UW Classes Not to Be Missed

The following is a list of classes recommended by students who have come before you. These classes have left a lasting impression on the students recommending them. I found while I was a student here, that it is often best to take classes taught by certain professors, even if the class did not sound like something that I would normally be interested in. I believe this list is as much based on the professor, as it is on the substance of the class. Consider including some, or all of these classes, in your schedule while you are here.

African American Studies 231: Intro to African American History– Professor William Vandeburg

I liked this class because it gives a comprehensive look at the black  civil rights movement: how it started and how it evolved. History is a  great resource for ideas of how to further movements, like the current  environmental movement. The most interesting topic of the class for me  was learning about the black panthers and the non-violent work  they did.

Art History: Dimensions of Material Culture – Professor Martin

This class will change the way you see literally every object in your surroundings. Requires lots of reading and a big independent research project on one object of your choice.


Env Studies 126: Principles of Environmental Science – Cal Dewitt

The man is an amazing professor with a wonderful philosophy on teaching and learning. The class has a long lab at first glance, but the time flies, you visit an array of interesting places that really make you think, as well as a couple really fun trips to the arboretum and to a wetland. While you learn about environmental science in this class, you also build a community with your lab group and get to partake in a great variety of experiences with a wonderful professor who you will learn more from than you will ever know.

Env Studies 343: Environmental Economics

A different perspective on environmental issues. Explains why some environmental problems are not easy solved and explains the inability of our dominant economic system to adequately account for environmental impacts and other market failures.

Environmental Geology 104 – DeMets

This class gives you general knowledge of how the world works, from stream formation to natural resources. You will be able to understand why we use the resources we do and what is limiting us from using other renewable resources. Professor DeMets was one of my favorite professors.

Food Science 120: The Science of Food – Barbara Ingham

This was one of the most useful classes in my academic career. Through her flawlessly organized online lectures, Ingham explained exactly what we put in our bodies every day and what some of those complicated-sounding ingredients on labels actually do to our food. Her straight-forward, accessible approach to the nutritional contents of food gave hundreds of her students a better idea of how to maintain a healthy, natural, well-balanced diet.

General Business 601: Systems Thinking and Sustainable Businesses – Tom Eggert

I liked the way the class was structured, with discussions  in the first half  and a guest speaker second half.    My favorite part was the readings, especially the ones about Patagonia. The class pushed me to think about my own effects on the environment as a consumer and citizen, and gave me many ideas for how I can integrate my beliefs into my everyday life and future career.

Geology 119: Geology of the National Parks

We looked at a lot of slides and talked about how the structures of the Parks were formed. Great class to show the diversity in our land, and how important it is to protect it.


History 460/IES400: Environmental History – William Cronon

He is a brilliant man who is at the forefront of his field. His lectures are well put together and jam-packed with interesting information that make you reevaluate the history you have been taught and the place in which you live. He starts his class with an interesting take on what happened when the settlers came over from Europe. He takes you through the different periods of time in America till the present highlighting how the development of this nation has been impacted the land and culture environmentally.

Journalism 646: Mass Media and the Consumer class – Michelle Nelson

I liked the structure of the class because Professor Nelson used material that we as consumers are faced with every day. The class takes a look at how the media uses effective strategies to entice consumers. The class is open forum in that discussion in lecture is highly encouraged. She is fair and extremely approachable.

Literature in Translation 208: The Writings of Vaclav Havel – David Danaher

The class is a survey of the works of Czechoslovakia’s renowned dissident playwright-turned-president. Most literature classes tend to be eye-drooping after awhile, but Danaher was unfailingly dynamic and intellectually provocative. Instead of writing long, boring essays or bluebook tests, Prof Danaher had us write poems, letters and plays employing Havelian themes and styles. I was inspired by Havel’s humanism, self-awareness and faithfulness to truth before any party or ideology, and my inspiration was surely due as much to Danaher’s teaching as to Havel’s writing.

Macroeconomics 302

This class is extremely difficult, but if you can manage, you will have a grasp of interest rates and how government spending affects the economy. You will be able to tie foreign policy in with certain political actions the U.S. is involved with. This class allowed me to draw ties to current events that I never new existed. This is probably my favorite class thus far.

Nutritional Science 132: Nutrition Today – Pete Anderson

You learn all about your body, its nutritional needs, and how to eat healthy. I realized how much of the food that our society eats is completely useless–of absolutely no nutritional value. Now I make sure that the majority of what I eat has a purpose and is making my body happy.

Philosophy 441: Environmental Ethics - Jim Anderson

This class is great to take in the summer. The class discusses many  different points of view about our relationship with nature and the role we play in it. It was very meaningful for me because it reinforced my belief that humans are not superior to nature, and truly cannot survive without it. I liked the discussions that talked about how human intelligence is valuable to us, but we can’t judge the value of other species with the same yardstick. Other species have other, equally valuable traits: they can fly, see and hear much better than we can.

Political Science 106: Introduction to Comparative Politics – David Leheny

The class is an introductory level course on looking at global politics. Ultimately, Leheny makes the course. He is humorous and absolutely a genius. He is a talented lecturer and makes the topic interesting.

Political Science 103: International Relations – Professor Colucci

The class was very informative on world events and Prof. Colucci had a great way of getting the students interested in the topics he presented.  It provided a lot of information that explained why our world and the United States react the way they do to past and current situations.  He spent a lecture talking about the current War on Terror and the reasonings behind it.  It was amazing how many facts the majority of the nation is not aware of that went into the decision to go to war.  This class really opened my eyes to all the events going on around us and I think it is very important as college students to be knowledgeable about these events.


Soc 125: Contemporary American Society – Joel Rogers

I loved Joel Rogers, I loved the material, I loved hearing some actual evidence that there might be ways to tweak the capitalist system so that the have nots might have more rights afforded to them.

Soc/Psych 160: Human Sexuality-Social and Psychological Issues – John Delamater

Great class that everyone will remember long after they leave the university.

Sociology 496: Seminar on Leadership – Don Schutt

A class offered only once a year (during the Fall) for campus and student organization leaders as well as people interested in just developing as a leader. It is a great way to learn about yourself and your leadership style, grow as a leader, and meet some exceptional leaders that greatly influence our campus, city, and state. Check out the websitehttp://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/leadershipseminar for more information.

Sociology 918: Comparative Sociology of Contemporary Capitalism – Professor Zeitlin

The approach is centered around institutions, particularly the firm. We address the role of the state in economic policy, but seeing as business itself has significant influence on the manifestation of capitalism in many nations, the state is not the primary focus of the class.

Professor Zeitlin is an excellent teacher. He is extremely accomplished, has an incredibly sound analytic mind, and is also a great human being all around. What more can you ask for?

Environmental Studies 112 & 113-

These are the two intro to Environmental Studies in the Nelson Institute.  You don’t have to have that major to take these.  They are an overlook on humanistic and social perspective classes with great reading selections and discussions.

Community and Environmental Sociology 600- Jack Kloppenburg

This class can be used as a capstone project for C&E Soc majors and is an incredibly rewarding class.  One morning the small class goes birdwatching around Picnic Point.  One afternoon a week college students take taxis to Sherman Middle School to conduct a nature program in Warner Park.  Unlike any other class on campus.

Women’s Studies 103: Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease – Nancy Worcester

This was a class which—take it from me—is valuable in as many ways for guys as it is for girls. Worcester’s overarching theme is that a feminist is simply one who believes in equal rights for men and women. True, she makes no pretense of being fair and balanced, but the information she provides fills a large gap in the physical and sociological education of many students. The extent of her passion for women’s studies appeared once when she threw out an exam question on which students were confused, saying, “I’d rather have you know the information than trip yourselves up over two points on some test.”