What is First Year Seminar?
Shenandoah University’s Going Global Initiative Is A Series Of Building Blocks That Begin With Our Going Global First Year Seminar.
In the fall, all first-time Shenandoah students register for one of the 24 Going Global offerings.
Course topics range from Ghost Stories & Legends to Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. All classes focus on a global theme, are small in size, and are challenging and highly interactive.
Every Fall, All First-Time Shenandoah Students Register For One Of The 24 Going Global Offerings.
Course topics range from how sports have changed the world to The Walking Dead and the human experience. All classes focus on a global theme, are small in size, and are challenging and highly interactive.
Please click the course title below for descriptions and class videos.
Fall 2019 Classes
The Olympics on Film
Faculty: Glenn Anderson
The modern Olympics and the film industry were born at approximately the same time in the late nineteenth century – this seminar course will explore the shared history of the two movements by looking at how the games have been portrayed on film. From screwball comedies (Walk, Don’t Run 1966, Cool Runnings 1993) to period dramas (Chariots of Fire 1981, Miracle 2004) and political propaganda films (Olympia 1938) to documentaries (16 Days of Glory 1984) – we will explore and discuss how these portrayals of the Olympic Games spoke to audiences about the movement itself, the time periods when they are set, the goals of the games, challenges, ideals, successes and failures.
Faculty: Sarah Canfield
2018 marks the 200th birthday of Mary Shelley’s “hideous progeny”: Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus explores the meaning of life and death, the risks and responsibilities of scientific exploration, the treatment of outsiders, and the shocking results when our creations speak back to us. The power of its images and themes means the novel has traveled the globe in the two centuries since its publication, where it has been taken up, transformed, and expanded far beyond the original text. This seminar will read Frankenstein as well as examples of adaptations from around the world.
Speaking of Sex: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Global Perspective
Faculty: DeLyn Celec
This seminar focuses on awareness of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi/Pansexual, Trans*, and Queer community (LGBTQ+). In current times, some rights have been recently legalized in the United States and other countries, such as same-sex/same-gender marriage. Concurrently, legal protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and health care for LGBTQ+ persons vary widely based on a person’s self-identity and location. Questions we will explore throughout the term will be, “How does gender identity and sexual orientation affect a person’s civil rights and why?” Students will engage in a variety of experiences with LGBTQ+ persons through the media, video conferencing, and live, in-person. They will explore global topics such as laws that protect or oppress LGBTQ+ persons, looking at the privilege or lack of privilege based on identity. They will explore their own feelings and actions about their roles in addressing issues that may marginalize or empower LGBTQ+ persons.
Gendered Violence & Gendered Resilience
Faculty: Jess Clawson
As our societal understanding of gender grows, so does the realization that violence against women is only a portion of gender-based violence in the US and all over the world. In this course, we will look at what prompts gender-based harm on small and large scales, and study how resistance and resilience factor into the survival of individuals and communities.
Myth Versus Reality: Chinese Fashion, Food and Culture
Faculty: Qingyan “Louise” Duan
China, the third largest country with the largest population in the oriental world, has seemed closed to the rest of the world at times in its long history. Through the years, China has experienced great changes and development with its unique culture. This class focuses on a general introduction to Chinese ancient and modern culture. This course will explore topics including Chinese food, costumes, and people’s attitudes and ideology toward the world. Students will be encouraged to provide their own point of view on topics regarding Chinese culture. In addition to cooking and enjoying some Chinese food, students will also have a one-day fieldtrip to Chinatown in Washington D.C. as well as visiting an Asian supermarket “The Great Wall “. By the completion of the course, students should be able to express and appreciate some aspects of Chinese culture from their own point of view, fostering respect for cultural diversity and developing an interest in a deeper exploration China or the world.
Landscapes of Encounter: Borderlands, Race, and the Gulf Coast
Faculty: Casey Eriksen
The liminality of the Gulf Coast evokes a type of borderland—national, cultural, artistic, political— that underscores diverse literary, musical, architectural, and historical sites of cultural exchange. This course will examine the meeting of cultures in the porous borderlands of the Gulf Coast; at a crossroads between Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the United States, “Landscapes of Encounter” will explore the construction of national and regional identities, language contact (French, English, Spanish, Creole), and in particular, dialogues on history and civil rights. With attention to popular culture and material studies, students will take part in deeper thematic conversations on race, identity, and national borderlands through a Fall Break GEL Trip.
Slowing it Down: Walks & Pilgrimages Across the World
Faculty: Tracy Fitzsimmons & Bethany Galipeau-Konate
Do you like to walk or bike? Do you move briskly or meander or charge through life? Do you have a sense of purpose or calling, do you chart an exploratory path, do you rely on spontaneity to guide you? Across the world and across centuries, people have participated in intentional walks, and such intentional walks and bike rides are gaining in popularity in recent years. People may reflect on the act of walking (or biking), they may reflect while walking or they may use walks to clear their minds. What makes a walk a pilgrimage?
Through this class, we will study walks and pilgrimages from the Camino de Santiago to the Hajj to the Char Dham to the Appalachian Trail. Together and individually, we will do several active walking (or biking) assignments, and our class will travel to Asheville, NC to experience the Camino de Asheville.
Ghost Stories and Legends
Faculty: Ginger Garver
How to stop a zombie? What is a pookah? What is the one way to escape a Cajun werewolf? the answers to these questions and more wisdom on the supernatural await you in the FYS adventure Going Global: Ghosts and Legends. Our class explores the lore of specific cultures as well as the universal themes that unite all cultures from Ireland to Mexico to Eastern Europe. It turns out we all have the same fears, hopes, and dreams. Listen to a real paranormal investigator. Record ghostly voices. Create a project on the Top Ten Haunted Locations.
Communicating in a Global Society
Faculty: Yolanda Gibson
This seminar focuses on intercultural communication. This course is designed to help students learn how to communicate with individuals from diverse cultures. Students will examine their own cultural identity as well as cultures around the globe as it pertains to values, beliefs, language, media, and traditions. Utilizing a communicative lens, we will address how these cultural indicators manifest through communication and how societies use communications in different ways. College is a time of self-reflection, self-discovery, and transition, therefore I hope to broaden student’s perspectives and increase their capacity to adapt to an evolving global society.
Supersized: A Look at the Global Obesity Epidemic
Faculty: Salli Hamilton
This course will guide students through an examination of the global obesity epidemic. Students will investigate the prevalence, the causes and the possible solutions of what the World Health Organization calls “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.”
Skin Deep: The Walking Dead and the Human Experience
Faculty: Keith Jones Pomeroy
This course will explore what it means to be human in our complex world. The class will address facets of human identity such as race, sex, gender, socio-economic class, and religion through the lens of popular culture and particularly the television series The Walking Dead. Does all human life have worth? Are some people more valuable than others? Who decides the defining characteristics of humanity? Who is in/out? The answers to these questions have significant implications on the future of humankind. Readings, videos, and other assignments will serve as the background for class discussions, small and large group activities, and immersive experiences.
Supersized: Exploring and Understanding Addiction
Faculty: Alicia Lutman
This seminar is a course designed to help students gain an understanding of the opioid addiction within our geographical location as well as other significant addiction challenges facing families and individuals today. The course will focus on J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and Beth Macy’s Dopesick students will read and discuss in addition to identifying current events and legislative measure. Students will be challenged to think about addiction in their world as well as the world around them from a global perspective.
Empowering Women, Advancing Sport
Faculty: Bridget Lyons & Ashley Smeltzer-Craft
The United Nations officially recognizes that participation of women and girls in sports challenges gender stereotypes and discrimination and can therefore be a vehicle to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The first international conference on women and sport was held in Brighton, England in 1994. As a result, the Brighton Declaration was endorsed to provide the principles that should guide action intended to increase the involvement of girls and women at all levels and in all functions and roles. Despite growing participation of women in sport in recent years, increased representation of women in decision making and leadership roles within sport has not always followed. This class will examine the the barriers to girls and women in participation and leadership.
You Don’t Have to be Gandhi: Student Activism in a Global Perspective
Faculty: Maggie McCampbell Lien
Famous activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and Mother Teresa created major change in our world-but they all started somewhere. What injustices do you see around you? What fires you up? Examine controversial global issues like racial equality, immigration, drug laws, and sexual violence from multiple perspectives. Discover what inspires you to step up and learn the leadership skills you need to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” A trip to Washington, D.C. will give you the opportunity to put your activism skills to work early in the semester as part of a Unity Walk to embrace different faiths and cultures.
The World in Six Songs
Faculty: Jeffrey Marlatt
Music provides us with the opportunity to tell the story of our lives. Through music we express emotion, attempt to understand life’s meaning, and share our humanity. Why can a song make you cry or tap your foot? We understand ourselves, and others, better when we think about six kinds of songs: friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, faith, and love. This course is designed to explore how people make music meaningful and useful in their lives. We will explore music in relation to global and cross-cultural perspectives with open minds (and ears).
How To Die
Faculty: Meredith Minister
This course explores death practices around the globe from cremation rituals in India to recent attempts to legalize body composting in Seattle. Through this exploration, students will consider how death practices are intertwined with cultural assumptions about the environment, sickness and health, what it means to be human, and individual autonomy. Engaging with death positivity, untimely deaths, and the process of decomposition, this course blurs disciplinary lines in order to consider how thinking about how we die helps us live.
Marriage and Sexuality in Islam
Faculty: Younus Mirza
A study of the various marriage and sexual practices in Islamic history beginning with pre-Islamic Arabia and ending with the modern Muslim world. We examine how Muslims understood sex, arranged sexual relationships, and structured marriage contracts. Special attention is paid to how Muslim women were placed within sexual relationships and how they navigated different cultural and religious rules to their advantage. Attention is also paid to modern attempts to reform Islamic law in an effort to seek greater gender equality.
Why You Should be Fearless in the Face of “a Thousand Mutilations”: The Uses, Abuses, and Purpose of the Past
Faculty: Jonathan Noyalas
Although some regard the study of the past as merely the collection of mundane facts and dates, history is among the most useful and contentious of subjects. This FYS will explore the various purposes and usefulness of the past. It will examine why it is important to preserve the past, in written from as well as part of the landscape. The seminar will also afford students an opportunity to gain a deeper sense of how the telling of history has been manipulated at all times and in all places across the globe to advance particular agendas–creating what some might classify today as “alternative facts.”
Global Citizen/Digital Citizen: How are Technology Trends Impacting Us?
Faculty: Richard Pierce
This seminar focuses on local and global technology issues including assess, accessibility, and societal impact. His book Life after Television, a 1990 book George Gilder predicted microchip “telecomputers” connected by fiber-optic cable would make broadcast-model television obsolete. In 1996 Gilder predicted the revolution in communications systems, the rise of cellular communications, GPS, expanded computing power, and the demise of cable television. Students will explore their own feelings and actions about their role in engaging rapidly changing technology.
How Do You Peel Your Banana: Conflicts in Intercultural Communication
Faculty: Kim Pineda
What is culture? Do I have a culture? Or is culture something that others have? How do I feel when I am the different one? What can I do to have better interactions in situations where differences exist? This highly interactive class, How do You Peel a Banana? Conflicts in Intercultural Communication, will address these questions. Through the use of experiential training activities, movie clips and intercultural readings students will explore behavior through the lens of values. Students will be guided in developing their own cultural self-awareness, discover ways to increase effectiveness interacting with those different from themselves and explore how cultural differences play into conflict. We will explore differences found throughout the world, but also differences that exist in our own neighborhood. Join us on this multicultural adventure!
Seeking After the Iron Throne: Narratives of Empire, Power and Community
Faculty: Colleen Preuninger
The mythical world of George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” provides a lens through which we may explore the dynamics of empire, power, and community on a global scale. Students will explore the interplay between empire, power, and community from multiple perspectives, drawing connections between the manifestations of empire and moral/ethical frameworks present in the mythical world of Westeros and the geopolitical realities of the “real world”.
All the World’s a Stage: How the Arts Connect Us
Faculty: Courtney Reilly
Beyond enjoyment and entertainment, the arts broaden our perspective and bring meaning to our lives — they give voice to human struggle, tackle challenging questions, provide space for reflection, and connect us to our own humanity. This course will explore how the arts impact and connect us on an individual and global level. Through research, practice, and reflection, we will experience the performing arts — attending a broad range music, theatre, and dance performances on campus and beyond. We will reflect on how we experience the arts and how those experiences are shaped by our own world view. We will also explore the very nature of experiencing the arts with others, examining how the arts have been used globally as a tool for cultural diplomacy and nation-building.
Science, Pseudo-science and Bull Sh**
Faculty: Laurel Rodgers & Beth Cantwell
This course will focus on aspects of how science is viewed, understood and misunderstood by the general public. First, we will explore how controversial topics, such as vaccines and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are viewed throughout the world. We will discuss the issues that drive each controversy and how a topic may be highly controversial in one country, but not in another. Next, we will have fun discussing the role science plays in popular culture, including television, books and blogs. During these discussions we will explore the fact that science is often distorted in popular culture and the reasons why, such as simplifying a plot or attracting more followers. Students in this course will have the opportunity to research countries of their interest, visit museums in Washington D.C. and test for GMOs in their food.
Sports as a Political Tool
This seminar, Sport as a Political Tool, focuses on the intersection between sport and political, social, and historical movements. Sport is often seen as “just a game”, but a closer inspection demonstrates how sport both reflects and alters political and social realities throughout the world. Students will learn about instances wherein sport – both positively and negatively – has been used or leveraged as a political tool, and reflect on ways sport-related events and policy can change how we see our world.
Meet the Director of First Year Seminar
Amy Sarch, Ph.D.
Associate Provost & Director of General Education
540-542-6534 | email@example.com | Gregory 157
I look forward to meeting all of you!
Please feel free to call me, e-mail me, or stop by my office.
Want To Become A First-Year Seminar Mentor?
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) program is looking for a few good student mentors for the fall 2020 semester. Interested in becoming a student mentor? Applications open in January 2020!
FYS student mentors assist faculty members by advising first-year students on the transition into university life and serving as academic tutors in one of the Going Global First-Year Seminar sections in fall 2020. Each mentor acts as a liaison between the student and instructor and helps to build a “Class of 2024” community.
Kiersten Coulter ’19 | Exercise Science & Spanish Double Major
I took the Diplomacy, Destruction, and Domination class with Dr. Leonard. This class exposed me to a new perspective. I learned global politics through playing a simulation. It was interesting and I learned a lot as I had no background in politics or playing video games. I also made friends with different types of people. Since this class is not major specific, I was able to interact with people outside of my major and even college. The class was a lot of fun and I felt more prepared for the next 7 semesters.
Sarah Macias ’19 | Biology Major with a Chemistry Minor
My First Year Seminar class with Dr. Trinidad and Dr. Tierno dealt with music history and the artists behind the masterpieces. We also looked at different health issues that impacted these artists and how it may have affected the way they produced or composed music. As a student looking towards a career in health and as a music lover, this class helped me realize there can be and are connections in the world of health and music.
Clelia Wilson ’20 | Nursing Major with a Spanish Minor
My professor for my FYS class was Maurice Fraga. Our subject had to do with self awareness through movement and improvisation. It made me realize how my upbringing has influenced how I see the world and how there are different types of thought. This class helped me understand how to put my biases aside and how to connect with others.