Fall 2022 FlightPath Course Descriptions

FlightPath 102: Discover Your Place

This course begins with an exploration of who you are now, the strengths you bring to Hartwick, and where you want to go. We will explore the Hartwick community — its history and traditions, its people and region, and the many opportunities for connection. In addition to this common material, each section will have a specific academic exploration related in some way to the greater Oneonta region.

Explore each section of the course.

Dr. Parker Troischt

This course involves studying the idea of home, why Earth has special qualities within our Solar System and how the search for life in the Universe reveals just how special Earth is. We compare the properties of Earth to other planets including extra-solar planets (exoplanets), which are planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. The topics covered in the course involve several branches of science with a particular focus on astronomy, planetary geology and biology. The class will consider many of the most significant questions such as: What is life? Why is Earth special among the planets we know of? How did life originate on Earth? Is there life elsewhere within the Solar System or on planets orbiting other stars? What is necessary for life to involve? Are we alone in the Universe?

Dr. Susan Navarette

This course takes as its subject what sociologists and cultural critics describe as a critical—and unaddressed—“public health crisis”: men, self-esteem, and the politics of “masculine” behavior. Our explorations will be anchored in selected representations of “masculine” behavior in contemporary American popular culture and cultural artifacts: in feature films, selected documentaries, essays, and short fiction. Novels and stories written by Sherman Alexie, Ernest Hemingway, and James Thurber, and films such as Fight Club, Reservoir Dogs, Robocop, and Warrior will serve as so many “opportunities” to examine the myths, models, and modes of masculine behavior to which men struggle to conform—or, alternatively, those they are desperate to avoid. We will supplement our discussion of these primary texts through an examination of the historical, mythopoetic, and cultural sources (“Tarzan,” Houdini, Diego Maradona, Zizou, and Arnold Schwarzenegger of popular lore and culture) that have helped to shape our sense of what it means to be “a real man.”

Explicit content. Feature films and documentaries that take as their subject human behavior in general—and in particular men’s behavior among and in front of men and women—are bound to contain explicit and sometimes unsettling content. Such is the case with the visual texts (i.e., films, documentaries, paintings) that we will encounter this semester: some feature disturbing or sexually explicit scenes or images; raw language figures in others. If you anticipate finding “raw” language and/or the occasionally sexually explicit, violent or uncomfortable-making scenes offensive or if you feel uncomfortable discussing adult themes, scenes, and ideas in the company of your peers, please consider whether this course’s subject matter will suit you.

Dr. Matt Chick

What defines a community? Is it some threshold number of people? Some common purpose? Or is it more about a geographic area where they are located? Some combination of all of the above? This course has two goals. First, to both demonstrate the value of being precise with concepts as well as offer strategies for students to achieve that precision in their thinking, writing, and speaking. Second, to deploy those skills, as a class, on the concept of “community”. What does the word community mean and to whom? What ought we make out of the differences in these meanings? This second goal involves talking with Oneonta community leaders as well as independent archival research on our local community.

Dr. Pauline Stamp

This experiential course is an introduction to the practice of Mindfulness.  Students will learn the principles of mindfulness, develop their own meditation practice, and apply mindfulness principles to daily life.  Students will learn strategies to skillfully work with thoughts, emotions, and sensations while developing their capacity to enhance mind-body awareness of present-moment experience.  The course will introduce the history, theories, and research in the field of mindfulness and the emerging science that shows promising, beneficial effects for physical and mental health and well-being. This course is designed for beginners and is suitable for those with experience who want to refine their practice. Students will work with the professor as well as local practitioners licensed in the field of mindfulness and meditation.

Dr. Amy Forster Rothbart

While New York as a whole is a consistently blue state on the election maps,  Otsego County and other areas around Hartwick are very much purple blends of Democratic and Republican voters. We will look at some of the factors that are associated with preference for the Republican and Democratic parties. We will then consider how to transcend the divide that keeps people of different political views from having important discussions about issues that are crucial to the region and the country.

Professor Tim Vatovec

In this course, students will work to ‘Discover Their Place’, both at Hartwick College, as well as in the broader community and region. To guide us on our discovery, we will take a ‘cultural landscape’ approach. Cultural Landscapes are the “interaction of people and place: a social group and its spaces, particularly the spaces to which the group belongs and from which its members derive some part of their shared identity and meaning” (Jackson, 1997). There are many examples of cultural landscapes in Upstate New York, including agricultural landscapes (dairy farms), designed landscapes (parks), pop culture landscapes (baseball), and landscapes of significance which have a historical theme, or are related to a specific event or activity. In this course, we will work to uncover and describe cultural landscapes in our area to better understand how they developed, our place in them, and how they are connected at the regional, national, and global scales.

Dr. Mark Wolff

It may seem that Hartwick is fairly remote from the rest of the world but in fact there are many people who move in and out of this part of the Northeast from around the globe. We will discover how people have migrated through this region for centuries and how local communities include people with diverse origins. We will visit some of these communities, including an overnight trip to visit the Center in Utica, New York, which provides resettlement, education, and community resources and services to refugees, immigrants, and the residents of Utica and Mohawk Valley. Students will investigate the challenges faced by immigrants and explore their unique contributions to life in Upstate New York.

Dr. Namita Sugandhi

This class is about the science of investigating the human 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 examination of developing human complexity will center on questions about what it means to be human, 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 hands-on archaeological activities, and will learn important skills such as survey and mapping, artifact documentation, and presentation of research.

Professor Sydney Sheehan

The presence of Indigenous people and communities in the museum space has historically been one of the past. From dioramas that present communities as if they are relics rather than very much present communities, to objects, artifacts, and art displayed without consultation of the communities to which they belong, museums have contributed to putting forth harmful narratives surrounding Indigeneity. However, museums are also spaces that have the power to recenter the narrative around the Indigenous voices. This course will introduce students to the history of collecting Native American art and artifacts and how these practices have been critiqued, have evolved, and have even been dismantled. Focusing on local museums, collections, and most importantly local Indigenous communities, this course introduces students to common and sometimes harmful display practices within the museum as well as efforts of repatriation, resistance work, and curatorial practices and exhibitions that have actively given agency back to the works and the communities to which they belong.

Dr. Patricia Sagast Suppes

In this course, we will explore the meaning of culture, and what that means to one’s own identity. Students will learn to navigate and communicate in an interconnected world and begin to design their own academic and professional journey within this context. Readings and assignments will incorporate different global and social perspectives and will teach students to consider issues within a variety of contexts in order to develop a more nuanced understanding of their own place and contributions in the world.

Dr. Erik Wallace

Games and stories are among the most effective ways that people learn. In this class, we will explore math through games. “Math games with bad bad drawings” is a book that uses games as a starting point to discuss some very interesting stories in math. These stories paint a much more realistic picture of what math is than just the bland equations people are accustomed to. Math is a way of looking at the world. It is useful for analyzing situations and developing strategies. In life, our circumstances may change and require new ways of approaching them. By playing games and discussing them, we will see firsthand how math provides a way of seeing the world and dealing with changing circumstances. Will you play along?

Dr. Racheal Fest

We all have a story. We tell stories to explain who we are, how we got here, and where we’re going. In this First Year Seminar, we’ll tell our stories, and we’ll draw upon critical thinking, history, and community to imagine new ones. Along the way, we’ll evaluate contemporary inequalities, examine the role of higher education in our lives, and consider the effects of the pandemic, developing a more complex sense of what shapes our identities and our experiences. By the end of the semester, we’ll be ready to share new stories that can motivate us to follow our own singular pathways at Hartwick College.

(restricted to honors and honors invited students)

Dr. Kristin Jones

How much does a college degree affect income? Can your job be automated? Are people paid fairly? In this class, we’ll spend time developing the economic theories behind labor markets and the skills necessary to collect and analyze data on those markets. Topics will include wage determination, the education wage premium, labor market discrimination, and the potential impacts of automation. Students will also refine their resumes, draft cover letters, engage in mock interviews, and explore different career options. The class will communicate with several alumni throughout the semester to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how labor markets actually work.

(restricted to honors and honors invited students)

Dr. Lisle Dalton

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.

(4 sections)

These sections specifically for nursing students go further into research-based strategies and techniques effective in facilitating student success in the college environment.  Students gain confidence and skill as they participate in activities that focus on time and stress management, study techniques, test-taking strategies, identifying important information, and how to meet academic expectations.  Students develop/expand abilities in critical thinking, note taking, goal setting, paper/presentation development, self-reflection, and decision-making while also learning about healthcare services in Otsego County.