Fall 2020 First Year Seminar Courses

The following list of First Year Seminar topics will be offered in Fall 2020. Students can search for the times for each topic on the MyKU course search system. Many of the professors have also added their e-mail contact information if students have further questions on the class.

Class #


FYS Title

Course Description




Career Habits of Highly Effective Managers

The Career Habits of Highly Effective Managers is a student success course designed with the end in mind: Succeeding in College, Career, and Life. Themes include securing, maintaining and enjoying your future management careers and becoming your best future self. Students will participate in career assessments, practice networking and ultimately develop a personal brand.





The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Sports Managers

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Sport Managers is a high-impact student success course for those who love sports. It will provide the toolset, skillset, and mindset needed to succeed both in college and in the ever-changing global marketplace. Utilizing a powerful blended learning experience, students will gain critical skills including: leadership, time management, goal achievement, communication, conflict resolution, money management, responsibility and initiative, and, health and wellness.





ME! ME! It’s all about me

The course will present manageable first steps for the student who is commencing their own personal health journey. This journey encompasses the holistic dimensions of health including the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. Students will be provided with the skills to weigh health information, evaluate claims, and make solid health related choices in a world full of misinformation and gimmicks. This will include guidelines and skills for making a healthy behavior change. Experiential stress management coping techniques will be embedded into the weekly curriculum.



Don’t Fall for Fake News: Building Smart Research Skills

How can you recognize "Fake News" and misleading information? Through games, videos, and hands-on activities, you will develop search strategies, evaluate resources, and interpret information for successful research! The same skills that help you recognize misleading information can be used to help you create high ­ quality research during college and establish professional networks that will carry you beyond graduation. Choose your topic and with individual instructor attention, practice shaping and sharing your information with the world!



Bueller? Teachers in the Movies

This course taps into the power of movies to explore the portrayal of teachers to better understand their place in the American society. By examining teachers in pop culture films ranging from classics like To Sir with Love to School of Rock, students will discuss the messages in the films covered; assess the strengths and weaknesses of each film's message; and apply the lessons from these films to controversial questions that surround American education.




Exploring Differently Abled in Pop Culture

This is not a course about exploring how individuals with disabilities are portrayed in mass media. It is a course about how those depictions shape our thinking about these individuals. Often, we may not personally know someone with a disability, so our perception is shaped by encounters through mass media. Students will explore film, television, news media, modern an d graphic novels, art, and other forms of mass media to identify how these images influence societal and personal views of disability/differently-abled .... good and bad. We consistently encounter differently-abled individuals in our daily lives and self-awareness is the first step to acceptance and inclusion in society.



Digital College: Social Media and Digital Resources in Learning at Kutztown University

Anthropologists study other cultures by immersing themselves in that culture and then trying to understand that culture from the inside out, as the people in that culture do. Over the past 20 years, much of social life has become expressed in digital media. This seminar, which will be taught 100% online, will introduce first year students to Kutztown University's virtual culture, and examine how college life is expressed in digital form




College Culture, College Life: A Beginner’s Guide

Anthropologists study another culture by immersing themselves in that culture and then trying to understand that culture from the inside out, as the people in that culture do. This seminar will introduce freshman students to how anthropologists learn about another culture by using the students’ own experiences as freshmen who are learning about college culture, both in and outside of the classroom. 



In Search of Memory

In Search of Memory is an exploration of the brain’s ability to learn and form memories, from the perspective of non-scientists. How does learn in g happen? How does my learning differ from that of my peers? What are memories?  How permanent are memories? Do my memories change over time? Student s in the course will determine answers to these questions and more through reading, research, experimentation, and collaboration. Students will use their answers to develop plans for enhancing their own learning and memory recall.


El Mounadi


M&Ms: Mushrooms, Molds and Man

M&Ms: Mushrooms, Molds and Man explores the magical, mysterious, medicinal and sometimes menacing world of fungi. What exactly are fungi? What is the difference between mushroom and mold? Where do fungi grow? Why are some of them "magical" while others are mischievous causing devastating human and plant diseases? Through readings, discussions, movies, presentations and collaborations, students will learn how these fascinating, yet often undermined, organisms can heal, sustain life, change the course of history and impact civilization




Horror in Contemporary American Culture

Horror, full of blood and fright, has long been a popular genre in visual arts, fiction, and other media. Over the last 30 years, horror's popularity has intensified, especially in film, comics, and shows produced for TV and the Internet. The course examines the tropes and techniques of contemporary horror, in American film, comics, and novels. The course asks why we are compelled by and attracted to images and texts designed to scare and repel us.



Native American Comics and Film

Learn stories and explore truths about contemporary living Native peoples through their creative outlets of comic books and films. Students will read comic books and watch films directed, produced, acted, and written by Native American people today. This contemporary intervention will reverse assumptions of indigenous invisibility in the American landscape and help students see that Native peoples are still here.




The Power of Place

Places are more than geographic coordinates; they are centers of meaning and experience that powerfully influence us.  How does place shape us, and how do we shape the places around us?  We will explore the ways that people interact with places and give them meaning, and the ways that places teach us about our cultures and ourselves, through various media including film, graphic novels, readings, fieldwork, art, interviews, and personal reflections.



Exploring Your World and Others

Students are familiar with the "real world" that surrounds them. However, a multitude of different ways exist in how we can view this world. Some involve in-situ (in person) observations and some can involve remote sensed (distance) observations. More recently, technological advances have generated augmented reality games to learn more about an area, location, or place. This built upon more earlier investigation activities such as orienteering and geocaching. In this course, we will explore the world around us through maps, gaming, and other methods of discovery.




African History Through Film

This class will present the history of Africa through film. Students will watch and learn from three types of films: documentaries about Africa; western images of Africa in films like "Tarzan" to the "Gods Must Be Crazy" to the latest Disney cartoon that shows animals speaking African languages, but no Africans; and films that Africans watch from South African TV to Nollywood (Nigerian film industry).



Globalization and Challenges to Identity

Over the past decade, world leaders have consistently identified globalization as a common challenge and opportunity. Students in all fields of study need to learn how to think and engage globally. This FYS considers theoretical and practical ways that disparate cultural perspectives influence personal identity and understanding of world and local issues. Through inquiry-based learning, students will investigate what has contributed to their cultural perspective, and apply this knowledge by analyzing connections between local and global perspectives.




Doomsday: Would you Survive?

Catastrophic events like meteorites, volcanic eruptions, and ice ages have repeatedly decimated life on Earth, causing mass extinctions. Scientific evidence implicates different culprits acting at different times throughout Earth's history.  We will explore the scientific techniques used to study the causes and results of mass extinctions. Students will incorporate scientific principles and creative thinking to project whether humans, as individuals and as a species, could survive these life-altering events if - and when - they occur.



The Secret Lives of Food

Eating is both a popular pastime and an activity necessary to sustain life. A very small percentage of food is eaten raw. Most food is baked, fried, broiled, grilled, fermented, or processed in some way.  In this course we will exam in e the physical and chemical changes that occur when food is prepared, including traditional methods, "processing" as is carried out in the modern food industry, and new techniques known as molecular gastronomy.




Dictators and Despots

Caesar. Napoleon. Stalin. Putin? Authoritarianism is on the rise. Many societies around the world face crumbling democratic institutions and emerging strong-arm leaders. What does a rise of 21st century despots portend for international relations? What lessons can be learned by examining the notorious dictators of the past? This course provides students with an introduction to central themes in political science through an exploration of the many patterns, consequences, and personalities associated with authoritarian rule.



Envisioning the Future

This course explores what future may look like, and what it will mean for our lives and values. It will address issues such as when it becomes possible for some humans (but not others) to possess enhancements to their mental and physical capabilities, what will the words "all men are created equal" mean? When government and corporations have the power to monitor our thoughts, movements, and emotions, what will the right to privacy mean?




Identities & Inequalities: Critical Thinking Through Self-Knowledge

This course is designed to give college freshmen an opportunity to explore what makes up their own personal identities, while simultaneously exploring similar aspects among people of various social identities and cultural backgrounds. Students will be invited to engage in critical self-examinations through readings, class discussion, and exercises, toward the goal of considering similar and dissimilar perspectives of other people or groups based on gender, social class, race, ethnicity, disability and/or sexual orientation.




New Adulting

New Adulting infuses themes in pop culture and social awareness to develop essential skills for enhancing the academic experience. Exploration of trends in social media, television, and literature are used as a platform for self-reflection, critical thinking, and problem solving. Social, political, economic, and technological trends will be explored and discussed. Participants will develop personal understanding of the tools and strategies necessary for successful academic planning in addition to personal and professional growth.



F*** NEWS!: Fact, Opinion, or Fabrication?

Trustworthy information is necessary to fuel positive change with and on behalf of those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. The "fake news" trend in our public discourse provides an opportunity to learn how to retrieve, interpret, and evaluate in formation. This course challenges students to be critical consumers of in format ion in pursuit of a more equitable society and to better engage in the life of the University as well as in their professional and civic communities.



Global Social Problems and Social Change

The world today is experiencing the most pressing social problems.  During this course, students will learn about different global social issues, human rights framework, and promising approaches and solutions. Through problem-solving activities and team work, participants will have opportunities to deepen their self-awareness and cultural competence, and explore their potential for becoming leaders and social change agents to serve on the frontline of the global social change. This course features international guest speakers.




Body Adornment, Tattoo and other Modifications

This course introduces the global significance of body adornment and modification, specifically how the body has been used as a means of expression over time and across cultures. Skin art and other forms of body modification including tattoo, piercing, and plastic surgery will be studied along with hairstyles, clothing and jewelry as examples of adornment. These forms and others will be explored through the lenses of history, health, gender, class, race, culture, identity, and art



Envisioning Contemporary Theatre

Acting is the core activity of Theatre. Thus, we'll examine the nature of acting through acting exercises and acting a scene from two different plays. In order to act a scene the actor must research and understand the "Given Circumstances.  Accordingly, there will be projects in play analysis, character analysis, and research into the playwright and the background of the play to inform the "Given Circumstances” as we envision the theatrical presentation.



Follow the Leader: Leading for Success

If you ever wondered what kind of leader you are, or wanted to inspire others, this course provides the information to bring out the leader inside you. Good leadership skills can contribute to success in college, the workplace and in relationships. Understanding what makes a great leader and how you can tap into characteristics ·recognized as essential for success will put you in front of the group. Using activities and exploring historical and current leaders, makes this class fun, informative, and helpful.



Finding Your Voice

Our voice is the instrument that allows us to speak and sing, cheer and whisper, but how does our voice work? Just like other instruments, if we fine tune our vocal qualities, we improve the impact of our expression no matter how we use or voice. Additionally, understanding vocal mechanics helps prevent vocal problems. This seminar will explore the beauty and power of the natural voice for singing and speaking. No previous singing experience required.




What's Your Style?

Want to maximize your success in college? Find out how learning comes easily and maximize your academic potential through self-discovery in this course. Explore the different learning styles through various self-assessments and activities and determine those that will most enhance your college experience. Content includes a thorough analysis of the visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic/tactile (VARK) learning styles.