First Year Seminars

Student ImageThe First Year Seminar allows you to become a member of your new community in a dynamic environment and to experience intellectual life at the university level. Taught by professors with a passion for the subject and a passion for teaching, these courses are designed to encourage exploration of new ideas, examine a range of academic topics, challenge you to set high goals for your academic career, and promote a lifelong love of learning. First Year Seminars count as a core Liberal Studies requirement for all degree programs.  

Honor’s Credit

Many seminars can be offered for Honor’s credit with an individual contract.  Please talk to your advisor and instructor if you want to pursue this option.

Learning Communities

These first-year seminars are limited to students who choose to enroll in the associated Learning Community. A Learning Community is a set of linked courses that place students with similar interests together in two or three courses. Instructors collaborate to define the connections and intersections of paired courses. For more details on LC cohorts and schedules you may visit this page.

EDCI 191 – Teachers, Schools, and Society: WHEE Teach – LC06
81525 EDCI 191 01
81526 EDCI 191-02
This seminar is designed to encourage exploration into how education transforms the world that we see and how a limited worldview impacts our thinking. As a community of learners, we will study the growth and development of the learner, gain insight into the nature of teaching, and examine the critical issues facing education in America today. We will read articles, excerpts from books and watch films about education, teaching and learning that will promote critical thinking and scholarly discussion about who we are and how our education helps us refine our definitions of self. In addition, this course provides a field experience opportunity for students to be actively engaged with Pk-12 pupils in the local schools. Students enrolled in this seminar will be in the Whee Teach Living-Learning Community (LLC). For more information on this LLC, please visit here.

ENT 195 – Social Entrepreneurship: The Ripple Effect – LC04
ENT 195
We believe that information, converted into action, followed by structured critical reflection, can lead to a ripple effect ultimately bringing about social change. This course will introduce students to the concept of social entrepreneurship as a mechanism for individuals to develop innovative solutions to society's most pressing problems. Whether is using football (soccer) to keep children around the world out of gangs, saving old growth forests by printing Harry Potter on recycled paper or saving or creating a new type of bank to address poverty in India, social entrepreneurs use their drive and passion to combat problems governments and industry have failed to solve. This course is designed to help students explore their ability to create social change by developing an organization that is self-sustaining, delivering value and doing good. In this course, students will learn by doing. They will develop an initial, simplified plan for a new venture to address a significant social issue. To learn more about this LC, please visit here.

First-Year Seminars: Fall 2014

CRN SUBJECT COURSE SECTION

ART 191 - Integral Arts
80710 ART 191 01
For new first year students only, this course will explore the integral nature of the arts: how we live, record our life and world, and imagine our future. Whether we paint, sculpt, act, sing, dance, or write, we have something to share. Often, many or even all of the art forms work in concert to share their vision. This course is arts intensive and is strongly recommended for those with an interest in the arts. As students examine the intersections of art to art and arts to life, this course will bring theory to life through experience and engaged collaboration. This course is part of a triad that includes THEA 191 and MUS 191. All three sections collaborate as a partnership to provide a rich arts experience as students and instructors from all three sections interact in a dynamic exchange of energy!

BIOL 192 – Plant Diversity
80568 BIOL 192 01
80571 BIOL 192 30 - LAB
Would you like to learn more about how plants grow, flower, and fruit so that you can grow your own plants successfully? Have you ever wished you could identify the plants around you and know their nutritive, medicinal and other values? Have you ever wondered where the plants that are used to produce coffee, tea, beer, wine, aspirin, codeine, marijuana, and chocolate grow naturally, as well as how they are harvested and processed into the foods, drinks, and drugs that have changed human history forever? If so, Plant Diversity is the first-year seminar for you! Students in Plant Diversity rarely sit still: students are often outside, in the lab, or producing their own plant products. This course can be challenging because a lot of information is covered in one semester; however, for those students with an interest in plants or the natural world, the knowledge and experience gained is worth the effort.

LAW 195 – Contemporary Legal Issues: Law for Life
80306 LAW 195 01
The law is everywhere –on TV and in movies, in politics and current events, and in the fine print on everything from credit card receipts to websites. Every day the law impacts our individual lives and guides our conduct and decision making in our roles at school, in business, and in the community. In Law 195, emphasis is placed on exploring the legal issues of today, from understanding the right to privacy in a social media world to understanding how private legal organizations and alternative dispute resolution methods are supplanting more traditional legal systems to meet the needs of the global economy. Hands on activities will provide insights as to the development of legal systems and institutions, the application of law to real-world situations and debate and discussion of contemporary legal issues.

COMM 190 - A User's Guide to the Mass Media
81341 COMM 190 01 81343 COMM 190 02
An increasing number of media streams vie for your attention every day. But the messages may not always be as simple as they seem. Learn to read between the lines and recognize the nuance and subtext of all media. Take a look behind the curtain to see how diverse motives, agendas and practices affect the media you consume. And see how that same media responds and reacts to pressures and trends from you, the consumer. Media and culture are bound together in an elaborate dance. This course will help you understand that dance and make you a smarter consumer of media.

CIS 195 Information Society at Work
80253 CIS 195 01
Driven by the technology that is making the news this semester, students will explore the changes information technology has made in their lives and community, and learn how computer culture affects their work, study, family, and play though a hands-on technology approach. Using presentations on current IT topics, students are highly encouraged to debate and discuss the ethical problems of technology advancement. We will also discuss some aspects of business and what part CIS plays in business, as well as what defines the College of Business and how it fits into the university. Discussion topics will include: Why do we call it the information age?; Advancements in the auto industry; How has IT changed the music industry?; Robotics and what part they are playing in our lives; The digital divide; Wireless Technologies; Social Networking; Cloud Computing; Distance Education; The Power of Information; GPS; RFID; and Google. Students will take a hands-on approach with various technologies including: Webpage Development - Learn how to upload and save files to the server; Use Google docs to upload and work on files in teams; Use some of the current technologies that are available for free - which will help students throughout the rest of their college career.

CS 191 How Does Software Work?
81147 CS 191 01
81163 CS 191 02
What do animations, games, interactive art, stories, music, and dances have in common?  They can all be created by writing a computer program.  Learn how using the scratch programming environment, http://scratch.mit.edu Go to the search website to see five million examples.

The ability to write software is a powerful tool that can be used for good or bad.  Consequently, we will also reflect on the implications of software on society.  For example, what restrictions on privacy are needed for safety from malicious software?  Is initiating cyberwarfare ever justifiable?  Are software patents encouraging innovation or not?

EDCI 191 – Teachers, Schools, and Society
81526 EDCI 191 02
This course offers an interdisciplinary examination of the ways in which public policy debates about schooling reflect ideological differences in American society. During our time together this semester, we will look at what "society" means and its influence on schools and education. This will include the importance of evaluating the choices we've made so far in our lives, especially with regards to our own judgments. Through this experience, we will practice thinking critically, through reading, writing and discussion, and consider options for the possibility of teaching as a career.

ENGR 190 - Technology Systems: How Things Work
80700 ENGR 190 01
ENGR 190 is an introductory engineering course for non-engineering majors. This course provides an in-depth view of the engineering and technology that we rely on every day in every aspect of our modern life. Whether it is the digital SLR camera that takes breathtaking pictures of the Great Smoky Mountains in autumn, the Hubble Telescope offering views of the deepest portions of the universe, using Twitter, Skype, or smart phones to connecting you instantaneously to your family and friends anywhere in the world, the hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) that help you find your way when lost on a deep mountain trail, or the pacemaker that save people's lives, these innovative engineering advancements have become an integral part of our culture. Together, we will investigate where these technologies came from, how they work, and where they might take us in the future. The course will also incorporate four hands-on projects ranging from making images from Hubble Telescope data of the deep universe to building and testing a medieval Trebuchet. Advanced mathematics will not be required for this course. The challenging modern topics will be presented conceptually and only basic math (some trigonometry and simple algebra) will be needed to complete the projects. The focus will be on conceptual understanding, proportional reasoning, estimating, and graphical interpretation. Verbal and written communication of scientific ideas will be emphasized throughout the course.

ENGR 199 – Introduction to Engineering Practice and Principles
81618 ENGR 199 01
81719 ENGR 199 02
81727 ENGR 199 03
81621 ENGR 199 30 – LAB
81725 ENGR 199 70 – LAB
81732 ENGR 199 71 – LAB
Introduction to the engineering disciplines, curriculum, personal and professional development, teamwork, project planning, communication skills, and conceptual design engineering. This is a required class for all students considering majors in engineering or engineering technology.

ENG 191-70 – Creative Writing
81111 ENT 191 70
In this course, students will write and read various genres - poetry, fiction, and creative non fiction.  Along the way, we will explore questions of invention (How do writers come upon ideas for creative work? Does the Muse drop from thin air onto one's shoulder?  Must writers work at harvesting ideas?) revision (How do writers shape ideas into polished written pieces? Can writers truly see their own work objectively? How does a writer know when something is finished?) and voice (What is written voice? What comprises a writer's style? Should a writer work at developing a distinctive "sound" on the page or simply trust natural abilities?) Students will share their original work with one another so that we might offer feedback and learn together.

ENGL 191 – First-year Seminar in Creative Writing - HON
81110 ENGL 191 01
*Limited enrollment for Honors Students. Please see the full description at the end of the page.

ENT 195 - Social Entrepreneurship: Innovative Solutions
81829 ENT 195 01
81830 ENT 195 02
This course will introduce students to the concept of social entrepreneurship as a mechanism for individuals to develop innovative solutions to society's most pressing problems. Whether is using football (soccer) to keep children around the world out of gangs, saving old growth forests by printing Harry Potter on recycled paper or saving or creating a new type of bank to address poverty in India, social entrepreneurs use their drive and passion to combat problems governments and industry have failed to solve (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avzzrpx7mL8). This course is designed to help students explore their ability to create social change by developing an organization that is self-sustaining, delivering value and doing good. In this course, students will learn by doing. They will develop an initial, simplified plan for a new venture to address a significant social issue

ENVH 190 - From Black Death to Bioterrorism
80875 ENVH 190 01
80882 ENVH 190 02
This course uses current events to examine basic public and environmental health concepts as they apply to the average U.S. citizen; critical evaluation of various public health components such as environmental disease agents, radiation, chemical exposures, biological hazards (including potential bioterrorism agents), noise, air, water, and soil pollutants, and food safety; and, an assessment of the various ways that the public can be protected.

 

FIN195 - You and Your Money                                                 
82523 FIN 195 01
82524 FIN 195-02

Do you want to learn how to manage your money?  Then this is the course for you.  With good money management skills you will be able to budget your money each month, reduce expenses, set financial goals and control your debt.  You will learn the good and bad of credit cards and how to establish a strong credit score.  This course will also introduce you to topics about insurance, investing and making large purchases such as a car or house.  Having a sound grasp of money management will make your college experience much more enjoyable as well as help you in the years beyond college when you will be faced with many important financial decisions. 

 

GEOL 191 – Geology, Landscapes, and the Human Psyche
81685 GEOL 191 01
How and why human spirit and culture is linked to the physical world. This class will explore the physical world – its appearance, climate, and ecology – and how this physical landscape affects human culture. The aim of this course is to develop your sense of place from a geologic perspective, and to give you the understanding to connect human culture with the surrounding landscape. Meet geology faculty and learn about why all humans are affected by how the earth works!

JPN 190 - Japanese Pop Culture
80990 JPN 190 01
Welcome to Japanese 190, one of WCU's First -Year Seminars. The topic of this course is Japanese Pop Culture, which has been tremendously affecting youth culture in the U.S. Since this is an introductory survey course, no previous knowledge of Japan or Japanese Pop Culture is needed. What is needed, however, is curiosity, a willingness to read with a KEEN eye for details, and an eagerness to share your opinion with others in class. Our objective is to grasp and make sense of the complicated picture of "Japanese Pop Culture in the U.S." We also want to explore the many sub-genres of Japanese Pop Culture by covering all possible aspects of Japanese Society (The culture of Family, School, Work, Technology, Religion, etc).

MKT 195 – Facebook Generation: Marketing
82034 MKT 195 01
Do you really want to be a Facebook "friend" with Wal-Mart? Would you actually read updates from Coca-Cola in your Twitter feed? Few would argue that social networks have generated a tidal wave of change in the way people communicate and get information. As a result, companies are often left bewildered, anxious and just plain frustrated as they deal with new approaches toward marketing, advertising and consumer behavior. Oddly enough, insight into handling these changes is starting to emerge from an unexpected place -- ancient history -- and a possible link between the age-old process of "friending" in tribal societies and its budding equivalent in latest and greatest cutting edge communication networks. This course will explore this exciting idea of linkages between human communications in past and present, bringing together ideas and activities from several camps of thought, including media theory, anthropology, communication studies and marketing. Through this multi-colored lens, this seminar intends to shed light on why we typically avoid spam on our Facebook Wall, but at the same time are willing to embrace online relationships with some brands and companies.

MATH 192 – Fractals: Geometry of Nature
81814 MATH 192 01
Investigate basic mathematical principles behind fractals with connections to literature, art, science, and the general world.

MUS 191 - Integral Arts
80709 MUS 191 01
For new first year students only, this course will explore the integral
nature of the arts: how we live, record our life and world, and imagine our future. Whether we paint, sculpt, act, sing, dance, or write, we have something to share. Often, many or even all of the art forms work in concert to share their vision. This course is arts intensive and is strongly recommended for those with an interest in the arts. As students examine the intersections of art to art and arts to life, this course will bring theory to life through experience and engaged collaboration. This course is part of a triad that includes THEA 191 and ART 191. All three sections collaborate as a partnership to provide a rich arts experience as students and instructors from all three sections interact in a dynamic exchange of energy!

PSC 190 – Freshman Seminar – Active Citizenship
81574 PSC 190 01
Examples of political activism and application of successful principles to enhance the quality of life in the WCU community.

PSY 190:  Experiencing Adventure:  Extreme Sports and Human Potential
81885 PSY 190 01

In The Rise of Superman Steven Kotler combines the psychological concept of "flow," a radically altered way of experiencing and performing in the world, with the world's most extreme sports.  Kotler argues that big wave surfers, cutting edge skateboarders, wing suit BASE jumpers and others who push the limits are able to do so because they enter flow more often and more easily than the general population.  We will consider Kotler's theory by reading about several extreme adventures, not all of which are successful, and by reviewing the psychology and neuroscience Kotler references in his book.  To complement the academic review of this topic everyone in the class will have several opportunities to experience flow by trying moderate forms of some extreme sports.  These experiential opportunities will all be "challenge by choice" (e.g. you decide what to try and how far to push) and they are likely to include local trips for whitewater paddling, rock climbing, and other mountain sports.  The class will also consider planning a longer optional trip for an adventure we can't experience in the mountains.

NOTE: This seminar is a Living-Learning Community, meaning that you will be co-located with your new adventure community peers.  Co-curricular programs designed by Base Camp Cullowhee and Residential programming will complement academic, co-curricular, and thematic learning outcomes.


THEA 191 - Integral Arts
80711 THEA 191 01
For new first year students only, this course will explore the integral nature of the arts: how we live, record our life and world, and imagine our future. Whether we paint, sculpt, act, sing, dance, or write, we have something to share. Often, many or even all of the art forms work in concert to share their vision. This course is arts intensive and is strongly recommended for those with an interest in the arts. As students examine the intersections of art to art and arts to life, this course will bring theory to life through experience and engaged collaboration. This course is part of a triad that includes ART191 and MUS 191. All three sections collaborate as a partnership to provide a rich arts experience as students and instructors from all three sections interact in a dynamic exchange of energy!

Honors First-Year Seminars: Fall 2014

ENGL 191– First-year Seminar in Creative Writing - HON
81110 ENGL 191 01
This First-Year seminar offers students a behind the scenes look at publishing, including how to work with professional photographers and designers.  Students will conduct interviews, write and edit brief articles, and arrange photo shoots, as they serve as the staff of Imagine magazine, and award-winning publication of The Honor's College.  The articles students write in this course will be concise and to the point - a valuable skill to acquire for any college student.  Students do not have to have any journalism experience to take this course, but they should be able to write clearly. This course will help improve one's writing and editing skills, including the ability to conduct primary research in the form of interviews. At the end of the school year, students will have the thrill of seeing their names in print in Imagine.

This course is open only to Honor's Students.

 

 

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