to courses on the sociology of race and ethnicity, gender studies, and Intergroup Dialogue.

Course Description: 

If we want to change the world in positive ways, we need to be able to have difficult conversations. This course introduces you to strategies for engaging with others in order to build an understanding of differences. Topics include privilege and oppression, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, ability, religion, and class, to name a few. We aim to build communication skills, knowledge and understanding in support of action toward equity and social justice. Simultaneously we will be developing skills necessary for success at New College, such as research, writing, and critical thinking, and knowledge of the resources available for support.

Writing About Writing

Jennifer Wells, Director of Writing

Dr. Jennifer Wells is the Director of Writing for the New College of Florida. She has 20 years’ teaching experience at both the college and high school levels, so she understands where first-year students are coming from as well as where they are going next.  In addition to her teaching career, Dr. Wells has also driven a Christmas tree farm train, acted in one episode of reality TV makeover show, and flown around the country as a pet nanny. When she’s not working, Dr. Wells loves to travel, especially to her home state of California, and spend time with her dog, Caspian.

Course Description: 

Imagine that you and writing are in a relationship. How would you describe that relationship? If you answered, “it’s complicated,” then you aren’t alone!  Many NCF students have complex histories with writing — some good, some not so good — and as a result, bring a lot of beliefs about writing and themselves as writers to college.

  • Learn from 60 years of research on writing in order to change any beliefs and related behaviors that limit you.
  • Read essays like “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott, unlock the secrets to analysis by playing around with Instagram filters, and consider new ways of thinking about research by looking for what is hidden in plain sight.
  • Develop a whole toolkit of strategies for reading one time and remembering what you read; staying motivated when you aren’t feeling it; breaking large projects into small pieces; and getting the most out of apps like Forest and Habitica.

By the end of the class, you and writing may not be BFFs, but you will be able to get along and enjoy each other’s company.

Chemistry in Everyday Life

Lin Jiang, Assistant Professor of Bioorganic Chemistry

Dr. Lin Jiang is an Assistant Professor of bioorganic chemistry and environmental chemistry. Her interests focus on chemistry-related phenomena that happen in our daily lives and serious environmental issues emerging all over the world.

Course Description: 

Do you believe that chemistry happens every day of our life? Portable electronics, different octane grades in gas stations, brewing and chewing, etc… A spark of curiosity leads us into these areas and we find our way with creativity. Climate change, water contamination, and air pollution are regularly featured in the media. We will look into these issues and how learning the chemical processes behind them can improve the quality of our daily lives. The core of this course is learning to think critically about complex subjects by applying broad knowledge and transferable skills in a socially responsible manner. Let’s learn about chemistry in everyday life in multiple ways such as discussions, scientific readings, case studies, presentations, an infographic project, and more.



Mathematical Thinking: Patterns, Puzzles and Exploration

Chris Kottke, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Prof. Kottke received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT in 2010 and has been at NCF since 2016. Outside of mathematics, he enjoys cooking, playing jazz on the piano and trumpet, biking, and climbing rocks and trees.

Necmettin Yildirim, Professor of Mathematics & Soo Bong Chae Chair in Applied Mathematics

Dr. Yildirim is a professor of mathematics and Soo Bong Chae chair of applied mathematics program at New College of Florida. His research interest is at the interface of mathematics and biology, he is particularly interested in the application of mathematical and statistical methods and computational techniques in understanding of biological systems at a molecular level with a focus on cellular signaling networks.

Course Description: 

Are you a creative problem solver? Someone who likes puzzles? Do you prefer collaboration to competition? Do you like to learn by exploring and making your own discoveries? This is the class for you! We do away with lectures, and instead work together as a team to explore and solve challenging problems in a range of topics across pure and applied mathematics. We also examine social ideas and norms around math and mathematical ability. No background is required beyond high school algebra and interest.

You will get to:

  • Hone your critical thinking skills.
  • Work collaboratively with your peers.
  • Discover mathematical truths organically.
  • Solve complex problems by creating conjectures, exploring examples, and testing theories.
  • In other words, think mathematically!

The Care & Feeding of your Brain

Liz Leininger, Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Leininger is a neurobiologist who studies how neural circuits underlying behaviors function, develop, and evolve. When she’s not teaching courses in biology and neuroscience or mentoring students in her research lab, she enjoys watching and photographing the many species of birds on the New College campus and around Sarasota.

Helene Gold, Librarian of Research, Instruction & Information Literacy

Helene Gold, originally from Lee, MA, has almost 25 years’ experience as an academic librarian, skeptic, and generally outraged citizen. When she’s not designing and teaching Information Literacy classes and planning grand library events, she’s looking at birds, baking biscotti, and making a campus outreach YouTube show featuring her cat, Roger.

Course Description: 

Do you ever wish that your brain came with an owners’ manual? Let’s explore the neuroscience behind how your brain helps you learn and remember things, think and communicate ideas, and experience emotion, stress, or relaxation. Our brains make us who we are, and this knowledge can help you better succeed as a learner, as a member of the New College community, and as a human in the world.

  • Learn about the brain in multiple ways using discussions, readings, short videos, interactive lectures, case studies, and more.
  • Navigate the scientific information landscape by critically assessing the creators, distributors, and consumers of neuroscience information sources, and why scholarly publication is fraught with financial and professional peril.
  • Collaborate on a multimedia “owner’s manual for your brain” to share your brainy insights with others.

Animal Thinking

Heidi Harley Professor of Psychology & The Peg Scripps Buzzelli Chair in Psychology

Prof Heidi Harley has been wondering about and working on projects related to animal thinking and wellbeing (mostly in zoos and aquaria) since she was a college student herself (BA in philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, & PhD in psychology, University of Hawaii, Manoa), and she loves the flexibility and beauty of New College. She’s looking forward to exploring animals’ minds and behavior, as well as sharing some of her favorite New College places and resources, with you in the fall.

Regina Rodarte, Case Manager – Office of Student Success

Regina Rodarte is the Assistant Director of Case Management Services at New College of Florida where she provides support, advocacy and referral services to students. Regina began her career as a Higher Education Case Manager in 2010, at Florida State University, before transferring to New College of Florida in the Fall of 2018.

Course Description: 

How does dancing help honeybees find food?
How do dolphins recognize each other?
How many caches of nuts does a Clark’s nutcracker have to remember?
And how do we figure this stuff out?!?! 

Come learn about how animals think and adjust – and how you do too! – as we investigate multiple methods and species in class and around our campus through talking, reading, looking, rowing, wandering, swimming, photographing, sharing, eating, and discovering.

Not only will you adopt a species and learn about lots of us animals on Earth, but you’ll also be taking a psychology requirement/prerequisite and a Liberal Arts Requirement for Social Sciences. So, hop, fly, or jump on board! We’re excited you’re joining our journey!

Holocaust as History & Memory

David Harvey, Professor of History & International Studies

David Harvey is Professor of History and Chair of the Faculty at New College of Florida, where he has taught since 2000.  He has published three books and a dozen articles on various topics in modern European history.

Caitlyn Sanderson, Associate Director of Donor Relations and Prospect Research

Caitlyn Sanderson is the Associate Director for Donor Relations and Prospect Management at the New College Foundation. An alum of New College (’02), she was a history graduate, focusing on the laws of medieval England and has a master’s degree in publishing from Oxford Brookes University.

Course Description: 

How do we know what we know about the past? What lessons can and should we learn from it? In this seminar, we will consider the big questions that the Holocaust poses—why it happened, how we should remember, commemorate, and study it, and whether and how we should engage with those who deny it occurred. In this class, you will learn firsthand how historians gather, compare, and evaluate information about the past by using the resources of the Fagin Holocaust Collection in the NCF library, will discuss books, articles, films, and museum exhibitions on the Holocaust with your fellow students, and along the way, you will learn how to think critically and analytically, navigate resources on our campus and around the world, engage in informed and productive dialogue about difficult topics, and find your own voice as a student of the liberal arts and a citizen of the global community.

The Haves and the Have Nots: Social Inequality, Community Engagement, and Empowerment

Mecca Zabriskie, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Dr. Queen Meccasia Zabriskie (Ph.D., Northwestern University, Sociology) is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at New College of Florida. Currently appointed to the MacArthur Endowed Professorship, Zabriskie’s primary teaching and research interests include race, class, and gender; social inequality; critical dance studies; sociology of culture; performance theory and practice; black feminist thought; qualitative methodology; and culture, performance, and politics in the African/Black Diaspora.

Danielle McCalla, Assistant Director of SAuCE

Jamaica-made and Florida paid, Dani joined the NCF Student Affairs team in Fall 2017 after receiving bachelors and masters degrees from Nova Southeastern University- Fort Lauderdale. Dani is passionate about assisting students in telling their own unique story and developing the whole student through intentional programming, meaningful connections with each other, and community engagement.

Jada McNeil, Assistant Director of SAuCE

Jada McNeill works in the SA[u]CE office as one of the Assistant Directors focusing on service learning, civic/democratic engagement, and diversity & inclusion. Jada graduated from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a B.A. in Psychology, and from Tennessee State University with a master’s in public health.

Course Description: 

No, this course is not another Tyler Perry drama series…instead, it is an introductory exploration of social inequalities and their impact on life chances, opportunities, and outcomes. Focusing specifically on the historic local African American community of Newtown, we will also examine how communities work to advocate for greater equity. Throughout the semester, we will:

  • Learn about the history of the Newtown community.
  • Examine sociological approaches to inequality, specifically focusing on race, class, and gender.
  • Collaborate on group projects with local organizations that address employment, educational, and health disparities.
  • Reflect on and share experiences and knowledge through short writing assignments, a group presentation, and a final portfolio.