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First-Year Seminar Program

Bong Hits 4 Jesus: Doing Battle with the First Amendment

Register for FYS 101 01
Janis Judson, Ph.D., director of law and society program and associate professor of political science

What does the phrase, “Bong Hits for Jesus”, have to do with the First Amendment and the United States Constitution? This seminar will try and answer that very question. We will address three free speech issues of particular interest to college undergraduates---freedom to articulate opinions and beliefs in the public forum, liberty of expression for social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and finally, freedom from book censorship by restrictive curricular standards. Since freedom of speech is not an absolute guarantee, we examine some of the more logical ensuing questions: what are the boundaries of free speech? How does the state determine what restrictions on speech serve a ‘compelling government interest’? How does the law achieve a balance between safety and order in schools on one hand and tolerance and liberty on the other? Through literature, non-fiction and case law analysis, students will explore the tensions and paradoxes of this most sacred of political and legal rights.

Developing Your Leadership Potential

Register for FYS 101 02 (Open only to students in the LLC 101F, BOLD @ Hood (Building Opportunities for Leadership Development)
Kathleen Bands, Ph.D., professor of education

What do Tony Hsieh, Pharrell Williams, Sheryl Sandberg, J.K. Rowling, and Ray Lewis have in common? They are contemporary leaders who are having a significant impact on the world of business, sports, books, and entertainment. In this first-year seminar, students will explore the habits and attitudes of highly effective and innovative leaders. The seminar will help students develop effective habits for success as well as develop their own leadership philosophy and potential.

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 which are complicated by the fact that over 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., adjunct instructor 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 to the latest scholarship on the subject as well as referring back to 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 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

Register for FYS 101 08
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 3000-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 Voting Rights to the New Jim Crow: The Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Register for FYS 101 09 (Open only to students in the LLC 101G, Civil and Human Rights are Universal Rights)
Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and African American studies

The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of a key moment in this nation’s history- the Passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act--one of the crowning legislative achievements of what is known as the Modern Civil Rights Movement. This course will explore the Modern Civil Rights Movement spanning the years 1954-1970. We will explore major events in Civil Rights Movement history paying close attention to role of youth, women and “everyday people”. Finally we will bring our examination to a more contemporary context and explore racial inequality in the 21st Century, exploring the questions: Are there vestiges of Jim Crow in the 21st Century? Have we reached the beloved community? Is there still racism and discrimination in the U.S. or have we reached a period that is “post-racial”? In what ways have we progressed and what issues of equality and justice are there still left to address? The course will touch upon many areas of inquiry including democracy, social justice, U.S. History, African American studies, human rights, political activism, collective action, social ethics, gender hierarchies, and more. We will examine popular literature and music, political documents, and historical film footage from the movement. Students will immerse themselves in this historical period and also connect to more contemporary Civil Rights Issues.

Who’s on First? Sports in American Life

Register for FYS 101 10
Donna Bertazzoni, Ph.D., professor of journalism

From novels to newspapers and from vaudeville to video games, sports pervade American life and culture. They are part of our collective history; they offer both glory and shame. However, there's more to following sports than simply rooting for a favorite team. Today's knowledgeable sports fan needs to understand economics, government relations, labor relations, gender issues, and (unfortunately) the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs and the workings of the court system. This course will engage students in looking at sports through a variety of media. Students will be introduced to sports literature, biography, history, and film. Among other topics, we will examine the integration of baseball; how Title IX changed women's sports forever; how the steroid era has tainted professional sports; how new research into concussions is affecting professional football; and how the push to develop young people into elite athletes is affecting children and adolescents.

Ethical Dilemmas in the Baby-Making Business

Register for FYS 101 11
Katy Fulfer, Ph.D., Libman professor of the humanities, women’s studies program and department of philosophy and religious studies

Transnational reproduction--the buying and selling of reproductive materials and gestational services--is a burgeoning global industry. The availability of new reproductive technologies such as egg harvesting, sperm donation, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy, coupled with personal desires and (often) social pressure to build a family, have given birth to a new and growing industry. This interdisciplinary course will examine ethical questions arising in this context. Drawing from philosophy, religious studies, biology, law, social sciences, marketing, and women's and critical race studies, we will focus on commercial sperm and egg donation and surrogate motherhood (the practice of hiring a woman to gestate an embryo) in destinations across the globe.

Myths, Mummies, and Mysteries

Register for FYS 101 12
Tammy Krygier, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of art

In this course students will be introduced to the world of the Ancient Egyptians. We will begin by studying Egyptian religion and mythology in order to better understand how the Egyptians perceived their world. While many believe that the Egyptians were a people focused solely upon death, they were in fact a culture obsessed with life and the continuation of life after death. Turning to archaeology and modern Egyptological scholarship, we will study mummification and tomb design, and discuss the meaning of burial rituals in Egyptian society. Lastly, we will consider how Ancient Egyptians have been depicted in pop culture, from works of fiction to films.

Beyond ER: Becoming a Nurse

Register for FYS 101-13
Kelly Wolfe, B.S.N., M.S., assistant professor of nursing

What do nurses do? How did the profession start? Would nursing be a good profession for me? If you have ever asked yourself these questions, then Beyond ER: Becoming a Nurse is the FYS for you. This class will explore the foundations and the often-controversial issues associated with nursing as a profession as well as the evolution of nursing to its current autonomous practice.

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