Previous Courses

For more information about previous Chiron Studies courses, please click here to visit the Chiron Studies Journal.


Spring 2016 Courses

Joyful Justice

C.R.N.: 65669, 4 Credits; Dates: T/R 14:00-15:50

Student Instructor: Amanda Hudson,

Faculty Mentor: Celine Fitzmaurice,


Does social justice have to be such serious work? Join us as we search for opportunities to enjoy ourselves while making our own causes more meaningful, intentional & empowering. We will do this by exploring games, entertainment, arts & crafts, humor, music & interactive environments.

Instructor Bio:

Amanda is a Ph.D. student in Urban Studies, focusing on community development and public participation. She has her B.S. in Professional Writing from Southern Oregon University. She has worked as a teaching assistant and instructor for community organizing, participatory research methods, and democratic education. Amanda has a deep passion for fun, games, and event planning. If you have any questions about this course, feel free to email her at

Critical and Visionary Sustainabilities

Artwork by Elizabeth LaPensee (Anishinaabe, Metis, and Irish)

C.R.N.: 65670, 4 Credits; Dates: W 16:00-19:30

Student Instructor: Felipe Ferreira,

Faculty Mentor: Miriam Abelson,


What is sustainability? What are we trying to sustain? Who is benefiting from it? Join us as we critically examine the dominant notion of sustainability and re-envision new branches of sustainability (sustainabilities) that are place-based and socially just.

Instructor Bio:

Felipe (preferred pronouns: he/him/his, they/them/theirs) is a firm believer that education - particularly popular education - is a powerful tool for positive social transformation and it is for this reason that he is currently pursuing a master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy, with a focus on Leadership for Sustainability Education. He graduated from the University of Utah in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability and his Critical Sustainability Studies conceptual framework explores the intersections between sustainability and social justice. Some of his grandest passions and interests include studying ecology, mycology, history, and playing guitar. Don't hesitate to email him if you have any questions about his course at

Burning Man: Facilitating Creative Chaos

C.R.N.: 656662-Credit Weekend Intensive: Dates: S/U, April 16-17, April 23-24, 10:00-17:00

Student Instructor: Tom Martin,

Faculty Mentor: Heather Petzold,


How does a temporary community such as Burning Man flourish and endure with so many disparate ideas and voices? Explore autonomous organization in and out of Black Rock City with a critical, community based lens.

Instructor Bio:

Tom is a 4th year undergraduate student and enrolled in the Community Development program at Portland State University. He is active in the TRiO-SSS program and student clubs such as BikePSU and SAUCI. "TomCat's" participation in Burning Man stretches over 11 years. He has served as a Washington, DC Regional Contact, manager for the Burning Man Community Bikes fleet, and department lead for the Black Rock City Ranger Intercept team. He is vice chair for Precipitation NW, an arts, education, and leadership development non-profit based in Portland, OR. He volunteers for SOAK, the Burning Man regional arts festival in Oregon. Tom repairs bikes for therapy in his spare time. He likes cats too. If you have any questions about Burning Man or this course, feel free to contact him at

Beasts, Bots, and Beings: Exploring Human-Nonhuman Relationships

C.R.N.: 656672-Credit Weekend Intensive:

Dates: F/S, April 8-9, 12:00-16:00; S, April 16, 10:00-16:00; F, May 13, 12:00-16:00

Student Instructor: James Funston,

Faculty Mentor: Alex Sager,


What do the narratives about animals, robots, and monsters tell us about what it is to be human? This course will be an introduction to human-nonhuman studies and will explore the relationship between humans and other beings in literature, mythology, and pop culture.

Instructor Bio:

James is a Philosophy and Psychology major, planning to pursue a Ph.D. program. His interests include critical pedagogy, animal ethics, and political philosophy. He has worked as a teaching assistant and currently teaches philosophy to K-12 students through the Philosophy in the Schools program at a local Montessori middle school. He is also a McNair Scholar researching Philosophy for Children as a tool for empowering students. James has a passion for education, storytelling, and making philosophy fun and accessible for everyone. If you have any questions about his course, feel free to email him at

Get Happy!: Happiness, Authenticity, and Personal Power

C.R.N.: 65789, 4 Credits; Dates: R 17:30-21:10

Student Instructor: Jen Cai,

Faculty Mentor: Greg Townley,


Learn and practice methods of deepening your happiness, being more fully yourself, and connecting with your ability to create positive change. This course draws from growing research in well-being as well as popular approaches, and explores topics such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs, self-acceptance, social connection, gratitude, kindness and authentic expression.

Instructor Bio:

Jen is a Master's of Public Health student with an emphasis on Health Promotion. She is passionate about promoting happiness and capitalizing on the ripple effect, where increasing one person's happiness can spread to others around them. She is very excited about creating a community in the class dedicated to increasing happiness. Her background includes a bachelor's in Biology and a love for mind-body techniques and natural medicine. She has also coordinated multiple health promotion programs on campus, such as Project Happiness, Get Happy, and the Healthy U Wellness Challenge. Feel free to contact her at with any questions or for more information about the course.