About the Program
Hood College takes reading and writing seriously, and your professors want you to be able to communicate well on a college level. Our program offers first-year students an opportunity to sharpen their presentation and writing skills while exploring fascinating interdisciplinary subjects within small classroom settings.
The first-year seminar will teach you how to pose intellectual questions, how to research them, and how to deliver your findings in both written and spoken forms. You'll quickly discover that the small class size will allow you to work closely with your professor and your fellow students in ways that will prepare you for success here at Hood and in your future professional career.
The first-year seminar can replace one category of second tier Methods of Inquiry (except for lab science) in the core requirements. No first-year seminar will count toward a major.
First-year seminars are designed to have broad appeal and are not highly specialized. They reflect the interests and expertise of the professors who teach them. Each seminar is limited to 15 students. Choose a seminar that interests you from the 13 varied topics below.
For more information on the program, contact Martha Bari, Ph.D., director of First-Year Experience, by calling (301) 696-3576, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Pictured above: First-year students in Professor Van Winter's First-Year Seminar class, Let My People Go Surfing, paddle their way down Battle Creek to tour an oyster farm in southern Maryland.
Fall 2013 First-Year Seminars:
Black, White and Read All Over: How the Media Cover Race and Ethnicity
Register for FYS 101-01
Elizabeth Atwood, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism
This course explores how the news media cover race and ethnicity by comparing press coverage of the black civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s to the media's coverage of race and ethnicity today. Students will read primary and secondary accounts of news coverage of major civil rights events and study the impact media coverage, especially television coverage, had on the civil rights movement. With this background, students will then explore the news media's coverage of contemporary race and ethnic issues, especially as it pertains to Latino immigration and the treatment of Muslims after 9/11. Students will consider whether regional differences in media coverage still persist and the extent to which the Internet and social media play a role in the news coverage of racial and ethnic issues.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria
Register for FYS 101-02
Diane Graves Oliver, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology
This seminar will examine a variety of models of mental health in African Americans and racial, ethnic and self-identity development. The impact of black society, culture, family, racism and poverty on personality growth of African Americans will be explored. The history of black psychology and the pioneer theorists who have made significant contributions to foundation and continuing study of black psychology will be discussed.
The Joy of Computing
Register for FYS 101-03
Aijuan Dong, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science
Computing has changed our world in profound ways. This course will examine some of the history, big ideas and fundamental concepts of computing. The overarching theme is to expose students to the beauty and joy of computing. Topics include: key figures in computing, fun programing using a friendly graphical language; big ideas in computing; applications that have changed our world; social implications of the digital revolution; risks and errors of computing systems; and the limits and the future of computing.
The Hunger Games
Register for FYS 101-04
Michael Coon, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics
Nearly 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than $2 per day. For those living below this internationally defined poverty line, the simple act of feeding their families is an epic struggle fought every day of their lives. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the myriad aspects of life that are complicated by the fact that more than one-third of the world's population does not have enough to eat. Students will explore how poverty and hunger contribute to a pernicious cycle of poor outcomes in health, education and employment that condemns many to become trapped in poverty while simultaneously living in the shadow of unprecedented wealth.
Satan in Salem: The Witchcraft Episode of 1692
Register for FYS 101-05
Barbara Powell, Ph.D., assistant professor of history
"The Devil hath been raised amongst us," wrote Rev. Samuel Parris, offering a diabolical explanation for the "odd postures" and "distempers" that seized some girls in the small Massachusetts town of Salem Village in the winter of 1692. In this course, our exploration of the most dramatic and deadly witch hunt in all of American history will make use of the latest scholarship on the subject as well as the surviving records of the witchcraft trials. Students will analyze case studies of accused witches and their accusers through primary documents and consider what prompted the accusations, what evidence was used to support the accusations, how the accused responded and what finally brought this episode to a close.
To Probe or Not to Probe: The Psychology of Near-Death Experiences, Out-of-Body Experiences and Alien Abduction
Register for FYS 101-06
Shannon M.A. Kundey, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology
Paranormal phenomena such as near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences and alien abduction have long fascinated us. Psychology seeks to explain human experience, including phenomena that at first may seem unusual or inexplicable. We will jump into the fray, critically exploring the way that psychologists handle claims and human experiences falling outside the bounds of known science. Using the standards of scientific method, we will attend specifically to the psychological processes and mechanisms thought to contribute to and underlie such phenomena.
History, Gangnam Style: The Past, Present and Future of Globalization
Register for FYS 101-07
Corey Campion, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of history
This course examines the past, present and future of an important development in contemporary society: globalization. As students, and professors, in 2013, we are experiencing and shaping a unique moment in the human story. As global products such as Starbucks, Korean pop music, and iPads, and global challenges such as climate change, swine flu and the Great Recession continue to unite the world's communities in unprecedented ways, this course asks students to consider what exactly "globalization" means. To answer this question about the present, students first turn to the past and examine when and how globalization began.
Science in Art and Archaeology
(This seminar is fully enrolled)
Register for FYS 101-08 (Open only to students in the LLC 101E, Science Behind the Scenes)
Christopher Stromberg, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and chair of the department of chemistry and physics
While most people see art and archaeology as being at the opposite end of the spectrum from the sciences, collaborations between these fields are leading to important and interesting discoveries. From identifying the food last kept in a 3,000-year-old bowl found in an archaeological dig to identifying forged paintings, scientific tools have been invaluable to understanding the past and present of art and archaeological artifacts. This course will explore the intersection of these disciplines and how science can help uncover the past.
From Aunt Jemima to Beyoncé: Black Images in Popular Culture
Register for FYS 101-09
Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and African American studies
This course will examine ways in which African Americans are depicted in popular literature, film and music. In the class we will reflect on critical studies of popular culture, especially those that pay close attention to the political significance of these representations. We will address questions such as: What are some of the common recurring depictions of black people in film, literature and music? Do they reinforce or counter stereotypes? How do they fit into their political context? Has black popular culture affected black political empowerment? We will also examine some of the public discourse and debates about black popular culture, such as the role of hip hop music in politics, the classic Zora Neale Hurston/-Richard Wright debate and the more contemporary debate between film makers Tyler Perry and Spike Lee.
The Philosophy of Food
Register for FYS 101-10
Stephen Wilson, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy
This course will examine the link between food and identity through texts, images, ambiance and experiences that constitute the data of food marketing. In a spirit of philosophical inquiry, we will ask the following types of questions: Who are the authorities implied in a website menu or competitive cooking TV program? What is the attraction of envisioning oneself within communities organized around these ways of living? What worldviews compete with those being sold in these venues? What kinds of resistance must be overcome in order to make a sale? Students will employ many types of analysis, such as visual, textual, commercial, cultural and psychological in their search for answers.
Let My People Go Surfing
Register for FYS 101-11
Jerry Van Winter, Ph.D., assistant professor of management
Using Yvon Chouinards' book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman as a framework, we will explore critical topics related to business and society. Chouinard is the founder and owner of Patagonia, a company that is often cited for its values-led business practices. Topics that will be covered from multiple perspectives include entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, environmentalism, leadership, surfing and quality-of-life decisions. To gain a richer appreciation of these subjects, we will visit with and host local entrepreneurs and civic leaders. A trip to the Chesapeake Bay is tentatively planned to meet with a former liberal arts student who co-founded a company that sold for over $100 million dollars and is now directly involved in bay restoration efforts.
Evil: Realities and Representations (Honors 101)*
Register for FYS 101H
Karen Hoffman, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy
Trevor Dodman, Ph.D., assistant professor of English
Hoda Zaki, Ph.D., professor of political science
This team-taught course takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding various historical, philosophical, and literary perspectives on the nature of evil and some of the ways that evil is expressed in the modern world. In addition to large group sessions, students will move through three rotations, spending several weeks in small groups with each instructor. Through the various rotations, we will discuss the fragility of humanity and the evils of dehumanization. Looking to the past, the course raises questions about exploitation, genocide, and human suffering through readings that cover issues pertaining to slavery and unfree labor, the Holocaust, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Looking to the future, the course raises questions about the ethics of genetic enhancement and the possible resulting posthumanism. The course will culminate with collaborative group presentations that address evils in our shared present.
*Only available to Honors students and required of all first-year students entering the Honors program