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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


The First Year Seminars are a group of courses that are part of the First Year Program at UW-Green Bay. The seminars are designed to provide students with an educational experience characterized by dynamic learning and interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving. They provide high quality interactions with a professor and classmates in a small size seminar environment. The courses also encourage students to connect with the campus community through a variety of activities. Each seminar fulfills a General Education a lower level writing emphasis requirement.

Although freshman seminars vary in topics, all have common elements. They are:

  1. To introduce students to a problem-focused, interdisciplinary education. Students will address problems from multiple perspectives.
  2. To develop communication skills. The courses emphasize effective communication including writing, speaking, and the ability to work in a small group environment.
  3. To promote information literacy. The seminars introduce the idea of information literacy in the context of writing and speaking assignments so that students have a better understanding of how information is collected, how to assess the quality of the information and its sources, and how to use information effectively.


First Year Seminars - Fall 2014

ART 198:  Exploring Art, Culture and Ideas
Art tells the stories of human experience. These stories are of many types: romances, mysteries, gospels, autobiographies, fantasies. In this course, we’ll experiment with different ways of looking at art and reading its stories. This will include considering the larger context of art as it intersects with other disciplines, as well as each student’s own interpretations. We’ll focus on the art of the present, making use of art on campus and in the community, films, visiting artists, and hands-on experiences.

ART 198:  Asian Art
Asian Art has a rich and diverse history, which will be covered in both traditional and contemporary styles. We’ll explore traditional artistic techniques, such as calligraphy and ceramics. This course will be a mix of lecture and hands on art making.

DJS 198:  Reading the Times
Through daily readings of and discussions about the latest news stories and opinion columns in the New York Times, students will become knowledgeable about and familiar with current national and international affairs and the public debates that address those events and developments.  

DJS 198: We Don't Need No Education....Or Do We?  The Problem of the American Education System Past and Present
This course asks first-year students, as they transition from one part of the US system to another, to critically assess American education—from the origins of public schools in the 1800s to our current time of No Child Left Behind K-12 education and the modern university.  Run as a seminar, this course will not be a comprehensive survey of American education.  Rather, we will think about big contemporary problems and their historical origins, such as the purpose of compulsory public education for children, the unionization of educators, standardized testing, and student debt financing for university degrees.  By the end of the course, students will be able to formulate their own highly informed perspective on many of these controversial issues.

DJS 198:  What's for Sale?: The History and Politics of American Consumer Culture
What are the politics of shopping?  Americans only began to think of themselves as “consumers” in twentieth-century, but questions around the meaning and morality of spending have been debated since the founding of the nation.  This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the history and politics of consumption in the United States. Drawing on range of sources from history, literature, sociology, and philosophy, we will ponder a broad range of issues related to shopping, including consumption and self-making; the relationship between the consumer and citizenship; and the economies of “style.”  Along the way, we will grapple with understanding the political and moral implications of the United States’ market-driven economy, as it pushes the limits on “what’s for sale.”

EDUC 198: Embracing Diversity in a Globalized World
In order to meet the current demands of our globalized world, we must become aware of our evolving national diversity. This seminar will provide you with opportunities to become culturally competent. We will learn to understand ourselves and others by studying other backgrounds. We will look into the role of values in human differences, and the relationship between communication, conflict, and conflict resolution. We will also explore the promise of multicultural education and what it means to live in a pluralistic society. This course will give you opportunities to engage in cultural events of your community, develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, cultivate an interdisciplinary perspective, and improve your oral and written communication abilities. You will also meet the challenges of interacting effectively with people from different backgrounds, as you realize that we are more alike than different.

ENV SCI 198:  The Science and History of Monsters
This course studies the monsters of myth, legend, and reality. Literature, film documentaries, folklore, history, and pop culture are used to trace the origins of monsters. We will examine the influence of science on the creation of monsters, discuss the ethics of scientists with a "God complex",; consider the possibility that real monsters exist based on the scientific evidence, and examine the physiological response of humans to horror, fear, and death. 

ENV SCI 198:  Let’s Go Native:  Conservation Biology in Practice
This course partners UW-Green Bay students with local conservation organizations to provide real world, practical exposure to the challenges, successes, and opportunities associated with the restoration and conservation of Wisconsin’s biological treasures. Weekly readings, discussions, and presentations will be paired with hands-on field experiences with the Baird Creek Preservation Foundation and the Cofrin Center Arboretum to connect concepts with practice for issues ranging from invasive species, to herbivore effects on community diversity, to volunteer organizing, and native plant restoration. Weekly fieldtrips and outdoor activities on rough and irregular ground is required during the normal class meeting times.

FNS 198: From Disney’s Pocahontas to the NFL: Stereotypes and the Realities of First Nations People
This course will explore historical and contemporary issues confronting First Nations people and their communities like the race based mascot/logo issue. The course has an oral traditional emphasis and will assist students in developing critical thinking and oral traditional speaking and memory skills. The course is designed with an emphasis on generational teaching and learning

GEO SCI 198: Nature and American History
American History has been influenced fundamentally by the world around us. Resources drive migrations. Technology has a basis in Earth materials. Topography acts as natural divides that influence political boundaries and restrictions to transport. Disasters force us to make difficult decisions. This course reinvestigates major American events many of us already know about through the lens of natural science. 

HUM BIOL 198:  Death, Dying and Science
This course addresses issues underlying the use of human cadavers and animals in teaching and research environments. A variety of readings and videos will be incorporated to emphasize controversial topics, including: continuation of life support, organ donation, willed body programs, animal testing, the cadaver trade, and stem cell research.

HUM DEV 198: Love & Lust in America
This course is an interdisciplinary exploration into the concepts of romantic love and sexuality in American culture. Included 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 and the impact of these portrayals, and the role of politics in lust and love in the U.S.

HUM DEV 198: Fingernails on the Chalkboard? How Education Shapes Us
This First Year Seminar will examine the implications that Human Development has on educational concerns and needs, as well as the ways in which education itself promotes or hinders important developmental processes. Educational policy issues will be discussed and topics covered will include: early literacy skills, Kindergarten readiness, special education, sex education, high school drop-out, college issues (economic and social), traditional vs. non-traditional college students, and online education. In addition, this course will incorporate diversity topics such as inequalities in schools, LGBT students, and the achievement gap, and global models of education.

HUM STUD 198: The Madman in the Blue Box: Doctor Who?
Since first airing on November 22, 1963, Doctor Who has taken viewers on a ride across space and time.  Surveying the program's first fifty years, this course will explore the television show's place in the science fiction genre of time travel, its evolution within historical context, and the fundamental philosophical questions the Doctor and his companions have wrestled with over the years.

HUM STUD 198: Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Originals and Adaptations
We’ll examine Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy (Hamlet), love story (Romeo and Juliet), and romantic comedy (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). In each case we’ll begin by reading the play and watching a well-known production of it, then analyze stage or screen adaptations such as West Side Story and To Be or Not To Be, as well as adaptations in fields such as music and art, ranging from high culture to pop culture.

HUM STUD 198: Wild: Nature and Modern Culture
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?

INFO SCI 198: Working At Play: Survey of Video Game Theory and Design
This course introduces students to interdisciplinary study through the medium of video games. Students will explore the historical, theoretical, and social dimensions of games and the contemporary gaming industry. Students will also learn the basics of game development using Game Maker software and develop their own short game. Students will learn to write critically about the medium as well as their own experiences and intentions with game design.

NUT SCI 198: Food for Health and Sustainability
What’s for dinner?  The answer to this simple question profoundly influences our individual health and that of our communities, impacts the environment locally and globally, and drives many gender and social justice issues. This course begins with the food on our plates and traces the history of those foods, how they affect human health, the environment and the fabric of our societies.

PHILOS 198: Calvin and Hobbes Tour the Philosophical World
What can Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes teach us about Philosophy? Surprisingly, quite a bit. Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is often underwritten by meaty nuggets of philosophy.  I hope to draw upon these to illustrate and help us discuss philosophical questions about meaning, purpose, identity, morality and, of course, the reality of a certain stuffed tiger named Hobbes.  We will ask, for instance, how Calvin and Hobbes each understand the meaning and purpose of life, how we can distinguish what is real from what is imaginary, where their moral codes arise from and how they differ, whether Hobbes needs a mind in order to be alive and whether Calvin can be alive despite so often being mindless, and what Calvin’s attitude toward nature is and whether it should be ours.

PHYSICS 198: Intro to the Physics of Space Programs
An introduction to the principles of aerospace physics as they relate to Space Programs, including application of the Tsiolkvsky Equation, Hohmann Transfers, determination of velocities and delta-v. Depth of understanding will be evaluated and refined interactively using the Kerbal Space Program simulation software.

POL SCI 198: The Politics of Sports
An examination of how sports-related issues illustrate important political concepts, including nation-building through sports, regionalism, inter- and intra-state conflicts, international organizations, political systems (authoritarianism and democracy), citizenship, political culture (competitive vs. consensual), civil rights (gender, LGBT, disability issues), public policies (education, economic policies, health, etc.), branches of government (congressional hearings), elections and public opinion (sports and political campaigns), the role of media, in US and around the world.

PSYCH 198: Gods, Ghosts and Goblins
Why do we believe what we do?  We will take a social science perspective to explore the underlying reasons as to why humans believe the things they do (and why they do not believe in other things).  We will explore the roots of religion, discuss the psychological benefits to believing and the perils of not, and examine some fascinating objects of belief ranging from paranormal activity to extraterrestrial life.

PSYCH 198: On a Zombie Apocalypse
This course explores the zombie genre of movies, books, television, etc. from an interdisciplinary perspective. Ultimately, zombie films and books are about two things: contagion and doomsday. Thus, in addition to discussing the history of the genre and the psychological attraction to such files, we’ll discuss the science behind the spread of illness, government response to outbreaks, approaches to doomsday preparation, survivor group dynamics and leadership, and a host of other relevant topics.

PU EN AF 198: Hopscotching the World of Nonprofit Organizations
We will explore the good work being done by nonprofit organizations around the world, from international NGOs, to nonprofits in China, Germany, and other countries, to right here in our own backyard. What role do they play, and how do they partner with governments and each other? What work do they do, and are they effective? Along the way we’ll find ways to make a difference in our own community.

SPANISH 225: Intermediate Spanish Conversation and Composition
This class will offered students with at least four years of high school Spanish, the possibility to review and advance in their linguistic and cultural knowledge

UR RE ST 198:  Animals and Society
This course focuses on the complex relations between humans and animals. How do we determine, which animals are wild, food, or pets? What impact do these interactions have on the social, economic, and political life of a culture? The topics covered in this class help explore our ongoing relationship with animals as pets, food sources, and wildlife and how they change in an era bombarded with concerns about environmental degradation and economic fluctuations. This course requires an interdisciplinary perspective and an emphasis on critical thinking.

UR RE ST 198: City Life in Sitcoms
The nature of human lifestyles fundamentally transformed with the reorganization of society into early urban settlements.  This march of modernization during the Industrial Revolution once again reorganized society with the shift to an urbanized society.  The post-WWII period then signaled new changes in the United States that allowed city residents to spread further from the downtown cores and achieve a higher level of affluence.  This process is, of course, studied by a myriad of academic disciplines, however, other more popular forums have also reflected upon and arguably influenced the lives of people that have lived during this progression.  Specifically, the situation comedy (or sitcom) born on radio broadcasts in the United States and maturing through the medium of television, is an exemplary tool for analysis because of its focus on characters and themes contemporary to the time.  Therefore, this course explores the relationship between sitcoms and research themes concerning lifestyles in cities in the United States.