Community Engagement Through the Arts

Lesley Goodaker

In spite of Transylvania’s longstanding place in the heart of Lexington, it is only within recent years that the greater Lexington area and members of Transylvania’s community have had a more interactive relationship. Recent years have seen the creation of paper lanterns hung in a local park, temporary murals displayed in local establishments, birdhouses distributed throughout out nearby neighborhoods, and marketing efforts with local non-profit organizations. As a Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication (WRC) student, I have had the privilege of being involved with two courses which have worked alongside community partners.

Community Engagement muralA mural created through community engagement

My first efforts that took me outside of the Transy Bubble were a part of my Digital Rhetoric course. The course, taught by second year professor Dr. Kerri Hauman, unveiled the manner through which digital tools are influencing our understandings of rhetorical conventions and principles. Accordingly, we utilized a number of digital tools including audio recorders, camcorders, and online sites to create variosu pieces of work throughout the semester. In taking our studies a step further and outside of The Bubble, Dr. Hauman organized for our class of six (in conjunction with another WRC course)to work alongside of a local physical rehabilitation facility to create digital propaganda. My group was assigned to the facility’s Adaptive Recreation program. In doing so, we were given the opportunity to act as professionals in the work force. We were responsible for meeting with member’s on staff at the facility to determine what they were looking for in terms of final projects as well as organizing everything in between from interviews to filming. At the end of the term, our final was to present our projects to staff members at the facility.

Another project I was involved with was a part of the Writing for/with Non-profits course offered during May Term. The course, co-taught by Drs Kerri Hauman and Scott Whiddon, allowed for students to partner with members of the Lexington Community Action Council to again, produce viable propaganda for the organizations we worked with. Throughout the process, students worked within small groups to determine what would best suit each Community partner and serve them well in the years to come. While both professors offered their full assistance when needed, they ensured that their presence maintained a distance so that students felt secure and confident in the final works produced. Students were offered a sense of autonomy which many had never before been afforded in an academic setting.

Overall, both courses proved extremely rewarding. In terms of academics, I learned a great deal about rhetorical conventions and principles; however, in terms of practicality, I learned so much more. I learned how to work in a professional environment with members outside of the Transylvania community. Alongside my group mates, I worked to create finalized products which are ready to take their places in my digital portfolio. Most importantly, I learned to apply what I have been taught within each of my classes in a practical, real-world sense, and that alone, has been well worth the effort. No matter the class or professor, at Transylvania, students are continually encouraged to engage with the community around them using what they have learned in their classes. In this way, Transylvania students are leaps and bounds ahead of students on many other campuses who have been confined to the four walls of their classrooms.


How to Manage Your Homework (Without Going Insane)

 Justine Yentsch

Although college is an amazing experience, sometimes people forget that the primary reason you attend is for the academics. And while it’s always good to challenge yourself, in your first semester as a first-year, it’s probably better to pick classes that you know that you can handle.

That being said, there are many ways you can go about using your time to prepare for class, and it goes way beyond just writing your papers and doing your assigned homework. If you want to get good grades and be prepared for finals, it is better to space out your studying throughout the semester instead of just cramming right before tests or quizzes. (Trust me, it never works out too well.) Luckily, there are plenty of ways to manage your course load, or even just to get a little ahead of the class. (It’s better than struggling to keep up!)

First and foremost, you absolutely-positively-imperatively need to pay attention in class. After all, your professor is there to teach, and you won’t do yourself a favor by skipping class to take an afternoon nap instead. Taking notes in class is pretty much expected of you, since your professor will most likely structure their tests around the same things they brought up in class. (And after class, make sure to reread your notes as much as possible. It’s probably the most important thing for your success in the class!) Continue reading

Perks of a Team-Taught Course


You’ve already read about some of the cool events that Transy has during our unique May term (for a quick explanation, check out Rachel’s post here). And as I’ve already mentioned, my class this May traveled to London! More on this later, with lots of pictures, I promise.

Another benefit of May term classes is that many of them are team-taught, which means you have more than one professor. Now, at first that could sound like a nightmare. Pleasing one teacher is challenging enough, right — why would you want to work with two? In reality, though, team-taught classes are awesome, and it’s really not more work or higher expectations than a class with just one professor.

In a team-taught course, the professors work together to design a unique class. Often, it’s an elective that isn’t offered regularly, or is time-specific like the “Rhetoric of the 2012 Presidential Election” class that was taught by two WRC professors last May. Continue reading

What I Learned Sophomore Year

ameka menes

I picked up a few things this year. Here, I pass them on to you.

1. Go to MFA’s enclosed balcony to study and watch the sun set. There’s no other view on campus quite like it. And I know I’m giving away my secret space to study, but I it’s too beautiful not to share. In fact, that is where I am typing this.

2. Don’t be afraid to design your schedule how you want it. My adviser didn’t think it was a good idea that I only take Tuesday/Thursday classes for Fall term – but I told her I could handle it and guess what? I loved it! Winter term I wasn’t so lucky, but now that my GE’s are done I’m going to do that every semester until I graduate. Continue reading

My May Term Class is the Bomb…Literally!

malory thelen

Picture enormous mushroom clouds filling the atmosphere, or the first time Rutherford successfully split the atom, or when Leonard visits CERN’s Large Hadron Collider on the Big Bang Theory.

Now imagine an entire class devoted to (at least) the first two of these occurrences, a class that delves into both the history and science behind the atomic bomb, a class that is truly interdisciplinary in the spirit of the liberal arts.

As explained in Rachel’s post, students at Transy take one May Term class per year.  It is a time to fill general education requirements, to broaden your horizons, and overall to have fun and unique learning experiences in the classroom.  Which brings me again to my class, wittily entitled “The Bomb.” 

No, there will be no actually experimentation, no smashing protons into atom nuclei – just some theoretical jargon and a lot of engaging discussion.  However, on the first day, Dr. Rosenberg did demonstrate some chemical properties to the class: apparently when you pour liquid nitrogen onto a balloon, the balloon deflates and then re-inflates after you take away the lithium.  Who knew that explaining ‘pressure’ could be so interactive? Continue reading

Pick Your Own Topics!


Yes, in college you’re going to have to write. A lot.

For me, that’s good news. I’d rather write a paper than do a science experiment or math problems or take a multiple-choice exam. But I’ve done all of those here, and I turned out just fine. So you’ll survive college writing, too!

But don’t freak out just yet. There are tons of ways that Transy helps you ease into academic writing. We have a wonderful Writing Center that Dorcas has already posted about (click here if you missed it).

You’ll also learn everything you need to know about college writing in your August term class. More on that later; it’s exciting enough for its own post.

Throughout your college career, from your First Year Research Seminar (FYRS) to Senior Seminar (they just sound so official, don’t they?!), you’ll be learning how to write in all kinds of formats and genres. Continue reading

My Transy Is… (Instagram in Words Edition)

malory thelen

Transylvania recently sponsored an Instagram contest called “My Transy is…”  Its purpose was to inspire students to capture moments or scenes in a beautifully aesthetic way.  To enter, one only needed to provide the hashtag #myTransyis and tag @transylvaniauniversity in their post (go check it out!).  Anyway, this contest inspired me to test out my literary descriptive skills, in what I’d like to call ‘Instagram in Words:’

  • Spring blossoms set against the background of a blue sky and one of our classroom buildings.  Captioned: #myTransyis blossoming!
  • Screenshot of a Twitter conversation with a professor.  Captioned: #myTransyis connected on so many levels.
  • Grande Jazzman’s Coffee cup with the Rise filter.  Captioned: #myTransyis caffeinated 24/7.
  • View of the cabin on campus and the tall buildings of downtown Lexington from the library stacks.  Captioned: #myTransyis a mix between the old and the new.
  • Professor writing on a chalkboard during a lecture.  Captioned: #myTransyis studious, even though it’s 8:30am. Continue reading