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A Liberal Arts Exploration of the Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 virus analysis collage with scientist

2 Undergraduate Credits (for current and incoming LR undergraduate students)
Starts: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 (10 weeks). Late enrollments welcome.
Class Fee: There is no charge for this class.
Course Syllabus (PDF)
Course Website

Lenoir-Rhyne is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering a free, online 10-week course open to all LR undergraduate and graduate students, LR alumni and the general public. The course addresses multiple perspectives of the current pandemic.

Course Registration

The class is offered as “credit/no credit” for current and incoming LR undergraduate students. Everyone is invited to enroll and participate, but course credit is not available for graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public.

CURRENT & INCOMING Student Registration

ALUMNI & Community Registration


Course Description

Each week will feature different LR faculty members offering expert perspectives on this ongoing, global crisis. Featured faculty represent a broad range of disciplines, including healthcare, biology, communication, language arts, performing arts, economics, history, theology, psychology and education. Students will be challenged to engage with material relevant to the crisis with an interdisciplinary mindset and to synthesize what they learn into a deep, multifaceted understanding of the time of coronavirus.

Course Structure

Learning materials for the week's topic and an assignment will be posted every Monday morning. Live streamed discussion sessions with the guest professor of the week will take place every Thursday evening from 7-8 p.m. These discussions will also be recorded and posted online so that they are available to those unable to attend live sessions. Weekly assignments for credit-seeking students will be due by Saturday evening each week.

In order to earn undergraduate credit, current and incoming LR undergraduate students must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently enrolled as a student at LR
  • Register for the class by Monday, June 15
  • Submit and pass at least seven of the 10 assignments

Credit will be applied to the transcripts of students who meet these criteria at the conclusion of the course. Members of the community, graduate students, faculty and staff who are taking the course for no credit are welcome to submit assignments, but there is no expectation to do so.

Course Faculty

  • Dr. Kathryn Tinkelenberg, professor of nursing and director of the MSN program, begins the course by offering an overview of the science of epidemiology and the responding role of healthcare.
  • Dr. Daniel Grimm, assistant professor of biology and former professional researcher in microbiology and biochemistry, walks the class through a detailed understanding of the COVID-19 virus.

Other highlights of the course include:

  • Dr. Jeffrey Delbert, associate professor of communication and author of the forthcoming book Rhetoric and Governance under Trump: Proclamations from the Bullshit Pulpit, unpacks polarized responses to the pandemic and the propagation of misinformation.

  • Dr. Gary Johnson, university provost and professor of English, leads the class in developing an understanding of the current crisis through the lens of literature.

  • Dr. Tunay Oguz, assistant professor of economics, explores the impact of the pandemic on economic systems at both a macro- and micro-level.

  • Dr. Monica Campbell, chair and professor of education and co-director of the Teaching Scholars Program, analyzes the shift to online education, including issues of accessibility and policy.

  • Dr. Veronica McComb, incoming dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and associate professor of history, parses historical accounts of past pandemics to shed light on current events.

  • The Rev. Dr. Mary Shore, rector and dean at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University, dives into theological interpretations of tragedy and suffering.

  • Dr. Ryan Luhrs, assistant professor of music, director of choral activities, and newly appointed conductor of the Hickory Choral Society, reflects on the role of communal singing in times of personal and societal crisis.

  • Dr. Kerrie Fuenfhausen, associate professor of counseling and counseling program coordinator, guides the class in an understanding of the mental health impact of the crisis.

Dr. Taylor Newton, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Devon Fisher, professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, are serving as course developers and co-facilitators. At the end of the course, they will lead students in integrating the many disciplinary perspectives offered throughout.