Interim On-Campus Courses


Dear students,                                                 

I am pleased to be able to provide this introduction to our January 2020 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 2020 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.

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 15, 2020 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 2, 2019. 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, Interim Meal Stipend Request  

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 2, 2019 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. 23 for Honors students
  • Oct. 24 – Nov. 1 for seniors and juniors
  • Nov. 4 – Nov. 8 for sophomores
  • Nov. 11 - Nov. 15 for first-year students
  • Nov. 18 - Nov. 22 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.

Interim Course Information

January 2020


Title: Using Science to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse 

Instructor: Brittney Dinkel

Course Description: An introduction course to Biology using the zombie apocalypse as a model to learn about biological processes and infectious diseases.  Students will learn the science that writers and filmmakers use to make the zombie apocalypse seem like a true possibility.  Topics covered will be basic cellular processes and human physiology, infectious diseases, and epidemiology.  Concepts will also be demonstrated in a lab-based component.  This course has pending General Education Life Sciences designation.  A decision on this will be finalized by 21 October 2019

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)


CMSC 160

Title: Introduction to Computer Programming

Instructor: Nathan Backman

Course Description: Introduction to computer programming using a high-level computer programming language. Emphasis on the fundamentals of structured design, development, testing, implementation, and documentation. Includes language syntax, data and file structures, input/output devices, and files. General education computational science course.

Time: 9 a.m. to noon.  

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)


EDCO 241

Title: Human Development: Adolescents 

Instructor: Brittany Garling

Course Description: This course introduces human growth and development from childhood through adolescence, associated with how students learn and relate, physically, cognitively, socially, and behaviorally, to include how students differ in their approaches to learning, within these developmental frameworks.  Particular emphasis will be placed on introducing instructional strategies that are equitable and adaptable to diverse learners, through addressing emotional, physical, and mental characteristics of secondary-age youth.

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)


EDCO 290

Title: Professional Seminar II & Field Experience 

Instructor: Leah Schimmer 

Course Description: A clinical experience in an appropriate classroom setting for a minimum of 80 hours per semester/term. Supervised participation provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate practical applications of educational theory in actual classroom settings. Throughout the field experience and related seminar, students will focus on implementation of a variety of instructional strategies, individual and group motivational factors, characteristics of effective instruction, and working with diverse learners. EDCO 290 in conjunction with EDCO 280 and EDCO 301 fulfills the Iowa Department of Education human relations coursework requirements. This field experience also provides students with an opportunity to observe and to continue development of skills of the reflective practitioner. This course will include an introduction and participation in Professional Learning Communities. P/F Grading. Prerequisite: Must have passed Teacher Education Program Checkpoint II. Desired time slot:

Time: This course will not meet face to face, as it is a field experience with an online, asynchronous seminar. 

Grading:  P/F only


EDCO 301

Title:   Introduction to Exceptional Learners 

Instructor: Ann Monroe-Baillargeon

Course Description: This course in an introduction to key concepts and issues related to the characteristics of learners with a variety of exceptionalities. It includes a brief overview of special education history, policy, and practices, and presents a comprehensive overview of high and low prevalence disabilities within the context of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement act and other associated. Exceptionalities related to students who are at-risk, English language learners, or talented and gifted are also presented. Teacher candidates seeking ESSI Strategist I K-8 or Strategist I 5-12 must take ESSI 405 Field Experience/Methods in conjunction with this course.

Time: M-F 8:30 am –10:30 am to accommodate SL Elementary School teaching

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)



Title: Methods of Written Communication 

Instructor: Leslie Haas

Course Description: See INTM116 description as well as academic catalog description

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)


ENGL 110

Title: Introduction to Writing Studies

Instructor: Connie Bubash

Course Description: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 contexts. This course functions as an introduction to the Writing Studies Minor. General education humanities writing intensive (HWI) course.

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)


ENGL 450

Title: Hot Dish Magazine Intraship (3 cr)

Instructor: Gwen Hart

Course Description: Students completing this intraship will be editors for the 2020 issue of Hot Dish Magazine, an established online literary magazine featuring poetry and fiction by 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 tailor the intraship to best match their skills and interests (writing, editing, design, marketing, etc.). Project deadlines will be set by the student editors, and the magazine will be finished by the end of the intraship. The final product will be a real-world publication students can add to their portfolios for future employers. If interested, please contact Gwen Hart at to enroll in this course (P/F grading only).

Time: 1 pm to 4 p.m.

Grading: P/F only



Title:   Field Experience/Methods  

Instructor: Ann Monroe-Baillargeon

Course Description: This clinical experience includes 10 hours of field observations within a special education or co-taught setting. It is required for students who are seeking an ESSI endorsement. This course is designed to be taken concurrently with EDCO 301. P/F grading. Prerequisite: Students must complete a background check prior to beginning their field experience (either EDCO 255 or ESSI 405, whichever is first). The background check will be conducted by BVU's Human Resource department and is at the student's expense.

Time: Arranged

Grading: P/F only



Title: Podcasting: Explaining Stories in Sound

Course Description: Students will experiment and learn how to produce compelling, complex and character-driven narratives that delve into issues dominating the Iowa caucus conversation across the U.S. in January 2020. This course will run as a newsroom, where students brainstorm, pitch and map their audio production workflow to ultimately record and distribute a podcast. We will emphasize on non-fiction, conversational writing as well as public radio in-depth and long-form storytelling. The course offers experiential learning (aka, learn by doing) where students research, go on reporting field trips, interview subjects and work in KBVU’s state-of-the-art recording studio.

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: P/F only

Fees: This course comes with a $100.00 course fee to cover the costs of travel and lodging to Des Moines.



Title: Planning and Preparing for Life After College: Adulting 101

Instructor: Ashley Farmer-Hanson

Course Description: You’ve made it to college, but what’s next and how to do you get there? This discussion and experiential learning-based course will focus on how to be successful post college. We will unpack what it means to be an adult through developing your understanding of personal finance, contracts for owning or renting a home, and purchasing a new vehicle. Through readings and presentations, we will touch on how to understand benefits packages and the variety of insurances available to you and the necessity behind them. Through research we will examine all the options a college graduate has through graduate school, employment, gap year of service or an internship. Students will participate in leadership development, goal setting activities, and research that will challenge them to think about their passions in life and how to design their own path to meet those goals post BVU. Throughout the course students will be expected to read two texts, complete individual and group assignments and complete a final project as a culmination of the course.  

Time:9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF only




Title: The American Civil War in Film and Memory

Instructor: Dr. William B. Feis

Course Description: This course will use historical films to explore how Americans have defined and battled over the meaning of the American Civil War and Reconstruction and how and why we have remembered or perhaps “selectively forgotten” certain aspects of the conflict—especially its causes and long-term consequences for American society.  By using films as historical artifacts, we will examine how the war and its consequences have been “remembered” over time in a very powerful and influential medium. As part of this study, we may also examine the memory of the war as represented in popular literature, music, and art. The course will include learning the basic history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, viewing and discussing numerous Civil War films and other artifacts, taking quizzes/essay exams, and writing short reaction papers over films and assigned readings. In the end, the course will help students understand why author William Faulkner was correct when he observed that, when it comes to Americans and their Civil War, “The past is never dead. It is not even past.”   

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)



Title: Pop Culture and Writing Methods: Engaging and Motiving Students via Fanfiction

Instructor: Leslie Haas

Course Description: This course will develop student understanding of the connections between oral language, written language, and the writing process through student selected pop culture fandoms. The unique needs of elementary and secondary students from diverse languages and backgrounds will be examined with an emphasis on developing written communication, problem solving, and critical/creative thinking. Incorporating motivation, engagement, and technology strategies will also be embedded. This course will provide students with opportunities to collaborate with practicing elementary teachers and work with elementary students as a way to provide real-world experience in developing young writers. Courses will be held at BVU and Storm Lake elementary. This course is cross-listed with EDUC 342 and SEDU 342.

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)



Title:  Introduction to German Culture & Language

Instructor: Bryan Kampbell

Course Description: Sprechen Sie Deutsch?  This class is a basic introduction intended for students with little or no knowledge of German language and culture. You will become acquainted with general aspects of German culture, including, history, music, politics, customs, geography, language, literature, film, and cuisine. November 2019 commemorates thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, so we will focus in particular on life in the former East Germany as well as developments after reunification. Class time will be spent viewing several contemporary films and television series (in German with English subtitles), discussing assigned readings, and preparing (and enjoying) a German meal. Required assignments include regular discussion questions and an oral presentation on a topic of your choice. 

Time: 1 to 4 p.m.

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)



Title: Adventure Literature: Winter is Coming

Instructor: Sam McMillan

Course Description: Winter’s got a bad rap. We see the barren landscapes, the plummeting temperatures, the sheets of ice and snow, and we tend to become like the bear—taking shelter and hibernating until spring comes along to thaw our world out. This class aims to correct such a tragic misconception by showing you that winter, and especially winter in Storm Lake, need not be season of discontent. To accomplish this, we will both read and do. In our classroom meetings, we’ll cover a range of texts from across the globe that will help us to see the virtue and value of the arctic months while also strengthening our skills of expression, argumentation, analysis, and critical thinking. These readings and in-class discussions will then we supported by our journeying out into the Iowa tundra to experience the frozen wilds firsthand. Our readings of tragic polar expeditions, for instance, might let us better appreciate our own snowshoeing adventures, while tales from Innuit authors will help us to learn and admire the skill and art of ice-fishing. The capstone to the course will be a two- to three-day overnight outing where we will backpack though a rugged wilderness before retiring to a rustic cabin / yurt where we’ll cook our own food and heat ourselves over a roaring fire. Students will be assessed based on reflection essays, literary analyses, and enthusiastic participation. 

Time: 1 to 4 p.m.

Grading: ABCDF only

Fees: This course comes with a $75.00 course fee to cover the costs outdoor excursions.



Title: Cross Pollination: Papermaking, Bookmaking, and Alternative Printmaking 

Instructor: Mary Mello-Nee 

Course Description: During the first portion of this class students will learn western papermaking methods and the basic history of papermaking.  Fundamental information on making and coloring pulp, additives, sheet forming and drying, will be covered.  Once the nuts and bolts are mastered, we will experiment with layering, embedding, stenciling, pulp painting, and embossing.  Students will create a variety of decorative sheets of paper made from recycled paper and natural materials such as thistle.   

 Using these handmade paper elements as starting points, we will spend the last portion of the course turning sheets of paper into unique pieces and books.  We will be printing, saturating, bending, burnishing, dipping, dripping, staining, transferring, drawing, and carving into this natural wonder.  An introduction to basic encaustic techniques (painting with and using wax), bookmaking, and printmaking will be demonstrated, and students will have the opportunity to experiment and create papers suited to their own goals.  

Time: 9 a.m.-noon

Grading: P/F only



Title: Heroes and Villains in Fiction and Film

Instructor: Steven Mills

Course Description: All fiction builds on the tradition of a hero and/or a villain; sometimes the hero or heroine is the titular figure who we expect to see win (as in Nancy Drew or Superman), sometimes they are less obvious (as in Orwell’s Animal Farm). Even the absence of a hero builds on this tradition by disrupting the expectation that someone wins and someone loses and asks us to look at what happens when nobody comes out victor. In this class we will look at some short stories, novels, graphic novels, and films that explore the topics of heroes, their strengths, weaknesses, and enemies. Class time will be spent discussing readings from required and selected texts, some hands-on participation, and research. There will be small reaction/response papers and one final interpretation/research essay based on the class topics.  

Desired time slot: no time listed.

Time: 9 a.m.-noon

Grading: P/F only



Title: On Course: Strategies for creating success in college and in life 

Instructor: Donna Musel

Course Description: Do you want to succeed in the classroom and in life?  This course can help you identify areas of your life you want to improve, set goals, and work to make positive changes using critical and creative problem solving.    

Students 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 from the required text 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 more successful. 

 If students have used an On Course text in U Sem, they are still allowed and encouraged to take this course for a more in-depth study. 

Time: 9 a.m.-noon.

Grading: ABCDF only



Title: Experimental Drawing

Instructor: Nicole Nee 

Course Description: This course will focus on experimental and contemporary approaches to drawing. Students will investigate mark making, narrative and abstraction through traditional and non-traditional techniques and media. Exploration will range from using traditional medias such as charcoal and ink to using non-traditional methods of mark making by creating invented appendages to draw with or using bodily gestures to capture expressive movement. This course will examine an expanded definition of drawing in the context of contemporary art by encouraging students to develop their own visual language.  

Time: 1 to 4 p.m.

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)



Title: Old Dogs, New Tricks: Integrating Technology into Law Enforcement Training

Instructor: Richard Riner

Course Description: This course will examine the rationale behind the integration of technology, in the form of advanced simulators, into current law enforcement training practices. Students will become familiar with the operation of a simulator and have the opportunity to take part in training exercises designed to enhance the critical decision-making skills in law enforcement officers. Students will also work to identify areas of need with regard to specific situations not already addressed, design scenarios that would fill that need, map the “decision tree” of possible outcomes, and then create those scenarios for use in the BVU Center for Criminal Justice Studies.  

Time: 9a.m. to noon

Grading: P/F only


PSYC 150/450

Title: Animal Mazes 

Instructor: S. Wesley Beckwith

Course Description: The classic image of animal research in Psychology is a rat in a complicated maze with cheese at the end. Certainly, there is a long history of using such mazes, but most mazes look nothing like this public perception. Rather, they tend to be very simple; the casual observer may not even consider them a maze. This class takes a deep dive into different mazes that are currently used in psychological research. There is an applied laboratory component were students will actually use, interact, and handle data from different mazes. This hands-on experience will be combined with a program of reading, writing, and discussion to expose students to the challenges and concepts underling modeling human behavior, cognition, and psychopathology in animals. Special emphasis will be placed upon how to establish and/or evaluate the validity of an animal model. The course is dual listed as PSYC 150 and 450. Students enrolling in PSYC 450, as opposed to 150, will have additional writing assignments commiserate with a 400-level course. 

Time: 1 to 4 p.m.

Grading: ABCDF only



Title: Methods of Written Communication 

Instructor: Leslie Haas

Course Description: See INTM116 description as well as academic catalog description

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)


THME 380       

Title: Topics in Theatre – Devising as a Method for Creating Performance

Instructor: Bethany Larson

Course Description: “Devising is a process of making theatre that enables a group of performers to be creative in the sharing and shaping of an original product that directly emanates from assembling, editing, and re-shaping individuals’ contradictory experiences of the world,” so states Alison Oddey in the introduction to Devising Theatre.  Five years ago ‘Fuzed & ‘Fraid’ was written by 16 students in this class, with a full-length production presented onstage in Anderson Auditorium. Students in this course will collaborate on the development and performance of an original work for the stage, and all participants will be involved either on or backstage for the production, which will be produced and performed at BVU and, possibly, at the American College Theatre Festival in Sioux Falls. Students can expect to develop their abilities in communication, critical thinking, imagination, creativity, and organizational and project management.  Please note: production obligations may continue after the Interim term is completed.  Rehearsals, technical and dress rehearsals, and performances are in February.   

Time: 9-12 class time and 1-3:30 rehearsal time.

Grading: ABCDF or P/F (student option)