First Year Seminars

First Year Seminars

First Year Seminars at Hartwick College are your introduction to the liberal arts. All incoming Hartwick College students enroll in a First Year Seminar in the fall term.

The First Year Seminars are designed to facilitate college-level work and help you explore diverse perspectives around a common subject, theme, or issue. Enrollment is limited and class size is small so that you can benefit from working closely with faculty mentors and your peers. You will engage as colleagues in the process of discovery and respectful critical discussion.

First Year Seminars Fall 2020 – Course Descriptions:

ANTH-150: Experiencing Archaeology
Professor Namita Sugandhi, Department of Anthropology

This class is about the science of investigating the past. Throughout the semester, students will learn about the archaeological study of major turning points in early human history, from the evolution of our species to the emergence of agriculture, cities, and writing.  This course will consider questions about the origins of social inequality and the sustainability of modern life.  Students will also have hands-on experience in some of the major techniques and practices used to construct narratives of the human story.  During the semester, students will participate in an archaeological dig, and will learn important skills such as survey and mapping, artifact documentation, and presentation of research.

ANTH-181: Forensic Osteology, an Introduction
Professor Connie Anderson, Department of Anthropology

Working in the Anthropology Laboratory of Hartwick’s Yager Hall, students will receive a whole or partial skeleton which they will analyze and describe. They will learn what information can be gleaned from bones and study some important cases, including remains from Stonehenge, Inca tombs in the Andes, 1607 Jamestown, and other examples. We will discuss contentious issues in forensic osteology, and each student will share a presentation on an issue, method or discovery near the end of the semester.

ART-250: Math in Art
Professor Leah Frankel Department of Art and Art History

In this course, students are introduced to a variety of mathematical concepts such as counting, geometry, and the infinite, through a range of art methods such as drawing, walking, stitching, or observation. Students will work with paper, wood, string, found objects, and mixed media. This course will help students develop their hand/eye coordination, dexterity, and working with tools. This course can be taken for QFR or EL Credit. 

ENG 150: Feast or Famine: The Future of Food in a Warming World
Professor Robert Seguin, Department of English

The place where the unfolding crisis of global warming and the problem of feeding ourselves come together stands as one of the most charged and crucial intersections in our society. For decades, Western countries have gotten used to cheap and abundant food produced by enormous industrial operations. But these operations degrade the soil, rely more and more on chemicals, and release huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, rising temperatures are making all agriculture and food making, industrial or otherwise, increasingly challenging. In this course, we will examine the remarkable array of questions and problems posed by this situation: Must sustainable food and social justice go together? How can we renew our relationship to nature? Will more of us have to be farmers in the years ahead? Will cities need to morph into giant greenhouses? Could the most ecologically beneficial meal also be the best tasting one? Will plant-based burgers save us? We will study a wide array of authors who both document the ravages of climate change and who visit with innovative groups and enterprises who are charting a new path forward. There are even a few literary takes on the matter that we might look at. This course will appeal to all who wonder and worry about how we are going to continue to create the most essential provisions of life itself.

ENGL 150: Shape-shifters, Tricksters, and Temptresses: the Mythology of Evil
Professor Lisa Darrien, Department of English

Students in this course will explore a number of trans-cultural archetypes of evil and the mythology surrounding them. For example, the werewolf is a familiar archetype in Western European folklore, but in other areas of the world, the evil animal-to-human shape-shifter appears in other guises, such as snakes (Russia / India / Armenia), foxes (China / Japan / Korea), and pumas (Argentina / Chile). Archetypes like the Trickster and the Temptress are equally widespread throughout the world, although the particulars of their stories are often highly culturally specific. 

Of course, sometimes these mythological creatures are benevolent rather than evil, the Trickster being a prime example of this. In many mythologies, including those from African and Native American nations, the Trickster is an important transmitter of culture and can even work as an intermediary between the gods and humankind. Thus a Trickster who seems evil from the point of view of the gods can be seen as a hero to humankind. 

Finally, along with studying the widespread nature of these archetypes as well as their cultural specificity, students will explore the gendered nature of these archetypes. In titling this course, I have used the feminine form for the final archetype deliberately: in mythology, the evil tempter is more often female rather than the reverse, and her temptation is usually sexual in nature. Indeed, when power, not sex, is the temptation, the tempter is more often than not male. What can these gendered archetypes teach us about human societies of the past, present, and future? 

As with all English courses, students should expect to be reading, discussing, and then writing about a wide variety of works. However, besides reading these mythological tales, students will also explore other depictions of these archetypes in art, theatre, music, and filmed media.

INTR-150: Discover Your Place, 4 sections
Professor Cherilyn Lacy, Department of History
Professor Mark Wolff, Department of Modern Languages
Professor Amy Forster-Rothbart, Department of Political Science
Professor Karina Walker, Department of Modern Languages

This course begins with an exploration of who you are now, the strengths you bring with you to Hartwick, and where you want to go. As a group, we will explore the Hartwick community — its history and traditions, its people and region, and the many opportunities for connection. In modules that introduce key skills that employers are looking for in the 21st century, we will work together on projects that offer a window to the many paths you can follow to making an impact in the world.

INTR-150: The Math and Science of Environmental Justice
Professor Kevin Schultz, Department of Physics

In this class we will study the science and mathematics behind the modern day justice movements. We will focus primarily on environmental and climate justice issues, such as global warming, pollutants in our water, and toxic waste. Other possible topics if time and interest permit, could include DNA testing, drug testing, and GMOs in our food. Basic math skills will be assumed, but the rest will be introduced as we need it. This class is designed to be of interest to those students with a strong interest in social issues, regardless of their science background

MUST-250: Collectors & Collecting
Doug Kendall and Quentin Lewis, Yager Museum of Art & Culture

Everyone collects something, either consciously or unconsciously. This course examines collecting and collectors from anthropological, historical, archaeological, and literary perspectives, focusing on the idea of collecting as a form of control; that is, a way for a person to organize and make sense of their world. Students will gain an understanding of collecting as a social practice, the growth of museums as public collections, the role of collecting in historical developments such as colonialism and consumer culture, and the role of individual collectors, including Willard Yager, founder of Hartwick’s museum, in shaping public awareness of art, history and culture.

NURS-134: Fundamentals of Nursing Science (restricted to Nursing accepted students)
Professors M. Silber, M. Davis, and L. Marra, Department of Nursing

Introduces nursing as an art and science distinguished by humanistic caring. Focuses initially on self-assessment and the skills needed to achieve academic, personal, and professional success. Students explore the role of the professional nurse in health and wellness including, self- care and the care of clients. Individual differences, personal and professional values, beliefs, culture, interpersonal communication, the healthcare system, baccalaureate nursing, and the role of the nurse (as a change agent, wellness coach, collaborator, decision maker, and care manager) in the improvement of health are explored. In the laboratory students are introduced to self- assessment tools and techniques of mindful awareness, to determine individual health status. Common nursing interventions, actions, and stress and coping techniques used to meet the healthcare needs of clients across the lifespan and continuum of care are explored and applied. Students apply therapeutic use of self and basic nursing skills in long term care, ambulatory, and community settings. Community service hours are required as part of the course. The course is offered for majors only in the fall semester and in the summer for the ASP students. 

POSC-150: On Bulls@!t and Fake News: Making a Good Argument in College Courses
Professor Matthew Chick, Department of Political Science

Stop BS-ing your way through assignments! Doing as well as you are able in college requires careful reasoning about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Strong students do not merely take positions, but also figure out the best ways to defend those positions. This course is a gentle introduction to that form of more rigorous critical thinking you will need throughout your college career. A couple of rather entertaining books (On Bulls@!t and Assholes: A Theory) actually feature some extremely sophisticated techniques for making arguments. Through reading and carefully analyzing these (and other) works we will come up with sound, generalizable principles you will be able to apply for your entire academic career making you a better writer, speaker, and student.

RELS 150: Foodways, Faith and Fairness (restricted to honors and honors invited students)
Professor Lisle Dalton, Department of Religious Studies

This course will ask students to think seriously about food– How is it produced?  How is it distributed? How is it cooked and shared? What symbolic meanings does it hold? How do communities build a shared vision of “the Good” around the things they eat?   To explore these questions, we will focus on a variety of communities and their “foodways” – that is, their particular strategies for producing, regulating, cooking, and sharing food.  This will include the foodways of various faith traditions, both within the American religious mainstream and alternative visions. We will also study, in more general terms, the general structures of the American food system and voices that seek to challenge and reform that system on ethical grounds.  Finally, to fully engage with our subject matter, we will spend some of our class sessions in the kitchen, putting our foodways theory into edible practice.

THEA-150: Storytelling in the Digital Age
Professor Malissa Kano-White, Department of Theatre

Storytelling is essential to human existence. We tell stories to make sense of ourselves and the world around us. Today’s digital communication technologies enable us to connect beyond national and cultural barriers, opening our world in new and exciting ways. In this course, you’ll learn how to use digital technology to tell compelling, creative, emotionally-engaging stories. Part storytelling/writing workshop and part technology lab, we will study various kinds of digital and narrative techniques as we learn to craft our own digital stories. No previous writing or digital storytelling experience necessary.  This course will culminate in an online screening of students’ work.



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