I was an engineer (transferring out of Pratt next semester though), and I did the exploring the mind focus. It wasn't terribly hard on my schedule, perhaps due to the fact that I had a lot of extra credits coming in that allowed me to free up space in my schedule for my FOCUS classes. If you don't have ANY AP credits and you are an engineer, I would probably recommend against it, but you should probably talk to your dean about it before you enroll.
If I am only interested in one cluster, can I apply only for that one, or must I choose 3 additional ones.
And also, if I am accepted into one of those 3 and not the one I'm interested in, will the classes automatically register, or do I have a say in it? In other words, can I (in a sense) reject my acceptance to any of those other 3?
Well, objectively-speaking, I suppose it wasn't that bad. We got to go to Rome for fall break, the weekly faculty speakers were interesting and the courseload was reasonable.
If you're really into political philosophy and the Enlightenment era, you should have a pretty enjoyable experience. So there are definitely positive aspects to this FOCUS.
What ruined it for me was one specific professor who tried to brainwash us into becoming Ayn Rand fanboys (this was for the Reason, Rights and Virtue class). I'm a social democrat, so it was a prettttty bad experience. I actually felt attacked at times, and marginalized all the time. But if you're already Libertarian or Objectivist, you'll love it.
Fortunately, I've haven't had a teacher anywhere near as bad as this one in the rest of my Duke career.
well I'm a pretty hardcore Ayn Rand so I suppose if the same prof is teaching I'll enjoy it What was the professor's name?
Hull. By all accounts a parodically doctrinaire Objectivist, out to indoctrinate students or make life awkward for those who disagree with him. (Ketty's report above is quite typical.) He's not even an actual faculty member in any department, but rather a "lecturing fellow" (read: rock-bottom of the teaching ladder) in some soft-money program. Ayn Rand? Really? This is college, you know, not sophomore year of high school. If you want a proper education in philosophy, take some courses in the philosophy department. Duke has a good one. Political theory? Duke has one of the best Poli Sci departments in the country. Economics or history of economic thought? Really strong people in that area, too, quite a few of whom (Caldwell, Hoover, others) are quite right-leaning if that's your thing — but who also have the added advantages of being (a) actual scholars, (b) fair minded to their students, and (c) not hopeless Randroid hacks.
Resurrecting this thread because I'm thinking of doing the Global Health FOCUS...can anyone comment on that? I really hope it's well-taught because the courses look SO interesting, and I'm thinking of possibly doing a certificate in global health.
hey so i REALLY can not decide between these two focus groups and the deadline is this monday! (roughly 2 days away)
Visions of freedom: i keep hearing extraordinarily positive things about this focus, which is great. BUT i also hear that the work load is extremely heavy and that Gillespie is a particularly HARD teacher. I'm scared to take this one! I don't want to do badly with my grades on top of everything with being new in college.
Power of Language: Seems pretty interesting, since im possibly thinking of being a lawyer. BUT its not as interesting as the Visions of Freedom one. yet, Newcity is supposedly the easiest teacher to grace this planet, so id be guaranteed an A and not have to stress out as much.
You're not even at Duke yet and you're already grade grubbing. What a great way to embark on what has the potential to be the most challenging and life-changing educational venture you'll ever experience!!!
Arzachel, I actually do have quite a lot of information on the ethics focus. It has not been offered before, but I am deeply involved with Kenan Institute for Ethics, who is sponsoring the focus. What do you want to know? One of the great things about Kenan (institute for ethics) is the resources. It will expose you to a community of people at the university already involved with the institute, and it is one of the centers on campus that is not feeling financial strain...at all, really. It's a very familial environment and opens up a lot of doors if you get to know the people.
As far as the courses go, some seem better than others. Suzanne Shanahan (assistant director of the institute) Noah Pickus (director of the institute) and Wayne Norman are all experienced and well-respected faculty. Noah is one of the leading scholars leading policy on immigration reform. Wayne is very influential in business ethics, and Suzanne is just a great person with a lot of resources at her disposal (and a well-respected scholar as well). Christian Ferney and Margaret Brown are newer PhDs and much less experienced. Nice people, but I honestly wouldn't really care to take a class from either of them. The first three, though, are great.
If you want any more information just let me know.