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First-Year Seminar Program

The ability to communicate well on a college level is crucial to success at Hood. With that in mind, the First-Year Seminar program offers students an opportunity to sharpen academic reading and writing skills in small classroom settings. Limited to 15 students, all first-year seminars are intensive and help students refine their abilities in these areas as well as in critical thinking, information literacy and class discussion. The seminar topics have broad appeal while reflecting the varied interests and expertise of the faculty who teach them. All incoming first-year students are required to take a First-Year Seminar course during their first fall semester at Hood as a core requirement.

 

Please choose from the following courses:

FYS 101-01: The Sixties in Context
FYS 101-02: Developing Your Leadership Potential
FYS 101-03: The Joy of Computing
FYS 101-04: Rethinking Sports Culture: Role Models in the Locker Room
FYS 101-05: Schools in the Spotlight: The Portrayal of Teachers and Students in Popular Culture
FYS 101-06: Clash of the Titans: The Press and the American Presidency
FYS 101-07: McWorld: McDonald’s and the Past, Present and Future of Globalization
FYS 101-08: Success in College
FYS 101-09: The Psychology of Paranormal Experiences
FYS 101-10: Fairy Tales: Transformations and Transgressions
FYS 101-11: Satan in Salem: The Witchcraft Episode of 1692
FYS 101-12: Amazing Archaeological Discoveries
FYS 101-13: The Architecture of Imprisonment
FYS 101-14: Harnessing the Nuclear Monster
FYS 101-15: From Aunt Jemima to Beyoncé: Politics and Black Pop Culture
FYS 101-16: Voices from the Global South
FYS 101H-01-03: Exploring Evils: Realities and Representations

FYS 101-01: The Sixties in Context

Martha Bari, Ph.D.

The 1960s mark one of the most turbulent decades in American history and one that profoundly changed the direction of the country. Drastic shifts in society at that time affect how we live our lives and the problems we face today. How did these forces in the sixties so radically transform American values, culture and lifestyle? Through a variety of readings and samplings from sixties mass culture, such as rock music, movies and TV, we’ll try to arrive at a deeper understanding of the period. For the final project, students will write a research paper based on interviews they conduct with people who have lived through the sixties.

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FYS 101-02: Developing Your Leadership Potential

Kathleen Bands, Ph.D.

Have you often found that you have a passion for change and action? Would you like to explore what it means to be a successful leader? Leadership exists in many forms and whether you consider yourself a leader already or want to develop your potential as a leader, this course will help teach you to work well with others and will enhance your leadership abilities. In this course, you will recognize your unique leadership potential and develop successful habits. Enjoy learning from interactive class activities, projects, discussions and opportunities to meet leaders from all walks of life! You will learn skills to help you succeed in college and as a leader. Explore different types of leadership by finding out what type of leader you are through Myers Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI) and other self-assessments, and then share your leadership style with the world by developing your own leadership philosophy.

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FYS 101-03: The Joy of Computing

Elizabeth Chang, Ph.D.

Computing has changed our world in profound ways. This course will examine some of the history, big ideas and fundamental concepts of computing. The overarching theme is to expose students to the beauty and joy of computing. Topics include: key figures in computing; fun programming using a friendly graphical language; big ideas in computing; applications that have changed our world; social implications of the digital revolution; risks and errors of computing systems; and the limits and the future of computing.

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FYS 101-04: Rethinking Sports Culture: Role Models in the Locker Room

Teresa Bean, J.D.

College athletes are role models whether they want to be or not. While official leaders usually hold positions and titles on campus, athletes are “unofficial” leaders who are equally powerful. Do responsibility and citizenship come with this status and notoriety? Should we hold college athletes to a higher standard than other students? In this course, we will acknowledge and define the status that athletes have on campus, both perceived and realistic; explore various topics such as myths and stereotypes of the college athlete, leadership and integrity, case law and statutory law regarding Title IX, sexual assault, bullying, hazing, drug and alcohol use and ethics; and create entertaining and informational student-led trainings about these topics for the entire campus.

This seminar is for ALL Hood students, whether you are the G.O.A.T., play a Division III sport or on a recreational league, or if you want to enroll simply for fun. If you are interested in sports and want to become a campus leader, this course is for you.

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FYS 101-05: Schools in the Spotlight: The Portrayal of Teachers and Students in Popular Culture

Rebecca Grove, Ph.D.

The iconic lyrics may claim “we don’t need no education,” but in reality, schooling is a huge part of our lives and our culture. From the incompetently aggressive Mr. Rooney being out-witted by Ferris Bueller to the passionate Mr. Keating and his dedicated students in “Dead Poets Society,” popular media presents us with many examples of teachers and students. These examples range from inspirational to scathing, from realistic to absurd. Students in this course will take a critical look at the portrayal of teachers, students and schools in popular films, television, books and other media to analyze the overt and underlying messages about American education, authority, social justice and entertainment.

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FYS 101-06: Clash of the Titans: The Press and the American Presidency

Elizabeth Atwood, Ph.D.

This course explores the often-contentious relationship between the press and the presidency from the earliest days of the nation through the present.

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FYS 101-07: McWorld: McDonald’s and the Past, Present and Future of Globalization

Corey Campion, Ph.D.

This course examines the past, present and future of an important development in contemporary society: globalization. As students and professors in 2017, we are experiencing and shaping a unique moment in the human story. As global products – such as McDonald's, Starbucks and iPhones – and global challenges – such as climate change, terrorism and disease – continue to unite the world’s communities in unprecedented ways, this course asks students to consider what exactly “globalization” means. As they explore this question, students will engage in a variety of discussions and assignments designed to help them develop the skills needed for success in college.

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FYS 101-08: Success in College

David Hein, Ph.D.

With a strong emphasis on writing, speaking and critical thinking, this course is aimed at helping students transition from high school to college. Students will learn the "virtues of excellence" that foster high achievement not only in college but also when the real exams begin: after graduation. They will examine habits of success and consider key virtues, such as patience, courage and perseverance, in order to position themselves to pursue and achieve excellence in their lives.

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FYS 101-09: The Psychology of Paranormal Experiences

Shannon Kundey, Ph.D.

Everyone has heard the lore about near-death experiences: tunnels, white lights, encounters with long-dead relatives appearing very much alive. Are these spiritual experiences or proof of life after death? Do they simply constitute chemical changes in the brain and sensory organs in the few moments before death occurs? Most scientists typically leave such “weirdness” for the tabloids. However, paranormal phenomena continue to attract our interest. Although we live in a time of great technological advancement, we are also bombarded by paranormal reports and a refusal or inability on the part of the public to think critically about such claims. Psychology seeks to explain human experience, including phenomena that at first may seem unusual or inexplicable. Here, we will jump into the fray, exploring how psychologists handle claims falling outside the bounds of known science. We will review evidence using the standards of the scientific method, attending specifically to the psychological processes and mechanisms thought to contribute to and underlie these phenomena.

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FYS 101-10: Fairy Tales: Transformations and Transgressions

Heather Mitchell-Buck, Ph.D.

This course explores the past, present and futures of fairy tales, focusing on how these deceptively simple stories teach us who we are and how we fit into the world around us. We will consider a wide variety of texts, including those of the European tradition (including the Brothers Grimm, Disney blockbusters, and feminist and postmodern interpretations) as well as other cultures (from the medieval “One Thousand and One Nights” to the modern film “My Neighbor Totoro”). Such stories do much more than simply entertain; they also establish social hierarchies and define gender roles in ways that reinforce and critique the status quo.

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FYS 101-11: Satan in Salem: The Witchcraft Episode of 1692

Barbara Powell, Ph.D.

This seminar examines the latest scholarship on the Salem witchcraft episode as well as the surviving records of the witchcraft trials. Students will analyze case studies of suspected witches and their accusers through primary documents and consider what prompted the accusations, what evidence was used to support the allegations, how the accused responded, and what finally brought this episode to a close. Students will also examine how the Salem witch trials have entered our historical consciousness through literature and film, and they will develop their own interpretations of what happened at Salem in 1692.

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FYS 101-12: Amazing Archaeological Discoveries

Tammy Krygier, Ph.D.

What is archaeology? Was Indiana Jones really an archaeologist? How were the pyramids built and what was their purpose? The world as we know it today is built upon the cultures of the past. Through exploration of monumental architecture, technology and material culture, we are able to examine the cultural diversity of mankind and develop an appreciation for our shared cultural heritage. This course will introduce first-year students to a number of the cultures of the ancient world. We will begin with a general introduction to the science of archaeology. We then will move on to discussions of specific archaeological sites. We also will consider the image of archaeology and archaeologists in popular culture including fiction, films, documentaries and pseudo-documentaries.

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FYS 101-13: The Architecture of Imprisonment

Jolene Sanders, Ph.D.

This seminar provides insight into America’s prison system and its widespread, intergenerational influences on society. It is estimated that 2.3 million people are currently confined within the American prison system at costs exceeding $75 billion a year. Some critics of mass incarceration refer to it as the greatest social injustice of our time while others defend our current policies and practices pointing to the overall drop in violent crime. This first-year seminar asks students to read and write about the major social forces that have led up to the birth of the prison-industrial complex. Students will read about the historical development of the modern prison system in the U.S., look at social causes for increased use of imprisonment to maintain social order, and learn about various criminal justice policies that have encouraged mass incarceration. Students also will be asked to critically analyze the influence that gender, race, class and ethnicity have in determining who is incarcerated and how they are treated once in confinement. The seminar ends with a look at how the infrastructure of imprisonment influences an individual’s life after release.

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FYS 101-14: Harnessing the Nuclear Monster

Allen Flora, Ph.D.

The course will focus on the ways in which society has been affected by the technologies developed for nuclear weapons. A brief study of the scientific principles and the history involved in understanding nuclear processes will lead to discussion of the Manhattan Project and similar initiatives in other countries. The course continues with a discussion of nuclear weapons states and future implications, energy policy, and ethical, legal, political, psychological, cultural, medical and economic issues of nuclear issues.

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FYS 101-15: From Aunt Jemima to Beyoncé: Politics and Black Pop Culture

Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs, Ph.D.

This course examines ways in which African Americans are depicted in popular literature, film and music. In the class, we reflect on critical studies of popular culture and examine constructions of race, gender and class and how they intersect. We address questions such as: What are some of the common recurring depictions of black people? Do these images reinforce or counter stereotypes? How do these images reflect black political ideologies during slavery and emancipation, the civil rights movement, and the era of #blacklivesmatter? How has black popular culture been beneficial to and/or a detriment to black political empowerment? What role do the images of black people play in incidents like the social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland?

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FYS 101-16: Voices from the Global South

Hoda Zaki, Ph.D.

This course will introduce students to the politics of the Global South (Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East) by reading the life stories of men and women who struggled for human rights in their countries. Four types of human rights will be explored: the rights of children, the rights of women, the rights of minorities to maintain their cultural identity, and the right to education.

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FYS 101H-01-03: Exploring Evils: Realities and Representations

Trevor Dodman, Ph.D.
Karen Hoffman, Ph.D.
April Morris, Ph.D.

This Honors team-taught interdisciplinary course uses artistic, philosophical and literary perspectives to explore various realities and representations of evils in the modern world. It examines some of the ways that we use works of art, novels, documentaries, fictional films and even museums, to tell the stories of some of the evils of the recent past and to consider the realities of their continued influence.

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