UI offers several new classes



By Vince Dixon

The classroom is very small, empty, bleak and old, but as the spring semester progresses, the lessons learned in it will be good as new.

The class is Aerospace Engineering 100: Introduction to High Altitude Ballooning and is one of several new courses offered at the University this semester. Like other new courses, such as African American Studies 199 and Finance 490, Aerospace Engineering 100 hosts its first group of students to rate the class.

Jessalyn Hendricks, freshman in Aviation, said she hopes the new class will help her develop teamwork and aviation skills.

“(Weather) is important to a pilot,” she said. “If the weather is bad, you’re not flying.”

Hendricks said the class will also help her decide between Aeronautical Engineering or Physics as a major. She is not alone; the small class of 15 is composed of students of various concentrations including aviation, engineering and liberal arts.

They will work together in small teams and build payloads and atmospheric vehicles to send to the sky. The use of new sensors, digital cameras and other recording devices will help the teams launch their balloons and collect data.

There are no tests and prior knowledge or experience with ballooning or weather is not required. Professor Victoria Coverstone just suggests that those interested in the course also have a scientific interest in engineering science and programming.

“I’m hoping (the students) have fun,” Coverstone said. “The first time you do anything there’s that anxiety because you’re not sure what to expect.”

Aerospace Engineering 100, a one credit hour class, meets on Wednesdays.

While its focus is on engineering and weather, other new course offerings seek to make societal changes.

African American Studies 199: Academics, Leadership and Community, a discovery course, teams with the 100 Strong organization to build academic leadership and community awareness.

Students attend lectures and speeches during and outside of class hours and write essays on their experiences. The class of 80 focuses on community and campus issues including academics and retention rates.

“I encourage anyone interested in academic astuteness, having a leadership mentality and being community oriented to register,” said Dr. William Patterson, the professor for the course.

Membership in the 100 Strong organization is not required, but is encouraged. Patterson said the class’s goal is to build a stronger community with a course offering that he hopes will last.

Other new spring and new topic courses include Agricultural and Biological Engineering 436, Curriculum and Instruction 532 and Communications 391, which offers a new topic on Chinese Media.

Courses are still available for registration.