Explore Resilience and Grit in Spring 2022


A sprout pushes through cracked asphalt, demonstrating resilience.

by Buffy Lockette

JSU’s Explore Seminar program will continue to focus on Resilience and Grit this spring. Students who take a minimum of two seminars on the same theme will earn the Explore Badge in Grit.

Established in 2020, the Explore Seminar program is aimed at addressing current events and trending issues, so that students may take advantage of faculty expertise, join others in critical analysis, collaborate to create solutions, and participate in academic debate about today’s problems. This year's theme, Resilience and Grit, was inspired by the pandemic recovery and our response to other national crises.

Students at any stage of their undergraduate career are invited to enroll in these 100-level, 1-hour, graded courses. They may decide to take one course to complete a one-credit requirement, or pursue up to three courses throughout their studies at JSU, exploring different issues and topics. 

Registration is open now for Spring 2022. The following courses will be offered: 

EH 195-001: Hogwarts School of Resilience, taught by Dr. Staci Stone, Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Location TBA

JK Rowling's 1998 bestseller, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,” launched the world's most popular book and film series, making the resilient main characters - Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley - household names. In this course, we will read the first novel and film closely and apply their lessons of grit to today's challenges as we discuss how fantastical works can impact real survival strategies.

HPE 185: Resilience in Sport, taught by Kristi Young on Wednesdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Location TBA

Being resilient is important in sport and physical activity. We often hear terms like “overcoming adversity,” “bouncing back,” “mental toughness” or “gritty” to describe resilient athletes. Using examples from sport, we will explore how resilience impacts performance on and off the field.

MU 195: Defying Gravity - Broadway and Grit, taught by Dr. Jeremy Benson, Wednesdays, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Mason Hall, Room 270

This course explores how Broadway musicals use song and plot to rise above the challenges faced in everyday life. Shows such as “Wicked,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “RENT” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” among others, present characters overcoming teen depression and suicide, political persecution, inequality, etc. Can grit, or at the very least persistence, be taught? How can children and adults develop it? We will explore Broadway’s answers to these questions.

MU 195: Music & Activism: Protest Songs, taught by Dr. Sarah Burns, Mondays, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Mason Hall, Room 270

What do rock, gospel, country, heavy metal, jazz, hip-hop, rap, alternative, indie and every other possible type of music have in common? Activism. Social Consciousness. Justice. Change. Throughout history, popular music and activism have joined forces to support a variety of social and political movements. This course emphasizes the relationships between society, music, songwriters, performers and listeners by exploring protest songs.

NU 195: Building Resilience by Improving Wellbeing, taught by Dr. Missy Duckett on Mondays, 1-2 p.m., Location TBA

In this course, we will explore the relationship between resilience and wellbeing. Students will discuss the impact of resilience on health, wellbeing and success. Strategies to improve one’s own wellbeing will be investigated.

RDG 195: Trains, Mice and Unusual Friendships - Grit in Children's Literature, taught by Dr. Janet Bavonese 

How did the little engine know that it could? What happens when mice decide to take matters into their own hands? What makes unusual friendships so special? This course provides a forum to explore children's literature with themes of grit, perseverance and determination. 

For more information, contact Dr. Staci Stone, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, at slstone@jsu.edu.