Skip to Main Content

FYS Courses

Summer 2019 | Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

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

Summer 2019

FYS 107: First Year Seminar

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

American Orientalism

Section: 01-LEC (2722)
Lecture: MoWe 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 108
Autumn Reed

Section: 02-DIS (2723)
Discussion: We 2:30 p.m.  –  3:45 p.m. | Sherman Hall 108
Caylie Middleton

This First Year Seminar is being offered in conjunction with Dawg Days: Abroad. It is open to any student in this program. — American Orientalism 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..

Fall 2019

FYS 101: First Year Seminars

meets Arts and Humanities (AH) requirements

Creating Stories about Times of Change

Section: 11-LEC (7289)
Lecture: TuTh 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. | Engineering 333
Galina Madjaroff

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

Section: 12-LEC (1280)
Lecture: Th 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. | Interdisciplinary Life Sciences 109
Richard Otten

First Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC. Course Description: This course will aim in illuminating 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 how we 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 variouspopular culturalforms. 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 phe nomena 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.

Truth and Technology

Section: 16-LEC (8045)
Lecture: TuTh 10:00 – 11:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 207
Sherman Hall 207

First-Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC. Description: This course will explore man’s search for truth and self-knowledge in post-modern culture and our ongoing struggle to achieve happiness. Students will explore their relationships and interactions with others, as well as their relationship with nature and the self in our technological world. Students will read, view, and evaluate ideas of the self as depicted in literature and film in an effort to come to some conclusion about the importance of our own journey to find truth. As a requirement of this course, students will take part in a service learning experience to connect the ideas of self-awareness, service and human interaction.

Telling Tales

Section: 17-LEC (8188)
Lecture: MoWe 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. | Sherman Hall 121

First Year Seminars are open to all students in their first year at UMBC. The complete title for this seminar is Telling Tales: Narratives, Social Justice, & Identity. In this course students will explore how we use stories to share, preserve, and shape our experiences. How do we tell stories to craft our identities? How do other people use narratives to influence our views? When we interact with narratives as writers, readers, and listeners, do they influence us intellectually, experientially, or ethically? To reflect on these questions, we will practice crafting new narratives to share our experiences and express the voices of others. Additionally, we will work together to analyze intersectional narratives that call for social justice, illuminate diverse voices, and challenge readers to interact with nontraditional experiences.

FYS 101Y: First Year Seminars

meets Arts and Humanities (AH) requirements

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

Section: 03-LEC (1233)
Lecture: TuTh 1 – 2:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 109
Jeremy Spahr
Section: 06-DIS (1249)
Lecture: TuTh 4 – 5:15 p.m. | Interdisciplinary Life Sciences 107

First-Year Seminars are open to all students in their first year at UMBC. Course Description: 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

Section: 01-LEC (1279)
Lecture: Tu 10:00 – 11:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 109
Nandita Dasgupta

This is a hybrid course with an in person meeting on Fridays from 1-2:15 p.m. First-Year Seminars are open to all students in their first year at UMBC. Course Description: The American Story is not an oft-quoted word in USA. Nonetheless, the phenomenon of poverty 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.

Diversity, Ethics and Social Justice in Schooling

Section: 03-LEC (1195)
Lecture: Mo 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. | Sherman Hall 208
Vickie Williams

This is a hybrid course with an in class meeting time on Mondays 3:00-4:15 PM, and a 3-hour per week commitment in a service-learning setting. This provides students with an opportunity to apply what they are learning in an actual school setting. First-Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC. Course Description: 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 childrens 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.

Social Issues in Business

Section: 14-LEC (1234)
Lecture: We 4:30 – 7 p.m. | Sherman Hall 007
Carlton Crabtree

First-Year Seminars are open to all students in their first year at UMBC. Course Description: 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 examine how social media influences consumer perceptions and organizational change. Students learn theories in business communication, corporate culture, ethics, and decision making. Leadership skills acquired in this course are foundational to any discipline.

The Information Diet?

Section: 15-LEC (1315)
Lecture: TuTh 11:30 – 12:45 a.m. | Albin O Kuhn Library 259
Joanna Gadsby, Kathryn Sullivan

First-Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC. Course Description: This course introduces students 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

Section: 16-LEC (8046)
Lecture: TuTh 10:00  –  11:15 a.m. | Performing Arts & Humanities Building 124
Jeremy Spahr

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

FYS 102Y: First Year Seminars

meets Social Sciences (SS) requirements

Images of Madness

Section: 01-LEC (1232)
Lecture: Th 4:30 – 7 p.m. | Meyerhoff Chemistry 256
Carolyn Tice
Section: 03-DIS (1249)
Discussion: Tu 4 – 5:15 p.m. | Interdisciplinary Life Sciences 108

First-Year Seminars are open to all students who are in their first year at UMBC. Course Description: IMAGES OF MADNESS- 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.

FYS 103: First Year Seminars

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

Paradigms and Paradoxes: An Attempt to Understand the Universe

Section: 01-LEC (1197)
Lecture: MoWe 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. | Meyerhoff Chemistry 272
Joel Liebman

First-Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC. PARADIGMS AND PARADOXES: AN ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSE-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 107Y: First Year Seminar

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

Time,Space, Meaning Art & Music

Section: 01-LEC (1396)
Discussion: Th 4:30  –  7 p.m. | Performing Arts & Humanities Building 132
Jonathan Zwi

First Year Seminars are open to all students who are in their first year at UMBC. This course tracks evolving concepts and perceptions of time and space throughout the 20th century and the resulting implications on notions of meaning and beauty in both visual and musical contexts. Specifically, this course will consider the performances and recordings of pianist Ivo Pogorelich and the abstract expressionist paintings of Gerhard Richter as contemporary traces of a more sweeping historical gesture embodied in the work of Paul Cézanne, beginning near the turn of the 20th century.

Taboo and Transgressive Texts

Section: 02-LEC (8228)
Lecture: TuTh 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. | Sherman Hall 150
Christopher Varlack

First-Year Seminars are open to all students during their first year at UMBC. Course Description: Banned Books Week takes place each year in order to highlight the ramifications of censorship and to celebrate the uninhibited freedom to read even taboo, transgressive, and provocative texts. This course will examine banned books such as A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Bluest Eye, and others across three categories, including sexuality/gender, ethnicity/race, and violence/state power. Additionally, we will examine the politics of banning and contesting books to assess the rhetorical situations that render literature taboo. Through review of these texts and the objections against them, we can understand the role of banned literature in stimulating intellectual freedom and constructive debate.

Spring 2020


Updated: 6/7/2019