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FYS Courses

Fall 2017 | Spring 2018 (TBA)

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


Fall 2017

FYS 101: First Year Seminars

meets Arts and Humanities (AH) requirements

Creating Stories about Times of Change

Lecture: Tu 4:30 p.m.  –  7 p.m. | 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.


EnGENDERing Popular Culture

Lecture: TuTh 11:30 a.m.  –  12:45 p.m. | Performing Arts & Humanities Building 124
Richard Otten

This course will illuminate the ways in which we are passive consumers of popular culture and empower individuals to become critical participants. Popular culture is all around us. It influences how we think, feel, vote, and live our lives. This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to the study of U.S. popular culture and aims to examine the multiple ways gender has been portrayed in various popular cultural forms. Through an intersectional and intertextual investigation of television, film, popular music, advertisement, and social media, we will explore how representation as objects, consumers, subjects, creators, challengers, and critics both reflect and produce socio-cultural phenomena and ideas about the proper role of women and men in society. Throughout this course, we will consider the intersections of gender, sex, and race and analyze how they are articulated in popular culture.


It Came from the `80s: Political, Social, and Cultural Changes of the 1980’s

Lecture: TuTh 1 p.m.  –  2:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 210
TBA

The 1980s saw the rise of modern conservatism with the election of Ronald Reagan, the end of the Cold War, and a vast expansion in consumer culture. All of these changes were reflected and influenced by the popular culture of the 1980s in film, television, and music. This course examines the political, social, and cultural changes of the 1980s, and the way these changes were portrayed and even shaped by the popular culture of the decade. Students will choose a historical event from the 1980s and examine how popular culture interpreted the event, often in contrast with the views and valuations of historians.


FYS 101Y: First Year Seminars

meets Arts and Humanities (AH) requirements

Defining and Pursuing Prosperity

Lecture: MoWe 2:30 p.m.  –  3:45 p.m. | Sherman Hall 207
Lisa Beall
Discussion: We 4 p.m.  –  5:15 p.m. | Engineering 122
Staff

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.


Perspectives on the Heroic Journey

Lecture: Th 4:30 p.m.  –  7 p.m. | Sherman Hall 108
Steven McAlpine
Discussion: Tu 4 p.m.  –  5:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 210
Staff

Perspectives on 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?”


It Came from the `80s: Political, Social, and Cultural Changes of the 1980’s

Lecture: TuTh 1 p.m.  –  2:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 210
Staff
Discussion: We 4 p.m.  –  5:15 p.m. | Engineering 122A
Jill Randles, Laila Shishineh

The 1980s saw the rise of modern conservatism with the election of Ronald Reagan, the end of the Cold War, and a vast expansion in consumer culture. All of these changes were reflected and influenced by the popular culture of the 1980s in film, television, and music. This course examines the political, social, and cultural changes of the 1980s, and the way these changes were portrayed and even shaped by the popular culture of the decade. Students will choose a historical event from the 1980s and examine how popular culture interpreted the event, often in contrast with the views and valuations of historians.


FYS 102: First Year Seminars

meets Social Sciences (SS) requirements

Poverty Amidst Plenty: The Economics of American Poverty

Lecture: Fr 1 p.m.  –  2:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 207
Nandita Dasgupta

Poverty is not an oft-quoted word in USA. Nonetheless, the phenomenon is worth exploring, especially in the context of the Great Recession that the United States 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.


Diversity, Ethics and Social Justice in Schooling

Lecture: Mo 3 p.m.  –  4:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 208
Vickie Williams

This is a hybrid course with in class meeting time on Mondays 3:00-4:15p.m. 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.


The Deaf Community and Its Culture

Lecture: Mo 4:30 p.m.  –  7 p.m. | Sondheim 206
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.


Creativity, Innovation, and Invention

Lecture: Tu 4:30 p.m.  –  7 p.m. | 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.


Social Issues in Business

Lecture: We 4:30 p.m.  –  7 p.m. | Sondheim 203
Carlton Crabtree

Successful innovations are achieved when people work together. This seminar introduces students to business concepts through collaboration and practical application including a group project to research a company business model that benefits society. Cultural dimensions affect the way companies promote products and services internationally. In this context, we also examine how social media influences consumer perceptions and organizational change. Students learn theories in business communication, corporate culture, ethics, and decision making. The leadership skills acquired in this course are part of the foundation to any discipline.


The Information Diet?

Lecture: TuTh 10 a.m.  –  11:15 a.m. | Information Technology 237
Joanna Gadsby, Kathryn Sullivan

In this seminar, students will be introduced to the reflective discovery and critique of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge. Through guided discussion and hands-on activities, students will explore issues related to privacy, censorship, digital activism, as well as how issues of gender, race, and class affect information access and creation. Students will develop the skills necessary to ethically and effectively use information to make decisions, solve problems, and communicate their views. In the process of exploring the information cycle and their own information seeking and consumption behaviors, they will develop strategies to better find, evaluate, manage and cite information.


Debating America

Lecture: TuTh 10 a.m.  –  11:15 a.m. | Public Policy 203
Jeremy Spahr

This course 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 such as the federal income tax, minimum wage, and 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.


FYS 102Y: First Year Seminars

meets Social Sciences (SS) requirements

Images of Madness

Lecture: Th 4:30 p.m.  –  7 p.m. | Math & Psychology 102
Discussion: We 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. | TBA
Carolyn Tice

In contemporary society, virtually everyone goes to movie theaters 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.


FYS 103: First Year Seminars

Meets Science non-lab (S, non-lab) requirement.

Paradigms and Paradoxes: An Attempt to Understand the Universe

Lecture: MoWe 1 p.m.  –  2:15 p.m. | 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. A Hat-maker would 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 person answering the question.


FYS 107Y: First Year Seminar

meets Arts and Humanities, Culture (AH/C) requirement

American Orientalism

Lecture: TuTh 10 a.m.  –  12:15 p.m. | Engineering 021A
Autumn Reed
Discussion: Th 10 a.m.  –  11:15 a.m. | Math & Psychology 105
Staff

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.


Spring 2018

Updated: 8/16/2017