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An Unusual Class on Semester at Sea


Written by Carli Antor (Student)

As I walked into my second Human and Society class, taught by Professor Timko, I was expecting to be able to quickly take my seat and patiently wait for class to begin. But when I walked through the glass doors I immediately noticed that the chairs in the room had been arranged into a circle with all the students’ chairs facing the middle of the circle. Great! We were ready for open class discussion. Once class began Professor Timko explained that each of us were going to introduce ourselves to class, followed by answering three questions and we could only answer the question with an okay or not okay. He then wrote three words on the board- torture, euthanasia and infanticide. Suddenly everyone started to ask him to explain the question in greater detail, but all he said was that he wanted us to answer if in ANY way possible would any of these acts be acceptable or never ever in any case could these acts be acceptable.

Professor Michael Timko is currently a Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia and Director of the Distinguished Major Program in Human Biology.


As you could tell these topics with such a black or white answer made for a very interesting start to class. From there, we were asked to list what our human rights are. Sounds simple, but when you combine the minds of 27 students’ raised from a variety of different cultures, backgrounds and educations we ran into quite a few disagreements, as well as compromises.

In our next class we will be discussing Health Care; more specifically as to America’s Health care in comparison to that of European and Japanese health care. I cannot wait to listen and contribute my thoughts in this discussion. Many of my fellow classmates have much to contribute to my prior knowledge of health care and some may even present important points that I have never thought of before.



I am hoping views and opinions are challenged, so that those only with good reasoning and support will be those who are looked at as having the “correct” opinion.



  • Culture
  • Education
  • Life on Land

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