First Year Seminar
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Course Offerings

Revolutionary Brothers
Patrick Eagan, Department of History

Have you ever asked yourself why the generation of our "Founding Fathers" was able to combine revolutionary ideas and politics so effectively? What were the values that these men and women shared and made them so unique in comparison with today's political leadership? Do you wonder why subsequent generations have had such difficulty in doing so? If you have, then join us as we take an in depth look at the formation of the American governmental system through the lives of the "Founding Generation." This course will explore a wide range of material; from 18th century primary sources to modern American political science as we try and answer the question of whether the "Revolutionary Generation" was the best America has yet to offer.

Invasive species: menace or myth?
Dr. Shannon Galbraith-Kent, Department of Biology

Invasive species are non-native to a particular ecosystem and can cause economic or environmental harm, or both. In this FYS course, we will use a combination of various readings, case studies, guest speakers, and films to explore the impacts of invasive species in the Greater Cincinnati area and across the world. How do zebra mussels affect our Ohio River? How did a famous park in New York City address an invasive plant species? How have various cities responded to economic problems associated with invasive species? Join us as we seek to understand this multi-faceted issue affecting society today.

Thinking about Listening: Music and Nature
Jerome Langguth, Department of Philosophy

This class will explore the relationship between music and the natural world. The readings for the class come from composers, instrumentalists, poets, novelists, and philosophers who have thought deeply about the nature of music and the music of nature.

Gangsters, Crime, and the Mafia: The American Twentieth Century
Jodie Mader, Department of History

Through film, discussion, and selected readings, this course will look at the role of the mafia in modern American history.  Also this topic will pay close attention to the meaning of the modern family in terms of loyalty, honor, and duty.

Personalities of the European Enlightenment 
James McNutt, Department of History

This FYS class examines from a specifically historical- biographical perspective the general intellectual developments of key Enlightenment figures.  Attention will be paid to how European thought influenced American revolutionaries; shaping the political system in which we now work. Students will seek to gain a better grasp the spirit of criticism that emerged from the educated elite, or what Jefferson called, the “natural aristocracy.”                                     

Your Financial Life: Demystifying Money Matters (2 Sections)   
Maria Mitchell and Tom Gilday, Department of Business

This course will provide basic information about financial literacy including banking, investments, taxes, credit, personal
budgeting, risks and insurance, and retirement.

What’s all the Twitter About?
Mary Jo Nead, Department of Communication and Drama

You’re probably used to using Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and other new media. But have you stopped to consider how these new media merge art and technology? Or how your communication experience is no longer linear? We will delve into these ideas as we explore how new media has influenced our lives. You’ll be asked to view new media from many perspectives:  philosophical, psychological, and business. We’ll look at comics, TV, radio, music, video games, and electronic publishing. We’ll view the history of new media and examine the current convergence of old and new media. Finally, you’ll create your own new media. Not just another Facebook page but something creative and uniquely yours.

The Life of the Mind 
Robert Riehemann, Department of Mathematics and Physics

What kinds of projects do “intellectuals” attempt? We will look at a wide variety of such individuals, from philosophers to folk singers who rode the rails during the depression, from saints to poets, novelists to mathematicians.

Global Bioethics (2 sections)
Catherine Sherron, Department of Philosophy, and Kathleen Jagger, VPAA and Dean of the College

Are you interested in global health inequities?  That much of the world’s poor suffer from the treatable diseases of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, while much of the world’s health care resources (medical staff, medicines, and supplies) are directed at the world’s richer populations?  Concerns like these arise in a relatively new field of study at the intersections of public health and international medicine, called Global Health.  This FYS course in Global Bioethics will explore ethical challenges in that global health arena, investigating health disparities related to poverty and political instability, and possible solutions arising from international development and relief.

Playing With Comedy
Jim Schuttemeyer, Department of English

What's so funny? Read any good cartoons lately? Why is the genre of Comedy so frequently linked to romance and sex? Is marriage a happy ending? What's love got to do with it? Why do we laugh? What is humor's relationship to violence? To death? To cultural taboos? What do Darwin, Freud, and others have to say about theories of humor, its biological value, its psychological and cultural roots? This course will explore what’s funny and why (comedy as humor), and the structures and conventions of the theatrical, film genre tradition (Comedy).  We will examine jokes and cartoons, classic comedians, classic and modern drama, short fiction, feature film, filmed lectures about the analysis of humor and Comedy, and read scholarly articles on Comedy theory and on scholarly analysis of literature. The course may include an optional excursions to live theatre. Evaluation: oral presentations, short papers (summary reports and analytical essays), and concluding research project on student-selected topics.

Business Enterprise in American History
Richard Shuey, Department of Business

This course will look at the good, bad, and ugly ways used by American business in the development of capitalism from slavery to richesWe'll look at how the American character was developed through self-reliance, industrialization, unionization, greed, and social responsibility. Special attention will be devoted to the role of Greater Cincinnati in the development of American business enterprise. A field trip to the Cincinnati Museum Center will be a required part of this

Learning How to Succeed as a Dictator
J.T. Spence, Department of History, International Studies & Political Science

Everybody wants to rule the world; but what are the steps needed to become the successful dictator? Students will explore the wonderful world of authoritarianism, be introduced to those characteristics of the successful dictator, and see examples of dictatorship while developing their own ideal of the perfect world in which they would rule.

The Dignity of Work 
Father Gerald Twaddell, Department of Philosophy

This seminar will explore the nature of work and its value for the worker from a variety of perspectives including philosophical and theological insights. Students will develop skills for college level critical reading and writing as well as oral presentation.

Understanding Comics
Kirk Mayhew, Department of Art

Consider the Graphic Novel aesthetic and its rebirth in American Media. This class will educate students about the visual vocabulary inside the image panels and narrative as well as the phenomenon in-between.