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First Year Seminar

Welcome to York College. Let's get started.
Get ready for a fantastic fall! York College has a great line-up of First-Year Seminar courses for 2017. FYS courses are small discussion and activity seminars for freshmen who are new to York College.
Your FYS will be intensive and rigorous, designed to intrigue you, challenge you, and help you raise your academic game to the next level. Your FYS experience will also help you meet people who share your interests, get to know the campus and its resources, and feel at home in your new college life. Most students will register for their FYS at Summer Orientation. You can prepare by browsing this catalog to see which topics interest you the most. See you in FYS on your Day One!
First Year Seminar at York College for incoming freshmen students

Fall 2017 First Year Seminar Courses

  • Living Creatures, Living Planet

    Please refer to the Registrar's Office for the official course descriptions. The Registrar's Office coordinates scheduling for FYS and the rest of your courses. Please contact them with questions about scheduling. A First-Year Seminar (3 credits) is required of all incoming York College students with less than 30 credits upon entering York College.

    Join an exciting program that combines classroom learning with activities, trips, and events that connect directly to the course topic. FYS Learning Communities welcome residential and commuter students who want to enjoy a rich campus life created just for them, more interaction with faculty and peer mentors, and additional support for their transition to York College. FYS-LC courses require participation in campus activities that count toward the FYS course grade. See the back of this catalog for more information. Enrollment takes place during your Summer Orientation registration session.

    Women in Sport (FYS-LC)
    FYS 100.138, T/TH 2:00-3:15 p.m.
    Professor Molly Sauder
    If you love playing or watching sports, you will enjoy studying some key issues with others who share your passion. We will explore questions and controversies related to women in sport. As we volunteer in the community, analyze sporting events, investigate sport media content, and discuss our findings, we will learn to think about sport, society, and ourselves in new ways.

    Race and Justice in America (FYS-LC)
    FYS 100.117, M/W 3:00-4:15 p.m.
    Professor Peter Levy
    Is justice color-blind? If so, why are there more African-Americans under the control of the criminal justice system today than there were slaves in 1850? Through the widely-acclaimed study, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the TV series The Wire, guest lectures, and immersive activities, we will examine and debate the impact of race on the U.S. criminal justice system over the past half-century. 

    Work, Play, Learn: Pursuit of Happiness (FYS-LC)
    FYS 100.105, M/W/F 10:00-10:50 a.m.
    Professor Brian Malcarne
    Is there a formula for achieving happiness and success? How can you ensure that you enjoy what you do for the rest of your life? Now is the time to plan how you will approach your college education and create a path for success and enjoyment. We will explore theoretical and practical approaches to creating a satisfying life through meaningful work, play, and learning.

    Work, Play, Learn: Pursuit of Happiness (FYS-LC), additional section
    FYS 100.112, M/W/F 12:00-12:50 p.m.


  • Transforming Identities

    Discover more about who you are now, and choose who you want to become.

    Who Am I? What Am I?
    FYS 100.110, M/W/F 11:00-11:50 a.m.
    Professor Dennis Weiss
    Who are you now, and who do you plan to become? What makes you the same self that you were in high school or that you will be when you finish college? Are we our bodies or our memories? Are we people, animals, or immaterial minds? Does part of us survive death? Through penetrating readings, films, and discussions, we will explore the philosophical, social, literary, and technological forces shaping our conception of self. 

    Who Am I? What Am I?; additional section
    FYS 100.114, M/W/F 1:00-1:50 p.m.

    Footprints in Silicon: Implications of a Digital Life
    FYS 100.103, M/W/F 10:00-10:50 a.m.
    Professor Vickie Kline
    Are you the same person online as you are face-to-face? What devices will actually become part of you? What happens when your devices start talking back to you? Will your digital existence extend past your physical life? Through hands-on examination, we will analyze the footprints in silicon that we are all making. We will discover our digital selves, and debate how the digital world shapes our relationships and our society.

    Identity and the Self in a Digital and Pop-Culture Whirlwind
    FYS 100.102, M/W/F 9:00-9:50 a.m.
    Professor Sam Waddell
    College is a time of self-reflection, self-discovery, and transition when people want to remake themselves into something new. We will “dissect” our identity through our preferences: how they have formed, how they define us, how they steer our decisions, and how they affect our presentation of ourselves to others. We will examine our “brand” and how we want to be perceived by those whose opinions of us matter the most.


    From Attitude to Altitude
    FYS 100.109, M/W/F 11:00-11:50 a.m.
    Professor Lisa Hess
    What does “success” mean to you? Money? Fame? Does success lead to happiness? We will explore these questions through our beliefs and experiences, as well as compelling books including Mindset, Outliers, The Happiness Project, and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. As we analyze issues such as perfectionism, procrastination, and happiness, we will learn to cultivate an attitude that propels us to the altitude we desire.

  • Living Creatures, Living Planet

    Explore the human impact on the natural world, and help shape the future.

    Animal Rights and Human Responsibility
    FYS 100.104, M/W/F 10:00-10:50 a.m.
    Professor Valerie Houghton
    How do animal lives relate to one another and to people? We will examine animal experimentation, factory farming, euthanasia of unwanted animals, hunting and killing animals for pleasure, and animals as companions and assistants. We will debate questions of justice, morality, ethics, and legislation, as well as consider the effectiveness of positive activism in freeing animals from domination and subjugation.

    Animal Rights and Human Responsibility, additional section
    FYS 100.108, M/W/F 11:00-11:50 a.m.

    Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
    FYS 100.130, T/TH 11:00am-12:15 p.m.
    Professor Kala Meah
    Imagine a day without any energy—no electricity and no gasoline! It's our responsibility to use energy resources wisely and conserve them for the future; and yet, energy harvesting methods and uses are controversial for their impact on our environment, politics, and society. We will explore hot-button issues such as global warming, renewable energy, our individual and collective carbon footprints, and sustainable energy solutions.

    Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, additional section
    FYS 100.137, T/TH 2:00-3:15 p.m.

    What’s for Dinner? Food Issues and Choices
    FYS 100.111, M/W/F 12:00-12:50 p.m.
    Professor Kay McAdams
    What's for dinner? We face a world of labels, diets, and endless advice about “eat this, not that.” How do we make those choices, and what are the implications for ourselves, the environment, and for those who produce the food that reaches our table? Through hands-on exploration, discussion, and debate, we will investigate food issues and politics, and become more informed consumers of food.

  • What's the Big Idea?

    Explore sources of creativity and innovation, and reveal your own inspirations.

    Creative Computing
    FYS 100.132, T/TH 12:30-1:45 p.m.
    Professors Jason Forsyth and David Hovemeyer
    Computers today are a powerful medium for creative expression. We will explore the exciting world of creative computing in a series of hands-on projects for users at all levels. We will create art and music, analyze literature and scientific data, and use computers to control and interact with the physical environment. No programming experience is required; just bring your curiosity and a sense of digital adventure.


    The Art of Genius
    FYS 100.118, M/W 3:00-4:15 p.m.
    Professor Suzanne Delle
    Was Picasso born a genius or did he have to work to create new artistic movements? Was Bill Gates destined to change the world or just in the right place at the right time? In this hands-on seminar, we will explore the artistic and innovative impulses behind breakthrough works of visual art, dance, music, theatre, and science. Through the artistic and scientific communities of York College and beyond, we will examine genius and maybe find some in ourselves.


    A Musical Life
    FYS 100.107, M/W/F 11:00-11:50 a.m.
    Professor Grace Muzzo
    Music is all around us and within us. We experience it in live performances, as well as in digital entertainment and media. As we explore musical culture, we will strengthen our connection to music past and present through listening, performance, discussion, and research. Music majors and non-majors are welcome—just bring your love of music.


    Entrepreneurial Thinking
    FYS 101.801, T 6:30-9:15 p.m.
    Professors Erin Casey and Joanne Wilkes
    This course is required for Graham Scholars.
    Do you consider yourself to be creative? How can you use entrepreneurial thinking to connect with your creative abilities, solve problems, and gain confidence? Through teamwork, we will explore real-world problems using Design Thinking, a human-centered process of innovation. Partnering with a local organization and working downtown, we will learn how strategic risk-taking and failure help propel us toward success. 

  • "Huh?" Issues in Human Communication

    Explore how we connect – and disconnect – across personal and global boundaries.

    Funny You Mentioned It
    FYS 100.121, T/TH 8:00-9:15 a.m.
    Professor Andy Shaw
    Humor has a powerful impact when we communicate. The gif you posted. Super Bowl commercials. They diffuse. They help us relate. They can offend. Why was that funny commercial persuasive? Why does one joke “kill” and another fall flat? We'll examine the “how” and “why” behind humor, from pop culture to our own lives, and explore how humor can help us become better written and oral communicators.  #therewillbememes


    Talking Past Each Other
    FYS 100.115, M/W/F 1:00-1:50 p.m.
    Professor Mary Boldt
    The complex nature of today’s global society creates confusion when it comes to messages sent across cultural boundaries. In a world of 7,000 languages, we are more likely than any previous generation to interact with cultural practices and communication different from our own. As we examine messages that travel imperfectly across cultures, languages, and media channels, we will learn to navigate across borders with greater insight and understanding.


    Media, War, and Peace
    FYS 100.120, T/TH 8:00-9:15 a.m.
    Professor Yong Ouk Cho
    Nearly everything we learn about international politics comes to us through some kind of media filter. By shaping public views, the media have a profound influence on our perceptions of the rest of the world, and even United States foreign policy. As sources of our understanding, the media can be both tools conflict and instruments of peace. By examining cases of media influence, we will investigate the relationship between the media and international politics.


  • Imagine a World

    Escape to places real and imagined that thrill, inspire, and amaze you.

    Heroes, Villains, and Antiheroes
    FYS 100.127, T/TH 11:00am-12:15 p.m.
    Professor Nicki Herdson
    Come journey through the life of a hero. From mythical giants of ancient times to the Marvel comics of today, we will explore the essence of fictional heroes, including new fan favorites, like Rey, and new interpretations of classic villains, like Maleficent. Through films, comic books, and stories, we will debate the nature of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains, as well as their relevance to our daily lives.

    Heroes, Villains, and Antiheroes, additional section
    FYS100.134, T/TH 12:30-1:45 p.m.

    Disney for Grown-Ups
    FYS 100.124, T/TH 9:30-10:45 a.m.
    Professor Dianne Creagh
    If you are an adult who loves Disney, you are not alone! We will explore the power and pervasiveness of Disney from a grownup perspective, examining the corporation, the theme park experience, studies of children’s relationships to Disney, and animated films. Through the perspectives of fans, parents, journalists, critics, and scholars, we will discuss and debate the impact of Disney on consumers of all ages, and ask whether Disney is impacted in turn by the adults they depend on for profit.

    The Global Game: Soccer in Social and Historical Context
    FYS 100.101, M/W/F 9:00-9:50 a.m.
    Professor Padraic Kennedy
    This course examines soccer as a global sport with significance for our personal lives and our society. We will explore multiple perspectives, from intellectuals, coaches, sports writers, and literary authors. We will discuss their views on strategy and tactics, great games and players, and the beauty and tragedy of the sport. We will showcase our own projects about soccer, and maybe even knock the ball around ourselves.


    Business and Literature
    FYS 100.106, M/W/F 10:00-10:50 a.m.
    Professor Jefrey Woodall
    Have you ever thought about how a book reflects the culture and society of its time?  What was it really like to live and work during the time of The Great Gatsby?  What caused the union movements during the time of The Jungle? How were the excesses of the 1980s reflected in popular literature? These works of popular literature will lead us to explore culture, society, and business in America of the past 100 years.

    The Death and Rebirth of Society
    FYS 100.113, M/W/F 12:00-12:50 p.m.
    Professor Tammy Taylor
    The Walking Dead is our guide to exploring what creates and destroys a society. We will examine this popular television series, as well as other dystopian communities in literature. We will analyze what causes a society to break down and why so many fans are captivated by the phenomenon. Ultimately, we will define our own utopias or “perfect worlds.”

    The Death and Rebirth of Society, additional section
    FYS 100.116, M/W/F/ 2:00-2:50 p.m.

    The Harry Potter Phenomenon: Fandom to Scholarship
    FYS 100.125, T/TH 9:30-10:45 a.m.
    Professor Eva Polites
    Whether you are a casual fan or a Potterhead, we invite you to explore the Harry Potter series through fanfiction, fandom, and scholarship. We will examine its popularity and commercial viability, as well as its literary themes, structure, and character development. We will also compare Harry Potter to other popular series, including Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Hunger Games, and A Song of Fire and Ice.

    The Harry Potter Phenomenon: Fandom to Scholarship, additional section
    FYS 100.128, 11:00-12:15 p.m.

  • Trending Now

    Explore timely cultural and social questions that shape how we experience our world.

    Understanding Peace
    FYS 100.123, T/TH 9:30-10:45 a.m.
    Professor Myra Toms
    Is peace really possible? What would it take to live in a truly peaceful world? We will explore these questions by considering what forces contribute to peace and detract from it. We will examine what actions or ideas could potentially lead humans to live peacefully. We will also analyze why certain notable peacemakers stood up against oppression, sacrificing their own quality of life to create change for others.

    Understanding Peace, additional section
    FYS 100.129, T/TH 11:00am-12:15am

    Evil Children
    FYS 100.133, T/TH 12:30-1:45 p.m.
    Professor Christa Shusko
    We live in a world where some of the most terrifying acts of violence are not only crimes committed against children, but crimes committed by them. From teenagers who commit mass school shootings to child soldiers in ISIS, we will examine cases of “evil” children. We will discuss how and why some children become “evil,”—whether children are born that way or taught “evil” from others—and why pop culture fans are so fascinated by fictional “evil” children.

    Evil Children, additional section
    FYS100.136, T/TH 2:00-3:15 p.m.

    Do They Know It’s Christmas? Religion, Politics, and Sex in America
    FYS 100.122, T/TH 9:30-10:45 a.m.
    Professor Christopher Rodkey
    As the influence of Christianity declines, particularly in America, the Christmas holiday is becoming increasingly secularized—while simultaneously gaining enormous popularity in the Eastern world. These shifts have brought us new political ideas, new religious scrutiny, and renewed interest in understanding womanhood and sexuality. We will explore these perspectives on Christmas to better understand our own culture and how it is changing.

    Education in Today’s Society
    FYS 110.101, M/W/F 11:00-11:50 a.m.
    Professor Nicole Hesson
    Join other education majors to explore how education is tied to social, political, and economic issues. We will examine and debate the social framework for teaching and learning, as well as human development, learning theory, curricular frameworks, diversity, and professionalism. 

    This course is required for Secondary Education majors (all content areas), K-12 Spanish majors, and K-12 Music majors. This course is not open to Early Elementary Education or Middle-Level Education majors.

Contact Us
First Year Seminar
Dennis M. Weiss, Ph.D., FYS Coordinator
Phone: 717.815.1513
8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.

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