LSA Course Guide Search Results: UG, Fall 2018, Subject = RCASL

The RC Curriculum is composed of a diverse array of learning opportunities.

Intensive Languages

Intensive language courses meet in lecture and discussion twice a day, four days a week (except for Japanese, which meets five days a week). The language programs have language lunch tables, coffee hours, and other social events. The language teachers are available for counseling and additional help. If a student begins a new language, proficiency is usually attained in one year through the Residential College program.

Social Theory and Practice

The Social Theory and Practice program supports students in developing the analytical and practical skills necessary for active engagement in the world and for building careers that promote equality and responsible citizenship. STP courses offer students the opportunity to learn theories, methods, and strategies that enable them to understand and critique social structures and processes and to become effective actors in struggles for justice.

Creative Arts

No other program in LSA offers a wider range of studio arts classes. RC students have the opportunity to take courses in our own studios and to exhibit their work in gallery and theater space within East Quad. Past course offerings have included ceramics (with on-site kilns), drawing and painting, photography (with on-site darkroom), holography, media studies, ethnic dance from the Congo and Java, music composition courses, and a breadth of theater opportunities—in short, everything that brings the humanities to life.


The RC offers a unique series of courses and activities that give students the chance to study the history and cultural context as well as the practice of dance.


The RC music program is energetic, vibrant and constantly evolving. It offers performance, music theory/composition and musicology/ethnomusicology classes, and concentrates on the kinds of classes that the School of Music does not offer for non-music majors. The RC Music program is especially interested in developing collaborations, interdisciplinary classes and innovative projects.

Studio Arts

The Residential College Studio Arts Program is based on the premise that art at its most fundamental level is an expression of awareness and that first-hand knowledge of the visual arts is an essential determinant of the quality of life. The Studio Arts Program is one of the Residential College’s unique features, as the college itself is unique in requiring its students to take as part of their degree requirements a course in the fine arts, which includes studio work.

The goals of our program are to develop wide-ranging skills, interests, and capabilities. Diversification, conceptual and interdisciplinary skills, and fundamental visual and craft principles all must be dealt with in one or two courses in any given medium. Our courses require an intensive commitment of time and energy by both faculty and students. It is our intention not only to give students technical expertise in a given area of visual arts but also to train students to think deeply and critically about the place of art in contemporary society.

The Fine Arts Program offers courses at both beginning and upper levels. No prerequisites are necessary for the beginning courses, and students with no previous art experience are encouraged to try these courses.

Arts and Ideas in the Humanities

The Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Program offers a broad array of interdisciplinary courses in literature, the visual arts and music. Many courses focus on specific historical moments or contexts ranging from ancient times to the 21st century understood in global terms. Students are encouraged to encounter different cultures through their distinctive artistic production, and to develop the interpretive and analytical skills appropriate to an understanding of these works.


The RC Drama program offers a study unique at U-M: the understanding of drama both as art form and literature. Students learn to understand all the stages of the dramatic process — from circumstances of a work’s composition, to the history of theater methods and presentation, and myriad forms of expression. Students also attune their sense of theater aesthetic through practice and experimentation — they learn costuming, lighting, scenery, all of the factors that help create true perform — and of course, they act.

Creative Writing and Literature

The RC Creative Writing and Literature program allows students to simultaneously develop their writing skills [in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, etc.] while pursuing a serious study of literature. RC students work closely with faculty, initially in workshop classes and then individually in writing tutorials.

American Sign Language (ASL) is the language of the Deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. ASL uses a gestural-visual modality in which manual signs, facial expressions, and body movements and postures all convey complex linguistic information. It is a fully developed language, with its own systems for articulation, forming words and sentences, and meaning. ASL is separate from English, and is also distinct from other signed languages. An excellent example of the separateness of signed languages from each other and from the surrounding spoken language(s) is that, although English is the shared spoken language of the U.S. and Britain, speakers of ASL do not understand speakers of British Sign Language.

ASL is estimated to be the fourth most commonly used language in the U.S. Through learning the preferred language of the Deaf community, students who study ASL gain access to the rich cultural heritage of that community, which includes a distinguished tradition of visual poetry, narrative, and theater. Students of ASL also learn about other aspects of American Deaf culture, including the values and outlooks of Deaf people, and social and educational aspects of deafness.

Students of ASL may find that they gain a new perspective on how human languages are structured. Through learning a language that uses a different modality of expression than the oral-auditory modality of spoken languages, students begin to discover properties that are common to all languages. Linguists' research on the commonalities between signed and spoken language provides strong evidence that all languages are governed by the same basic properties.

Finally, study of ASL also provides practical training for students entering a range of professions in the field of deafness, and may strengthen students' qualifications for various non-deafness careers.

The ASL Program at Michigan

The Residential College offers a 5-course sequence in American Sign Language. Introduction to Deaf Culture (RCASL 102) serves as a pre- or co-requisite to the beginning language courses. The four-term sequence of language courses (RCASL 103, 104, 203, 204) may be used to satisfy the undergraduate language requirement of the College of Literature, Science, and Arts.

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