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Infectious Disease

Communicating Science: Infectious Disease

How prepared are we to address major disease outbreaks? What role does the media play in disseminating information? In Communicating Science: Infectious Disease, students will be introduced to journalism—a “discipline of verification,” while learning how to critically evaluate and effectively discuss the issues related to various outbreaks of major pandemics that should be of concern to all of us as global citizens.

ANTH 177 – Re-emerging Diseases: The Media, Zika, Zombies, & Ebola
Jim Mielke, Anthropology

Fulfills Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11), 3 credit hours

As world citizens, are we ready to respond to major pandemics? If so, how will we respond? How will the media influence and guide our responses? Using anthropological methods and theories, this course will trace the evolution of human diseases over the past 3 million years. The class will examine and discuss the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that currently threaten the human species. As a learning community course, the class will explore how the media reports and treats disease outbreaks. We will discuss the relationships between humans and diseases, coupled with interactions with other animals, disease vectors, and natural and cultural environments. 

Portrait of Jim MielkeJim Mielke entered his first year of college at the University of Utah as a pre-med student.  During the last quarter of that first year he took an anthropology class and his career as an MD ended abruptly.  As a result, he then earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from University of Utah and a master's degree and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A member of the KU faculty since 1977, Jim loves teaching a variety of anthropology classes that complement his research which is focused in the areas of biological anthropology, population structure, historical demography and historical epidemiology. These research interests have taken him to Costa Rica and Finland. Besides academics, Jim really enjoys fly fishing in pristine streams or taking backpacking trips in the high mountains of New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

JOUR 101 – Media & Society
Kerry Benson, Journalism

Fulfills Goal 3 Social Sciences (GE3S), 3 credit hours

JOUR 101 is an introductory course open to all KU students. The course emphasizes the use of critical and creative thinking as tools to better consider the reliability of information received through newspapers, magazines, radio and television, online media, trade publications, advertising, and business communications. The class also surveys media ethics, economics, technology, and the function and impact of media on a free society. The course is designed for pre-journalism students, students considering journalism as a major, and students from other disciplines who take it as an elective.

Portrait of Kerry BensonKerry E. Benson is the Strategic Communication Chair in journalism. With decades of professional experience in advertising, public relations and print journalism, she began teaching in the fall of 1999 at KU. Kerry has a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno, and a master’s degree from Columbia University. She developed and team-teaches the School of Journalism’s presentation skills course and the discipline’s entry course, JOUR 101. Other courses Kerry has taught include an entry level writing course, a mid-level writing course, international marketing communications and principles courses in advertising and public relations. In 2004, undergraduates selected Kerry as a Center for Teaching Excellence honored teacher, as did graduate students in 2007. She was a Del Shankel Award finalist in 2009 and HOPE Award finalist in 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2002.



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