First Year and Pre-Major Program (FYPP)

Spring 2018 Discovery Core III




Individual and Societies (I&S) Options:

Democracy, Politics, and Freedom
(B CORE 118A, I&S)

Instructor: Jason Lambacher
Monday/Wednesday 8:45-10:45

Freedom is a central value in democratic theory and practice. Yet "freedom" is also an essentially contested concept in both the social sciences and humanistic studies. This course will endeavor to understand aspirations toward freedom, and what are perceived to be the threats to it, from a range of perspectives, including liberalism, existentialism, communitarianism, Marxism, post colonial theory, cosmopolitanism, feminist theory, and green theory. In doing so we will seek to understand various visions of freedom, and their particular critiques of domination and oppression, as they relate to individual liberation, ideas of equality, the role of government, and the qualities of social life and group cohesion.

Taking it Global: The Great Debates East and West *50% Hybrid*
(B CORE 118B, I&S)

Instructor: Greg Tuke
Wednesday 11:00-1:00

Through readings, research, discussions and debate, students will study and engage with Egyptian students as Future University on key issues that impact both Egypt and the US. We plan to add a third country this year, Kufa University in Iraq, making it a tri-university collaboration. Compelling issues like “the limitations of freedom of speech”, “the politics of religion and government”, and “the rights and responsibilities of developed nations to developing nations”, will be discussed and debated as students develop their interpersonal and intercultural communication skills. Students will learn how to increase their ability to reflect upon these big social issues, gaining an increased understanding of the issues across other cultures. A core list of assigned readings will be read by students at the three universities.

Students work in small global teams and write reflective papers that will be posted on shared blogs, and respond to those papers in reflective on-line discussions. This is a 50% hybrid course, so we will meet in class once a week each Wednesday, and students will be expected to work extensively on-line with their global team members both here at UWB and with your international partners. As a culminating project, students will form global debate teams, and through research and rehearsal, the teams will conclude with a live video conference debate on each issue. Each will be videotaped and inserted into the students’ portfolio, along with a two-page reflection on what was learned in preparing for and implementing the debate. Students will be assessed throughout using rubrics for effective communication and critical thinking skills, utilizing the evidence from Facebook postings, reflection papers, and recorded video debates.

This will be the third time this course has been taught in collaboration with Future University, and we are pleased to be able to add another international classroom to this course for spring, 2018.  

Smart Machines and the Future of Humanity *50% Hybrid*
(B CORE 118C, I&S)

Instructor: Andreas Brockhaus and Todd Conaway
Monday 11:00-1:00

The news is filled with stories of artificial intelligence and the impact smart machines will have on work, the economy, entertainment, education and even our understanding of what it means to be human. At times, the predictions sound like science fiction, with dystopian and utopian visions of what our society will look like in the future. The impact of artificial intelligence makes us ask questions like: What does it mean to be human? How intertwined is humanity with the machines that surround us? What will our future look like? Will the impact be more negative or positive? Will smart machines take over all of our jobs?

This course will use these questions to explore our relationship with machines and how they alter our emotional and physical existence today and in the future. Drawing from nonfiction, fiction, film, and popular culture perspectives, students will create work that will explore their relationship with the future, society and their concept of self.

At Home & Abroad: Travel Narratives & Reflective Writing
(B CORE 118D, I&S)

Instructor: Loren Redwood
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-1:00

This course will use autobiographic texts written in the form of travel narratives in order to examine the process of reflection. The course will provide multiple opportunities for students to examine methods and practices of reflection as they prepare to reflect upon their own writing, progress, and complete the required capstone project for the year. Examining travel narratives from multiple sources allows students to gain insight into the authors who are reflecting on their professions, social relationships, and the time in which they lived; while making connections between these aspects of their lives.

Practicing the Good Life: A Rhetorical Inquiry
(B CORE 118E, I&S)

Instructor: Ian Porter
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-5:30

What makes a good life? We all answer this question for ourselves, perhaps unconsciously, as we make decisions about what we do for work and leisure, where we live, what we consume, and how we spend our time. Of course, these decisions are constrained by the material, social, political, economic, and cultural worlds we inhabit. Some people have more power than others to choose how they live. In addition, the cultural worlds we inhabit send us messages about what makes a good life, such as when advertisements show us images of the good life. In this class, we will examine various ways of thinking about, talking about, and practicing the good life. To clarify our work, we will focus on discourses that link everyday life, labor, work, and consumption with values such as autonomy, community, sustainability, and justice. We will focus on contemporary popular understandings of how to live the good life: luxury and consumer goods, sustainability and simple living, artisanal goods and DIY culture, charity and community service, and other discourses, including ideas and practices chosen by students. We will analyze and evaluate these discourses using the theories and tools of rhetorical criticism. By reflecting on and refining your own understanding of the good life at the end of your first year of college, you will be better prepared to imagine the kind of life you want to live and therefore to articulate your short- and long-term personal, academic, and professional goals. In addition, such reflections will be useful as you complete your Discovery Core portfolio and reflection essay.

Spreadsheet Sherlocks: Preventing, Detecting and Punishing Fraud Using Financial Forensics
(B CORE 118F, I&S)

Instructor: Rajib Doogar
Monday/Wednesday 1:15-3:15

Honesty is fundamental to the well-being of communities, countries and society. Working on recently completed, and potentially live, fraud investigations being conducted by State of Washington law enforcement authorities, under guidance of UWB faculty and Puget Sound fraud and law enforcement professionals, students will learn first-hand about the consequences of dishonest, i.e., fraudulent conduct.

Topical coverage will include but not be limited to some or all of the following:

  • the role of honest speech and conduct in a well-functioning society,
  • the panoply of social institutions and expectations used to foster honest behavior,
  • the personal and societal consequences of social misconduct,
  • the role of law enforcement and local and state authorities in uncovering, investigating and prosecuting fraud,
  • the insidious and rising threat - and damage - from fraud directed against the most vulnerable sections of society: those too elderly and too young to protect their self-interest,
  • what we can as individuals and as a community do to mitigate the threat fraud poses to our way of life.

Artificial Intelligence: Facts and Fictions
(B CORE 118G, I&S)

Instructor: David Nixon
Monday/Wednesday 3:30-5:30

Advances in machine learning coupled with the rise of Big Data has meant that the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been growing in leaps and bounds in the past 10 years. We can already see it all around us, from self-driving cars to algorithms that learn our shopping preferences, target advertisements, and make movie suggestions. AI is being used in drone warfare, to write newspaper articles, and to make original scientific discoveries. Some predict that millions of jobs will be lost to AI in the coming decades. In this class we both examine the history and current state of artificial intelligence as well as critically analyze fictional depictions of AI in literature and film. Our aim is to get a handle on the huge social, ethical, and philosophical implications of this exciting, fast-moving, and sometimes downright scary field of AI.

Natural World (NW) Options:

Reflections: The Art and Science of Light
(B CORE 119B, NW)

Instructor: Kim Gunnerson
Tuesday/Thursday 8:45-10:45

Scientists and artists share a common desire to understand light through thoughtful observation and reflection to develop a deeper understanding of this phenomena that has fascinated humans since prehistoric times.  This class is designed to allow students to explore light through both the lens of the scientific method and the creative perspectives of artistic representation of nature. Students’ explorations will allow them to reflect on the parallel nature of scientific and artistic understandings of light.  Additionally, students will be completing their Discovery Core portfolios to aid in their reflection about their first-year college experience.

 Habits, Addiction and the Brain
(B CORE 119C, NW)

Instructor: Susan McNabb
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-1:00

Good habits help us streamline routine activities so that we have more time to concentrate on more challenging ones. They form the unwritten guidelines of good work and organizational practices. Bad habits can be a distraction or even derail us—or our organization--from positive outcomes. How do habits form? How can we change them? How are habits and addiction related? Easy access to addictive substances and activities cause a range of challenges for individuals, their families, and society. What causes addiction, and how does it affect the brain? This course examines these issues from a neurobiological perspective. We will investigate how the brain works--from neurons to neural circuits to neuroplasticity--in habit formation and in addiction and recovery, and how positive habits can play a protective role.

Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) Options:

Reading to Reflect, Reflecting on Reading

Instructor: Katherine Voyles
Monday/Wednesday 8:45-10:05

Welcome to a class on the powers of reflection. Together we’ll think about thinking by celebrating literature’s capacity to represent lived experience. By exploring the gulfs between worlds made of words and the worlds in which we live we’ll practice reflection appropriate to the capstone class of the DC series as we read in historically, culturally and socially informed ways. Fiction, especially realistic fiction, straddles the internal world of the novel and our own world. For this reason, novels are especially rich sites of reflection because we immerse ourselves in fiction as it unfolds minute-by-minute even as we explore the gap between story and reality. Like reading fiction, reflection involves both being engulfed in the moment and making sense of the larger contexts and implications of that moment.

Mapping the Middle Ages: A Guided Tour of the People and Cultures of the Medieval World

Instructor: Louise Speigler
Monday/Wednesday 11:00-1:00

From The Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, modern people are enthralled by medieval fantasies. But what were those times really like? What rich cultures developed in those centuries? What lessons can we learn from medieval people about community and cooperation, conflict and fear, belief and questioning, the fight for survival and the creation of beauty? This class is a guided tour of the era from 700 – 1400 CE, ranging from Europe to the Islamic Empires, from Africa to Asia. We’ll piece together the map of the medieval world, and listen and respond to the voices of the men and women caught up in its drama. The course is an integrated learning experience, encompassing historical, cultural and artistic exploration.

The Creative Spirit: Exploring Outside the Box

Instructor: Gavin Doyle
Monday/Wednesday 1:15-3:15

What does it mean to be creative? Or, original? In this course, students explore artistic interpretations of themes through different media. Each week a theme is raised by a small group that leads a discussion on the theme (ranging from the general: love, death, freedom; to the more specific: immigration, homelessness, cancer). Readings and artistic work created on those themes are discussed with focus on the artistic choices made to convey meaning and provoke thought. Students present personal artistic work on the prior week’s topic in media ranging from poems to photographs to song (students choose a new medium each week). The class culminates in an artistic portfolio showing and a reflective essay on their own artistic spirit.

Reading and Writing the Literature of Social Engagement

Instructor: Linda Watts
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-1:00

This course takes its inspiration from psychiatrist Robert Coles, who for many years taught an enormously popular course at Harvard entitled, “The Literature of Social Reflection.” As an educator, Coles advanced the premise that lifespan exposure to literature—particularly works of social observation—could inform and enhance readers’ experiences within, and contributions to, the lived world. Such a reading practice prioritizes character, courage, and compassion. Members of this class will join in a quarter-long exploration of this premise as it might prove relevant to our own lives and those of people we contact through daily life. Throughout the course, class members will be encouraged to explore and help transform the literature of civic engagement. Along the way, we will employ course materials, assignments, and activities as means by which to cultivate and enhance capacities crucial for constructive encounter with difference (creative coexistence)—such as generous reading, active listening, attentive observation, dialogue, reflection, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

The Cultural Studies of Graphic Memoir

Instructor: Jason Morse
Tuesday/Thursday 1:15-3:15

Graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular and increasingly recognized as legitimate art forms and cultural texts that explore issues of identity and socio-political issues. The genre of graphic memoir or autobiography has been a large part of this rise to legitimacy, providing a new hybrid form (using both verbal and visual text) in which to represent the author’s negotiations with issues as varied and important as identity formation and intersectionality; race and racism; desire, sexuality, and queerness; what it means to be gendered; or living differently abled. This class will engage multiple forms of disciplinary knowledge production (including artistic, cultural studies, sociology, history, race and ethnicity, gender/sexuality studies, etc.) to investigate the work of graphic memoir as both a visual art form and as a social and cultural practice. This course will model integrated learning that pairs cultural texts with interdisciplinary essays together to discuss the ways that the combination of image and text makes meaning and provides particular ways of knowing and understanding social categories, difference, and power. These themes will frame the “first year learning and college skills” that are explored and modeled in the class. Student will also learn experientially by doing a creative project of drawing a graphic memoir of a personal memory. Course texts will begin with Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan as a way to engage brief readings about memoir and autobiography, comic theory, and the form of the graphic novel (by Scott McCloud, Douglas Wolk, Thierry Groensteen, and Charles Hatfield). Then graphic texts will be paired with readings that explore different cultural studies/theoretical frameworks and situate the texts historically, including four sections based on different social identity categories, including: • Gender: using Butler or Halberstam paired with Barry’s 100 Hundred Demons, Pekar’s The Quitter, or Prince’s Tomboy • Race and ethnicity: using Hall or Omi and Winant’s with Satrapi’s Persepolis, GB Tran’s Vietnamerica, Lewis’s March, or Sacco’s Palestine, • Sexuality/queer: using Foucault or Warner with Bechdel’s Fun Home, Tomine’s Shortcomings, or Charles Burns’ Black Hole • Disability: using Johnstone, Davis, or McRuer/Berube with David B.’s Epileptic, Bell’s El Deafo, or (Seattle-based) Fourney’s Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangleo, & Me

Picture Yourself

Instructor: Howard Hsu
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-5:30

This DC III course is structured around photography as a means of personal expression. Students will look introspectively at their past, present, and future and incorporate aspects of themselves into their photography. Applying photographic concepts and techniques, students will engage in self-portraiture, experimentation with different formats or processes, and discussions among classmates on personal identity, cultural perspectives, and ideological views of the world. The course will culminate with the creation of the DC III portfolio incorporating past work and new work into a cohesive theme that is an insight into the photographer’s personality, history, aspirations, and unique way of seeing the world.

Women's Empowerment: A Critical Media Justice Approach

Instructor: Mo West
Fridays 11:00-3:15

This interdisciplinary course will explore media justice work through a feminist lens and engage with communication strategies and media tools to subvert media misrepresentation and marginalization. Through a community‐based research/community service learning project, students will develop action research media analysis, work with community partners on digital media empowerment, and promote media advocacy for policy/social change. Students will acquire a knowledge base for pursuing leadership opportunities at both local and national levels. In addition to lectures and discussion of course readings, students will engage in hands-on group work and role playing to develop their leadership skills.