In fall 2013 each first-year student resident will participate in a Living Learning Community (LLC). The Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty and the Division of Student Life collaborate to offer two types of LLCs to our first-year residents: Academic Fusion and Scholars in Action. Descriptions of the two options and the themes available within each program are listed below. Please indicate your interest when completing the online housing application process (details are available here) and rank your preference among the choices. Mills College will make an effort to place every student in the course and community of her choice, but please note that only a limited number of students can be accommodated in each LLC.
First-year residents who select Academic Fusion LLCs will be automatically enrolled in the listed introductory course and will reside in close proximity to one another in Warren Olney Hall or Orchard Meadow Hall. Generally, the professor for this class will also serve as their first-year advisor. Over the course of the fall term, the professor, students, and residence advisors will attend lectures, films, museum exhibitions, and other activities related to the central theme of their LLC. Some classes will have an upper-division student assigned as a teaching assistant who will offer help with course work throughout the semester.
Art Living Learning Community
This LLC brings together students interested in art and art history. If you enjoy visiting museums and galleries, or if you want to study the history of art, this LLC will appeal to you. Together, students will take ARTH 18 (Introduction to Western Art, Fall 2013), which covers western art from ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance. Activities may include museum visits, special exhibitions, local gallery walks, films, and other exciting events that will enhance your understanding of both the history of art and the contemporary art scene in Oakland and the Bay Area.
Advisor: Meryl Bailey, JD—Harvard University, PhD—University of California Berkeley
Professor Bailey's scholarly interests include the Italian Renaissance, especially late Renaissance art and architecture in Venice, concepts of violence and justice in early modern visual culture, popular poetry, and Florentine portraiture, art and the legal system.
History Living Learning Community
Course: History 11—The West and Its Cultural Traditions I
This course is an introduction to the history of the Western world, focusing on political, social, economic, religious, and scientific developments. It covers the period from prehistory to the coming of the modern era in the late 16th century.
Advisor: Bert Gordon, PhD—Rutgers University
Professor Gordon's scholarly interests focus on modern European history, with emphasis on French history, the European political Right, cuisine history, the history of travel and tourism, as well as the history of Mills College.
Global Affairs Living Learning Community
Are you interested in the politics, popular culture, and history of other countries? Are you eager to learn what the Bay Area has to offer those interested in the world beyond American borders? Are you hoping to study abroad? This LLC seeks to broaden students' knowledge of the world's diverse politics, cultures, and histories, as well as pressing global issues, and show them all the opportunities for international awareness that Mills and the Bay Area offer. Activities include cultural events, museum visits, film viewings, lecture series at the World Affairs Council, concerts, and meals that highlight cuisines of the world, as well as information sessions about study abroad and different international focused majors and minors at Mills.
Course: GOVT 16—Comparative Politics
This course introduces students to the study of politics around the world. Using comparisons between countries from all over the world, the course examines how states emerge and survive, nations are built and change, and how regimes—both democratic and authoritarian—operate. The case comparisons, drawn from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, expose students to the wide range of topics studied in the field of comparative politics. The course meets the Written Communication II general education requirement, as well as the Human Institutions and Behavior requirement.
Martha C. Johnson, PhD—University of California, Berkeley
Professor Johnson has lived and conducted fieldwork in West Africa, speaks French and Wolof (a local language of Senegal), and is currently conducting a research project on women's representation in elite politics in sub-Saharan Africa. She has previously written on democratization, bureaucratic politics, and food policy in Africa. She leads the Mills Model United Nations team and is the campus representative for the Fulbright IIE program.
Wah Cheng, PhD—University of Chicago
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Professor Cheng left for the United States for graduate studies, eventually receiving his PhD in history from the University of Chicago. A firm believer in the importance of a global perspective in American education, Wah offers courses in Asian history and culture, including a course on "China and the U.S. in the 20th Century." He is currently working on a project on American missionaries' construction of knowledge about China and the Chinese in the 19th Century. Among other things, Wah has been an active member of the study abroad program at Mills for many years, including serving as chair of the Study Abroad Committee from 2009 to 2012.
Music Living Learning Community
Course: Music I, Exploring Music—Performance, Creation, and Cultural Practice: An introduction to music from the perspectives of performer, composer, improviser, instrument maker, and scholar
Music will be studied as a social art, as a performance practice, as acoustic architecture and as spontaneous creation, as historical artifact, and as cultural signifier. Projects for the class include playing music, listening and analysis, composing, recording, and writing. No knowledge of music, notation, or instrumental skill is necessary.
Chris Brown, MFA—Mills College
Chris Brown is a composer, pianist, and electronic musician whose creative and academic interests also include improvisation, world musical traditions, musical instrument building and tuning systems. His music often involves computers interacting with performers of acoustic as well as electronic instruments. He is Co-Director of the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM) at Mills.
Philosophy Living Learning Community
Course: Philosophy 15—Introduction to Philosophy
A critical examination of works by classical and contemporary philosophers and the questions they raise. Topics vary, but include the problem of social organization and the nature of justice; the scope and limits of human knowledge; the fundamental nature of the cosmos; the concepts of art and beauty; and the Socratic question: what is the best kind of life for a human being to lead?
Jay Gupta, PhD—University of Toronto
Professor Gupta studies nineteenth-century European philosophy (particularly Hegel and Nietzsche), aesthetics, critical theory/political philosophy, and philosophy of mind.
Poetry Living Learning Community
What isn't a poem? This LLC is for poets, performers, artists, and everyone else, who find poetry in the found and the lost; in political slogans and in the overheard conversation; in the list of foods on the dinner check; in things written on the body and on the wall; in half torn down buildings; in fashion fabulousness; in outrage, heartbreak and foolishness; in dance steps, want ads, paint chips and GPS directions; as well as in more traditional formal devices such as sonnets, Ghazels, sestinas, rants, lullabies and blues. Activities will include attending readings and/or performances; visiting places historically (or currently) poetic; going on poetry rampages.
Course: English 56—Poetry Writing Workshop. This class is an introduction to the writing of poetry, including in-class discussion of original poems. Topics may be selected to offer more detailed attention to forms of poetry. Examples of such topics might be: performance poetry, nature poetry, poetic forms, experimentalism, imitations, collaboration, and political poetry.
Rebekah Edwards, PhD—University of California, Berkeley
Psychology Living Learning Community
Course: Psychology 49—Introduction to Psychology: An introduction to the subject matter, methods, and current status of psychology, including brain function, child development, perception, learning and thinking, motivation and emotion, personality, abnormality, and social psychology. The focus of this course is on human behavior, with only limited reference to animal research, and includes cross-cultural issues where applicable.
John Ruch, PhD—Stanford University
Science Living Learning Community
This LLC is an excellent starting point for students considering majoring in any of the scientific disciplines. It will provide an opportunity to live and work with a cohort of students who are enthusiastic about science and intend to major in the biological, chemical, or environmental sciences at Mills College. Field-based excursions will expose students to marine ecosystems as well as to the rich geological and natural history of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Course: Chemistry 17—General Chemistry I: A broad overview of chemical principles. Topics include atomic structure, chemical bonding and molecular structure, chemical periodicity, stoichiometry, and nuclear chemistry.
Kristina Faul, PhD—University of California, Santa Cruz
Professor Faul's scholarly interests include oceanography, climate change, and the chemistry of past oceans, paleoceanography.
Jennifer Smith, PhD—Michigan State University
Professor Smith's scholarly interests include the behavioral and evolutionary ecology of social rodents and carnivores, including California ground squirrels in the Bay Area and spotted hyenas in Africa.
First-year residents who select Scholars in Action LLCs will live in Warren Olney Hall or Orchard Meadow Hall. Over the course of the fall term, the professor, students, and residence advisors will attend lectures, films, museum exhibitions, and other activities related to the central theme of their LLC. Descriptions of each community can be found below. Each community will have its own faculty advisor.
Dog and Cat Lovers Living Learning Community
If you miss your pet from home, this LLC will provide the opportunity to connect with animals on and near campus. We will learn about the individuals, government agencies, and nonprofit groups that promote animal welfare and rights. We will work with shelters and rescue groups on campus and in the community on a variety of service projects. In addition, we will explore the Bay Area's sometimes wacky and always colorful pet culture from San Francisco Pet Pride Day and the Bow Wow Film Festival to the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show and International Cat Show.
Education/Child Development Living Learning Community
The Child Development LLC, sponsored by faculty in Education, provides opportunities for students to explore their interests in the interdisciplinary science of early childhood and to learn more about emerging research on how children learn and grow. Students will be given opportunities to pursue their own questions and interests related to young children. The LLC activities will include lectures and movie nights, focusing on interdisciplinary topics such as the role of culture and the brain in children's development. Students will also visit early childhood centers and schools to see children's learning in action. Finally, students will have the opportunity to learn about research opportunities in Child Development on campus. This LLC takes advantage of the diversity of early childhood education resources in the Bay Area to give students a real-world foundation for future Mills courses in Child Development, Education, and Psychology, and to help them identify and build their interests in these areas.
Outdoor Adventure Living Learning Community
This community provides residents the opportunity to explore the beautiful landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Outdoor Adventure LLC uses outdoor experiences as a forum for teaching important skills and abilities applicable to all aspects of life at Mills College and beyond. Community experiences may include hiking, camping, rock climbing, or whitewater rafting. Adventure education supports growth in integrity, leadership, social awareness, and appreciation of diverse ways of knowing and being. As a resident of the Outdoor Adventure LLC, students will have opportunities to broaden their capabilities; develop their outdoor leadership, decision-making, and technical skills; and enhance their understanding of the relationship between people and nature. Students who select to live in this community should possess the desire to enjoy and learn from outdoor experiences. Prior experience with outdoor activities is not required.
Social Justice and Educational Change Living Learning Community
Students in this LLC engage in community projects in partnership with local organizations such as Girls, Inc., the Oakland Unified School District, and the Oakland Housing Authority in collaboration with the Mills Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships and the Institute for Civic Leadership. If you select this community, you will have the opportunity to visit neighborhoods and learn about the resources of Oakland as you develop your vision for creating positive social change. Students will have the opportunity to explore their own definitions of social justice alongside a more formal analysis of what SJ is and how it operates within disciplines and communities. We will explore together, read together, and participate in local projects in neighborhood schools and community centers near the Mills College campus. Throughout the year, we will work to develop our capacities as social change agents. Possible activities include: field trips to Bay Area neighborhoods and events, volunteer work with youth, dinners at faculty houses, panels and visits with local activists and scholars, and book discussions.
Sustainability and Local Food Living Learning Community
This LLC brings together residents interested in exploring their ideals, assumptions, and awareness regarding the production and consumption of food. Students will have the opportunity to develop community leadership skills in promoting energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, and local food connections. Participants will also plan and prepare dinners for the group, learn about nutrition and sustainable farming practices, and develop cooking skills. Students may also choose to grow food in the Mills College garden. No prior cooking experience is required.
World Languages and Cultures Living Learning Community
This LLC is for students interested in languages and cultures, specifically Chinese and French. It will expose students to an international and cross-cultural environment of learning and understanding. By examining different cultures, languages and customs, students will be exposed to a more transnational view of the world and to the idea of global citizenship. Students will be provided with the opportunity to get an in-depth knowledge and appreciation for Chinese, French, and Francophone cultures. We will explore the Chinese and French communities of the Bay Area. Activities will include field trips to cultural events, museums, concerts, and film festivals. These events will coincide with the Chinese and French cultural calendars. There is no minimum language requirement for this community.
Audrey Calefas-Strébelle, PhD—Stanford University
Professor Strébelle's interests include Orientalism in the 16th–18th centuries; Franco-Ottoman and Franco-Turkish relationships; cultural history and anthropology; changing awareness of motherhood and childhood in the 16th–18th centuries; and folk tales.
Chiuhung Chen, PhD—University of Ottawa
Professor Chen's research interests include second language acquisition, Chinese language pedagogy, and computer-assisted language learning.
Living at Mills
ID Validation and Move In
Living Learning Communities
Housing Management & Dining Services (HMDS)
Sage Hall, Room 138