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Hidden Gems 2020 - 2021

In college, there are the classes you have to take.

But sometimes, there are classes you want to take.

Take a look at some classes we like to call "Hidden Gems." These are lesser known or unique classes that offer students a course off the beaten path. Many of these classes are electives so you might be able to fit them into your program of study.

Every other week throughout the year, we will feature a new "gem" on the website homepage. Keep an eye out for these special classes! And if you have an idea or a class you'd like to see featured, let us know by emailing the CCAC Marketing Department.

drawing of a move projector against a rainbow-colored backgroundAccording to Professor Allison Caveglia Barash, who created the class about 10 years ago, the idea for the course came from student questions about the authenticity of movie character portrayals in feature films—questions like “Have you seen ‘A Beautiful Mind’? Is that really how schizophrenia is?” 

In this course, you will watch several movies during the semester and then compare the symptoms you see in these movies to the diagnostic criteria in the textbook, “Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior.”

The class is very student-driven, with discussions revolving around student questions and interests. One assignment involves students writing a paper to recommend a film, and Professor Barash selects one of those films for the class to watch at the end of the semester.

Student feedback has been positive. In fact, some even say it was their favorite class ever!

PSY 216 - Psychology in the Movies

green turnpike exit sign with the words success starts hereWant to create and then navigate your own academic and career path while at CCAC? 

College Seminar is a first-year experience course designed to help guide you along your academic path at CCAC and toward your career goals. During the course, you will determine your ideal career and link it to an academic plan. An integral part of this process is creating a repertoire of resources to help you along the way. You will apply skills and gain insights around grit, goal setting, time management, professional communication and financial literacy, all while familiarizing yourself with the various technology tools CCAC has to offer. As a bonus, you can expect to build lasting relationships with faculty members, mentors, other students and the college overall. 

By completing College Seminar, you will be taking the first steps toward achieving your desired goals at CCAC and beyond. Remember, at CCAC, our goal is your success!

SEM 105 - College Seminar

two people holding handsIt’s healthy and normal to have questions about your body, relationships, sex and feelings. This course is a reliable source of clear, factual information.

Learn about sexual and reproductive anatomy, hormones and sexuality, the similarities and differences between female and male sexual responses, sexually transmitted infections and sexually related diseases, birth control, pregnancy and childbirth, sexual orientation, and love and relationships.

Many people find it easier to have sex than to talk about it. By completing this course, you will equip yourself to enjoy the many benefits of open communication, and the insights you gain into human sexuality will help you feel comfortable about yourself and your own sexuality.

BIO 120 – Human Reproduction and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

man holding a glass globe in his handsThis course will help you develop an understanding of the economic, environmental, and equity (social justice) aspects of sustainability issues surrounding air quality, water availability, food and agriculture, energy, and shelter. You will learn to incorporate tangible (economic) and intangible (environmental, equity) costs into the decision-making process.
 
In addition, you will learn to evaluate the positive and negative trade-offs that sustainability solutions have—as well as take into account the challenges population growth introduces for resolving sustainability concerns. In doing so, you will sharpen your ability to make connections between your life and surroundings and matters of global environmental importance. Simply put, you will learn to think globally and act locally!

BIO 121 – Principles of Sustainability 

a young woman in a lab examining an orange-colored plastic objectThis course is part of CCAC’s Polymer Technology Certificate program, which provides training for employment in the expanding plastics manufacturing industry. MEC 115 will give you a hands-on overview of everything related to plastics—from making samples in the lab, to injection molding and blow molding materials, to breaking down waste for recycling. By the end of this course, you will not only know how to pronounce substances like polyethylene terephthalate, but you’ll know how to make and process them into everyday objects. You’ll also fabricate keychains and bottles, which make perfect gifts for friends and family!

The Polymer Technology Certificate program is housed at West Hills Center in Oakdale. You can complete the program in just two semesters—only five classes for a total of 16 credits—and earn a National Association of Manufacturers endorsed credential that can greatly enhance your employability. After graduation, you can enter the workforce, or you can apply your credits toward an Associate of Science in Mechatronics Technology for additional career development. 

MEC 115 – Introduction to Polymers

beautifully set dinner table at an eventThis course introduces concepts related to the planning and operation of events within the hospitality industry, including conventions, trade shows, professional meetings and foodservice events. Emphasis is placed on methods of marketing, selling, organizing and producing conventions, events and trade shows that will increase financial and environmental value. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of management principles for multi-function, multi-day conferences and events.

Hospitality is one of the most stable industries today and is one of the most ideal providers of lasting and solid careers. Enroll now!

Hospitality Degree + Experience = Great Opportunities

  HOM 130 – Hospitality Event Planning

Masthead of The Voice student newspaperIn this course, you will learn how to write for various forms of media, including award-winning newspapers like The Voice, the official student newspaper of CCAC. The Voice is entirely led and staffed by students, who do all the writing, editing, researching and page design. As you acquire the fundamentals of news reporting in class, why not put your talents to work at The Voice? This experience will provide you with a rich opportunity to develop transferable skills—from writing and editing to teamwork and meeting deadlines—all while being part of a high-quality, high-integrity organization that produces an exceptional product. Along the way, you will become familiar with Associated Press style, the standard reference against which all news writing is measured.

JRN 102 - Fundamentals of News Reporting

professor huth standing in front of a picture of the moon projected onto a movie screen and pointing out a lunar feature to his studentsIf you’ve ever wondered about the mysteries of the universe, then this course is for you. It is taught by Professor Patrick Huth, who worked for NASA and the Office of Naval Research before coming to CCAC. As someone who has been interested in astronomy since he was young, Professor Huth will fuel your curiosity about the cosmos. Expect to hear about major scientific updates and recent discoveries—and to explore the evidence for the possibility of life in the universe.

Now you, too, can develop a cosmic perspective, just like the astronauts. Ready for liftoff? The countdown to launch begins when you click the link below and register.

PHS 107H - Honors Introductory Astronomy

the word java, all capital letters, colored light blue, against a yellow-green backgroundAre you interested in becoming a software developer? If so, start with this beginner-level course. Then continue your software development studies with CIT 130 (intermediate) and cap it off with CIT 244 (advanced).

Java is the most commonly used programming language in the world. More than three billion devices run on it. It’s simple, easy to read like English, and favored by employers. Java is everywhere—and is used for everything—from web development to game development to software engineering. Java is also the technology that powers Android, the world’s most widely used mobile operating system.

Knowing how to code in Java can help you find the job of your dreams, including working in big enterprise server side apps, blockchain, big data, AI or machine learning. 

CIT 111 – Introduction to Programming: Java

Panoramic view of the spectacular ancient Maya city of Uxmal located in Mexico’s Yucatan PeninsulaDo you find past civilizations fascinating? Ever wonder who built the pyramids around the world and how? Intrigued by ancient hieroglyphic texts? Do you ponder the meaning of ancient artwork and paintings? Or are you curious about how anthropologists and archaeologists carry out their research?

There are abundant claims about these very topics presented to us in our everyday lives through TV shows, magazine covers and the news. Often, it can be a challenge to separate the facts from fiction.

This course is taught by a linguistic anthropologist who, for 20 years, has conducted fieldwork in Mexico. Let this practicing scientist be your guide as you explore the marvels and discover the ingenuity of ancient and past civilizations, while also learning how to critically analyze topics of controversy in these areas. 

FCL 109 – Pseudoarchaeology, Myths & Mysteries

three male students using music software on a computerThis course will help you realize your creativity. By learning the fundamental principles that underlie modern music technology, you will gain the background to effectively apply this technology, whether you are performing, composing, teaching, analyzing, or engaging in any other musical activity. You will work with hardware and software as you delve into these principles, covering the essentials of sound, audio, MIDI, computer notation and computer-assisted instruction. And while discovering and sharing new ways of creating and recording music, you will acquire the key tools every modern musician needs to succeed. Expect to be inspired by your classmates—and by the sound of your own creativity!

MUS 119 - Introduction to Music Technology

Hollywood clapperboardAre you a movie buff? Do you want to take your love of cinema to the next level? Then ENG 120 - The Art of Film is for you! The knowledge you acquire in this course will enrich your movie-watching experiences throughout your life. As you learn about formal elements like cinematography, editing and sound, you will pick up the vocabulary of film and make the transition from movie fan to film connoisseur. Studying movies actually increases the ways you can enjoy them. And because the study of film is the study of humanity, you will gain insights into the world of human experience and emotion.

ENG 120 - The Art of Film

Blackboard with the words Goal, Plan and Action listed under My Career and checked offWhen considering one of the most important decisions you will make in your life, be purposeful! Understand yourself and what motivates you. Explore what careers would be a good fit for your unique interests and talents. The goal of this course is to assist you in making an informed decision about your career path—and to develop the skills that are needed to get hired!

SDS 101 - Career Planning

globe covered with flags of the worldANT 117 - Globalization is the anchor course for the newly revised Global Studies Certificate program. Individuals who can work effectively with diverse groups possess a marketable skill prized by employers. Beginning spring 2021, the college is pioneering Global Perspective Courses. This is an exciting innovation that will give you the flexibility to select courses from within your major and have those credits double-counted. In other words, they will count toward both your associate degree and Global Studies Certificate! Look for GS-coded sections in the Online Course Catalog. And if you are planning on transferring to a four-year institution, a Global Studies Certificate can only enhance your credentials.

ANT 117 - Globalization

Nick FewingsThis course is a survey of American social work, including its historical roots, its major processes (social casework, social group work and community organization) and its settings. Special attention is paid to the role of the social worker in the alleviation of community problems. Coursework in this area provides students with the knowledge and values of social work at the introductory level.

SOW 101 – Introduction to Social Work

Logan WeaverIf we’re ever going to be the just, inclusive and vibrant society we truly want and deserve to be, we need to make ethics a priority. This course focuses on the study of right and wrong in the context of the police, the courts and corrections. But along the way, you will be laying the foundation for becoming an ethical professional in any field. One highlight of the course is learning about ethical heroes. These are women and men who displayed compelling courage in the moral choices they made. Another highlight is the wealth of real-world examples, case studies and practical scenarios that will prepare you to confront, with integrity, the ethical challenges you’re sure to encounter.
 
CJC 152 – Ethics in Criminal Justice

Woman in red and gold dressAre you curious about the ways in which people live their lives? Then this course is for you! Not only will you be introduced to some fascinating and different cultures, but through comparison, you will get to reflect on your own culture and make more sense of your own life. As one of the best disciplines for perceiving the world through the eyes of others, cultural anthropology fosters cultural understanding and appreciation. What could be more needed today? Is it any wonder that major players in the global economy are interested in hiring individuals with a background in cultural anthropology?
 
ANT 102 - Intro Cultural Anthropology

Group of people sitting indoorsThe goal of this course is to help you deepen your understanding of other cultures and people whose social identities are different from your own. The way people see and respond to others is influenced by their cultural upbringing, which creates assumptions about what is “normal.” As you grow in self-awareness, you’ll be inspired to examine your biases, stereotypes and prejudices and how they impact your relationships with others. Although cultural competency is a life-long journey, what better time than now to have a serious conversation about racism, unearned privilege and discrimination in a nurturing and understanding environment?

ETH 114 - Achieving Cultural Competence

Infant/Early Childhood Mental HealthWould you like to work with infants or toddlers? Have you thought about becoming a nanny? Are you considering taking a position in an Early Head Start program? In this course, you will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to interact with children from birth to 36 months and help them develop resilience, the ability to bounce back when faced with adversity. By analyzing a wide variety of case studies, you will learn best practices for fostering early childhood mental health. And best of all, time spent in the classroom is complemented by weekly field observations in infant and toddler settings.

ECD 209 – Introduction to Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health

BIO 133 Environmental ScienceDo you care about the planet? Would you like to help solve today’s environmental problems? In this course, you will learn how nature works, how human activity is affecting the earth, and how we can work together to make our world a more sustainable place. Environmental issues touch every part of our existence—choose to take a class that will benefit you now and throughout your life!

BIO 133 - Environmental Science

Respiratory Therapy StudentsRespiratory therapists are essential members of the health care team. In this course, you will learn about the role you will play in treating patients who have trouble breathing, thereby saving and improving the quality of their lives. Case scenarios will challenge you to use critical thinking to solve problems like the ones you will encounter during actual patient care. And by becoming aware of the latest advances in this dynamic field, you will be well on your way to preparing yourself to succeed in today’s health care environment.

RES 113 - Respiratory Therapy 1

hpe 171 Health and Wellness key pictureA healthy community starts with you. This course will empower you to take control of your personal health and wellness by incorporating discoveries from the most current, scientifically valid research. In addition, you will learn about the effects that your health choices may have on others and how you can become an agent of change with your loved ones and the greater community. You can live well and prosper—it can start now, and it can start with you.

HPE 171 - Personal and Community Health and Wellness

a couple on a park bench having an argumentThe goal of this course is for you to develop a personal program of stress management based on the latest science. By incorporating techniques for promoting mental and physical wellness—as well as strategies for balancing competing priorities—you can take effective, proven steps to ease your stress, protect your brain, and improve your mood.

PSY 115 - Stress Management

Susan B. Anthony StampAre you interested in exploring the history of women in society, with a special emphasis on the United States? Then this course is for you! Women's history tells the story of our nation's past from a wider perspective. It doesn’t rewrite history—rather, it expands the focus of history to include the activities and contributions of women from all walks of life, from different eras and different backgrounds. While surveying society’s definition of the nature and role of women, the actual conditions of women, and the feminist response to intellectual, social and political problems, this course details how women have played a vital role in human civilization.
Fun Fact: Feminism isn’t just a modern movement—it dates to antiquity! 

HIS 219 - History of Women

Eleanor Roosevelt StampAre you interested in issues surrounding women and gender? Are you passionate about social justice? Are you ready to work to improve the lives of women? Are you eager to make connections between your personal life and the topics you’re studying? Are you intrigued to discover new insights that looking at literature, art and film from a feminist perspective will give you? Are you open to questioning your assumptions about gender and sexuality? Then use the tools of history, economics, science, health, art, and other disciplines to study the lives of women and explore questions like these.
Did You Know? You don’t have to be a woman to specialize in women’s studies.

Soc 160 - Introduction to Women's Studies

Pittsburgh's skyline as seen from the West End Overlook featuring the red Duquesne Incline and the Golden Triangle“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere...whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail

What were racial conditions like in the United States prior to 1960? Specifically, what was it like to be a Black citizen living in Pittsburgh at the time? Can you identify two groups that participated in the Pittsburgh Civil Rights Movement and name their leaders? What techniques were used by these groups to achieve equality? Which businesses and government agencies were targeted by the movement and why? How did the movement impact the areas of employment, education and public accommodations? Learn all this and more as you discover how ordinary Pittsburghers stepped up to root out injustice, knowing that “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Professor Ralph Proctor What was Africa like before European colonization? How did the Atlantic slave trade develop and shape the lives and economies of Africans and Europeans? Trace the African American experience as you follow the journey of African Americans from their origins in Africa, through slavery in the Western Hemisphere, and their struggle for freedom in the United States, with a focus on the Civil War, Emancipation and the period of Reconstruction.

HIS 203 - African American History 203

old ruinsHIS 220 - Historical Archeology

This course is designed as an introduction to the basic techniques, methods and theories of historic archeology. Emphasis is placed on topics from 18th and 19th century North America that provide insights into employing material objects as data for analysis of the past. The methodology of historical research, archaeological excavation and the description and analysis of historical materials are examined.

Old map of Pittsburgh's three riversWhy is Pittsburgh the "city of steel?"  Why were the three rivers so important that they were a contributing factor in the French and Indian War?  Why is Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can so iconic?  And why is there an army of Steelers fans across the world?

If you'd like to discover the answers to these questions and so many more, REGISTER NOW for HIS222-AC71, Pittsburgh: Past, Present, Future on Tuesday from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. with Dr. Jacqueline Cavalier.

This course is a survey of Pittsburgh’s role in the Colonial frontier, the westward movement, the development of the Ohio River Valley and the Industrial Revolution, as well as its role in developing solutions to contemporary urban problems. The course features a ZERO-COST textbook available to students in hard copy or PDF format. Questions: jcavalier@acd.ccac.edu  

stenography machineThis course introduces students to the profession of court reporting. Topics include the history of court reporting, educational requirements, the duties and responsibilities of court reporters, professional organizations, certifications testing and career options in the fields of Judicial, Freelance, Closed Captioning and Computer Aided Realtime Translation (CART).

Speakers include practicing court reporters from local firms and courts. A field trip to a closed captioning agency is offered. This course is open to any student with an interest in the court reporting profession.

See if you would like to be a court reporter.