Friday, March 13, 2009

Meet the Faculty

Walt Oler is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the Whitacre College of Engineering and a mechanical engineering faculty member at Texas Tech. He will be accompanied by his wife Kathryn in Seville. Both are looking forward to getting acquainted with the students and sharing the Seville experience with them.

In Seville, Dr. Oler will be teaching courses in thermodynamics and statics. Thermodynamics is described as the science of energy. Spain has become a leader in energy conservation and alternative energy production. Seville will provide a great context for discussion of the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (conservation of energy) and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (efficient energy utilization).

Statics is the analysis of systems of forces on particles and bodies that are in static equilibrium. Sounds exciting, don't you think? Well, statics is what we will need to appreciate the engineering behind the Roman aqueducts in Granada.

Mark Webb is a faculty member in the Philosophy Department, where he teaches various topics in Philosophy of Religion and Asian Philosophy. He loves to travel, and is expecting to have a great time with the students in Seville. He will miss his wife and cats, but that's the way it goes.

Dr. Webb will be teaching World Religions and Philosophy, taking advantage of the rich cultural legacy of Southern Spain. Normally this course would cover the Asian religions, too, but this summer it will focus on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three so-called Abrahamic religions. The course focuses equally on the facts about doctrine and practice in the three religions, and philosophical or theological problems that arise from those doctrines and practices. We will consider three questions in particular: Is there good philosophical reason to think the world must have a beginning? Are there compelling proofs for the existence of God? If such a God exists, what must he be like?

Hello, I am Stacy Elko. I am currently in the School of Art and will be teaching the art appreciation class. One of the important things to remember is this is not an art history class. It is about developing visual literacy and the vocabulary to visually understand, process and discuss works of art. So about half of what we will do other than looking and discussing lots of art in Spain will be to create art in reaction/conjunction with our travel and experiences.

A bit more about me too. I did live in Morocco, North Africa for 10 years which does link up nicely for the trip to Spain. And of course, if in future travels people do go to Morocco, they will be astonished at the artistic and architectural links between the two countries based on their long and interesting history. I anticipate this being a real interesting and slightly crazy summer in a good way. Forging new ground!!!SE

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