Variety of topics offered for fall 2017 First-Year Seminar courses

Variety of topics offered for fall 2017 First-Year Seminar courses

 Aug. 31, 2017

First-year seminar courses (FYS 110), a core requirement for freshmen starting their college experience, are offered each fall semester, and the courses reflect professors’ interests and expertise. Serving as a multi-faceted introduction to the liberal arts, FYS courses enhance academic and communication skills, encourage critical thinking and facilitate personal and professional exploration.

Professors teaching FYS 110 sections serve simultaneously as first-year advisors to those students. Surveys show students rate the courses highly and value having their instructor as their advisor. Faculty members also rate the courses favorably, noting that they enjoy having the opportunity to teach about the liberal arts through a topic of their choosing.

This year, students will have the opportunity to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, play the ukulele, learn improvisation and experience math in new ways, to name just a few. Seventeen FYS 110 courses are being offered this semester. 

Barbie Bungee®, Bouncing Balls, Blowing Bubbles

with Angela Delozier

From a bungie jumping simulation with Barbies® to investigating the geometric patterns in blowing bubbles, your experiences in this class will lead you to think of math as you never have before! In addition, personal reflection on experiences and learning habits will enable us to discuss preparing your mind for excellence in the classroom even as you learn to take control of those ‘inner zombies’ related to counterproductive study habits. Whether you love math or hate it, this class promises to be engaging and motivating!

C'Mon Get Happy

with Dr. Jeremy Steeves

What does it mean to be happy? What makes people happy? Money? A lot of money? Good grades? Are you happy? Is the U.S. a happy country? Is there a happiness-health connection? Do happier people live longer? Will happiness decrease the risk for diseases such as hypertension or diabetes? This class will explore the emerging field of happiness, as it relates to wellness, leadership and vocation, through a series of film, discussion and physical/outdoor activities.

Democracy and the Liberal Arts

with Dr. Bill Meyer

What does it mean and what is required to be a free person? What does it mean and what is required to live in and sustain a free society? The liberal arts are literally the arts and skills of freedom—of being a free person and of sustaining a free society. In 2016, the word of the year was “post-truth.” Can one remain a free person and can a democratic and free society survive in a world of post-truth? This seminar will thoughtfully engage these important questions by drawing on philosophy, literature, history, and other forms of cultural and social analysis.

Energize! Finding How Science, Wellness and Nature Can Recharge Your Life

with Dr. Mark O’Gorman

Whether made inside the human body, captured and converted by solar panels, or produced by trees in the forest, energy is all around us and impacts our daily lives in many ways.  This class will look at energy; how it works, how it helps us, and how other-than-traditional ways to find new energy can restore our lives at MC, and after. For example, how can yoga and massage [you’ll do both!] recharge us? How can a walk in the woods heal us, and why is this simple act one of the most written-about themes in Literature?   Why have US Presidents affirmed the power of the midday nap? And how can looking for ‘critters’ in a stream be as powerful as lunch? Come unplug with us, and learn some simple ways to reenergize your life! 

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

with Andrew Gunnoe

This course will provide students with a social and ecological introduction to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).  Founded in 1934, the GSMNP is the most visited national park in the nation, attracting over 11 million visitors to the region annually. Maryville College is ideally situated just miles from the park’s entrance and students attending the college are afforded a unique opportunity to explore the park’s rich social, cultural and ecological history. This course will examine how the interplay of social and ecological processes have shaped the park’s history and development. Topics covered include ecology, history, public policy, economics and tourism. This course will also emphasize recreation and students will be required to visit the park several times throughout the semester. The primary goal is to foster a broad liberal arts interpretation of the GSMNP and to encourage students to develop their own capacity for exploration into the park, and beyond.


with Dr. Crystal Colter and Dr. Kathie Shiba

Through engaging field trips, films, guest speakers, readings and activities, we will explore the cultural, historical, political, scientific, economic and psychological aspects of food. Issues and topics will include farming, coffee, the Slow Food Movement, vegetarianism/veganism, globalization, eating habits and more. And we might do a little eating together now and again, too. 

Get Out and Play!

with Dr. Jenny Flynn

Nature-based play is an essential component of child health. Yet, the time American children spend outdoors is rapidly declining. Why has this decline occurred? Why do children need nature-based play for physical and emotional health? What is the role of nature-based play and nature-based education in the development of our future environmental stewards? This class will explore the emerging field of nature-based play in youth as it relates to health, well-being, and the environment through discussions and physical activity.

Improvisation in Art and in Life

with Dr. Heather McMahon

Improvisation is the act of creating something “on the spot.” While we might think of improv as a skill used only by actors, the truth is that we all improvise in our daily lives; the simple act of having a conversation is a form of improvisation! This course will explore the creative process of improvisation in the traditional sense, through acting exercises, but – in the tradition of the liberal arts – we will also think about improvisation in many diverse fields, such as music, the visual arts, the culinary arts, sports, science, education and psychology. Through readings, guest lectures, projects and performances, we will explore some ways you could harness the power of improvisation in your life.


with Dr. Dan Ross

What is infinity? Can there be something bigger than infinity? Can it show us that all movement is an illusion or imply there is another you out there somewhere? Together we will examine some mind-boggling paradoxes in pursuit of insights into the infinite. In the process, we will explore how infinity has played and continues to play an important role in mathematics, science, art, religion and more. 

Introduction to the Qur’an

with Dr. Phillip Sherman

The Qur’an is sacred scripture to 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. This course will provide a basic overview of the Qur’an, the prophet Muhammad, and the theological content of Islamic scripture. Students will read passages from the Qur’an, explore the place of the Qur’an in contemporary Muslim life, and make connections between the Islamic tradition and other religious traditions. 

Law: History, Philosophy and Practice

with Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer

This course will provide an introduction to the history of the law and the basic principles upon which it rests. We will discuss the role of law in society and the role of the people in the creation and maintenance of law. We will engage in a number of activities designed to explore law as a vocation; the course includes a visit to a courtroom, a mock trial, and a number of guest speakers from law-related fields.

LGBTQIAA Lives in America. 

with Roger Myers

Through readings, visual media, guest speakers and class discussions, we will explore the history, sociology, psychology, art & literature, politics, religion, and economics of LGBTQIAA lives and cultures in the United States. Topics that we will examine include terminology & definitions, history, campus & community resources, coming out, LGBTQIAA families and youth, transgender lives, bisexuality, health needs of the community, allies and their support, work and career issues, microaggressions, intersectionality, social policy and oppression, and activism. (LGBTQIAA = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Ally).

So, You Think You Want To Teach?

with Scott Steele

The course examines the broad theme of education and addresses the topics of calling, condition, culture and convictions related to teaching. Students are introduced to the academic expectations and practices of a Liberal Arts college and provided with an experiential component where they complete observations in local schools. 

Triumph of the City

with Dr. Ryan Mickey

Cities are crowded, dirty, crime-ridden, expensive and unequal. Despite the many problems of cities, more than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. In fact, cities are the social, artistic, political and economic centers of civilization and may be man's greatest invention. Using readings, videos, podcasts, images, discussion and writing, students will engage in the wonder of cities from around the world. We will examine why cities exist; the reasons why some cities thrive while others decline; the problems that cities face; the solutions that economists, sociologists and political scientists use or propose to combat these problems; and why cities are vital for the future of mankind. 

Ukulele U

with Dr. Sheri Matascik

We will learn about the ukulele and how to play it in this class. Concept-based learning (learning about the ukulele) and skill-based learning (playing the ukulele) will help prepare you for other college classes while having fun at the same time. We will sing songs and accompany ourselves on the ukulele. Our learning will culminate in performances at area retirement communities. Class lectures, discussions, films and readings will round out our experience.

Welcome to the World of Business!

with Dr. Jenifer Greene

This course will examine the structure and functions of business and how organizations work. By considering companies such as Stonyfield Farm and The Walt Disney Company, we will examine how businesses deal with significant issues of the day including ethical marketing, sustainable practices, and effective communication. Along the way, we’ll discuss how your Maryville College experience can prepare you to “make your mark” in the workplace.

Women’s Sexual Health (for women only)

with Dr. Karen Beale

Our culture sends confusing messages about relationships and sex. Our schools teach abstinence, yet we are constantly bombarded with sexual messages in the media. This can result in confusion and misinformed decision making. This course aims to dispel myths, provide accurate information, and focus on sexual health for women. Through field trips, short films, guest speakers, readings and various activities, we will approach women’s sexual health from various perspectives including: psychology, history, political science, biology, art, religion, math and business.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.