University Seminar Descriptions
The Center for Academic Success and First-Year Experience focuses on your successful transition into the Maryville community. Maryville has a comprehensive and integrated approach to assisting you in your academic, financial, and personal transition to Maryville. One of the many exciting opportunities for you as a first-year student is the University Seminar course which all first-year students enroll in during their first semester. Maryville’s University Seminar is more than a required course – it provides a distinctive opportunity to work closely with your peers and instructor on an important topic of mutual interest. All seminars focus on three goals: critical thinking, community, and communication. In each seminar, students and faculty explore a topic of common interest while meeting the goals through writing, oral presentations, research, critical reading of texts, and conversations. Each seminar is limited to 18 students to create a true “seminar” in which faculty can engage you and every student in the exploration of ideas.
Unique University Seminar Opportunities for Residential Students
The following University Seminar themes are opportunities reserved for residential students only who are living together. Students reside in a designated living/learning community together. Living-Learning Communities extend the learning beyond the classroom and into the everyday lives of students. Students live with other students who share common interests and together, they share a common experience. National research has shown that students who participate in living/learning communities experience a smoother transition to college than those who do not participate. If interested, please include these in your rankings.
The following University Seminars will live together as Living-Learning Communities in Mouton Hall:
Google Me! Technology and Our Lives
START Registration Title: Google Me
We are inundated and influenced daily with technology. What most don’t realize, however, is that this influence on culture and society is not new, only more prevalent with the rise of the digital age. In an attempt to better understand and participate in today’s technological dependent society, we will examine technology from its very beginning to its current state to answer what role, if any, technology should play in our lives. In the end, we will be able to answer what is arguably the most significant question of our time. How do we use technology to become outstanding global citizens? Students in this University Seminar will live together in a designated section of Mouton Hall.
Teaming Up for Kids the Maryville Way
START Registration Title: Teaming Up
Teams are now forming and we are looking for YOU to join. Calling all interested students to join Team Maryville and collectively address the national problem of childhood obesity. Have you ever wondered why children are considered obese now more than ever? What are the associated health related implications that threatens to shorten the lifespan of our entire generation? Does mental health impact unhealthy food choices? Discover the myths and facts associated with childhood obesity by joining Team Maryville to actively address these questions. With coordinated student teams, this class will develop a program that addresses known factors of childhood obesity. Through each team member’s path of self-discovery and on-the-ground program development, each student will not only impact another child’s health and well-being, but also create a positive influence that can impact a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Students in this University Seminar will live together in a designated section of Mouton Hall.
The following two University Seminars will live together as Living-Learning Communities in Potter Hall:
Life According to Our Favorite TV Shows
START Registration Title: Life According to TV
What life lessons can you learn from your favorite TV shows? You watch them every day—shows like “The Office,” “Glee,” and “One Tree Hill”—but have you ever thought about what you could actually gain from analyzing those shows? This course will examine how certain television shows can get us thinking about our own lives, attitudes, and decisions. Students in this class will be examine what TV has to teach about topics important to college students, including relationships, diversity, family traditions, and figuring out who we are and want to become. Students in this University Seminar will live together in a designated section of Potter Hall.
The Power of Design
START Registration Title: Power of Design
Have you ever thought about the process by which your cell phone, laptop, alarm clock, backpack, and dorm room came to look and feel the way they are? Many college students contemplate the idea that they’ve spent their entire lives surrounded by the work of designers. And while you might not be a designer we are all clients for designers. In this seminar, we will explore the meaning of design and the design process that enables us to identify and explore complex problems and generate creative solutions that support human behavior. As one of our course films, Objectified, puts it, “What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?” Students in this University Seminar will live together in a designated section of Potter Hall.
University Seminar Sections Open to All First-Year Students
Your Bucket List: Just Do It!
START Registration Title: Just Do It!
When you hear bucket list, you might think that’s something for old people to consider. Have you ever thought about the things you want to do in your lifetime? What would make your top 5? Run a marathon? Visit all MLB stadiums? Skydive? Play in a band? Have children? Travel to Australia? Your bucket list says a lot about your priorities, your values, your goals, your life. In this course we will critically examine what is on your bucket list, as well as what is stopping you from checking some of those things off. How can you work to achieve, accomplish, complete your bucket list? In addition to self-reflection, you will also research to learn what is on the bucket list of those closest to you – parents, best friends, mentors. How can you support others in accomplishing things on their bucket list?
Common Threads: The Family Ties That Bind Us?
START Registration Title: Family Ties
Lisa Albers and Cynthia Critchfield
What defines a family? Is your definition of family different from other people’s definitions? What do you envision your family of the future to look like? Will the family you make look different from the one you grew up in? How does our community and society influence our ideas about an ideal family or a perfect society? How do our individual family histories, stereotypes and diversities influence our relationships with relatives, friends and the surrounding community? This class will use interactive discussions, reflective assignments and on campus activities to help you examine the family you come from, explore how the Maryville family may change you, and discover what may be important to your family and relationships of the future. The class will strive to define values, identify feelings, and promote actions that will lead you through your Maryville journey and influence your future goals, attitudes and family vision.
Executing Justice: Controversies in the Legal System
START Registration Title: Executing Justice
This course will ask students to consider their beliefs about justice: life sentences for minors without the possibility of parole, the death penalty as punishment for juvenile offenders, our current federal sentencing guidelines, and more. Is the U.S. experiencing a crime problem as a result of a failure to get tough on offenders? Should the criminal justice system abolish the Exclusionary Rule of evidence in federal criminal cases? In addition to these and other questions, we will discuss movies, hear from guest speakers such as criminal judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, and take a field trip to a court sentencing, juvenile detention center, and county jail.
Gotta Play The Game
START Registration Title: Play the Game
Games are changing who we are—and what we are capable of. There are many types of games: board games, card games, video games, computer games, and sport games. In this class, we will explore games of all types, “gamification” (applying game mechanics and techniques to non-game contexts), and “gameful” people. Why do games make us happy? What have game designers learned to keep us coming back to our favorite games? How are businesses and organizations using games to engage and motivate customers and employees? Why should the power of games be used for escapist entertainment alone? We will investigate these questions and consider how games make us better and how they can change the world.
Image, Idol and Icon
START Registration Title: Image, Idol and Icon
Todd Brenningmeyer and Scott Angus
In 2012, more than 300 million photos were uploaded to Facebook daily. Images of births, deaths, daily life, political events and catastrophes inform our understanding of the world. While images are more abundant than ever before, the nature and function of imagery has not changed. Images remain the most effective medium for manipulating and inspiring an audience and given the visually saturated environment in which we live, the ability to read and critically assess an image is of great importance. In this course we will look at images and their ability to influence an audience and provide information. We will explore how images underscore our understanding of the world and how they are used to manipulate us into believing or perceiving what an artist, politician or corporation desires.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
START Registration Title: It’s Not You
As you join the Maryville community, you will form new, exciting, and sometimes complicated relationships. In this seminar, we will discuss the psychology of close relationships and critically evaluate this information within the context of your own experiences, both romantic and platonic. We will explore the role of marriage and monogamy in society, the ability of men and women to be “just friends,” and the controversial concept of “The One.” This class will use articles, films, readings, in-class activities, group discussions, and assignments to critically assess these issues and to teach you how to communicate your conclusions effectively. Together, we’ll answer your questions about relationships and emotional intimacy while backing up our answers with evidence.
“Like” This Course! Living in Social Networks
START Registration Title: Like this Course
Facebook, Skype, G-Chat—these words didn’t even exist when you were born. As a teenager in an age of technology, you have grown up in a virtually connected world with unlimited information at your fingertips. From YouTube to smartphones, you have the ability to connect to a world-wide, diverse society in seconds. How has social media influenced your development and perception of community, culture and communication? How will social media affect your college experience including relationships, social life and studies? In this course you will learn how to build professional networks using various social media applications and explore the power of networking in relation to careers, hobbies, and relationships. Through films such as The Social Network, readings, guest speakers and a team project, this course will examine the culture of social media, its impact on the millennial generation, and the power of social media in creating a positive (or negative) image.
Pay It Forward: Giving 100%, 100% of the Time!
START Registration Title: Pay It Forward
As a college student, you have the power to create your own identity that can leave a lasting impact on those around you. Who will you be? What will you become? Have you ever stopped to think, “Could I be doing more for myself? my community? my world?” This course is designed to challenge you to consider how you contribute to the community and world around you. Have you ever tried to ‘Pay It Forward’? Through this course, you will explore what internal and external influences impact your decisions to get involved. You will be challenged to think about what you will do to insure you make the most of your time and college experience.
Pink Brain, Blue Brain: Using Gender to Analyze Leadership
START Registration Title: Analyzing Leadership
What does it mean to be a man or a woman in the world today? From the moment you were born, media and society have told you what it means to be male or female. Pink Brain, Blue Brain: Using Gender to Analyze Leadership, will assist you in finding your inner strengths and leadership abilities at Maryville and beyond by analyzing gender roles and the history of gender in America. Students will use course readings, written analysis, interviews with successful female leaders and male feminists, movies, and more to learn how their role in the professional world, in the family, in the media, and at Maryville is shaped by perceptions of gender. By the end of this course, you will have the knowledge and skills to figure out who you are and who you want to become.
The Playlist of Your Life
START Registration Title: Playlist of Life
Of course, college students love music. But what do they listen to? How do they listen to it? Why do they love it? What does their music mean, and how does it make meaning? And why do these questions matter? This class will help students to explore how music works for them, combining an individual, personal approach with aspects of language and literary studies, psychology, sociology, and musicology. How does music affect the lives of first-year college students—and how do their lives create meaning for music? What are the relationships between words and music, sounds and cultures, and music and the mind? Students will listen to and write about music, keep a journal of their listening experiences, share songs and playlists with classmates, and contribute to a course blog.
Role-ing With It
START Registration Title: Role-ing
Leah O Leah
We’re social animals. Knowing ourselves and intuiting other people’s points of view are key to personal satisfaction and career success. Playing roles gives insight into how others see the world and surprises us with latent aspects of ourselves. In this class, we will examine plays and films to observe how characters respond differently. We will discuss the works, act parts of the plays, and see a live professional play production. Improv exercises will encourage students to expand their willingness to show many sides of themselves and to respond to other players. The course project will be a choice of research-based paper on an aspect of role-playing, theatre or film—or a solo or group creative project addressing course questions or other issues brought up during the semester.
Tell Them We Remember: Why Studying History is Relevant to Our Future
START Registration Title: We Remember
One may suppose that an event from over 50 years ago would be so well studied and understood that nothing can be learned from studying it today. Yet even a casual reading of current events reveals that genocide still happens in our world. Examining the circumstances leading to the systemic process of the proposed elimination of an entire “race” will yield a profound understanding of the universality of human motivation and hopefully a commitment to not acting as a bystander in the presence of discrimination and prejudice in our own country and the world. This seminar will center on group experiences and class dialogue—that is, deep listening for understanding and reflection.
What’s U.P. -Understanding Poverty?
START Registration Title: Understanding Poverty
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the concept of poverty and how it affects us all. Students will gain familiarity with poverty issues. This course will address classic viewpoints on poverty, how poverty is measured, underlying causes of poverty, characteristics of impoverished people and poverty polices. This course will also explore and afford students the opportunity to understand how the concept of poverty affects their chosen discipline or major. For example, the impact that poverty has on education, healthcare and crime. These topics, along with many others will be explored in detail in this course.
Where in the World Will You Travel? 30 Places to See Before You Turn 30
START Registration Title: 30 Places to See
The world is calling you to see its wonders, so plan your 30 must-see places to visit before your 30th birthday. Spend the decade of your 20′s experiencing natural and man-made marvels found in every corner of the planet—thriving global cities like London, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Mumbai, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Tokyo, and Mexico City; modern human-constructed wonders like the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Aswan Dam in Egypt; awesome structures built in earlier times like the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Roman Coliseum, and the great works of art and architecture; and natural phenomena like Iguaçu Falls, the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, the first golf course at St. Andrews, and great rivers of the world. This course will help prepare you for your future journey by taking you on a virtual tour of various global locations and learning about cultures and traditions through an international lens. We will use film and video, historical and travel essays, pictures, and the Internet.
Who are you? Ask Dr. Who! Science Fiction as a Guide to Our Lives
START Registration Title: Science Fiction
What’s the meaning of life? No one really knows. What does it mean to be human? Tough question, too. What are the problems facing our planet and our own survival? Too many to count. And what’s the meaning of your life? No idea? This seminar will probably not be able to answer all these questions—but we will try to make some sense of them through a variety of science fiction readings and movies. Science fiction is more than spaceships and robots. It asks questions about who we are in the universe, it explores alternative views of life, and it helps us to reflect critically on our own viewpoints and opinions. We will read novels and stories which develop visions of a more hopeful existence in this world (utopias), or which present terrifying scenarios of the future (dystopias), texts that deal for example with the promises and dangers of current technology and with the ecological crisis facing our planet. In reading, discussing, and writing about classic works of science fiction as well as Young Adult novels, we will also develop our personal visions of what it might mean for us to live satisfying and meaningful lives.
You Are What You Eat!
START Registration Title: What You Eat
Nadine Ball and Peggy Lauer
Food is universal: everyone eats. Food is wonderful: it nourishes our bodies and spirits. Food is central to human politics and scientific endeavor. Where does your food come from? How does what you eat affect you and the communities around you? What are the current trends and debates about food production, preparation, and marketing in the US? Why does food cost so much? How do different faiths consider food? Is food about social justice? How is public education teaching students about food and where it comes from? What are the possible futures for food production in the US and world communities? How can you change the world every time you shop for dinner? Come learn about food through political, economic, social, artistic, and scientific lenses, and transform what you learn into an educational event for the Maryville community and beyond.