First-Year Seminars

First-Year seminars are designed to introduce you to a field of study by way of a special topic, issue, or problem of interest to you. You will have the challenge of exploring the course material in depth with a faculty member and a small group of peers. These topics are accessible to all students either with no prerequisites or with prerequisites first-years should have completed, such as the writing requirement. Limited to 15 students, these seminars will be reading and discussion-based with an emphasis on papers, projects, studio work, or hands-on field experience rather than exams. All of the first-year seminars are regular courses, worth either 3 or 4 credits, and most fulfill an FDR requirement. In some cases, these seminars may serve as a prerequisite or satisfy a requirement in a major.

Please take this opportunity to review these exciting course offerings.

Fall 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

FS: First-Year Seminar

BUS 180 - Lind, Stephen J.

Topics vary by subject and term.

Fall 2020, BUS 180-01: FS: Business Presentation Fundamentals (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. An introductory seminar offering fundamental perspectives, structures, strategies, and skills needed to communicate effectively within a business context. Special attention will be paid to the essentials needed for business collaborations that happen in virtual environments. Through readings, discussion, and personalized feedback, students focus on developing core competencies in live business presentations. These transferable insights and skills include, for example, audience analysis, strategic organization, virtual delivery, essential technologies, and slide deck design. Lind.

FS: First-Year Seminar

BUS 180 - Lind, Stephen J.

Topics vary by subject and term.

Brain and Behavior

CBSC 111 - Lorig, Tyler S.

An introduction to behavioral neuroscience, including the physiological bases of sensation, learning and memory, motivation, cognition, and abnormal behavior.

 

FS: First-Year Seminar

CLAS 180 - Loar, Matthew P.

Topic and FDR varies by term.

Fall 2020, CLAS 180-01: FS: Troy and the Tragedy of War (3).  First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only.  This course will examine how poets, playwrights, and psychiatrists from ancient Greece to modern Nigeria, Ireland, Mexico, and the United States have used the Trojan War and the literature written about it to explore the tragedy of war. Readings will toggle between ancient Greek poetry and drama and contemporary nonfiction and drama, always with an eye to how the ancient source texts are being reinterpreted and repurposed for different audiences at different times in different places. Among other things, we will study how Homer's Iliad  has helped Vietnam War veterans process PTSD; how staging Greek plays on military bases has facilitated difficult conversations about the struggles of war; and how performing adaptations of Greek tragedies has enabled playwrights to communicate universal truths about the traumas inflicted by war. (HU) Loar.

FS: First-Year Seminar

DCI 180 - Abdoney, Mary / Teaff, Elizabeth A.

A seminar for first-year students. Applicability to FDRs and other requirements varies.

Fall 2020, DCI 180-01: FS: Black Mirrors and Digital Culture (3). First-year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. How do various web tools and platforms dictate how we interact with each other? Why do we use some platforms for personal reasons, others for coursework, and some for professional purposes? Is there one correct way to use the web? In this seminar, we critically examine social media platforms, information repositories, apps, and other tools to create personal understandings of how a tool or company's motive influences our personal use of information and how we interact with our community. Themes include online identity, privacy, democracy, and the academic web. We explore these topics through the lenses of inclusiveness, information bias, "Big Data", and social networks. The course culminates in a multimedia narrative, giving students hands-on experience with various web publishing and content management technologies. (HU) Abdoney and Teaff.

Educating Citizens for Democracy

EDUC 230 - Moffa, Eric D.

Students study the relationship between education and democracy by critically examining various theories of democracy, competing conceptions of citizenship, and its implications for formal education. Specifically, students investigate the actual and possible roles for citizens in a democracy and the function of education in reproducing, altering, or challenging these roles. Students analyze and evaluate historic and philosophical texts, educational research, and conduct a narrative inquiry project to help draw conclusions about the best practices and policies for educating citizens for democracy.

Dynamic Earth: Introductory Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100A - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101 or 102.    Involves moderate hiking and other physical activities outside in all types of weather. Additional fee required. The study of Earth systems, our physical environment, and the processes shaping our planet with special emphasis on field study of the region near Lexington. Topics include: plate tectonics; the materials and structure of the Earth's crust; natural hazards including earthquakes and volcanoes; the origin of landforms; and the concept of deep time. Additional topics, with emphasis varying by instructor, include: climate change; weathering and erosion; water quality and movement; energy resources; geospatial and quantitative data analysis; and the relationship between humans and the environment. Laboratory course with lab fee. 

Fall 2020, GEOL 100A-01: FS: Dynamic Earth: Introductory Geology with Field Emphasis (4). For Fall 2020, please note that field activities for this section only will focus on sites within walking distance of campus.  (SL) Rahl.

FS: First-Year Seminar

JOUR 180 - Bhalla, Nandini

Topic and applicability to FDRs and other requirements varies.

Fall 2020, JOUR 180-01: Introduction to Global Public Relations (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. This course introduces students to the global perspectives of public relations. Corporations, governments, and non-government organizations (NGOs) actively seek to build and maintain mutually-beneficial relationships with the publics in other countries. Research indicates that multinational corporations (MNCs) often struggle to build reputation among local people. In this class, we will discuss various key differences among nations such as culture, media system, political system, and economic structure, which will help us to understand the basic fabric of the country. We will also learn the tactics and strategies of effective public relations in different countries. We will study and discuss various case studies from different countries. Bhalla.

Seminar in Ethics and Value Theory

PHIL 196A - Weissman, Jeremy L.

A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2020, PHIL 196A-01: First Year Seminar: Ethics of International Relations (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. As we enter an increasingly globalized society, few things have characterized modern political conflicts more than the proper role of the individual nation upon the world stage. We attempt to decipher just what that role ought to be. Some of the ethical questions we consider include: When can we justly go to war? When is a humanitarian or environmental intervention warranted? What are our duties to less-industrialized nations in the name of global economic justice? What are our duties towards immigrants? (HU) Weissman .

FS: First-Year Seminar

POL 180 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob)

First-year seminar.

Fall 2020, POL 180-01: FS: Elections (3).  First-Year Seminar.  Prerequisite: First-year class standing. This seminar will follow the major events in the 2020 American presidential election while providing context and content for critical analysis of the current election cycle.  Topics covered will include: the history of presidential selection in the American political regime, the origins and evolution of the primary/caucus nomination system, the role of media in presidential politics, the lessons learned from the presidential election of 2016, the contested issues in 2020 and the future of presidential politics following the unusual events that have occurred in the current presidential selection process.

FS: First-Year Seminar

POL 180 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob)

First-year seminar.

FS: First-Year Seminar in Anthropology

SOAN 181 - Narayanan, Sandhya K.

First-year seminar.

Fall 2020, SOAN 181-01: First-Year Seminar: Art of the Shade: The Anthropology of Insults, Sarcasm, and Back-Handed Compliments (3).  Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. What does TheRock have in common with the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey? Other than their charm and charisma, they are masters at talking trash and throwing shade at their opponents. We explore the anthropology of insults, sarcasm, and other types of pointed forms of comedy, and see how anthropologists study insults, sarcasm, and jokes. We also discuss what these types of comedic performances tell us about our need to express our feelings about social difference, form social bonds, or just have a moment in the spotlight. Let the shade throwing begin! (SS4) Narayanan .

FS: First-year Seminar

WGSS 180 - Bell, Melina C.

First-year seminar. Topics vary with term and instructor.

Fall 2020, WGSS 180-01: FS: Gender and Sport (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. This course introduces students to the fields of feminist theory, queer theory, and women's and gender studies by acquainting students with key theoretical concepts of the discipline, while exploring how the social practices and representations of sport are influenced by the gendered social framework within which they occur. Through an interdisciplinary approach, students learn to use gender as an analytical tool that intersects in complex ways with other categories of social power, such as race, class, and sexuality, focusing on the domain of sport. A central aim of the course is to encourage students to think critically about the relationship between their identities and their participation in sports, academics, and other pursuits, and their experiences as gendered beings in contemporary society. (HU) M. Bell.

Spring 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Knapp, Elizabeth P.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements. Lab fee required.

Spring 2020, GEOL 105-03: FS: Earth Lab: Geology of Hawai'i (4). First-Year seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. Instructor consent required. Additional course fee required, for which the student is responsible after Friday of the 7th week of winter term. An introductory study of earth science and the geology of the Hawaiian Islands taught for two weeks in Hawai'i. Its purpose is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to observe a wide variety of geologic processes in action. This course entails close interaction with the faculty and intensive study amongst the students during the term. (SL) Knapp.

Winter 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

FS: First-Year Seminar

BUS 180A - Lind, Stephen J.

Topics vary by subject and term.

Seminar in Ethics and Value Theory

PHIL 196 - Weissman, Jeremy L.

A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2020, PHIL 196-01: First-Year Seminar in Ethics and Value Theory: Ethics and Emerging Technologies (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. By some accounts, technology is the defining aspect of modern society that shapes how we experience the world. At the same time, technology is accelerating at a pace that challenges our ability to take stock of the ethical issues at hand. In this seminar, we take a critical look at a number of cutting-edge technologies that are still largely on the horizon and attempt to decipher the ethical issues they present and how such problems might be mitigated. Some emerging technologies we critically analyze include artificial intelligence, human enhancement, virtual reality, surveillance technologies, synthetic biology, self-driving cars, and killer robots. (HU) Weissman.