Core Seminars for Freshmen 2014-15

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.

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 art of lying and the psychological, social and criminal techniques used to flimflam the unsuspecting.  Students will gain insight into lying, self-deception, scams, frauds, psychics and crackpot science.  We'll also get wise to con artists, hucksters and slick politicians.  

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.

It Isn't Easy 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.

CATS: What they do for the health and success of a college student
How does our health impact our success as a college student, and how do we choose the types of health practices to most effectively impact this success? The seminar will explore Complementary and Alternative TherapieS (CATS), which are popular practices to enhance health, decrease stress, impact sports injuries, and decrease the effects of illness. Together we will explore topics and strategies that may include acupuncture, healing touch, massage therapy, herbal supplements, hypnosis, yoga, and more, creating an understanding of their effectiveness on one's health and overall success.

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Heroes in an Age of 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.

Popular Culture, Making Meaning, and You
Religion is often defined as a way of living, a set of beliefs, values, and rituals by which a community defines itself. It provides a sense of meaning and purpose. Does Popular Culture do the same thing? People define themselves on Facebook and Instagram, find their values in television shows and movies, and form communities around sports teams and musical tastes. How does Popular Culture define our identities, values, and forms of life? Students will research an aspect of popular culture and how its activities “make meaning” for us—whether it is  computer games, rap music, horror movies, fashion trends, sports fandom, shopping, food, graphic novels, or something else that interests you. We’ll study the effects of Popular Culture on our society and our values, and consider whether that influence is good or bad.

Game On!
The focus of this course is game literacy. Games are complex cultural and aesthetic objects. The class will incorporate lectures, discussion, readings, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play. You will play games in order to better understand and appreciate them. The class will cover games on and off the computer, including classic and contemporary board and card games, sports, and games on the PC, internet, and consoles. Education through games is an important way to increase professional literacy for students seeking work in art and design, business, computer science, marketing, tech, and entertainment industries.

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.

What’s on Your Playlist?
Music is all around us. Movies, commercials, live performances, and easily available recordings. We use music in times of celebration and sadness. We use music to study and work-out to. What is on your play list? What types of music do you listen to, and how does it impact you as a person? This seminar will explore what is on your personal “play list” and examine if what best fits your lifestyle and challenge you to find and use music more frequently to enhance your daily existence.

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.

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.

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.


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