York College students enjoying a spring day

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 2016. 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 2016 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.

    Food Issues and Choices
    FYS 100.110, M/W/F 12 p.m. - 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.

    Animal Rights and Human Responsibility
    FYS 100.104, M/W/F 10 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. or FYS 100.107, M/W/F 11 a.m. - 11:50 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.

    Beasts, Bugs, and Fishes
    FYS 100.118, T/TH 8 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. or FYS 100.119, T/TH 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
    Professor Deborah Vause
    Animals are our companions, our research projects, our evolutionary kin, and our food. We experience them at home, in zoos, in the wild, and through media. We devote time and resources to protecting some animals and intentionally exterminating others. We will explore how and why we represent animals and our policies and practices towards them to better understand how these choices shape our lives and theirs.

    Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
    FYS 100.126, T/TH 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. or FYS 100.132, T/TH 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
    Professor Kala Meah
    Imagine a day without any energy, 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 and related to 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.

    Living Small
    FYS 100.117, T/TH 8 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
    Professor Ken Slaysman
    The earth is 4.6 billion years old. If we think of that as 46 years, then humans have been on earth for only four hours. Our industrial society is only one minute old, and in that time, we have destroyed more than 50 percent of the world's forests. Is this sustainable? What does this mean for your future? We will confront the impact we have had on this planet, and the implications for future generations.

  • Identity, Belief and Mindset

    Work, Play, Learn: Pursuit of Happiness
    FYS 100.105, M/W/F 10 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. or FYS 100.111, M/W/F 12 p.m. - 12:50 p.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.

    From Attitude to Altitude
    FYS 100.133, T/TH 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.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.

    Footprints in Silicon
    FYS 100.103, M/W/F 10 a.m. - 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.

    Who Am I (Here)? Identity and the College Campus
    FYS 100.108, M/W/F 11 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
    Professor Kerrie Carsey
    As a culture and a physical space, college influences how you move through this important time of development in your life. You also influence the campus as you use its spaces and interact with others. We will explore this intriguing relationship between identity and place, including how we shape places, and how places shape our beliefs, behavior, and sense of self.

    Who Am I? What Am I?
    FYS 100.109, M/W/F 11 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. or FYS 100.112, M/W/F 1 p.m. - 1:50 p.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.0

    What Am I Made Of? Dissecting Myself and Those Around Me
    FYS 100.113, M/W/F 1 p.m. - 1:50 p.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.

  • Creativity and Idea Generation

    Creative Computing
    FYS 100.128, T/TH 12:30 p.m. - 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 100.122, T/TH 11 a.m. - 12:15 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.

    Entrepreneurial Thinking (For Graham Scholars)
    FYS 101.801, T 6:30 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
    Professors Erin Casey and Joanne Wilkes
    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. This course is required for Graham Scholars.

  • Cultures and Commodoties

    A Musical Life 
    FYS 100.106, M/W/F 11 a.m. - 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.

    A Hero's Journey
    FYS 100.130, T/TH 12:30 p.m. ñ 1:45 p.m. FYS 100.131, T/TH 2 p.m. ñ 3:15 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.

    The Harry Potter Phenomenon
    FYS 100.121, T/TH 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. or FYS 100.124, 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.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.

    Disney for Grown-Ups
    FYS 100.123, T/TH 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.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, journalists, critics, and scholars, we will discuss and debate the ways that Disney attracts and entertains consumers of all ages.

    For the Love of Java
    FYS 100.127, T/TH 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
    Professor Ray Gordon
    Coffee plays a significant role in Americaís culture and economy. It starts our day, re-energizes our afternoon, and serves as a common social language. We will explore historical and contemporary issues, including the fair-trade movement and small farm preservation, international coffee production and sales, and corner coffee shop culture. As we share our love of java, we will come to understand it in new ways.

  • Human Society and Community

    Envision your Ideal Society: Explore Utopian and Dystopian Communities
    FYS 100.101, M/W/F 9 a.m. - 9:50 a.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."

    Culture: Same Same, But Different
    FYS 100.102, M/W/F 9 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
    Professor David Fyfe
    Culture is a fascinating area of study, whether you are examining the broad characteristics that cultures around the world have in common ("same same"), or the factors that distinguish a culture in one region from cultures elsewhere ("but different"). We will analyze our own views about culture and cultural variation to better understand how people in other cultures view themselves and us.

    The American Dream
    FYS 100.125, T/TH 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
    Professor Brant Ellsworth
    What is the American Dream, and how has it evolved over time? Through films, literary fiction, and oral histories from many different disciplines, we will debate the mythological nature of the American Dream. We will examine its place in our society, and how it has intersected with our notions of race, class, gender, education, and family, past and present.

    York: Community and You
    FYS 100.116, M/W 3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
    Professor Nicole Hesson
    Welcome to York, home to your new college life and a vibrant community waiting to be explored. Using York as a case study, we will examine the purposes of cities, how they work, how urban residents live, and how their lives are affected by the city environment. Through readings, broadcast media, discussions, activities, and community events, we will immerse ourselves in York City and expand our horizons beyond the campus.

  • Contemporary Issues in Human Society

    Women in Sport
    FYS 100.120, T/TH 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
    Professor Molly Hayes 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.

    Size Acceptance
    FYS 100.129, T/TH 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
    Professor Erec Smith
    How our culture sizes up human bodies affects our status, our opportunities, and how we relate to one another. Through the Size Acceptance movement and the scholarly field of Fat Studies, we will explore perceptions about weight and health, how cultural norms affect the evaluation of size, how fat intersects with concepts of gender, class, and morality, and the rhetoric of weight loss and fitness that promote thinness.

    Race and Justice in America
    FYS 100.115, M/W 3 p.m. - 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.

    Education in Today's Society
    FYS 110.101, M/W/F 11 a.m. - 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.