Spring semester courses added or modified in response to last years attack on America are drawing great interest from students, WVU officials say.


More than 85 percent of the seats available in the new classes are taken. In fact, some class sizes were expanded to accommodate additional students. As of the first day of the spring semester (Jan. 14), approximately 1,525 of the 1,739 seats had been reserved.


“There has clearly been a demand,”said Provost Gerald Lang, whose office staff worked hard immediately after the events of Sept. 11th to put together an array of in-depth courses on topics such as Islam, terrorism and the Middle East. Eighteen special three-hour credit and one-hour seminar courses were added; more than a dozen existing courses were changed to place a special focus on the attacks and the aftermath.


“Its part of the mission of being a university to expose students to new ideas and to get them to discuss current events,”Lang said.”For these students, they havent seen anything like this in their lives.”


Aaron Gale, assistant professor of religious studies in WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, is teaching a new course this semester titled The Faiths of Abraham.


Gales course explores the three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam that track their roots back to the biblical patriarch Abraham.


“We have to respond and be cognizant of what students want in light of recent events,”said Dr. Gale.”The number one priority is accommodating the studentsneeds based upon whats happened.”


Other new courses include: Effects of Terrorism on Children, Democracy at War, Women in Islam, Ecoterrorism: Causes and Impacts and The Role of the Journalist in War.


Students arent the only ones interested in the new offerings. The added courses at WVU also have drawn the interest of several of the nations major newspapers because of the extraordinarily large number of new classes and the short time it took to develop the curriculum.


The Houston Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roanoke Times, Chronicle of Higher Education and others have runor will be runningstories on WVU s new course offerings.