Course Descriptions 2017-2018

For students enrolled in LEAP from 2017 and beyond, the Core Curriculum is comprised of a variety of liberal arts courses in addition to courses in the Performing Arts. 

Pierre Villanoba

Seminar - Western Tradition 

This first seminar develops skills of critical thinking, critical reading and writing, and shared inquiry that are foundational to Collegiate Seminar. Students will read, write about and discuss a selection of classic and modern texts from the Western tradition. The reading list is current but subject to modi cation. From some texts only excerpts are read. 


This is a course to connect basic biology concepts using the human as an illustrative example. Basic scientific processes and the concepts of human biology will be explored through lecture. Topics will include science and society, the chemistry of living things, structure and function of cells, genetics, anatomy and physiology of the organ systems, reproduction, cancer, aging, evolution, human impacts and environmental issues.  

English - Argument and Research

Students continue to develop the rhetorical and critical thinking skills they need to analyze texts and to structure complex arguments. In addition, students practice evaluating sources, exploring arguments through library research, and supporting original theses with appropriate evidence. Through a scaffolded process, students write and revise two or more essays, at least one of which is a substantial research essay of 8-12 pages that presents an extended argument. This course prepares students for the Writing in the Disciplines courses that they will encounter in their major. It requires the completion of at least 5,000 words of formal writing, and an additional 2,500 words of informal writing practice. A grade of at least C- in English 4 is prerequisite to enrollment in English 5. A grade of at least C- in English 5 is prerequisite to enrollment in Writing in the Disciplines courses. 

Personal and Professional Assessment (PPA)

The exploration of the learning cycle, from reflection on experience to construction and application of knowledge. This analytical and self-reflective process is recorded in an Experiential Learning Portfolio, a collection of essays and supporting documentation, which may be further evaluated for transcripted academic credit.

Anthropology - Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology

The course examines the nature of culture and the diversity of societies worldwide. It focuses on cultures in Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Americas, and introduces the beginning student to some of the main topics of anthropology including kinship, gender, the world system, eldwork, magic and religion, race and ethnicity, social change and the political system of societies throughout the world.  

The Art and Practice of Mathematics

A reflective examination of basic mathematical ideas and patterns. Through participation in the discovery and development of mathematical ideas the student will view the subject as a vehicle for human creativity. The course traces the historical and contemporary role of appropriate mathematical topics.  

Seminar - The Global Conversation of the
20th and 21st centuries

Building on the Western tradition explored in the
second and third seminars, readings focus on the Great Conversation of the modern world, which includes the West but also includes important intercultural and global voices. The course focuses on issues of signi cant relevance for a 21st century student, as well as texts that allow for integrative thinking across the entire Collegiate Seminar sequence. The last portion of the course will include student re ections on what they have learned and how they have grown, revisiting the steps of their intellectual development in a capstone experience. 


Theology and Religious Studies (TRS) - Wealth Poverty and Economic Justice

This course focuses on the Bible, the sacred scriptures of
the Jewish and Christian peoples, texts that have had a profound infuence on religion, art, politics, and culture for over two thousand years. This course will introduce students to the most important biblical texts and themes, focusing especially on the Torah and the Gospels, and will teach students to employ critical, scholarly tools for reading and interpretation.





Elective/Senior Project 

The elective and Senior Project   courses encourage students to pursue their special interests in dance or other subjects.

Course offerings include:

  • 198 Senior Project
  • 197 Independent Study
  • On-campus elective courses
  • Online Courses


Courses for the Major

Students take the following 5 courses, which are offered on a rotating basis:

Dance in Performance

This course examines dance from a critical and intersectional perspective through the lenses of power and privilege, using the medium to explore race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, ability, age, etc. The class attends dance concerts around the Bay Area; the concerts are selected to engage with a variety of dance styles, venues, and ideas and the class dialogue about them is at the central work of the course. This course is writing intensive.  

Principles of Performance/Acting I

An introduction to the theory, history, and styles of acting with emphasis on the development of a character, script analysis, and the dynamics of performance.

Dance History I

This course covers the development of dance from its roots in court dancing through the development of ballet to the beginning of the modern era.

Dance History II

A study of the history, tradition, and the recent developments of the various styles and techniques of American dance, including ballet, modern, musical theatre, tap, and jazz.

Music in Performance

This course emphasizes the history and aesthetics of music. Students hear music from all historical periods performed by outstanding orchestras, opera companies, chamber ensembles, and soloists.