The Best of Both Worlds

Typically, those who major in the arts and those who major in the sciences rarely choose to cross paths. We are comfortable in the areas we excel at, and the dreaded biology or the dreaded English class can bring shivers to many. However, CNU pushes its students to explore other fields, engage in a multitude of diverse classes and truly attempt to become as well-rounded academically as possible. Usually this consists of taking a chemistry class here or a philosophy class there, but this coming fall there will be a class that bridges the gap between the arts and the sciences. Professor Denise Gillman of the Theater Department will be offering the class (that fulfills the creative expressions portion of the areas of inquiry) titled THEA 368: Science on the Stage. Professor Gillman’s award-winning work is founded on interdisciplinary courses among the arts and humanities and the sciences. From writing on Emilie du Chatelet to directing the new play based on du Chatelet’s life (“Legacy of Light”), Professor Gillman encourages her students to explore these two realms of academia that are generally regarded as opposites among many students.

I have had the pleasure to study with Professor Gillman for many classes and perform in her production of “Mary Stuart.” A highly disciplined, humorous, and invigorating educator, Professor Gillman has high expectations for her students because she truly believes that they can rise to meet her challenges (which they do!). The class (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4:15), previously offered as an honors course with great success, will consist of reading 8-10 science-themed plays which explore such topics as astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, genetics, computer science and quantum physics. More than simply depicting these scientific philosophies, the plays will simultaneously examine major ethical and moral questions that affected famous scientists such as Galileo and Einstein. The only prerequisite for the course (no, you do not have to be a theater major) is English 123; however, if you are an incoming freshman, you still may take this course if your AP English test scores have exempted you from the ENG 123 course. Christopher Newport University consistently is adding new courses to not only meet the liberal learning foundations but also to give its students dynamic and groundbreaking courses that allow students to think critically while discovering their academic “place” in the process. If you are interested in taking the course or have any questions, please feel free to email Professor Gillman at

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