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First Year Seminars
2014-2015
Summer 2014 | Fall 2014 | Spring 2015

First-Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC.


FYS 101: First Year Seminars meets Arts and Humanities (AH) requirements


Building a Culture of Peace: What would it take?

(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR

TuTh 1:00PM - 2:15PM
Sherman Hall 109
Joby Taylor
Will engage students in investigating the diverse meanings and methods operating in the study and practice of peace. The course will include an interdisciplinary exploration of primary texts, key terms, major theories and methods, and a guest presentation. There will also be individualized research opportunities for students that will result in critical and creative essays across a range of interrelated topics and build toward an overall course learning portfolio.

 


But is it Art? Filmmakers, Art, and the Artist

(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR

MoWe 4:00PM - 5:15PM
Math & Psychology 102
Alan Kreizenbeck
This course asks, what is art? What is an artist? Filmmakers have frequently explored these questions in documentaries and fictional narratives. This course will view several films about artists in an inquiry into what is art and what it means to be an artist in our society. The purpose of the course is to formulate answers about art and the artist, and to expand awareness of the multiplicity and diversity of what those two terms can mean. The films presented will cover a wide range artists and artistic genres.



Defining and Pursuing Prosperity
(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:15PM
Sherman Hall 114
Lisa Beall
How do we define the "good life"? Is success defined by money, possessions, and status or are there other, just as important, ways to achieve prosperity? What limits are placed on individual success by culture, class systems, and/or access to opportunity? How do we determine professional and personal standards of success? In this seminar, students will examine the concepts of wealth and prosperity as represented in literature, drama, history, psychology, and religion. The experiences of characters from text and film will be analyzed for how wealth and prosperity (in whatever way they are defined) can impact an individual and the society in which he/she lives in both positive and negative ways. Through class activities and out-of-class assignments, students will begin to identify the ¿wealth¿ they currently have, what they desire, the means for achieving their desired forms of wealth, and to consider forms of wealth and prosperity that have yet to be defined for them. Determining a personal definition of prosperity is the first step toward establishing goals and making plans for attaining them.


Discussing Classics

(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR

TuTh 8:30AM - 9:45AM
Math & Psychology 102
David Irvine
DISCUSSING CLASSICS has two major objectives. First, to read some short excerpts from western (and some non-western) thinkers. A who's who of intellectuals, going back over two thousand years. The second objective it deliberately work on building a good discussion group. Thus, in every class, there will be two agendas: What is the text talking about? How are we functioning as a group? This is an active discussion group, so come prepared to take part. There are no back-seats in this class.

Creating Stories about Times of Change

(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR

TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM
Engineering 336
Galina Madjaroff
This course explores common themes in both adolescence and aging, stages in life that can transform a person¿s sense of identity. In intergenerational teams, students will explore changes in their identities by producing video stories together that will focus on common threads, shared insights and lessons about growth. The narrative collaboration will offer opportunities for empathy and broadening of perspective, and participants will gain wisdom about creating identity in times of change.


Perspectives on the Heroic Journey
(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR

Th 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Math & Psychology 105
Steven McAlpine
The HEROIC JOURNEY asks what makes someone heroic? What happens when heroes fall? From ancient myth to modern films such as The Matrix and Harry Potter, the story of the ordinary man or woman who is called to an extraordinary journey has been told in a thousand different ways. At the heart of our fascination with the heroic story is the belief that in each of us lies untapped potential to change the world, that we possess a latent power that only needs a call to action. What if we viewed our journeys through higher education as a call to heroic adventures? Through the lenses of science (are we "hardwired" for heroic behavior?), psychology, mythology (ancient Greek heroes such as Odysseus), philosophy (do heroes have a stronger ethical impetus?), theology, and the arts, we will explore how the heroic journey is a necessary step in the construction of one¿s identity in order to answer the question, "who am I, and what am I called to do in the world?


FYS 102: First Year Seminars meets Social Sciences (SS) requirements


Images of Madness

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Th 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Meyerhoff Chemistry 256
Carolyn Tice
In contemporary society, virtually everyone goes to movie theatres or views feature films at home on videos, DVD's or television. For many people, films, regardless of their accuracy, serve as a major source of information on social issues, including mental illness. This course reviews Academy Award winning films depicting mental illness to consider the influence of motion pictures on the public perception of social issues, policies, and services. Beginning with The Snake Pit (1948) through As Good as it Gets (1997), students analyze films using a historical framework and in conjunction with assigned readings that address cultural stereotypes, societal attitudes, and the public's response toward people with mental illness.

Learning About, With, and From

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 10:00AM - 11:15AM
Math & Psychology 102
Michele Wolff
Learning About, With, and From Students with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary and Integrated Approach¿ is an interdisciplinary course designed to offer a comprehensive exploration of intellectual and developmental disabilities through the lens of Sociology, Psychology, Visual Arts, Education, Information Systems, Theater, Dance and other disciplines. The course will include cohorts of full-time UMBC students and non-degree seeking students enrolled in a new college-based program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, UMBC SUCCESS (Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success). This course will assist the full-time UMBC students in gaining a comprehensive, multidisciplinary understanding of intellectual and development disabilities, while providing a unique and substantive college-based experience for a cohort of non-degree seeking college-aged students with intellectual and development disabilities who are enrolled as participants in UMBC SUCCESS. The full-time UMBC students will explore the theoretical underpinnings of a range of intellectual and development disabilities from a multidisciplinary perspective. Faculty from Sociology, Psychology, Visual Arts, Education, Theater, Information Systems, and Dance (among others) will share the theories of their disciplines along with the practical application of these theories. Activities, grounded in these theories, will be used as a framework for engaging the full-time UMBC students with the UMBC SUCCESS students in interactive, experiential activities so that they can learn about, with, and from each other.

Diversity, Ethics and Social Justice in Schooling

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Mo 3:00PM - 4:15PM
Sherman Hall 208
Vickie Williams
This is a hybrid course with in class meeting time on Mondays 3:00-4:15 PM. Remaining course expectations will be determined by instructor.

This course will explore and mediate the tension between the current climate of school reform and the learning needs of highly diverse students through the lens of multicultural classrooms in diverse schools. In multicultural America, classrooms mirror the diverse nature of children¿s backgrounds, cultural experiences, languages, and ¿ways of knowing¿. This course offers opportunities to learn about the challenges of local schools firsthand and to understand the implementation of federal and local policies aimed at supporting the academic success of all students, regardless of cultural, linguistic, ethnic, or diverse backgrounds. The course will first examine the multicultural nature of society and schools. Then, ¿Brown v. the Board of Education¿ will be revisited as a foundation for understanding the legal, political, and social forces that impact a multicultural education system.

Poverty Amidst Plenty: The Economics of American Poverty

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 8:30AM - 9:45AM
Math & Psychology 105
Nandita Dasgupta
Poverty is not an oft-quoted word in USA. Nonetheless, the phenomenon is worth exploring especially in the backdrop of the Great Recession that US has recently experienced. With continuing unemployment and increasing costs of living, more and more families have to choose between necessities like health care, child care, and even food. This seminar will examine the nature and extent of poverty in the U.S., its causes and consequences, and the poverty alleviation measures adopted through government programs and policies.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 8:30AM - 9:45AM
Sherman Hall 108
Karen Freiberg
This course will examine information about the pathways to passive aggressive (P/A) behavior, or to a passive aggressive personality as well as identifying five distinctive and increasingly pathological levels of passive aggressive behavior. The course will help students distinguish between situational and pathological passive aggression and identify specific reasons why people use passive aggressive behaviors. Passive aggression will be examined across the lifespan and in four distinct contexts: home, school, marriage, and extended family. Students will learn the different ways that passive aggressive behavior is exhibited across these settings. Knowledge of P/A behavior will benefit all students since, regardless of major or career path, we all have to relate to each other, hopefully in healthy ways.

The Deaf Community and Its Culture

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Mo 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Math & Psychology 105
Denise Perdue, Suzanne Braunschweig
Through lectures, directed readings, attendance at deaf community events, and student research presentations, this course will introduce students the American Deaf Community, their unique culture, history and language. This course will also highlight significant impacts that American education systems, laws, and technologies have had on the Deaf Community¿s social status. The course will have several guest speakers, both Deaf and hearing, who will explore specific topics in depth such as CODA, Deaf Education, Interpreting, and Audism.

Exploring Mixed Identities

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

We 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Math & Psychology 105
Emerald Christopher
The aim of this course is to move beyond prevalent monoracial discourses by examining identities and experiences from a mixed race/mixed ethnicity perspective. This course explores many topics such as the history of racialization, processes of ¿othering,¿ acceptance and the politics of claiming, the role of education in racial formation (and vice versa), interracial dating, white and non-white mixed identities, transnational and transracial adoptions, and hybridity.

Creativity, Innovation, and Innovation and Invention

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Tu 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Meyerhoff Chemistry 272
Gilbert Mason
This course is for undergraduate students of all majors to explore the invention process from the germination of an idea to the development of a prototype in order to solve problems that address everyday needs. The purpose of the course is to inspire creativity and motivate students to invent, and supply them with the minimum expertise necessary to design, market, and protect an invention. Students will work in ¿active-learning¿ I-teams that will assume responsibility for tasks that are important to the development and success of their invention. Students will essentially act as the divisions of a company that are all working toward a common purpose.

Conceptions of the Self

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 11:30AM - 12:45PM
Math & Psychology 102
Leslie Morgan
This course employs a multi-disciplinary approach to examine 'the self', both personally and as a concept which is explored and expressed through a wide range of disciplines and fields of study (e.g., history, biology, art, music, anthropology, economics, etc.). Students will read and engage in lectures discussing how the self is theorized, described, expressed, developed in personal, social, artistic, cultural contexts (among others) with expert presenters from diverse fields. Written individual and group assignments and expressive projects on the self will be assembled into a course portfolio for review and presentation at the end of the course.

Maternity, Race, and Policy

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 1:00PM - 2:15PM
Math & Psychology 102
Tammy Henderson
An introduction to the ways in which race shapes discourses, cultural practices, and public policies related to maternity, motherhood, and child rearing in contemporary America. This course will explore how each of these conversations intersect and alter when explored through the lens of race. Are African American mothers judged more harshly in the justice system, pop culture or in public discourse versus non-black mothers? We will explore issues like these surrounding maternity by reviewing case studies, film and pop culture representations. Students will engage in critical thinking which will be the focus of group projects and presentations by using current research.

Debating America

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

MoWe 1:00PM - 2:15PM
Math & Psychology 105
Jeremy Spahr
This course will introduce students to the concept of ideological debates as a political tool, focusing on the techniques interest groups involved in ¿hot button¿ political issues use to define those issues in ways that promote their desired policy outcome. Particular emphasis will be placed on economic issues related to financial literacy, such as the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the national debt. The course will utilize sociological tools as well as historical techniques of textual analysis to assess how different groups seek to define "America" in different, often contradictory ways.

International Migrations and the National Debate

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Mo 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Sherman Hall 207
Sara Poggio
This course examines the continuous flux of immigrants arriving to US and particularly the State of Maryland, contributing to American cultural Heritage. The analysis will be done from an socio-historical perspective and a focus on the intercultural communication processes involved in the integration of immigrant to the host society. We will analyze the different populations that had contributed in the past and the ones that are contributing now to create the specific cultural diversity of the United States.

The Future of Women in STEM

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

We 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Meyerhoff Chemistry 030
Staff
We encourage children to become anything they can dream, yet how do we both cultivate and constrain particular career trajectories for girls and women, especially within STEM fields? This course examines the contradictions, complexities, and possibilities of how gender and STEM are contested and constructed across multiple contexts (e.g., historical, educational, sociocultural, and professional). The class will include discussions and analyses that focus on experiences in, representations of, and spaces for girls and women in STEM. Within the class, we will explore a range of media sources, artifacts, and field sites. Students of all majors who are committed to active and thoughtful participation are welcomed.

Conflict Resolution Education:

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Th 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Janet & Walter Sondheim 205
Lauren Mauriello
One of the National Education Goals is the creation of safe and constructive learning environments. Educators are increasingly aware of the need to build community in classrooms and schools in order to help students have such environments. A key component of that is conflict resolution education. This course introduces students to the broad field of CRE (including social and emotional learning, anti-bullying programs, peer mediation, negotiation processes, expressive arts, restorative justice programs, and bias awareness programs). The course provides students with examples of programs and encourages them to consider how they can support and utilize these programs as teachers and administrators.


FYS 103: First Year Seminar meets Science non-lab (S, non-lab) requirement

Paradigms and Paradoxes: An Attempt to Understand the Universe

(S, non-lab) GEP, (S, non-lab) GFR

TuTh 8:30AM - 9:45AM
Meyerhoff Chemistry 272
Joel Liebman
There are at least two kinds of scientific activities: acquiring and generating data, and inquiring and generating general modes of understanding. The latter activities will dominate this course. The course contents include discussions of some remarkable features of the universe: the class discussions will require no more scientific background than gained from high school chemistry and mathematics. Some topics for the course follow.


Matter doesn't collapse, shrink or disappear - it has size, weight, and sometimes shape. We take this for granted. Don't we? Positive and negative charges attract. The atomic nucleus is positive and electrons are negative. Why don't these parts of atoms get closer and closer and ¿ closer, and eventually collapse? In other words, we ask, not only why are atoms so small but also why are they so big? This topic is not merely philosophical. Questions of fuel efficiency and national defense arise as naturally as those of the existence of the universe. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. There are 4 letters in the genetic code and some 100 chemical elements in the periodic table. There are millions of distinct words, individual types of organisms and chemical compounds. Are these numbers 26, 4 and 100 small or are they large? As such, our study includes the nature of language, information and life. Consider the number 3.14159265357988; can you identify it? Answering this question should be as easy as pie. Hatmakers equate this number to 3. Is this a rational choice? Answering this question tells us about the nature of numbers, measurement, design, and industry, and also about the answerer.


FYS 107: First Year Seminar meets Arts and Humanities, Culture (AH/C) requirement


American Orientalism

(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR
TuTh 8:30AM - 9:45AM
Sherman Hall 207
Autumn Reed
This course will introduce students to the concept of Orientalism through the lens of the United States's changing relationship with and representations of the Middle East since the late 19th century. Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which gender, sexuality, race, nation, class, and religion intersect in U.S. cultural productions of the Middle East. Throughout the semester, students will interact with a variety of cultural texts, including art, literature, film, and the news to identify and assess U.S. Orientalism.

Happy Birthday, Don Quixote!
(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:15PM
Math & Psychology 102
Robert Sloane
The course will primarily work with standard techniques of literary analysis to explore (and question) aspects of Hispanic cultural identity - how Hispanic cultures represents themselves to themselves and others - at different times and in different places, with special attention to elements that run counter to the "establishment" view. The range of the course over time and space is very wide, but instead of reaching overarching, oversimplified conclusions, the course will, through its focus on individual works, seek to encourage the students' appreciation of specific literary and artistic achievements and critical awareness of issues involved in forging cultural identities.

 

 

 

For More Information, Please Contact:
Jill Randles
Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education
jrandles@umbc.edu | (410) 455-3715