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First Year Seminar Course Descriptions: Fall 2016

The Marietta College First Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to the habits of mind and ways of knowing that are central to a liberal education, a Marietta College degree, and life-long learning. The first six weeks of the FYS introduces students to three ways of knowing the world: the social sciences; the humanities and fine arts; and the natural sciences. In the final ten weeks, students will apply what they’ve learned to a course theme or topic.

Below are the options for theme-based FYS courses.

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If you've been accepted into the Honors Program you must choose this great offering!

HONRS 199-01 Evolution of Human Behavior, and HONRS 111-01 Honors Literature

Living & Learning Community!

Faculty: Dr. Alicia Doerflinger, Psychology and Dr. Bev Hogue, English

Every species has a “nature,” and humans are no different. But what is human nature, and how can we use the scientific advances of the past century to better understand human nature? How can an understanding of human nature help us better understand basic parts of life, such as cooperation and conflict, love and sex, and cultural universals and differences? The course is designed to address these issues. It begins with broad overviews of the theories from evolutionary biology that have revolutionized the study of animal behavior, and it continues by explaining how these theories have been applied to understanding human cognition and culture. Texts include The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding, by Sarah Blaffer.



First Year Seminar Courses

Interested in the Arts? Want to explore your creative side? Interested in what pop culture tells us about ourselves? Choose one of the following!

FYS 199-01 Pioneering Comedy

Faculty: Dr. Bev Hogue, English

Students will take comedy seriously as they consider what authors as diverse as Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker and topics as far-reaching as the Onion’s “fake news” and cross-cultural stupid jokes tell us about the ways that comedy can build barriers or bridges, enhance or inhibit communication, incite or defuse violence.

FYS 199-02 Rock On! The History of Rock and Roll

Faculty: Prof. Lori Smith, Communication

This course introduces students to the social, cultural, economic, and stylistic history of rock and roll music, starting with its roots and early development in the 1950s to the fragmented genre that it is today. Rock music evolved among many different ethnic and social groups and its convergence of musical styles can be traced from the drumbeats out of Africa to the American Delta and its migration north. Although it is difficult to define because of the blurring of musical boundaries and continued evolution, this music changed the world and contributed to social change during the civil rights, anti-war, and women’s rights movements.

FYS 199-04 The Weird, Whimsical World of Tim Burton

Faculty: Prof. Andy Felt, Theatre

We will explore the groundbreaking director’s Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Sleepy Hollow as we seek to define and identify his “style” and “genre.” Looking at the films and artistic movements that heavily influence his work as well, as identifying his imprint on the work of his peers, we will examine Burton’s use of the theatrical elements (sound, lighting, set design, costumes, acting, props, makeup and music) in films including Big Fish to draw connections between various aesthetic styles and storytelling methodologies. Please note: this course will require you to view classic horror films and some movies that have been rated “R” by the MPAA.


Looking for an interesting course that will get you thinking about the human experience — and understanding yourself and culture in new ways?

FYS 199-05 Finding Voice, Making Noise

Faculty: Dr. Lisa Patterson Phillips, Dean of Students Office

What does it mean to have a voice? How have those who have been silence found and used their voice, and for what purposes? This course will examine the relationship between power and identity through readings, activities, lectures, and discussion. The ultimate goal is for students to apply the lessons to their own experiences, discovering their own voices and the power that they have to be heard and make a difference on campus and in our society.

FYS 199-06 Appalachia: An Exploration

Faculty: Dr. Mike Tager, Political Science

The federal government defines thirty-two counties in southern Ohio, including the county Marietta College resides in, as part of Appalachia. This course attempts to increase our understanding of the region by examining its people, culture, history, environment, and economy. We will also consider some of the stereotypes about Appalachia and the impact they have had. At the end of the course we will try to evaluate how Marietta College relates, or should relate, to the region.

FYS 199-07 Global Diversity

Faculty: Dr. Janie Rees-Miller, Modern Languages & Dr. Steve Rader, Communication

This First Year Seminar brings together students from different cultures and provides a venue for intercultural dialogue and exchange. Through different readings and activities, students in the seminar will learn about the other cultures represented in the class, and will develop more general intercultural skills necessary for becoming global citizens.


Interested in Making Sense of what you see? Want to know more about humanity's interactions with the natural world?

FYS 199-08 Rhetoric and Citizenship in Today's Environmental Movement?

Faculty: Dr. Tim Catalano, English

What do fracking, food waste, and Godzilla movies all have in common? They are all related to environmental issues that trace their roots to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring — the book that established the modern environmental movement. This course follows the evolution of the environmental movement from Silent Spring to today. In particular, it considers the use of language in shaping citizens' understandings of environmental issues, and examines the topic through mass media (including film) and our own current environmental relationships.

FYS 199-09 Real Life Aliens: Invaders from Our Own Planet

Faculty: Dr. Katy Lustofin, Biology

Learn how invasive plants, animals, and other organisms from other parts of the world impact our economy, our native ecosystems, and even our culture. Through case studies of specific invasive species, students will learn how the “aliens” like kudzu, emerald ash borer, zebra mussels, and the mosquitos that carry the Zika virus get here, how the government prevents and responds to the invaders, and what effect they have once they are here.

FYS 199-10 A Gentle Intro to the Scientific Workview

Faculty: Dr. Cavendish McKay, Physics

Our world is increasingly dominated by science and technology. Many of the problems we face---both as individuals as well as on a societal level---can best be understood and addressed through the lens of scientific reasoning. Sadly, though, many people think science is either too boring to bother with, or too hard to make sense of. This course will convince you otherwise! As we explore some of the challenges that face us in the modern world, we will see how a few simple ideas and tools can vastly enrich our understanding and help us reason through potential solutions.


FYS for Commuters and Transfers

The following course provides an opportunity for first time students who commute and those who are transfers to develop a sense of community while learning how to become empowered Pioneers!

FYS 199-03 PioEmpower!

Faculty: Dr. Liane Gray-Starner, Communication

The term entrepreneur comes from the French - literally, one who undertakes. In this course students will undertake the task of becoming empowered problem solvers. The world needs all kinds of entrepreneurs—from coders to conservationists. This course will explore and expand your ability to relentlessly seek out problems and create solutions.


Major Oriented Courses – The following courses provide an introduction to a major

FYS 199-11 Sports Medicine as a Profession at Marietta and Beyond

This introduction to Sports Medicine uses television shows and movies, such as House, Grey's Anatomy, and Concussion, to teach students about the different models of medicine and medical ethics that are foundational to Sports Medicine as a Profession. It also helps students understand the history of Athletic Training as a profession by focusing on Marietta College's Athletic Training Program (ATP), which was one of the first in the nation to be approved as a full major by the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA). We will consider the development of the program, connecting with alumni from the program to see how the profession has evolved.

Enrollment in this course is limited to those who are majoring in Athletic Training or interested in exploring athletic training careers.

PETR 101 Engineering Reasoning

Faculty: Dr. Susan Peterson; Prof. Ben Ebenhack; Prof. Tina Thomas, Petroleum Engineering

Engineers are required to reason through complex engineering issues by application of critical thinking skills applied with the appropriate intellectual disposition. Specific student learning outcomes for this course include increased understanding and application of critical thinking skills and an increased awareness of the ethical implications often associated with decision making.

Enrollment in this course is limited to ACCEPTED, DECLARED Petroleum Engineering majors.