Take a refreshing and much needed break from your required classes, and consider picking these courses for your electives.
Your major will determine how many electives you need to graduate, so keep that in mind when considering how many electives you want to take.
At Utah Tech University, electives vary in many interests like Intro to Oil Painting, Paddleboard Yoga, Introduction to Climbing and Popular Music in America.
Electives are important because they give students the opportunity for personal growth and a well-rounded education, and students can receive social benefits from exploring different classes.
Sociology of Rock Music
Professor of Sociology Matt Smith-Lahrman, who teaches Sociology of Rock Music, has always been obsessed with rock music. He even wrote his Doctor of Philosophy dissertation on rock music in Chicago. He also wrote a book about Meat Puppets called “The Meat Puppets and the Lyrics of Curt Kirkwood from Meat Puppets II to No Joke!“
“I like sociology, though maybe not as much as I love rock,” Smith-Lahrman said. “I’m at my best when I teach about things I like and love.”
There are no prerequisites for the course. A basic understanding of sociology would be helpful but isn’t required. Smith-Lahrman will teach the basics of sociology at the beginning of the course.
“We use [sociology] to understand the lyrical, visual and sonic codes of rock music and the audiences, artists and mediators that make the music possible,” he said. “We then trace the history of rock from blues and country forward, using these codes and personnel.”
Sociology of Rock Music is usually held once every two years, but Smith-Lahrman is teaching it for the second year in a row. The class will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays in the spring semester from 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Poetry writing doesn’t have any specific prerequisites besides the general education requirement of English 2010. Cindy King, associate professor of English, said in Poetry Writing, students are able to improve their writing skills.
Students in the class do a reading with the Dixie Poets and the St. George branch of the Utah State Poetry Society every April in honor of National Poetry Month. This gives students practice with reading in front of a crowd.
“They also submit their work to The Southern Quill, which is the literary magazine here at [Utah Tech], and we have a…poetry contest where only [Utah Tech] students are eligible,” King said.
Students in the class also write a short book review on a current collection of poems, which are then considered for publication in the Route 7 Review, an online literary journal.
King likes the course to be practical. Students have the opportunity to start building a resume and getting publication credits. Her goal is for her students to have a collection of around 15 poems that are “polished and ready to go,” whether they eventually become full-length books or a chapbook.
Poetry Writing is offered every spring and will be held Tuesdays from 4:30-7 p.m.
Debbie Mosher, a part-time instructor for the College of Education, had taught the Basic Foods class for a few years. After students kept asking for another cooking class, Mosher started the Culinary Arts class.
Mosher said that originally, the class was intended to be more difficult than the basic cooking class. However, to have the class be an option for more students, it has no required prerequisites.
In Culinary Arts, students make homemade cheese, empanadas, cinnamon rolls, homemade peanut butter, focaccia bread, homemade pasta, sauces and more.
Mosher said, “My hope is that the people who take this class will learn to love to cook and to create healthier and more delicious meals, [rather] than always going out to eat.”
Culinary Arts will be held Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30-3:10 p.m. in the spring.
Seminar in Music: Taylor Swift
Glenn Webb, associate professor of music, said his kids and students demonstrated an obsession with Taylor Swift. Through social media, Webb was aware of Swift’s success.
As other universities have started offering classes about her and her music, Webb started studying her music, thinking that she would appear in future textbooks. He started to notice connections between Music 1010 and Swift’s music, so Webb developed the idea to teach a course about music, using Swift as the starting point.
“I have submitted the class to become a fine arts general education course beginning next fall,” Webb said. “If my proposal is approved, students will be able to fulfill their fine arts general education through this course starting next fall. The spring 2024 class is a pilot of that proposal.”
The course will study Swift’s music and how it compares to the traditional music canon. Webb intends to display how Swift uses the same elements that composers of the past used in the same manner.
“The lyrics are important and will be topics of classroom discussions, but the class is about the music,” Webb said. “Literature and social issues that spring out of the music and lyrics are important but secondary for the purposes of this course.”
Seminar in Music: Taylor Swift will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays in the spring from 10:30-11:45 a.m.