Course Offerings | Freshman Studies

All first-year students are required to enroll in a Freshman Studies course during CentreTerm. Freshman Studies courses have three goals: to provide a small-group learning situation that will engage students and faculty in an intensive intellectual experience; to introduce students in an innovative fashion to a discipline's basic concepts, modes of thought, or procedures; and to foster basic educational skills--how to read critically, think logically, and communicate effectively.

Freshman Studies Courses

FRS 101 Economics in an Ethical World
This seminar examines real and imagined tensions between economic and ethical goals. For example, must we sacrifice economic growth in order to protect the environment? Can we improve our standard of living without diminishing that of future generations? Can businesses compete in the global marketplace while operating within reasonable moral guidelines? These and related dilemmas are discussed with an eye toward optimal personal and social policymaking.

FRS 113 Storytelling
This course will center upon storytelling performance. Storytelling takes many forms in our culture. It is an essential element in defining who we are as a culture, a nation, as groups, and as individuals. This course will explore storytelling as a large group activity, working in small groups, and solo performance. Individual sessions will be scheduled for the afternoon, usually0-45 minutes. Some evening performances at the end of the term.

FRS 114 The Art of Walking
A study of writings on art and beauty by the German Idealist philosophers Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Focus on the relationship between descriptions of the sublime and the ancient habit of walking, hiking and pilgrimage. Morning meetings for discussion and afternoon sessions for hikes and walks. Long walks in central Kentucky nature preserves, on battlefields and on farms; visits to art museums planned.

FRS 117 American Utopianism: The Peaceable Kingdom
Using the 1826 version of Edward Hicks' famous folk painting, The Peaceable Kingdom, as a starting point, the course will first consider various strains of the utopian impulse in 19th-Century America, including neighboring Shakertown and Gethsemene Abbey. Students will then investigate intentional communities of the past 100 years based on the Hicks' vision of humans living in absolute harmony with nature and other animals.

FRS 118 Rainmaking: The Study of and Preparation for Leadership

This course will acquaint the student with the literature associated with leadership studies. The student will be exposed to a variety of authors, and have the opportunity to study and report on a 20th-Century leader of his or her choice. The class will feature several guest speakers (leaders in practice) from a variety of fields, and will include at least one field trip to explore the work of a leader in his or her workplace.

FRS 119 An Introduction to Drawing
The course will introduce the fundamentals of drawing, including perspective, light and shade, expressive use of various media, and the principles of design. Studio work will be complemented by written and oral assignments that teach students how to discuss and criticize drawings. Lectures, a museum visit, and student copies made from masterworks will familiarize students with the cultural contributions made in this medium since the Renaissance.

FRS 120 Christian Society
This course will consider the varied attempts to create a Christian civilization, along with the critiques and reformations made along the way. One focus of the course will be on the differences between Catholic and Protestant conceptions of society. This will lead us to modern considerations of the very idea of Christian society. Students will be expected to engage and develop their own position in the great conversation about Christian society. The course includes several field trips to diverse Christian sites in Kentucky .

FRS 121 Introduction to Poetry Writing
A class devoted to the writing of poetry and to relevant readings designed to guide and inspire the beginning writer. A workshop class where students will write 2-3 poems a week, responding to assignments given, which we will then workshop in class.

FRS 135 Side by Side With Stephen Sondheim
A study of several Stephen Sondheim musicals, including Company, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Assassins . Students have the opportunity to grapple with the many issues Sondheim and his collaborators raise in these works, from the political to the personal, and they will examine the shows from a variety of perspectives. Particular attention is paid to Sondheim's music, allowing students to better understand the ways in which the composer uses this medium to communicate with his audience. Students do NOT need to be able to read music.

FRS 136 Contemporary Events
This course will utilize internet resources, as well as newspapers and other printed material, to enable students to acquire an informed and critical understanding of current national and international events. The internet is especially useful in this regard. Search engines such as Google, and hyperlinks within articles, enable a reader to trace the origin and development of headline stories, and consult multiple sources in order to discern the limitations and biases that are inevitable in news coverage. Each student will be assigned a different category of event (e.g the Middle East , the economy, national politics) each of the three weeks of the course.

FRS 137 The Historian as Detective
How do historians uncover the truth about the past? Using notorious trials for imposture, murder, and insanity as test cases, the course explores the nature of historical evidence, argumentation, and public presentation. Field trips to state archives and history center are planned.

FRS 138 Vietnam in Film
An examination of the relationship among public memory, popular culture, and history, using film representations of American involvement in Vietnam and its aftermath as a case study.

FRS 139 Religion and Film
Are all clergy fools? Does everything fade to white around the edges in heaven? Is Keanu Reeves the Messiah? Has going to the movies replaced going to church? This course introduces a few of the many issues in the study of religion and film. The course focuses on images of religion and religious people in film, and traces a number of recurring religious themes in recent popular films.

FRS 140 Women and Spirituality
This course challenges students to examine their religious beliefs and practices by analyzing the historical and pre-historical context within which Christian and Hebrew scriptures were composed, written, edited, and passed down. A close reading of certain sections of the Bible, coupled with short essays by contemporary feminist theologians interpreting these scriptures, should stimulate discussion of these materials as they relate to wider personal and social issues. In addition, theoretical, imaginative, and practical writings on alternative forms of spirituality will be examined.

FRS 141 Developing Websites as Though Users Mattered!
The goal of this course is to design and implement websites that are “useable?in the sense that they permit visitors to find what they want and carry out their interactions efficiently and easily. We will learn about human perception, task analysis, content and visual organization, prototyping and evaluation. Students use Dreamweaver to design and implement a website for an actual client.

FRS 142 An American Obsession: The Lawn
An examination of the front lawn and back yard from historical, social, artistic and environmental standpoints. We will consider where and how the ideas of a front lawn and a back yard developed, and how they changed American social interactions. Examples of folk yard art will be compiled. A major portion of the course will look at the environmental impacts of fertilizer and pesticides, and at the variety of alternatives to a grass lawn that many people are pursuing today. Discussion, independent projects, short papers, oral presentations and local field trips.

FRS 143 Weather and Climate
Everyone talks about the weather, but how many really understand it? Basic principles of meteorology and climate are studied, including an examination of severe weather phenomena. Students gain greater understanding of weather data that are readily accessible to the public. Impacts of weather and climate (including climate change) upon humans are discussed.

FRS 144 Study in the Academy: Plato's Theaetetus & Sophist
A study of two of Plato's richer and more difficult dialogues, the Theaetetus and the Sophist. Like the original members of Plato's academy, we will study these dialogues not with the aim of constructing firm doctrines, but rather as a way of doing philosophy. We will attempt to wrestle with some of the ideas in these dialogues, such as the nature of knowledge, the nature of language, and the relation(s) between language, knowledge, and the world.

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