UMBC logo

First Year Seminars
2010-2011
Summer 2010 | Fall 2010 | Winter 2011 | Spring 2011

Summer 2010:

FYS 104A: Intercultural Exploration through Film

(C) GEP, (C) GFR

TuTh 9:00AM - 12:10PM

Academic Building IV 207

Alan Bell

This course is closely linked to the intercultural focus of the MLL major. Individual films will serve as case studies to examine the ways in which conflict may arise between cultures as well as to explore the development of intercultural competence. Through a careful examination of individual films as text, the course will focus on, among other issues, the function of verbal and nonverbal communication in multicultural settings.  American students live in a society that everyday becomes more diverse and complex. For example, a recent article reports that the Asian and Hispanic population in the United States will triple by 2050 and, by that date, the United States will be the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. This clearly indicates that students will experience intercultural conflict in their own lives, often without the tools to deal with the many bewildering issues that emerge from such encounters. Students will be asked to reflect on films that offer rich examples of intercultural conflict.

FYS 102A: Images of Madness

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 9:00AM - 12:10PM

Academic Building IV 210

Carolyn Tice

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. We will analyze films using a historical framework and with assigned readings that address cultural stereotypes, societal attitudes, and the public's response toward people with mental illness.

Fall 2010:

FYS 101Q - Creating A Culture of Peace:  What would it take?

(AH) GEP

TuTh 11:30AM - 12:45PM

Sondheim Hall 108

Joby Taylor

Building a Culture of Peace 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.

FYS 101R - Sustainability in American Culture

(AH) GEP

TuTh, 1:00PM - 2:15PM

Fine Arts Building Rm. 450

Rita Turner

This course explores the concept of sustainability, and how it is presented in popular American culture. We will examine cultural conversations and beliefs about the environment and about pressing environmental challenges, investigating how attitudes toward these issues get presented, debated, and constructed in American culture, through such media as books, movies, television, poetry, art, and news stories. Students will be expected to critically analyze readings and viewings, to discuss and reflect upon their own environmental attitudes and experiences, and to produce creative writing, digital stories, research presentations, and a final essay exploring an issue of their choice related to sustainability in American culture.

FYS 102A - Images of Madness

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

Tu 4:30PM - 7:00PM

Sondheim Hall 207

Carolyn Tice

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. We will analyze films using a historical framework and with assigned readings that address cultural stereotypes, societal attitudes, and the public's response toward people with mental illness.

FYS 102C - Diversity, Ethics and Social Justice in the Context of Schooling

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

MW 3:00PM - 4:15PM

Academic Building IV 208

Vickie Williams

We will explore and mediate the tensions that exist in current reform efforts as schools endeavor to meet the needs of diverse students. This course will use an inquiry-based approach to examine federal and local policies and how they impact students, schools and society.

FYS 102K - Passive-Aggressive Behavior

(SS) GEP

TuTh, 8:30AM - 9:45AM

Sondheim 202

Karen Freiberg

This semester long course will provide information about the developmental pathways to passive aggressive (P/A) behavior, or to a passive aggressive personality as well as identifying five distinct 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

FYS 103B - Paradigms and Paradoxes: An Attempt to Understand the Universe

(S) GEP, (S) GFR

TuTh 10:00AM - 11:15AM

Fine Arts 530

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.

FYS 103L - What is the world made of? 

(S) GEP

TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM

Meyerhoff Chemistry Building 256

Laszlo Takacs

A historical approach will be used to explore how the concept of matter developed from the ideas of ancient Greek philosophers through the modern concepts of elements, atoms, and molecules to our current view of elementary particles and how the matter of the universe evolved since the Big Bang. The development of practical materials will also be studied from the use of native metals and early pottery to modern materials engineering and ultimately the atomic-level control of nanomaterials. Although the unifying theme of the course is science history, substantial excursions will be made into the relevant areas of physics, chemistry, and materials science, especially when discussing current understanding and practice.

FYS 103M - Crimebusting with Math and Stat

(M) GEP 

MW, 1:00PM - 2:15PM

Information Technology (ITE) 241

Nagaraj Neerchal

Statistical and mathematical concepts often become key aspects in solving crimes, in successfully prosecuting criminals, and in courtroom arguments in employment discrimination, anti-trust litigation, contested election, disputed paternity, and compliance with environmental regulations. In this class, many real life case studies will be used as a springboard to the discussion of statistical and mathematical methods used in fighting crime. Students will watch selected episodes from the popular CBS prime-time TV crime series NUMB3RS, and the companion book by Devlin and Lorden will be used as a guide for class discussion. Students must have a Math Placement score of Math 150 or higher or taken an equivalent course.


Winter 2011:

FYS 101F - Contrasting Visions of Society
(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

MWF, 10:00AM - 12:10PM

Physics Building Rm.107

David Mitch

This course will be based on reading four influential works which set forth contrasting visions of society. These are Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Plato's Republic, Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto, and Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism which set forth contrasting visions of society. It will aim to develop an understanding of each of these texts and the contrasts between the visions of society.

Spring 2011:

FYS 101D - Turning to One Another: Beliefs and Behaviors
(AH) GEP, (AH) GFR

TuTh, 8:30AM - 9:45AM

Fine Arts Building Rm. 530

C Randles, Diane Lee

This course is oriented toward exploration of questions that are both personal and global in their orientation. What do I believe about others? What is the relationship I want with the earth? When and where do I experience sacred? Conversations will occur around topics such as these to expand and inform our understanding of how our beliefs and behaviors have the power to transform.

FYS 101R - Sustainability in American Culture

(AH) GEP

TuTh, 2:30PM - 3:45PM

Fine Arts Building Rm. 530

Rita Turner

This course explores the concept of sustainability, and how it is presented in popular American culture. We will examine cultural conversations and beliefs about the environment and about pressing environmental challenges, investigating how attitudes toward these issues get presented, debated, and constructed in American culture, through such media as books, movies, television, poetry, art, and news stories. Students will be expected to critically analyze readings and viewings, to discuss and reflect upon their own environmental attitudes and experiences, and to produce creative writing, digital stories, research presentations, and a final essay exploring an issue of their choice related to sustainability in American culture.

FYS 102D - Investigating Everyday Problems and their IT Solutions

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM

Engineering Building Rm. 104

Susan Evans

As we proceed through a normal day, we are faced with a myriad of small problems ranging from \"How can I avoid that traffic jam?\" to \"What''s the number for the pizza place that delivers?\" Other larger problems, such as \"Are Maryland''s new voting machines accurate and secure?\", and \"How do we train our surgeons without putting patients at risk?\" also occasionally get our attention. The purpose of this course is to provide first-year students with an opportunity to study some real-world problems and to see how research is carried out on those problems at UMBC. This course will concentrate on problems currently being studied by members of the CSEE Department, but it is interdisciplinary in nature since those problems vary in subject matter tremendously. 

A) The course is a solid introduction to research methods used both in the discipline of Computer Science and also in the fields associated with the specific problems being studied that semester.  Problems studied will vary from semester to semester based upon the current research topics being investigated by the CSEE Department at the time of the course offering.

FYS 102G - Sexuality, Health and Human Rights

(SS) GEP, (SS) GFR

TuTh 1:00PM - 2:15PM

Public Policy Building Rm. 204

Ilsa Lottes

Who has the right to access scientific information about individuals' sexuality and sexual health? What privacy rights do people have in their sexual relationships? Who controls when and if one has children? In the last decade, scholars and advocacy organizations have been asking such questions that link sexuality, health, and human rights. Increasingly, these linkages are made by human rights advocates, those marginalized by their gender and/or sexuality, feminists, and professionals in the health and family planning fields. Students will become sensitized to issues that have become increasingly important to the international community in the areas of sexuality, health, and human rights. They will also become familiar with steps in the social science research process, including background literature review, survey construction, data collection and analysis and reporting of findings.

FYS 102M - Conflict Resolution Education: Handling Conflict Constructively

(SS) GEP

W 1:00PM - 3:30PM

Academic Building IV Rm.121

Sue Small

A key component to successful and meaningful educational experiences is related to 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 first in their personal lives, and then as future leaders. Throughout the course there are opportunities for reflection about how the principles of CRE apply on an individual level in one’s life. There are many applications for CRE across careers from the business world to public service. 

FYS 103C - Issues in Biotechnology 

(S) GEP, (S) GFR

TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM

Biological Sciences Building Rm. 461

Nessly Craig

Through directed readings, class discussions, and student presentations, this seminar will focus on understanding these various aspects of modern biotechnology with an emphasis on its scientific basis. Practical demonstrations and visits to UMBC labs using biotechnological techniques will be an important part of the course to illustrate how the methods theoretically discussed in class are actually done.

FYS  103N - Monitoring Global Environmental Change with NASA Satellite Imagery

(S non-lab) GEP

Th 4:30PM - 7:00PM

Engineering Building Rm. 104

Ana Prados

This course will utilize NASA Satellite Imagery, newly created visualizations, and analysis and decision-support web-tools to provide a First Year Seminar (FYS). The course will provide students with an opportunity for early exposure to the Earth Sciences by learning how earth satellite monitoring is currently utilized in environmental and societal applications. The course structure will be a combination of in-class lectures, directed web-based hands-on activities, and student presentations, and will be taught at a computer lab on campus. In-class time will be divided evenly between lectures and hands-on computer exercises. The course curriculum will primarily rely on NASA imagery and tools to teach 1) basic earth system science principles, climate variability and atmospheric chemistry and 2) Environmental and societal implications of climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and air pollution. Students will form 2-person teams to produce a total of 10 Student presentations to be provided throughout the semester. Students will choose (and/or will be assigned) one of the lecture topics and then utilize the concepts and tools learned in the course to deliver a Case Study at the local or regional level in the U.S or internationally. A Case Study uses imagery and analysis tools to explain current or past environmental conditions and provides a discussion of at least one environmental (e.g. crop damage, acid rain, biodiversity loss) and one societal (e.g. health, economics, flood damage, etc) aspect.

FYS 104C - The Italians

(C) GEP, (C) GFR

TuTh 10:00AM - 11:15AM

Physics Building 107

Alan Rosenthal
Italy has attracted people of many nationalities for centuries. Visitors continue to be seduced by its beauty and charm, and by the richness of its culture. However, few get to know the real nature of the Italians, themselves. This course offers a cultural perspective of the Italian people, as revealed through their literature, journalism, film, and music. Topics to be discussed include among others regional differences, social structures, daily living, attitudes toward law and government, and the sense of malaise and alienation in today’s economy. Information about Italy’s historical background will also be provided, especially as to how it still influences the country and its people.

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