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

2008-2009 Offerings:

FYS 101 Your Automobile, Our Environment
No other invention has had such a dramatic impact on human lifestyles and the environment as the automobile. This course explores the social and environmental impact that our perceived need for personal transportation has had. Environmental impact is explored from a number of perspectives including: origins of the automobile and its evolution; impact of manufacturing technology; automobile utilization impacts on natural resources, climate, and the atmosphere; the impact of the automobile on urban design and potential alternatives to personal transportation.

FYS 102 Recreating Revolution
In this course, students will act out roles of characters engaged in writing France's first constitution in 1791. They will form factions, write newspapers, and debate one another all in the hopes of writing a document that best reflects their views. At the same time, some students will represent the Parisian crowd, which will pressure the delegates to address the pressing concerns of those who are not represented in the Assembly. At the end of the experience, students will assess the impact of ideas on people's actions, the roles of contingency and accident in history, and the nature of revolution.

FYS 103 World's Fairs
World's fairs have been held since 1851, when over 6 million visitors (1/3 the population of Great Britain) came to London's Crystal Palace. The Eiffel Tower and the Space Needle were built as the centerpieces of two fairs, Sputnik and Michelangelo's Pieta were displayed and the Ferris Wheel and the ice cream cone made their first appearances at world's fairs. This course focuses on visual displays at world's fairs; how nations, corporations and groups of individuals, such as women and African-Americans, have attempted to define themselves by means of art, architecture, science, machinery, etc. at these grand and spectacular events; and on the underlying meaning of these displays.

FYS 104 Science in Art
This course explores how scientific knowledge of the materials used in painting, sculpture, and ceramic art aids in conservation and authentication of works of art. Laboratory work is performed where students will synthesize and analyze materials, including paints and other colorants and will have the opportunity to use the materials to make paintings and frescos. A visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. is also planned.

FYS 105 Centre and Politics
This seminar will focus on politics as a means of understanding and interpreting the historical development of the College. Special attention will be given to the founding of the College, the Civil War era, the 1960's, and the Vice Presidential Debate of 2000.

FYS 106 From Indigo to Smart Fabrics: The Chemistry of Textiles
This course covers the history and manufacture of natural and synthetic fabrics and dyes. It also includes the synthesis and analysis of different fabric cleaning methods (detergents, dry cleaning) and environmental implications of these industries. This course includes four hands-on lab experiments including extraction of dye from natural products and synthesis of nylon.

FYS 107 Ceramics: Methods of Ancient Civilizations
A focus on the methods of forming and firing clay utilized by ancient civilizations before the advent of glaze technology. Students examine the ceramic works of neo- lithic China, Peru, Iran, and Greece and discuss the concurrent development of similar pottery forms in these cultures. These forms are used as inspirations for ceramic projects designed and made by students. Students work in the studio with clay a minimum of three hours per day.

FYS 108 Chaos and Fractals: A Revolution in Science
We will introduce one of the most important revolutionary ideas of the 20th century: the phenomenon known as Chaos, which is the tendency of very simple systems to exhibit unimaginably complicated behavior. The historical context will be discussed, the necessary mathematics will be explained, and the beauty of many chaotic systems will be explored via computer visualizations, including the intricate structure of shapes known as fractals.

FYS 109 Folk Music in Kentucky
This class examines 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 combines readings from a number of sources, listening assignments, and visits by local musicians.

FYS 110 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.

FYS 111 Mathematical Impossibilities
This course explores certain questions in mathematics that do not have answers and will never be answered since mathematicians have logically proven that the hoped for answers simply do not exist. Topics include the halting problem from computer science, the continuum hypothesis from the study of infinity, and the question of parallel lines in geometry. In addition, we consider the history, people, and philosophical consequences of these results.

FYS 112 How Stuff Works: Technology Around Us

A study of the technology in our everyday lives and the scientific principles that govern it. We will examine real objects from basketballs to makeup to MP3 players and learn how their operation can be understood in terms of basic scientific principles. The course starts with motion, fluids and heat and then moves to electrical and optical devices. The final week includes a discussion of the science of sports with particular emphasis on football, basketball and NASCAR.

FYS 113 Shipwrecks and Castaways in Film and Literature
This course examines the scenario of a shipwreck survivor(s) confronting the elements. Relevant treatments include epic (Homer), drama ( The Tempest ), novels ( Robinson Crusoe ), movies (“Cast Away”), and television (“Lost,” “Gilligan's Island”). Our goal is to explore how individuals and groups are cast away, survive, and often are transformed on deserted (and inhabited) islands.

FRS 114 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.

FYS 115 Financial Lives
This course focuses on personal and business financial issues. Financial planning, risk and asset protection, types and forms of insurance, investment vehicles, debt instruments and taxation are covered. In addition, the markets for these products are explored from both the consumer and firm perspective.

FRS 116 Teens and Teachers in the Media
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 teachers and students in school.

FYS 117 Appalachian Ecosystems: History, Ecology and Conservation

This integrative look at the Appalachian mountains will include history on geologic and human timescales, and will emphasize direct experience. The variety of life in this center of diversity will be related to cultures and economies, especially with respect to current environmental policy. What were the mountains like three hundred years ago? Is ecology destiny (what is the value of biodiversity to culture)? How can modern economies achieve sustainability? What could the Appalachians look like in the next three hundred years?

FYS 118 Hamlet
Shakespeare's Hamlet is perhaps “the” central literary work of Western culture. Why? In attempting to answer this question, we will read the play carefully and talk about it; we will perform scenes and think about how they work; we will consider the play's sources and its historical background; and, perhaps above all, we will ponder the many things that Hamlet the play and Hamlet the character have meant over the years, to writers as diverse as Goethe, Freud, and Tom Stoppard, in literary works, theatrical productions, films, and popular culture.

FYS 119 Natural History of the Eastern Carribean
This course focuses broadly on the ecology of the Eastern Caribbean , with an emphasis on the Lesser Antilles . Students 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 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.

FYS 120 Sports Psychology
This course takes a psychological approach towards sports and athletic endeavors. We begin with an exploration of the “mind-body” connection, then emphasize how thoughts influence physical performance and how physical states influence mental abilities. Topics include sport-related motivation, competition, social interactions and teamwork. The course also explores the area of “peak performance,” which focuses on the synergistic relationship between mind and body.

FYS 121 Introduction to Fiction Writing
This is an introductory workshop in fiction writing. Students learn basic fiction writing techniques, read short stories by diverse writers, and develop analytical skills for critiquing short fiction. Student writing serves as the basis for in-class workshop discussions.

FYS 122 English Civil Wars
This course explores the causes, the course of, and the impacts and the English Civil Wars. These wars led to some of the most important political, social, and economic developments in English history–developments which would have world wide implications.

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