Core Seminars for Freshmen 2013-14
At the time of registration, you'll select a Core Seminar. This 3 credit class takes an interdisciplinary approach to a course-specific theme while allowing you to explore personal development, intellectual growth, and what it means to have a liberal arts education. The First-Year Seminar is designed to introduce you to the standards of academic rigor while providing you with the knowledge to make informed decisions in your transition to college. You'll compose a variety of projects that demonstrate critical inquiry and information literacy skills.
The Pursuit of Happiness
What makes people happy? How do they create happiness in their lives? How does our understanding of happiness depend on religion, culture, economy, politics, and wellbeing? This seminar will explore what it means to be happy while negotiating the complex boundaries of society.
Utopias and Dystopias: Not so Perfect Worlds
This section will focus on fantastic constructions of the world in science fiction which create either utopian visions of perfect societies or dystopian visions of catastrophe and destruction. One deals with our best hopes for the future; the other, our worst fears. One speaks to the best of human nature and imagines a world without hatred or violence or poverty or injustice; the other imagines the opposite, a nightmare in which humanity is distorted and suppressed by totalitarianism and destruction. Which will our future be? Or will it be a mixture of both? You will reflect on these texts as you begin to imagine your own visions for the future—both for yourself, and for others. You will write a final paper that develops your own ideas about the future, researching various sources and responding to them in the process.
What’s It All About? And How Do I Get There?
Can I keep to the plan? Or do I even know my plan? What makes it worth getting up in the morning? This class will explore personal interests, passions and paths through reading, personal reflection, activities and discussion. Look at the meaning of dreams, why you chose the friends you do and how you may shape your image for others. The goal of the course is to develop a personal map with strategies to maximize your talents and avoid your personal obstacles.
Drugs and Society
Most drugs are legal; some drugs are not. The majority of us use drugs to manage illness and improve our health. Some of us use drugs in ways other than intended to achieve a variety of effects. In this seminar, we will explore the many ways that drugs influence us and the world we live in. Besides the use of drugs in health care, we will examine the impact of abuse and misuse of drugs on society in the context of sports, laws, ethics, politics, and culture. In addition, we will explore the impact of the cost and marketing of drugs on our society.
Environmentalism: The Politics of Change
What is behind the politics of environmental debates? Scientists have produced significant research showing climate change is occurring, yet political institutions haven’t acted. In this seminar, we will explore why this might be, and try to understand how we can achieve both economic growth and environmental sustainability. We will look at environmental policymaking, regulations, special interests, as well as the role of public opinion. We will end our journey together by exploring how you can make an impact by looking at how states, grassroots movements and nonprofits are promoting environmental change.
CATS: What they do for your health
Why do we choose the types of health practices we do, and how does our culture impact those practices? This seminar will explore Complementary and Alternative TheraieS (CATS), which are popular practices to enhance health, decrease stress, impact sports injuries, and decrease the effects of illness. Topics may include acupuncture, healing touch, massage therapy, herbal supplements, meditation, yoga, and more. Together we will explore the more popular CATS and up-to-date research and regulations noteworthy in the CATS world. Personal experiences from athletes, scholars, moms, dads, and students along with health care experts embedding CATS into health will create an understanding of their effectiveness.
The Media and Mental Illness
How accurate are the portrayals of those with mental illness as seen through the eyes of media? Are these views helpful or harmful? How would your actions be described by someone with a vested interested in selling their created works? Come explore the social, philosophical, religious, historical, political, medical and legal perspectives of mental illness as viewed through the lens of American media
From Zeus to Wonder Woman: The Heroic Image in Myth and Media
What does it mean to be a hero? Where do our heroes come from? Are they just stories rooted in our history or, do our heroes evolve over time to reflect our contemporary world? This course will look at the figure of the “Hero” and the implications for having heroes in society. We will explore these ideas in classical mythology, comic books, film, and contemporary events, tracing the image of the hero and its social importance to our world, our ideas, and our values.
This course will challenge students with the concept of Sustainability and its implementation in their personal lives. We will start by analyzing your preparation and readiness for college success. In particular, we will consider questions like: Can you sustain a successful college career under the rigor and demands of your courses and campus life? Is the major that you are planning to pursue one that will give you the opportunities to make a difference in this world and have a meaningful life? Once those personal goals have been established, we will consider the local community, our country, our world and how it can be sustained. We will follow your interests and consider sustainability from the perspective of stewardship within our communities, nation, and world.
How to Lie, Cheat, Fool and Swindle Just about Anybody
This course will examine the psychological underpinnings and techniques exploited to flimflam the unsuspecting. Students will gain insight into scams, frauds, phony psychics and bogus statistics. We'll also get wise to the bamboozling rhetoric used by con artists, politicians, and hucksters.
Life in Rural America: Cultural and Economic Trends in the Midwest
In this course we will be exploring the various facets that are unique to rural life. The class will analyze some of the social and economic trends that are common to the rural Midwest, including but not limited to: shrinking populations, brain drain, relational integrity, loss of community identity, a strong sense of community, and the connection between our farms and sustaining a globally interconnected society. This class will utilize a variety of books and hands on application to further our understanding of life in rural America.
Images and Values
We’re bombarded with images all the time. From advertisements in magazines, to commercials, to pop-ups on the internet, but what values are being portrayed through these images? And what sort of message do they send to us consciously and subconsciously? This seminar will explore how advertising dollars influence society, programming, teens, the economy, and more. We’ll explore visual advertisements from around the world as way to explore how values and beliefs are shaped and changed by what we see.
It's Global being Green
Sing, laugh, eat, draw, dance, and drink Guaraná! In this course you will learn to appreciate and celebrate culture in a new way. First, you will assess your own cultural definition and then move on to investigate and apply cultural practices in many different areas. We will look at music, humor, food, art, dance, and drinking. You will be challenged to look at your current world view and then "draw" new conclusions. Come prepared to celebrate cultural diversity.
Hollywood and History
In the twentieth century, movies have taught a lot of Americans what they know about history; sometimes the stories that are told are well-based on fact. They help us to understand how powerful stories from the past are compelling human dramas that have valuable lessons to offer the audience Other times, the truth is distorted for entertainment purposes and we are left with a version of history that is far from the truth. We will watch movies and analyze historical documents so that we can be more critical movie-goers and learn quite a bit of how public memory is constructed.
Gut Feelings and Common Sense – Can they be Trusted?
We all rely on our gut feelings and common sense to make our way through the twists and turns of life. For the most part these serve us well, helping us to accurately assess situations and make decisions. But can gut feelings and common sense always be trusted? Do they always lead us to the truth? This course will explore these ideas in a variety of contexts, including scientific decision making, religious beliefs and conspiracy theories.
Logos Core Seminar (Honors)
By invitation only.