Interim On-Campus Courses


Dear students,                                                 

I am pleased to be able to provide this introduction to our January 2019 Interim curriculum.  Faculty and staff at BVU have worked hard to create an exciting array of Interim classes for you.  We intentionally offer to you courses that will expand your creativity, cultural awareness, analytical abilities, and awareness of important conversations in today’s world. Our wish is that you will use Interim 2019 to seek opportunities outside your major programs of study where possible and investigate new ways of discovery and knowing.

 We continue to expect high academic achievement from you. We ask faculty to fully employ class-time with you as well as engage you in meaningful preparatory work outside of class-time for 3 to 6 hours daily. You will find listed here descriptions for a variety of courses. Information in the descriptions below identifies if a course fulfills major/minor and/or general education requirement.  All courses with the INTM notation fulfill elective credit toward graduation only.

As you review this list of course offerings, you will note that during our three-week January Interim, all of our course options offer distinctive educational experiences that align with the University’s overarching academic goals and objectives.  These classes allow learning to take place within and outside the classroom as we offer you opportunities to enhance your potential for life-long success through innovative and imaginative opportunities. We believe Interim, with its travel courses, internships, residencies, and enrichment courses, is essential to the achievement of these goals.


Brian A. Lenzmeier, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice President for academic Affairs

Interim Policies

Interim courses meet the full Interim calendar for a minimum of 150 minutes each day. Students, be advised that missing any classes during Interim is hazardous to successfully completing Interim; a day of class during January is equivalent of a week during a regular semester. As a BVU student you must be enrolled in and attending an Interim course to remain in the residence halls; if you are not enrolled and attending your course, you will be asked to leave campus for the Interim period or any portion of it remaining at the time you stop attending to your academic work and class attendance. All courses, including internships and travel courses, are commonly 3 credit hours. Internship credit hours are typically determined by the number of 40 hour-weeks contained within the internship experience. A three-credit hour internship, for example, typically requires three, 40-hour work weeks. See your internship supervisor for complete information on requirements.

Courses under the INTM department code carry elective credit toward graduation. If a course offers major and/or general education credit that designation is included in the course description and noted with the course designation other than an INTM department code (i.e. HONR, BIOL, etc.). Some courses listed have been offered in previous years. You MAY NOT take an Interim course (INTM) which you have previously taken; doing so will cause you to lose the 3 credits from the previous occurrence since the course will be treated as a course repeat.

Classes meet daily. The grading system is determined by the instructor and indicated in the course description below as well as on the course syllabus.  If student option is indicated, you may choose between P/F (Pass/Fail) or letter grade (ABCDF). For those courses with student option as the grading system, the grading option may be converted through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at the Registrar’s Office. All travel courses and internships are graded P/F.

Interim Enrollment Expectations

Buena Vista University hopes all BVU students will participate in an Interim learning opportunity. New first-year students are required to enroll in Interim. There will be no tuition, board and/or room refunds for full-time students who elect not to participate in Interim. Students will NOT be permitted to remain in the residence halls during Interim if they are not enrolled in and attending an Interim course. For further information on enrollment requirements, students should refer to the catalog under which they entered Buena Vista University.

Students enrolled in BVU travel courses will receive a stipend of their meal plan fees automatically. Students enrolled in travel courses need not complete a meal refund application.

Students enrolled in courses, such as an internship, field observation or practicum, requiring them to live off campus during Interim may apply for a stipend of meal plan charges. Students must be enrolled prior to making application for a meal stipend; applications for the meal stipend (and enrollment in the experience) must be made no later than 5 p.m. on MONDAY, December 3, 2018. To apply for a meal stipend, complete the information requested through Step 1 on the Interim Meal Stipend Request Form found on the Registrar’s web page at:  

Once Step 1 is completed, deliver the form to the Associate Dean’s Office (DE 107) for processing.

No requests for meal refunds after 5 p.m. on December 4, 2018 will be granted. Students seeking internships, etc. are advised to be working well in advance so that you will have final decisions on placements in time to qualify for meal reimbursement if the experience will require you to be off-campus.

Interim and Spring Registration Dates

Students register for Interim and Spring semester courses during a single registration period during late October and early November.

  • Oct. 24 for Honors students
  • Oct. 29 – Nov. 2 for seniors and juniors
  • Nov. 5 – Nov. 9 for sophomores
  • Nov. 12 - Nov. 16 for first-year students
  • Nov. 19 - Nov. 21 for special students

Beginning November 16th, decisions on canceling low enrollment courses will occur. It is in students’ best interests to register during their assigned times.

2019 Interim Course Descriptions


INTM110: How to Become a Recording Artist

This course is designed to introduce the student to the commercial music industry through a series of lectures, class projects, and a final performance concert. Topics covered in the class will include:

  • Basic music theory in commercial music writing
  • How the commercial industry works
  • Tips on lyric writing
  • Music agents, managers, producers
  • Musician’s union
  • Do-it-yourself tactics used by non-label musicians
  • Gigging in nightclubs versus concerts
  • Pre-requisite: Student must have some musical background (played in band or sang in choir in high school).

Required utensils: Music writing paper, musical instrument and /or voice.

Dr. David A. Klee Sr., associate professor of music            

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                   Time: 9 am - noon


INTM112: Designing, Editing, and Promoting an Online Literary Magazine

Students in this course will be editors for the 2019 issue of Hot Dish Magazine, an established online literary magazine featuring poetry and fiction by Midwestern high school students. Editors will research online literary magazines to get fresh ideas for the new issue, read submissions, interact with submitters, select and arrange poetry and prose, choose award winners, design the online magazine site, maintain blog and social media presence, and publicize the magazine. Readings in literary magazine history, practice, editing, and design will be included, as will discussions of literary citizenship and giving back to/creating a literary community. Students will be able to focus on the part(s) of the project that best match their skills and interests (writing, editing, design, marketing, etc.). Project deadlines will be set by the class members, and the magazine will be finished by the end of the course. The finished product will be a real-world publication students can add to their portfolios for future employers.

Gwen Hart, associate professor of English

Grading: Pass/Fail                                                  Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM119: Theory, Rhythm and Salsa: Practicing the Dalcroze Method Through Learning Dance

A beginning Salsa class designed to teach the Dalcroze method. Eurhythmics is the theory that dance, and movement are essential components to internalized rhythm. The Dalcroze method is named after music education theorist Emile Dalcroze who championed the need for internalized rhythm to increase musicianship. This class will focus on learning Salsa but also incorporate other ethnic dance forms with the purpose of showcasing the Dalcroze method.

Dr. Merrin Guice, associate professor of music

Grading: Student Option                                                       Course Limit: 20                                    Time: 1 – 4:00 pm



INTM122: Disruptions, Disasters, and Distortions: Introduction to Dystopian Literature

From famous athletes to famous authors, from a parent or relative to a teacher or coach, we have all had a hero at some point: a person that we admire, aspire to be like, or turn to for inspiration or even guidance. Literature, like the real world, is full of all sorts of heroes, especially in dystopian literature where characters are oppressed and fight back against nefarious regimes. Our goal will be to explore dystopian literature and culture by defining and (re)defining heroism through examining a variety of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains from different authors, cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, and genres of literature. Throughout the course, we will draw on a variety of literary terms as well as social and historical contexts to develop understanding of heroism and dystopia in an American and global context. To enrich understanding of the texts we read, we will draw on Darko Suvin’s theory of cognitive estrangement—that is, the themes emphasized and explored in the dystopian texts actually have some very important implications in the real world in which we live—to make connections between the texts and the issues occurring in the real world. We will read, watch, and play texts that could include any combination of the following (but, of course not all): The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Tankborn, Book of Phoenix, Never Let Me Go, Fahrenheit 451, The Man in the High Castle, “The Comet”, “Bloodchild,” Black Mirror, Logan’s Run, Blade Runner, Paper’s Please, Red Queen, Legend, Broken Age, and With Those We Love Alive. What we think about and discuss will be guided by the following questions throughout the semester: who is considered a hero in America? Why? How does the meaning of a hero shift in an international context? Why? Are there different levels of heroism? What is a dystopia? What is the value of the dystopian imagination for real world readers? How do dystopian texts operate? What is agency? How does transmedia storytelling shift understanding of characters and themes? And, of course, how has studying dystopian literature empowered you to see the world differently? What do you notice that you did not before? Course expectations include reading from required texts, participation through discussion of readings, critical reading responses, a critical and creative final project. All majors and disciplines are welcome.

Meghan Hurley, instructor of English

Grading: Letter Grade                                            Course Limit: 20                                                  Time 9 am - noon


INTM124: Designing Creatures and Characters for Star Wars

Basics of designing characters to specific genres. Students will learn how to conceive, explore and create characters and creatures that are inspired by Star Wars. Develop skills in development, design and anatomy. Open to all majors.

Daniel Séman, instructor of graphic design & animation

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 14                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM126: Horror, the Internet and Art

Horror is an ever-evolving genre that seems to have lost its edge in recent years. Mainstream media has struggled to keep its audiences shocked and disturbed. There is one place where horror is flourishing: the internet. With the evolution of the modern urban legend, the “creepy pasta” as well as the ability for the everyday person to contribute to a worldwide community. Horror has transformed into something completely different from what it was at twenty years ago. Now this new type of horror is beginning its transformation of mainstream media, starting with art.

In this course, students will learn about the evolution of horror in the 20th and 21st centuries and its influence on the arts. There will be elements of lecture, discussion and studio work throughout the course. They will also have various short readings that will be discussed in class. When they are finished they will b able to identify various traits of fear and horror and be able to understand how creators use horror to communicate through their content. They will also create their own work and show in a student exhibit in the BVU Art Gallery.

Nicole Nee, Master of Fine Arts from Washington State University

Grading: Letter Grade                                            Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM127: Disney Studies: The History and Story of Walt Disney

Students will view movies, documentaries and short films from and about Walt Disney to learn about his use of storytelling to build an entertainment empire. The class will engage in the comprehensive history of Walt Disney from the first full length animated film to the first theme park. Eight key storytelling strategies will help us analyze how we can be inspired by Disney to use storytelling in our professional and personal lives. The students will create a “storyboard-based” presentation on the eight key storytelling strategies; service, presentation, listening, collaboration, experience, magic and memorable. The course will focus on topics such as how The Walt Disney Company became an industry leader in leadership; Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s place in American culture; and the impact of Walt Disney’s innovative storytelling on the media industry. The course includes Disney-related guest speakers and additional interviews from former Imagineers, Disney Legends, cast members and Disney historians. All majors and disciplines are welcomed to attend the happiest class on earth.

Jerry Johnson, assistant professor of digital media

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon

INTM134: Learning about Diverse Cultures Through Movies and Cooking

This course will introduce students to the wide diversity of human cultures. Examination of the numerous dimensions by which human cultures vary, including concepts of social structure, organization, institution, and socialization will be discussed. An analysis of primary and secondary groups, gender roles, and stratification will be covered. We will spend time reading short stories, watch movies that frame different cultural experiences, cook meals from various cultures, and participate in group discussions. An individual presentation on a culture of your choice will be a required final project. Community service will be conducted to gain a full awareness of the surrounding community and varying cultures around Storm Lake as well. This class will expand students’ comfort zone and full participation is highly encouraged. Students should leave the class with a cultural awareness that will help to shift their perceptions to empathize with people who come from a different background than their own. 

Crystal Jones, director of residence life and housing, M.A. Communication Studies St. Mary's University

Grading: Student Option                     Course Limit: 20                                    Time: 9 am – noon




INTM115: Chemistry and Food

This course will dive into the science behind how our bodies and brain interpret food, as well as the science and chemistry behind how food is made and works. Topics will include neurogastronomy, the science of flavor, foams, emulsions, biochemistry of food such as yeast and others. Class time will be spent in lecture, discussion of readings, and hands on cooking and lab experiments. Students will be expected to turn in reading responses, lab notebooks, a midterm, final, individual paper, and group presentation on a chosen topic.

Dr. Melanie Hauser, assistant professor of chemistry and Daniel Strohmyer, assistant professor of education

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


HONR223: Honors Physical Science

The science explorations seminar for honors students. Examines one topic in depth via cross-disciplinary methods of inquiry employing diverse ways of knowing grounded in the sciences. Topics vary. May not be taken P/F. Repeatable for credit. General education physical science course. Prerequisite: Admission to the honors program or permission of the honors program director.

Ben Maas, assistant professor of environmental science and geology

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 1- 4:00 pm


INTM132: Your Body on Autopilot – Physiological Adaptations in Response to Changes in the Environment

In this course, students will study specific aspects of the human body’s normal physiological function with the intent of examining the adjustments the body makes during environmental changes, such as altitude, low gravity, and day-to-day changes in the body such as postural changes and food consumption. Students will be expected to complete short readings prior to each class and be prepared to actively participate in group discussions regarding readings. In addition, there will be several hands-on laboratory experiments built into the schedule. On lab days, students will come prepared to participate in hands-on laboratory exercises, the goal of which is to solidify a basic, practical understanding of the physiological principles taught prior to the lab session. Students will complete small lab reports after each lab day. Finally, students will be expected to make an individual or group presentation on a topic of interest. These presentations will compare human physiology to other animals to understand the differences or similarities between humans and animals in adapting to certain environmental conditions. After this class, students will have a better understanding of the human body and how the human body is equipped to deal with environmental stressors.

Kevin Kelly, Mr. Kelly has a B.S. and M.S. in physiology and is currently working towards his PhD in biomedical sciences. He has completed his third year of training and is the first participant in the newly established Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Career Development Internships at Buena Vista University. 

Grading: Letter Grade                                            Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


PHYS390: Computational Physics

CMSC390: Computational Science

An introduction to the technique of applying computers, both serial and parallel, and numerical methods to the solving of physical problems in science and engineering. Specific topics include finite difference methods, Monte Carlo simulations, boundary value problems, and N-body simulations. This course is useful to physicist, engineer, and computer scientist. Prerequisite: PHYS212 and CMSC181 or consent of instructor.

Dr. Shawn Stone, professor of physics and computer science

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon



ENGL110: Introduction to Writing Studies

An intensive course designed to introduce students to the range of scholarly and creative approaches taken to writing as a practice, a product, and a way of knowing. Drawing on material from a range of disciplines, this course explores how the written word functions to create relationships among individuals and communities, to structure and express human experience, to stabilize bodies of knowledge, and to sustain systems of power in governments, schools and the workplace. Students will analyze texts using theoretical frameworks that account for an author’s goals, audience, community, chosen genres, and material resources. Students will construct texts of their own based on similarly analytical assessments of their specific rhetorical context. This course functions as an introduction to the writing studies minor. General education humanities writing intensive (HWI) course.

Dr. Roger Powell, assistant professor of English

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM120: ON COURSE: Strategies for Creating Success in /college and in Life

Do you want to succeed in the classroom and in life? This course can help you identify areas if you want to improve, set goals, and work to make positive changes using critical and creative problem solving. Student will read, discuss ways to improve their approach to academic challenges, and learn new strategies for personal responsibility, self-motivation, interdependence, and self-esteem. The class will be spent in discussion of readings form the required test and other selected reading, in-class activities, and responsive writing. Self-assessment, writing activities, and small group work will also be used. Students will complete a presentation to demonstrate how they will apply the On Course skills to become mores successful. If students have used an On Course text in University Seminar, they are still allowed and encouraged to take this course for a more in-depth study.

Donna Musel, Director of center for academic excellence

Grading: Letter Grade                                            Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM128: Understanding Mental Illness

This course will provide students with an overview of mental health and mental illness. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify common mental health diagnosis and recognize some of the symptoms. Students will be encouraged to challenge the stereotypes and stigma associated with mental illness. Experiential activities, readings, videos, journaling, and discussions will be the primary methods of instruction. Throughout the course, students will complete assigned readings, daily homework assignments, reflective journaling, and an individual presentation. The required text will provide students with firsthand account of individuals coping with mental illness. This will assist students to develop empathy and increase understanding of mental illness and those affected. Students will journal daily to increase self-awareness and knowledge of mental illness. As culmination of the course, students complete an individual presentation based on a mental health diagnosis of their choosing. This course is interactive, and participation is needed for growth and understanding to occur. It is the aim of the faculty to teach this course in a manner that provides a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. As such, students will be encouraged and challenged to use appropriate language, communication, and presentation strategies that demonstrate respect.

Dr. Casey Baker, assistant professor of counselor education

Grading: Pass/Fail                                                  Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM130: Forgiveness: Theological Themes and Psychological Processes to Assist in Mending One Another and Halt the Human Community from Unraveling

This course will provide and opportunity to reflect on the concept of forgiveness through a variety of readings and current themes which our global community has faced. Together we will uncover the idea that forgiveness is a theological concept as well as a psychological process for each of us to intentionally investigate. The class participants will be immersed into humanity’s response to suffering, pain, and the methods of healing as hope emerges out of the chaos of the past. We will look at a variety of concepts of forgiveness, obstacles to forgiveness and begin to learn how nations and individuals transform themselves and others as this journey moves forward. The format will include brief presentations, self-reflective exercises, journaling, and the discussion of case presentations based on readings from the texts.

Ken Meissner, director of spiritual life

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


EDUC150: Introduction to Basic Educational Research

This research course focuses on using current research techniques to answer specific questions related to the identification and treatment of children with learning disabilities, the efficacy of instructional methods for at-risk students, and the identification of casual mechanisms that facilitate reading development among children and special populations of children (e.g., students with disabilities, students at-risk for academic failure, and English Language Learners). Students will learn how to administer assessments widely used in educational research and how to administer a psychological experiment that examines knowledge storage, retention, and use while forming inferences among middle school students. This course includes data collection in the field, requiring a commitment to regular school hours (8:00-3:00 pm) during interim. All course requirements will be completed during class time. A background check must be completed and passed prior to the start of class.

Amy Barth, assistant professor of education

Grading: Letter Grade                                            Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon

ESSI230: Transitions and Self Determination

Pre-service special educators will identify and work with sources of services, organizations, and networks for individuals with mild and moderate disabilities, including career, vocational and transitional support to post-school settings with maximum opportunities for decision making and full participation in the community. This will include a focus on increasing Self-Determination skills across the academic experience.

Karin Strohmyer, associate professor of special education

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                 Time: 9 am - noon


PSYC239: Abnormal Psychology

This course will look at the history of psychopathology, the major psychiatric syndromes, and the differing theoretical perspectives and approaches to treatment and therapy. Prerequisite: PSYC100

Tracy Thomas, assistant professor of psychology

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                 Time: 1 – 4:00 pm


ESSI240: American sign Language

The performance-based course serves as an introduction to the fundamentals of American Sign Language including sign formation, grammar, and syntax. The course has a balance of receptive and expressive language while exploring the interplay of deaf culture with language development. No prior experience with signed language is required.

Dr. Robbie Ludy, professor of education

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 15                                                Time: 9 am – noon



INTM114: Swimming Fitness and Recreation

Swimming and other aquatic activities are wonderful ways to exercise that can be done throughout one’s lifetime. Most water activities are recommended for persons with and without injuries making it possible for persons of all ages and abilities. Each class session may consist of a lecture/presentation, film, and a learning activity at the pool. Possible activities include: swimming, water polo, diving, water aerobics, snorkeling, synchronized swimming, logrolling and more! Occasional guest speakers may present also. Students will each set goals to strive to reach by the end of the course based on their area of interest. Students will be asked to research an area of interest to present towards the end of the course based on recommended books from the professor and/or the BVU library or approved references from instructor based on student’s choice.

Ms. Janelle McArthur, adjunct instructor

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon


INTM116: Strength Based Development for Engagement and Success

Utilizing the Clifton Strengths Assessment, this course will focus on the strength talent themes of each individual student, providing a thorough understanding of each theme and discovering how to identify, develop, and apply talents now and in the future. This course is designed to allow students to not only figure out their strengths to develop insight into individual self-awareness, but to provide the ability for creating effective team dynamics for effective performance and engagement, utilizing communication and leadership skills. Students will utilize discussions, course readings, role playing, and other components during class time. Students will need to make one individual presentation and a small group presentation throughout the course, but the majority of the time will be spent on engaging activities that will allow students to build and develop and strengths as they consider their educational pathway and future endeavors.

Lisa Bengtson, instructor of exercise science

Grading: Student Option                                        Course Limit: 20                                                Time: 9 am – noon



  • ARTD 495: Internship - Professor Mary Mello-Nee
  • BCHM 495: Internship - Dr. James Hampton
  • BIOL 495: Internship - Dr. James Hampton
  • BUSN 496: Internship - Dr. Scott Anderson
  • CHEM 495: Internship – Dr. Melanie Hauser
  • CMSC 495: Internship - Dr. Jason Shepherd
  • COMM 495: Internship – Dr. Mary Gill
  • CRIM 495: Internship - Dr. Stephanie Hays
  • DIGI 495: Internship - Professors Claiborne, Frantz or Johnson
  • ENGL 495: Internship - Dr. Gwen Hart
  • ENVS 495: Internship - Dr. Ben Maas
  • EXSC 495: Internship - Professor Jamie Schoenherr
  • EXSC 496: Intraship - Lisa Bengston
  • HIST 495: Internship - Dr. Bill Feis
  • MATH 495: Internship – Dr. Gail Hartsock
  • MUSC 495: Internship - Dr. David Klee
  • PHYS 495: Internship - Dr. Shawn Stone
  • PSCN 495: Internship - Dr. Brad Best
  • PSPA 495: Internship - Dr. Brad Best
  • PSYC 495: Internship - Dr. Tracy Thomas
  • STPR 495: Internship - Dr. Mary Gill
  • THME 495: Internship - Dr. Bethany Larson

Field Experiences

  • EDCO 290: Professional Seminar II and Field Experience
    Human Relations Leah Schimmer, permission of Field Experience Office requiredENVS 400: Supervised Project Dr. Ben Maas
  • ESSI 291: Professional Seminar II: Supervised Participation 
    Dr. Karin Strohmyer, permission of Special Education Field Experience Office required
  • SCWK 211: Field Observation Jessica Mendel
  • TEAC 401: Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching, varies permission of Field Experience Office required