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Gateways to Phoenix Success

GPS Courses: 2015-16

Fall 2015 GPS First Year Seminars (3 credits):

  1. Digital Storytelling: What is Life's Work? (DJS 198) – Instructor: Alison Staudinger

    It has been forty years since Studs Terkel published Working: "People Talk about What They Do All Day and How They Feel about What They Do", yet the stories he shares still resonate, tracing the complex relationship between our jobs, dignity, exploitation and creativity. Indeed, work has long been important in human ideas and politics, although not always in the same way. This interdisciplinary course draws on historical primary sources, literature, philosophy and social science to explore what work is. How should we arrange our workplaces and our families? Is work a punishment or a gift? Should we value intellectual labor over manual labor? What is the political importance of work? Why should we work at all? Along with substantive exploration of these questions, students will develop reading strategies for different types of texts, and spend most of the semester creating their own sequel to Working, in the form of an oral-history archive about work in NE Wisconsin. Students with interests in podcasts or other forms of digital storytelling, as well as qualitative research methods, will probably enjoy this course. (TR 9:30-10:50)

  2. Love & Lust in America (Hum Dev 198) – Instructor: Denise Bartell

    This course is an interdisciplinary exploration into the concepts of romantic love and sexuality in American culture. Included in the course will be a review of the history of these topics in the U.S., an overview of the scientific study of lust and love, an examination of media portrayals of love and lust, as well as the impact of those portrayals, and an examination of the role of politics in our romantic and sexual lives. Towards these ends, students in the course will read broadly across the disciplines in this exploration, including but not limited to history, psychology, anthropology, media studies and political science. (TR 11:00-12:20)

  3. Wild: Nature and Modern Culture (Hum Stud 198) – Instructor: David Voelker

    Through this highly interactive seminar, we will explore relationships between humans and nature, in both idea and practice. Modern people tend to see themselves as separate from the rest of nature and only occasionally apply ethical thinking to human relations with other-than-human nature. Meanwhile, our environmental impact--including species extinctions and global climate change—continues to expand. This modern situation suggests a number of big questions that we will investigate from multiple perspectives. What ways of thinking about the relationship between humans and (other-than-human) nature have dominated modern culture and ways of life? Why might we need to rethink the dominant relationships between humans and nature? What might we learn from indigenous and other-than-Western alternatives to the modern understanding of the relationship between humans and nature? How might we reimagine the relationship between humans and nature to aim toward a sustainable, livable earth? (MW 12:45-2:05)

  4. That’s So Gay! Explorations of LGBT Lives and Identities (Hum Dev 198) – Instructor: Christine Smith & Joel Muraco

    This course explores the field of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Studies and its relationship to both the lives of LGBT people and society more broadly. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore such topics as theories of sexual and gender diversity; identity and community; gender/sexuality and power, queer cultures, and LGBT politics, focusing on the United States. (TR 2-3:20)

  5. The Vikings (Hum Stud 198) – Instructor: Heidi Sherman

    This is a course on the myth of the Vikings in the medieval and modern era. Whence do we gain the impression that the Vikings were bloodthirsty marauders? Medieval monks maligned them in their chronicles. Romantic and nationalist composers and novelists made the Vikings subjects of operas and gothic novels. Soviet propagandists pictured Hitler wearing a horned helmet in newsreels. You name it; the Vikings have been used to further politically- and culturally-driven agendas. Popular culture also loves the Vikings: comic books, Hollywood films, Norwegian black metal, professional sports teams. (TR 2-3:20)

Fall 2015 GPS Workshop (1 credit):

Once a week during the fall semester, you will get together with your mentors, advisors, and GPS team to talk about how to get the most from your college experience and get off on the right foot. You’ll learn about skills critical to college success like time management, effective reading and maintaining health and balance; you’ll talk about how to find opportunities on campus to explore your interests and build your resume; and you’ll spend time exploring your passions and identifying your goals for college. (F 1:00-1:55)

“The GPS program gave me the opportunity to learn how to be a good student. Through each student success workshop, I learned helpful tips that have helped me through many of my courses just this semester.”

“The workshops taught me ways to study, relieve stress, utilize the campus, get involved, and maintain good college etiquette. They were all very helpful and changed my outlook on college.”

Fall 2015 Intro to Human Biology (Hum Biol 102) (3 credits):

There are three basic goals for this course: 1) to help you understand how the human body works, 2) to introduce you to basic scientific principles and thought processes, and 3) to help you understand and form opinions about some of the many controversial issues in biology today. Hum Biol 102 is the course most UWGB students take to fulfill part of the Natural Science General Education requirement, and most choose to take it during their first year. So we have included it as part of the GPS program courses in the fall semester. (MWF 9:30-10:25)

TOSS Study Sessions:

Hum Bio 102 is also one of the more challenging courses you’re likely to take in your first year, and so the GPS program provides students with free weekly study sessions (called TOSS sessions, for Targeted Opportunities for Success in Science).

These sessions are led by upper-level undergraduates who excel in the major, and during the sessions students work in small groups on activities that allow you to review vocabulary, get practice applying concepts, and learn skills for how to read and effectively study the course content.

And TOSS works! Over 80% of the students who attend at least 8 of these weekly sessions earn A’s or B’s in the class – and that’s compared to only 40% of students who don’t attend the sessions.

“I would say that my TOSS TA’s are hands down the number one reason why I did so well in bio this semester…and they also were the ones who got me considering bio as a possible minor.”

“…the TOSS sessions and the student workshops were extremely helpful with my academics. TOSS sessions gave me the help I needed to succeed in biology that I probably wouldn’t have utilized had I not been in the program.”

“While I begrudgingly admit that I don’t exactly enjoy studying, I see it as a necessary evil that the GPS program has forced me to tackle head on, and it has helped greatly.”

“The TA’s at the TOSS sessions became people I can talk to about more than just Biology and they helped me so much during tough study sessions.”

Spring 2016 GPS Seminar (1 credit):

This course serves as a capstone to the Phoenix GPS program first year experience. It gives students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in their first year seminar course to address a real-world problem. Students work with their GPS team to develop and implement a service learning project with their class over the course of the spring semester. The course also provides students with the opportunity to think intentionally about, and develop a plan for how they will maximize the impact of, their college experience, by completing activities on career and major exploration, resume development, and high impact experience planning. (F 1:00-1:55)

“I can’t wait for the next GPS class during the spring semester. I believe that this will be even better than my current one, because we are literally going out in the community and helping the less fortunate.”

“The GPS program influenced me to become a more caring person and find new ways to help others.”