High Noon at the Oil Saloon

The Long Emergency“High Noon at the Oil Saloon”, it sounds like an old western movie, but it is actually the name of a College writing course being taught this semester by Professor Raina Joines. Students will learn critical thinking and academic writing skills as they encounter contemporary issues. The content includes topics such as the history of the discovery and uses of conventional oil, what the term “peak oil” means, issues involved with alternative fuels, and planning for the future of American energy. [FC1] The author of the supplemental course text book is James Howard Kunstler, a well known American author, social critic, and public speaker. According to Ms. Joines, his book, The Long Emergency, has spurred excellent discussions in her classes. Ms. Joines said, “Most folks haven't thought much about how energy--and how we get it--affects our lives”, this class provides a platform for such thinking while exposing students to invaluable writing skills.

College writing I & II are a required part of many college students’ curriculum, and if the student retains most of the information taught during these classes, they gain a considerable advantage as they continue on to their career. One way to encourage high levels of retention is to engage students in conversation and thought about a current or provocative subject so they will be enthusiastic to present their ideas about the topic. High Noon at the Oil Saloon does just that, and as Professor Joines said, “Ideas about how Americans might prepare for the future seemed like a good set of topics on which to hone our skills in persuasion.” The class serves as yet another example of UNT’s commitment to engage students in thought about sustainable life style practices while preparing them for their future.