Fall 2021 First Year Seminar Topics

The following list of First Year Seminar topics will be offered in Fall 2021. Students can search for the times for each topic on the MyKU course search system. Many of the professors have also added their e-mail contact information if students have further questions on the class.

2677 Muzeta Bueller? Teachers in the movies This course taps into the power of movies to explore the portrayal of teachers to better understand their place in the American society.  By examining teachers in pop culture films ranging from classics like To Sir with Love to School of Rock, students will discuss the messages in the films covered; assess the strengths and weaknesses of each film's message; and apply the lessons from these films to controversial questions that surround American education.



TBA Career Habits of Highly Effective Managers The Career Habits of Highly Effective Managers is a student success course designed with the end in mind: Succeeding in College, Career, and Life. Themes include securing, maintaining and enjoying your future management careers and becoming your best future self. Students will participate in career assessments, practice networking and ultimately develop a personal brand.



TBA THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE SPORT MANAGERS The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Sport Managers is a high-impact student success course for those who love sport. It will provide the toolset, skillset, and mindset needed to succeed both in college and in the ever-changing global marketplace. Utilizing a powerful blended learning experience, students will gain critical skills including: leadership, time management, goal achievement, communication, conflict resolution, money management, responsibility and initiative, and, health and wellness.




Hayduk ME! ME! It’s all about me The course will present manageable first steps for the student who is commencing their own personal health journey. This journey encompasses the holistic dimensions of health including the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual Students will be provided with the skills to weigh health information, evaluate claims, and make solid health related choices in a world full of misinformation and gimmicks. This will include guidelines and skills for making a healthy behavior change. Experiential stress management coping techniques will be embedded into the weekly curriculum.
3063 Crider Stress Management for College Students: Tools for successful student performance This course is designed to promote the students overall health through the development of personal skills to enhance their well-being. Students will be introduced to the benefits of stress management; the development and practice of stress management tools, activities (meditation, Tai Chi), and personal enrichment activities. Students will be introduced to: strategic self-enriching personal skill development and research based exploration of topics that range from: depression, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, as well as relaxation techniques.
3002 Perkins Don’t Fall for Fake News: Building Smart Research Skills How can you recognize "Fake News" and misleading information? Through games, videos, and hands-on activities, you will develop search strategies, evaluate resources, and interpret information for successful research! The same skills that help you recognize misleading information can be used to help you create high ­ quality research during college and establish professional networks that will carry you beyond graduation. Choose your topic and with individual instructor attention, practice shaping and sharing your information with the world!



Rogers Exploring Differently Abled in Pop Culture This is not a course about exploring how individuals with disabilities are portrayed in mass media. It is a course about how those depictions shape our thinking about these individuals. Often, we may not personally know someone with a disability, so our perceptions is shaped by encounters through mass media. Students will explore film, television, news media, modern and graphic novels, art, and other forms of mass media to identify how these images influence societal and personal views of disability/ differently-abled .... good and bad. We consistently encounter differently-abled individuals in our daily lives and self-awareness is the first step to acceptance and inclusion in society.
2664 El Mounadi M&Ms: Mushrooms, Molds and Man M&Ms: Mushrooms, Molds and Man explores the magical, mysterious, medicinal and sometimes menacing world of fungi. What exactly are fungi? What is the difference between mushroom and mold? Where do fungi grow? Why are some of them "magical" while others are mischievous causing devastating human and plant diseases? Through readings, discussions, movies, presentations and collaborations, students will learn how these fascinating, yet often undermined, organisms can heal, sustain life, change the course of history and impact civilization



Bleach Horror in Contemporary American Culture Horror, full of blood and fright, has long been a popular genre in visual arts, fiction, and other media. Over the last 30 years, horror's popularity has intensified, especially in film, comics, and shows produced for TV and the Internet. The course examines the tropes and techniques of contemporary horror, in American film, comics, and novels. The course asks why we are compelled by and attracted to images and texts designed to scare and repel us.



Morris Native American Comics and Film Learn stories and explore truths about contemporary living Native peoples through their creative outlets of comic books and films. Students will read comic books and watch films directed, produced, acted, and written by Native American people today. This contemporary intervention will reverse assumptions of indigenous invisibility in the American landscape and help students see that Native peoples are still here.


Leonard Genius and Creativity Where do great ideas come from? Does true originality exist? Can you "hack" the creative process? Students will investigate these philosophical and psychological questions through engagement with works of music and visual art, literature and film, and scientific and mathematical innovation. From Plato to remix culture, you will explore the nature of inspiration and imagination.



Schnell The Power of Place Places are more than geographic coordinates; they are centers of meaning and experience that powerfully influence us.  How does place shape us, and how do we shape the places around us?  We will explore the ways that people interact with places and give them meaning, and the ways that places teach us about our cultures and ourselves, through various media including film, graphic novels, readings, fieldwork, art, interviews, and personal reflections.


Davis Exploring Your World and Others Students are familiar with the "real world" that surrounds them. However, a multitude of different ways exist in how we can view this world. Some involve in-situ (in person) observations and some can involve remote sensed (distance) observations. More recently, technological advances have generated augmented reality games to learn more about an area, location, or place. This built upon more earlier investigation activities such as orienteering and geocaching. In this course, we will explore the world around us through maps, gaming, and other methods of discovery



Saidi African History Through Film This class will present the history of Africa through film. Students will watch and learn from three types of films: documentaries about Africa; western images of Africa in films like "Tarzan" to the "Gods Must Be Crazy" to the latest Disney cartoon that shows animals speaking African languages, but no Africans; and films that Africans watch from South African TV to Nollywood (Nigerian film industry).
3083 Wong Mathematical Puzzles and Infinity When we think about infinity, we imagine a limitless, never-ending state. Nevertheless, this fascinating idea also brings many self-contradictions and counterintuitive consequences. Investigating these strange phenomena helps us acquire skills and concepts that expand our thinking. Using a variety of mathematical concepts in discovering the wonder of infinity, students will develop better problem-solving skills and an appreciation for the beauty of mathematics.
2654 Moctezuma Shared Borders: US & Latin Pop Culture In this topic, students will develop these skills by studying the interplay between Latin and U.S. pop cultures. The influence of each pop culture on the other will be embedded in a social, political, and historical context. Studying these cultures and their effect on each other will help students develop the various skills and meet the learning objectives for this course as they learn to cope successfully with the demands of the first year of college. 



Tindall Doomsday: Would you Survive? Catastrophic events like meteorites, volcanic eruptions, and ice ages have repeatedly decimated life on Earth, causing mass extinctions. Scientific evidence implicates different culprits acting at different times throughout Earth's history.  We will explore the scientific techniques used to study the causes and results of mass extinctions. Students will incorporate scientific principles and creative thinking to project whether humans, as individuals and as a species, could survive these life-altering events if - and when - they occur.



Portada Dictators and Despots Caesar. Napoleon. Stalin. Putin? Authoritarianism is on the rise. Many societies around the world face crumbling democratic institutions and emerging strong-arm leaders. What does a rise of 21st century despots portend for international relations? What lessons can be learned by examining the notorious dictators of the past? This course provides students with an introduction to central themes in political science through an exploration of the many patterns, consequences, and personalities associated with authoritarian rule.
2676 Richardson Envisioning the Future This course explores what future may look like, and what it will mean for our lives and values. It will address issues such as when it becomes possible for some humans (but not others) to possess enhancements to their mental and physical capabilities, what will the words "all men are created equal" mean? When government and corporations have the power to monitor our thoughts, movements, and emotions, what will the right to privacy mean?



LaBarre New Adulting New Adulting infuses themes in pop culture and social awareness to develop essential skills for enhancing the academic experience. Exploration of trends in social media, television, and literature are used as a platform for self-reflection, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Social, political, economic, and technological trends will be explored and discussed. Participants will develop personal understanding of the tools and strategies necessary for successful academic planning in addition to personal and professional growth.
2646 Stoeffler F*** NEWS!: Fact, Opinion, or Fabrication? Trustworthy information is necessary to fuel positive change with and on behalf of those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. The "fake news" trend in our public discourse provides an opportunity to learn how to retrieve, interpret, and evaluate information. This course challenges students to be critical consumers of in formation in pursuit of a more equitable society and to better engage in the life of the University as well as in their professional and civic communities.
2647 Svistova  Global Social Problems and Social Change The world today is experiencing the most pressing social problems.  During this course, students will learn about different global social issues, human rights framework, and promising approaches and solutions. Through problem-solving activities and teamwork, participants will have opportunities to deepen their self-awareness and cultural competence and explore their potential for becoming leaders and social change agents to serve on the frontline of the global social change. This course features international guest speakers.




Speirs Body Adornment, Tatoo and other Modifications This course introduces the global significance of body adornment and modification, specifically how the body has been used as a means of expression over time and across cultures. Skin art and other forms of body modification including tattoo, piercing, and plastic surgery will be studied along with hairstyles, clothing and jewelry as examples of adornment. These forms and others will be explored through the lenses of history, health, gender, class, race, culture, identity, and art.
2683 Massie Truth or Consequences: White Lies and Manipulation "Do I look fat in these pants?"; "I'd really like to just be friends."; "Tell me the truth. I can handle it!" We all engage in white lies and manipulations to make people feel better, make ourselves look good, or to conceal the truth from others. Telling the truth all the time is hard. This course will explore truthfulness, deceit, trust, justification, and excuses and their effects on relationships and the moral choices we make.



Alvani Finding Your Voice Our voice is the instrument that allows us to speak and sing, cheer and whisper, but how does our voice work? Just like other instruments, if we fine tune our vocal qualities, we improve the impact of our expression no matter how we use or voice. Additionally, understanding vocal mechanics helps prevent vocal problems. This seminar will explore the beauty and power of the natural voice for singing and speaking. No previous singing experience required.


Eicholtz Follow the Leader: Leading to Success If you ever wondered what kind of leader you are, or wanted to inspire others, this course provides the information to bring out the leader inside you. Good leadership skills can contribute to success in college, the workplace and in relationships. Understanding what makes a great leader and how you can tap into characteristics recognized as essential for success will put you in front of the group. Using activities and exploring historical and current leaders, makes this class fun, informative, and helpful



Irving What's Your Style? Want to maximize your success in college? Find out how learning comes easily and maximize your academic potential through self-discovery in this course. Explore the different learning styles through various self-assessments and activities and determine those that will most enhance your college experience. Content includes a thorough analysis of the visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic/tactile (VARK) learning styles.