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Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Themester focuses on 'Connectedness: Networks in a Complex World' for fall 2013

April 2, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The 2013 Themester initiative's theme is "Connectedness: Networks in a Complex World," the College of Arts and Sciences has announced.

Themester Purple Bus

Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Dean Larry Singell stands near a campus bus wrapped with 2013 Themester logo and images.

Print-Quality Photo

Themester 2013 focuses on the role of connectedness as a force in society and in people's lives as unique individuals, partners, citizens and members of a global community. Whether involving particles, people or policies, human experience is embedded in dynamic streams of networks that shape existence.

"Social networking is an everyday term thanks to Facebook and other social media, but many people may not realize that networks are pervasive in other human activities and natural phenomena," said Armando Razo, a professor of political science and member of the 2013 Themester advisory committee. "For example, the brain is a critical network structure that is not immediately obvious, and epidemics can spread as a result of social connections. 'Connectedness' will enable the IU and Bloomington community to explore the richness and diversity of networks in the arts, sciences, technology and other areas that affect us on a daily basis."

Each year, Themester invites faculty and undergraduate students to explore an idea across the disciplines through a variety of courses and events. Exhibits, plays, invited speakers and service-learning activities provide opportunities for investigation and dialogue on the theme.

Students preparing to register for fall 2013 classes can choose from a number of undergraduate course options focused on "Connectedness," including "Multichannel Marketing," taught by the College's Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, "Shakespeare and Social Networks" in the Department of English and "Social Networks" in the Department of Sociology. A full list of Themester course offerings is available online.

Students on the Bloomington campus will soon see and perhaps catch a ride on a campus bus decked out in this year's Themester colors and signature images. Throughout the fall semester, the bus will advertise upcoming Themester speakers and events.

"Themester is one of the most innovative teaching and learning projects that I have seen on any campus," College executive dean Larry Singell said. "It offers our undergraduates a chance to transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines and understand that there is both depth and breadth to the pursuit of knowledge in the College. Themester truly personifies the spirit of what the liberal arts education strives to offer its students."

Themester is organized by the College of Arts and Sciences with a faculty and student committee that this year is chaired by Bernice Pescosolido from the Department of Sociology. Plans for programming, including lectures, films and theatrical events, are being developed. Themester will continue to partner with Union Board to bring a speaker to IU Auditorium, and Bloomington's Cardinal Stage Company will tie in with the theme in its opening fall production. Additional partners include the Department of Theatre and Drama and IU Cinema.