UMBC logo

First Year Seminars
Summer 2013 | Fall 2013 | Spring 2014

Spring 2014

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

Turning to One Another: Beliefs and Behaviors

TuTh 2:30-3:45PM
Math & Psychology 105

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.

Discussing Classics
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:15PM
Math & Psychology 110
David Irvine
The objectives of this class are twofold: To discuss excerpts of twenty classics (such as The Handbook of Epictetus) and to develop discussion skills. To that end, each reading is preceded by a short piece pointing out its relation to some aspect of discussion groups.

But is it Art? Filmmakers, Art, and the Artist
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:15PM
Fine Arts 018
Alan Kreizenbeck
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.

Perspectives on the Heroic Journey


Th 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Fine Arts 529
Steven McAlpine

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

Debating America: Ideology and Language in Modern American Politics


MoWe 1:00-2:15PM

Public Policy 438

Jeremy Spahr

Debating America: Ideology and Language in Modern American Politics will introduce students to the concept of ideological debates as a political tool, focusing on the ways interest groups involved in ¿hot button¿ political issues work 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.

Transforming Technologies


Tu 4:30-7:00PM

Janet & Walter Sondheim Hall 113

Susan Hoban

In the course Transformational Technologies, we will study how technologies shape the way humans interact with their environment. This course will explore innovations in transportation, navigation, agriculture, industry, medicine, human safety, communication and quality of life that have been made possible by technologies. Students will reflect on the impacts of technologies in these areas to examine the change in trajectory of society as a result of the innovations, and students will consider examples of societies that do not use the technologies, either by circumstance or by choice. Discussions will include the positive and negative effects of technologies on the environment and on societies.

Poverty Amidst Plenty: The Economics of American Poverty


TuTh 8:30-9:45AM

Janet & Walter Sondheim Hall 108

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.

Need for Fantasy


TuTh 8:30-9:45AM

Sherman Hall 207

Karen Freiberg

This FYS will focus on critical analysis and reasoning about culture and the social sciences, and on oral and written communication. An interdisciplinary approach will feature Anthropology (social customs and beliefs), Sociology (functions of human society) and Social Psychology (behavior groups), as well as writing skills. The reading assignments will feature "Need for Magic", a fantasy novel by Joseph Swope, Ph.D. and 3 overviews of social psychology. The chosen novel introduces human needs, motivation, impression formation, attraction, prejudice, cognitive dissonance, social approval, cult membership and other social phenomena which will be the materials for our discussions and student assigned papers.

The Deaf Community and Its Culture
Tu 4:30PM - 7:00PM
Sherman Hall 207
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.

Conflict Resolution: Handling Conflict Constructively


MoWe 4:30-7:00PM

Sherman Hall 108
Sue Small and Stephanie Dahlquist
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 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 10:00AM - 11:15AM
Meyerhoff Chemistry 351
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 107: First Year Seminar meets Arts and Humanities, Culture (AH/C) requirement

Happy Birthday, Don Quixote!


Th 4:30-7:00PM

Math & Psychology 105

Robert Sloane

Happy Birthday Don Quixote: The year 2005 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the first part of Cervantes¿ great classic, Don Quixote. Written by an aging Spanish ex-prisoner of war, Don Quixote both mirrors the complex world of his own time and provides a point of reference for contemporary Spanish and Latin American writers. The course will center on reading and discussion of the most successful recent English translation of this funny, profound, and still astonishing book of adventures about life, love, death, and the adventure of books. The course will also examine the world from which the book emerged, and its importance to Hispanic culture in times since, in order to locate Don Quixote ¿ hero and fool ¿ in the pantheon of ambiguous Spanish heroes from a time when Spain was the most powerful nation on earth.The course is also meant to contribute to the students’ understanding of the background and diversity of Hispanic culture.


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