Course Offerings | First-Year Studies

All first-year students are required to enroll in a F
irst-Year Studies course during CentreTerm. First-Year 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.

Studies Courses

2007-2008 Offerings:

FRS 102 Stem Cells, Cloning and You
This course will examine the scientific and ethical issues surrounding the use of stem cells removed from human embryos or adults and the related issues of cloning. The potential to "grow" a variety of different cell types from stem cells in order to replace diseased cells has been heralded as a major advancement in medical research. Producing genetically identical individuals by cloning is postulated as a way to provide transplantable cells for diseased individuals. These technologies, however, elicit numerous ethical and philosophical questions, with which our society is currently grappling. For example, is it ethical to destroy an embryo in order to acquire stem cells? Is it ethical to produce genetic "twins" in a lab? What if the cloned individual has genetic defects that lead to illness or death? Students will work in small groups to understand the scientific information required to consider the ethical concerns. Class discussion, writing assignments, and student presentations are used to explore the ramifications of stem cell research and cloning.

FRS 106 The World of Duke Ellington
This course will discuss all aspects of the life and music of Duke Ellington, one of America 's greatest composers, jazz band leaders and pianist. We will study the major members of his orchestra as well as the figures, social climate and events that affected his music. We will be concerned with social, artistic, and racial issues that define his life and music and the different eras in which his music was written. Students will develop critical listening skills and an understanding of music analysis through the pieces studied.

FRS 110 Judaism and Christianity in Dialogue
There is a $175 field trip fee for this course (2 days in Washington , D.C. ). Friendship or fratricide: these are the alternatives that recent centuries have set before religions, and they have rarely been more stark. Since the end of World War II, however, Christians and Jews have begun to ask questions about one another's traditions, to break down age-old barriers of prejudice, and to explore not only differences, but similarities of faith as well. In this course, students will walk through some rich but very controversial terrain - the Bible, anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism, the Holocaust, the State of Israel, and challenges for the future. A trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. is planned.

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, usually 30-45 minutes. Some evening performances at the end of the term.

FRS 114 The Art of Walking
A course offering a close reading of Kant's Critique of Judgment in the morning and considerable walking in the hills and pastures of central Kentucky in the afternoon. The first half of Kant's Critique (1790) describes the behavior and range of judgments about beauty in nature and in art. The second half describes the behavior and range of judgments about the purpose of natural organisms and of nature itself. In this context, walking serves two purposes. First, it is the means for exploring the validity of Kant's aesthetic and scientific descriptions of the environment. Second, it the best way to preserve nature and ourselves for the purpose of this exploration. The course includes daily afternoon walks (typically 1-4 pm).

FRS 117 American Utopianism
There is a $50 field trip fee for this course (2 days in New Harmony, IN). 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 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 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 128 Media Images of Teachers and Schools
Students examine media representations of teachers and schools including television and film. We will read excerpts from a variety of books (both fiction and nonfiction) as well as view and analyze visual depictions of schoolteachers and students in school.

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 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 145 U.S. Latino Literature and Culture
There is a $250 field trip fee for this course (5 days in New York City). An interdisciplinary course examining the Latino experience in the United States. Major demographic, social, economic and political trends will be discussed. In this course we will analyze and gain further knowledge of and appreciation for several significant literary works and key themes relating to the U.S. Latino experience. We will accomplish this through reading the novels of Ernesto Quiñonez and several short stories. Along with literature, this class will focus on public art, particularly the Mexican muralists Orozco, Rivera and Siqueiros. From January 16th -20th the class will take a trip to New York City to visit the neighborhoods of Spanish Harlem, Washington Heights, and Queens as well as El Museo del Barrio, The Guggenheim, MoMa and the Metropolitan Museums.

FRS 167 Folk Music in Kentucky
This class will examine the rich traditions of folk music in Kentucky, focusing especially on Appalachian fiddle-tunes, early folk songs, and Bluegrass. We will also investigate those musical genres which exerted the most influence on these traditions, including the music of the British Isles and early American blues. The course will combine readings from a number of sources, listening assignments, and visits by local musicians.

FRS 171 Natural History of the Eastern Carribean
There is a $525 field trip fee for this course (7 days in Puerto Rico).
This course will broadly focus on the ecology of the Eastern Caribbean, with an emphasis on the Lesser Antilles. Students will gain an understanding of the geological origin of the islands, the regional weather patterns (especially the importance of hurricanes), terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and associated flora and fauna. We will also discuss the cultural history of the islands. A week-long field trip is planned to Puerto Rico where students will gain an appreciation for the environmental and conservation challenges faced by the region. Students must be in good physical condition and be competent swimmers. Use of snorkeling gear will be required. The course instructor will instruct students in the proper use of equipment before the trip.

FRS 175 Nineteenth-Century French Art
The course will focus on the art of painting in France during the 1800s, with an occasional glance at parallel developments in French sculpture and architecture, all considered within an historical context. Major artistic movements addressed include Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. Time-permitting, the course will conclude with an overview of early-twentieth-century Fauvism and Cubism.

FRS 177 Myth and Science Fiction
In many ways science fiction bears such a resemblance to the mythologies of ancient cultures that one can almost describe it as modern mythology. In this course we examine in detail myths of ancient Greece and other cultures and observe how themes, motifs, character types, and narrative patterns in these ancient myths influence modern science fiction stories, defining “science fiction” very broadly to include, for example, fantasy. Source material includes films, television shows, novels, short stories, and other media. We will see, for instance, how the hero journey as rendered in the myth of Perseus can be traced in the story of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga. Along the way we will discover that myth is in fact not such an ancient concept but exists in our own culture and responds to many of the same needs today as it did in the centuries long past.

FRS 178 The Gothic and Afterlives
An analysis of three major works of Gothic literature – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and Dracula. Emphasis is on the development of Gothic conventions and the use of Gothic works for entertainment and social criticism. Includes discussion of the film versions of the two novels.

FRS 179 Lincoln : A Political Study
There is a $50 field trip fee for this course (2 days Springfield, IL).
A study of the political and constitutional thought of Abraham Lincoln through an examination of his speeches, writings, and political career. Themes developed include, among others: the relationship between politics and morality, the nature of political leadership, the balance between civil liberties and national security in wartime, and Lincoln's transformation of the fundamental values and institutions of the American political system. The course involves an overnight field trip to Springfield, Illinois to visit Lincoln's home and tomb, and the newly-opened Lincoln presidential library and museum.

FRS 180 Does Money Matter: It Should For You
This is a basic class in the economics/finance field. It is a comprehensive course that will cover everything from investment basics, asset protection and personal-finance planning to asset allocation, insurance and taxes.

FRS 181 HIV/AIDS in Africa
Drawing on various country case studies and United Nations and World Health Organization sources, the course examines the historical origins and spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. It identifies the most susceptible members of society to the scourge and efforts to controlling its spread in society.

FRS 182 Biology of Prehistoric Animals
There is a $100 field trip fee for this course (2 days in Chicago, IL).
An introduction to the evolutionary relationships, natural history, anatomy, behavior, and geological and environmental context of extinct vertebrates. Dinosaurs and their Mesozoic contemporaries receive particular attention. Prehistoric lineages are used to explore general topics in systematics, geology, paleontology, and evolutionary biology. This course includes an overnight class trip to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL.

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