An unclass is intended to give you experiential opportunities in a 3-credit course (unless noted otherwise), that's open to all students, interdisciplinary, problem-centered and hands-on! Small class sizes allow you to play a significant role in how the course is structured and unfolds.

The particulars:

  • An unclasses may satisfy the Complex Systems Gen-Ed requirement, (ask the professor of record)
  • Enroll under the course number listed
  • To seek independent study (IS) or other pathways to credit in another department contact Dr. Behrman
  • If the course number has a pre-req or is a controlled section, contact the professor of record to arrange enrollment


Spring 2020 Unclasses

Deep Dumpster DiveunclassDeep Dumpster Dive unclass
The value of understanding the waste-scape



Lisa Beiswenger (Anthropology)
Andrew Henry (Physical Facilities Operations Center)

What does our world looks like from the vantage point of trash? How will knowing that help us better reduce waste production? This unclass will explore sustainability, waste, and waste management by designing and implementing a waste audit on UA's main campus.

Open to all, we especially hope for a genuine mix of skills and perspectives. Thus we encourage social science, environmental science, applied math, engineering, geography, systems management, economics, writers/humanities, communicators/educators, and art/design-oriented students to join in this 3-credit opportunity to contribute to practical improvements and a better world.

Urban Bio-Justice unclass Urban Bio Justice unclass

3850:365 or 3100:495

T 1:15 - 3:45 p.m.

Dr. Dani Jauk (Sociology and Criminal Justice)
Dr. Petra Gruber (BRIC and Biomimicry)

The project is about connecting the idea of community gardens with recovery, education, food security and health. A concrete area in Akron in a designated ‘food desert’ will serve as a case study location to design a learning and healing garden. We would like to explore and apply the theoretical concepts of environmental justice, food justice, and criminal justice in concrete urban space and translate findings into applied bio-design for social justice. We may use a collective mapping methodology (iconoclasistas) that was developed within the intersection of art and social activism to co-create a specific concept integrating design and program.

Acid-Free History unclass Acid-Free History unclass


TH 1:15 - 3:45 p.m.

Dr. Jodi Kearns (Institute for Human Science and Culture)
Lizette Barton (Institute for Human Science and Culture)
John Endres (Institute for Human Science and Culture)
Dr. Cathey Faye (Cummings)

Stories hidden in the archives are waiting to be told. Students in this unclass find and publish the tales and mysteries hidden within the thousands of acid-free folders house at UA’s Cummings Center. In a fully hands-on venture, students engage in archival research, historical and stylistic writing, and sound recording and editing to publish the first season of Acid-free History: a Podcast.

Suitable for students in all majors; may be of particular interest to students of communications, English, history, museums & archives, psychology, and sound engineering.

Design Your Career unclass Design your Career unclass


W 3 - 4:45 p.m.

Dr. Heather Braun (English)

Working with tools and concepts from Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute for Design, this unclass will use a variety of activities to tap into and expand skills for developing stronger direction and purpose. Students who join this team will need to embrace ambiguity and develop a bias toward action as they build collaborative models for personal and professional efficacy. Participation will include conducting interviews with both high school students and seasoned professionals from a wide variety of disciplines about their career choices. From the research, we will co-design a workshop prototype for high school seniors with an aim to enhancing their ability to frame their own direction and purpose.

All the World’s a Classroom unclass All the World's a Classroom unclass

5500:480 or 3100:495-610

F 10:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Dr. Lara Roketenez (Biology/Bath Field Station)
Dr. Gary Holliday (College of Education)

This unclass will focus on techniques from the field of Environmental Education and will help students build connections from nature to their classroom (whether formal or informal). Students will learn to use and become certified in pre-existing nature-based curriculum like Project WILD, Growing Up Wild, Aquatic WILD, Project WET, and Wonders of Wetlands. We will also focus on how to deliver impactful STEAM content to various audiences, and determine the best way to assess these types of interactions. We will meet at the University of Akron Field Station in Bath Nature Preserve. Several classes will entail visiting expert environmental educators from other local agencies (i.e. Summit Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, etc.) Students may participate in on-site field trip experiences with local K-12 schools as well.

Appropriate for Education, Biology, Environmental Science, and Museum and Library Science majors, among others.

Well-being and Wider Wisdom unclass Well-being and Wider Wisdom unclass


W 2:45 - 4:05 p.m.

Carolyn Behrman (Anthropology)
Ashley Rini (Pre-Health Advisor)

In this unclass students with interests in health from any major will become a research team for hands on experience with research framing, data collection, and problem-solving in close collaboration with community partners to better understand and improve community health in the city of Akron. Potential partners include SUMMA, NeoMed, Neighborhood Network, ASIA Inc., and the City of Akron.

Unearthing Akron’s Past, The Forgotten Dead of Schneider Park unclass Unearthing Akron’s Past, The Forgotten Dead of Schneider Park unclass


T TH 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.

Joshua Gippin (Joshua Tree Productions collaborating with School of Communications and Department of Anthropology)

This is a documentary filmmaking unclass. Participants will collaborate on an interdisciplinary team with diverse skill sets: video editing, motion graphics/animation, graphic design, research & writing, music scoring, marketing & public relations in this post-production endeavor. Topic? The realization that bodies are buried in a local park leads to revelations about Akron’s past. It is a story shrouded in mystery, about parts of our history that some might prefer to leave buried and forgotten.