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Fall WAVU 2013 Recap

Posted by on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in news, professional development, VSA Blog.

By Academic Coordinator, David J. Dunn, Ph.D.

One-hundred-and-one! That’s how many students we had this fall at our WAVU program. For those who don’t know, WAVU (pronounced “WAH-voo”) stands for “Weekend Academy at Vanderbilt University.” Students in grades 7-10 come to our campus one or two times a year to take courses taught by our faculty and advanced graduate students. This past weekend, we offered eight courses in everything from “Puzzles and Problem Solving” (math problems that take over an hour to solve) and “Rock & Roll Shakespeare” (I bet you didn’t know Jay-Z draws from Macbeth).

Our spring lineup includes the ever-popular Jason Brasel’s course in “Fibonnaci Sequences” and Marysa LaRowe’s new offering in “Flash Fiction.” I am especially looking forward to the return of Dr. Holly Algood and Dr. Jen Gaddy with their “Microbiology and Immunology” course. Their course last year was a huge hit. The couple of hours I spent observing their class completely changed the way that I think about health and disease. Here are two fun facts from the course: fecal transplants are something real and cutting edge, and you have ten times as many micro-organisms in your body as you have human cells. I am really looking forward to Dr. Robin Jensen’s class in “Visual Scriptures.” I was privileged to take a couple of courses with Robin back when I was a PhD student in the Graduate Department of Religion. She taught me how art and architecture are essential, yet underutilized, resources in historical studies. We have been after Dr. Jensen for a few years. She is an in-demand scholar, and I am glad we have finally been able to work out a time for her to offer a WAVU course. (The class, by the way, will focus on what art shows us about the formative years of early Talmudic Judaism and Christianity, and it has huge implications for historical studies, political science, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy, to name a few.)

Spring WAVU is currently full. The Scarritt-Bennett Center (where our students stay) will be undergoing renovations. We are trying to work on this housing situation, so if you want to apply, you can. You would go onto a waiting list. Just know that you would still have to pay the application fees, and there are no guarantees that we will be able to get around our very real space limitations. We will have definite information about the housing situation by mid-December.

There is one other reason that WAVU is awesome! We share secrets! At checkout, gave parents and students a sneak peek at our Vanderbilt Summer Academy 2014 course offerings (#vsa2014 for you tweeters). When our WAVU students saw some of our courses titles, we heard “squees,” saw fist-pumping, and witnessed other gesticulations of overwhelming joy!

In the meantime, look for “teasers” – snippets from course descriptions – on Facebook and Twitter every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until noon on November 4. That is when we will officially announce our VSA 2014 course lineup. Okay, I will go ahead and say that two of the courses I mentioned above will also be offered this summer. But that’s it! No more hints! You will just have to wait a few days!

We have a great summer coming! We have been planning for VSA 2014 for over a year (and VSA 2015 is in the works as well). Mark your calendars! You can apply starting at noon on January 2.

If this is the first time you’ve heard of WAVU, or want to get a snapshot of what VSA might be like, check out our slideshow from this past weekend.