FYSE COURSE Titles and Descriptions

FYSE 1101: a seminar course focusing on contemporary and enduring questions that engage students in intellectual inquiry and academic life while encouraging critical thinking skills and metacognitive reflection.

Creative Inquiry
A study of creativity and creative problem-solving, including an overview of selected models of creativity, the application of selected problem-solving strategies, the identification of creative problem-solving, and the utility of technology for information acquisition and manipulation. This is hands on experiential learning in creative inquiry (Previously PERS2300)

Equine Assisted Learning
The purpose of this course is for first and second year students to develop self-knowledge and academic skills that, together, will help students learn how to navigate and succeed in higher education.  Students will build their self-knowledge by exploring and understanding their beliefs about themselves as learners, including their self-direction in learning, grittiness, and growth mindset.  Students will build their academic success skills including learning strategies for goal setting, backward planning, team building, being a leader, and navigating the "hidden curriculum" of higher education. 

Working with equine learning partners on ground, students will have opportunities to identify and examine how their self-beliefs affect their persistence when encountering challenges; and students also will practice implementing goal setting, backward planning, leadership, and team building while working with equine learning partners on ground.

Financial Health in Modern Societies
This course aims to increase financial literacy among college students and introduce the students to the influences culture and demographic characteristics have on financial risk tolerance. We make decisions that impact our current and future financial health all the time. As consumers we may apply for loans of various type such as car loans, mortgages, personal loans, etc. We may also use loans to invest into a business or to invest in our own productivity (student loan). As workers our decisions on how we spend our income, how much of it we save and invest will influence whether we will have adequate income if we face an unplanned event such as a medical emergency or if we face a planned event such as retirement. Financial literacy, culture and demographic characteristics impact these decisions.

This course will

  • Enhance student-faculty interaction in a small class setting
  • Open channels of communication between students and faculty
  • Promote intentional and reflective learning
  • Document academic dialogue through writing
  • Expose students to opportunities to engage in research, public service, campus events, and varied forms of instruction both on campus and globally (e.g. study abroad, internships, service learning)

Honors First-Year Seminar
FYSE 1101H is "A seminar course focusing on contemporary and enduring questions that engage students in intellectual inquiry and academic life while encouraging critical thinking skills and metacognitive reflection." As honors students, you are asked to engage in undergraduate research, experiential learning, leadership, and global experience and understanding, all of which can lead to opportunities for undergraduate research and creative endeavors. Through the seminar experience, this course will focus on academic research design including inquiry, research questions, methodology, and presentation. Critical thinking activities, peer feedback, class discussion, group work, and reflection activities will lead to a completed research plan for a future project.

Mathematics and The Pursuit of Justice
In this seminar, we will explore how mathematics and social justice impact our world. Mathematics influences our life decisions perhaps more than perhaps other subjects. Mathematics is not a neutral subject but a lens from which we view our world and address questions. What do the statistics, graphs, and charts mean? During this course, there will be opportunities to address topics that focus upon mathematics and social justice: minimum wage, prisons, poverty, immigration, as well as other topics significant to the class. The class will include readings, writing assignments, and a project/presentation.

Re-presenting the Past
This course explores how the material culture of the past provides perspectives into how various peoples understood their world, as well as how later engagement with those materials shows how the past can still speak to the present.  Student research will culminate in the design of an imagined exhibition that contextualizes objects from the past as part of a theme that reflects some larger enduring issue.

The Power of Language
This course will ask students to consider language from various angles as they narrow in on an understanding of what language is and how it both shapes and is shaped by (human) culture. Students will explore language through a multitude of written and oral media from current and historical sources, including literature, film, essay, song, articles (newspaper, magazine) and comics (graphic novels) as they examine diverse modalities of communication, from slang and regionalisms to standardized and even ritualized speech. The goal is to encourage a deeper understanding of the elasticity of language and the role of language in molding our perceptions.

The Successful College Student
Congratulations, you are a college student. What happens now? This course will help you answer that question. In this course, students [you] will learn how to pose problems, discover solutions, resolve controversies, evaluate knowledge, and improve communication skills through the exploration of issues related to success in college (HigherEd). We will explore the current and historical value of a college experience. Examining the structure and context of higher education and VSU, you will articulate your reasons for attending college and explain how this experience will impact your future life. The course will help you identify previous, current, and potential future challenges to success and develop a plan for overcoming them. You will construct a personalized understanding of the value of college and a personal philosophy for navigating the experience.

Women in the Visual Arts
A study of how visual artists have navigated concepts of identity in their lives and in their artwork, including ideas of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Case studies of selected artists are used to explore the context of social, political, economic, and historic issues that have impacted female artists throughout history and into the present.

Your Voice; Your Impact
Through the lens of popular young adult literature, this course will ask you to do two major things: ask a question based on the literature we’ve read, and create and present an answer. To construct these questions and answers we will be reading: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These books ask their readers to question how we talk about complicated issues and what we should actively do towards them to change the world. These books discuss: mental health, immigration, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and more. Through these topics we will learn as a class how to develop the skills that create great college learners: developing strong questions, analyzing and reflecting when attempting to answer, learning to seek out the answers others have made, and to formulate your own answer based on what you have learned through the process. At the end of semester, you will be asked to create a three-minute video of your question that demonstrates your research and the answer you have conclude, which will be submitted to the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

FYSE 1102: a seminar course focusing on the continued exploration of contemporary and enduring questions that engage students in intellectual inquiry and academic life while encouraging critical thinking skills and metacognitive reflection.

Conspiracy Theories and Threats to the US
This course explores the major threats to American democracy: conspiracy theories, disinformation, and polarization.  Course readings and discussions will focus upon the causes and consequences of conspiracy thinking, the spread of disinformation, and the growing polarization of American politics.  Student research papers will explore reform proposals and how to address these threats to the United States and our democracy.

First-Year Seminar Experience II
A seminar course focusing on the continued exploration of contemporary and enduring questions that engage students in intellectual inquiry and academic life while encouraging critical thinking skills and metacognitive reflection.

After completion of FYSE courses, students will be able to:

  • Describe one or more contemporary and enduring questions about their lives and their relationships to human cultures or the physical and natural world.
  • Analyze and reflect on the intellectual and practical skills of the course's theme or topic.
  • Summarize the benefits and challenges of a diverse society.
  • Identify and evaluate linkages among academic disciplines.

It's a Different World
Do you ever wonder about the experiences of people of African descent in the U.S. and around the world?  Are you curious about their history and culture?  Have you thought about economic and political systems that best benefit Black people?  All of these questions and more will be answered in this course. 

Understanding Power
Why is a university education so valuable? One reason is that it can lead students to become aware of and better understand critical concepts that impact their own lives, while also being exposed to tools and structures that then allow them to situate their learnings within the larger human experience. One such potent concept is power. Power dynamics are prevalent in all of our social interactions, including with family, friends, and colleagues. Not only do they affect how we are treated at work and in our personal relationships, but on a global scale they can also impact whether people get enough to eat, live in safety, or exist under the constant threat of violence, imprisonment, or enslavement. In this course, we will explore this basic and crucial concept of power through readings, lectures, and class discussions. We will discuss strategic approaches that individuals can take to improve their circumstances and use those same tools to understand how changes can be made to improve the lives of people globally.

Wizardry, Politics, and Harry Potter
The Harry Potter book series exploded onto the global stage in the 1990s. This course is designed to introduce, acclimate, and connect students to university life by exploring a variety of social-political topics discussed in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This class will be fun, yet rigorous. Through seminar discussion we will address fundamental questions about our global society and our relationship to the physical and natural world. The term seminar refers to a small class size which incorporates extensive discussion, and by the end of the course, teaching and learning will be a shared responsibility between students and the instructor. As a result, our seminar will incorporate a variety of teaching methods, challenging assignments, and meaningful discussion which encourage student engagement individually and collectively. We will take a critical lens to J.K. Rowling’s massively influential series by exploring questions of politics, prejudice, moral reasoning, diversity and inclusion, metacognition and reflection, information literacy, and mental health and wellbeing. We begin our journey in West Hall 2308 ¾.