FYP Courses 2014

LC 1: American Dreams: Leadership and Innovation in a Diverse Nation

HI 227: Leadership in the Face of Conflicts (Dr. Lori Weintrob)
GOV 103: American Government (Dr. Cyril Ghosh)
RFT: Ghosh/Weintrob

The United States prides itself on being a country that thrives on individual efforts, leadership, creativity, innovation, and the achievement of lifelong dreams. Some even claim that these were our most powerful weapons in defeating the Soviet Union in the Cold War. But who are our best leaders and innovators? What visions do they have? Does creativity or innovation flourish with increased diversity? Students will explore leadership philosophies and team-building from diverse perspectives as citizens, workers, managers, artists and athletes. In this interdisciplinary course, we will study how political, civic and other leaders use and abuse their power and authority, including in the Civil Rights era and today. Students will have an opportunity to polish their leadership skills and, finally, gain some critical insights into ideology, law and activism in America.

LC 2: Developing Leadership Through Ethics

MDS 103: Business and Society (Prof. LaRocca)
PS 241 : Special Topics: Decisions and Persuasion (Dr. Eshleman)
RFT: Eshleman/LaRocca

This Learning Community explores ethical decisions for future businessleaders. Students develop a critical understanding of how business functions within society as well as the psychological study of common biases in our thoughts and feelings. Business and Society (MDS103) will focus on exploring all major components of the business world and the role which business plays in society. In Decisions and Persuasion (PS291), discussions will focus on recognizing unintentional errors and striving for ideals, such as compassionate leadership. In the Reflective Tutorial, ethical practices in business will be explored through an online simulation and in-class discussions. Experiential learning will include a guided on a tour of Wall St. and applying course concepts in service to a local not-for-profit organization.

LC 3: Politics in Theater, Literature and Film

GOV 236: Politics in Literature and Film (Dr.Steve Snow)
TH 103: Script Analysis (Prof. David McDonald)
RFT: Snow/McDonald

This Learning Community analyzes political themes in theater, literature, and film. We will read novels and short stories by John Steinbeck, Joseph Conrad, and some 19th century Russians: Chekhov, Kuprin, Saltykov-Shchedrin, and Tolstoy. Film titles will include Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove”, Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”, and Kazan’s “On the Waterfront.” Plays will include works by Ibsen (“Enemy of the People”), Odets (“Waiting for Lefty”), Dürrenmatt (“The Visit”) and Shakespeare (“Richard III”). The central learning goal of the LC is developing students’ rhetorical skills, i.e., using spoken and written language effectively and persuasively.

LC 4: Global Traditions and Material Expression

HI 120: Global History and the Modern World: Who Owns the Past? (Dr. Ousmane Traore)
AH 118: Intro to Art History: The Ancient World from a Global Perspective (Dr. Sarah Scott)
RFT: Traore/Scott

Expression and visualization of global traditions are found in works of architecture, painting, and sculpture from across the globe. Religion, geography, politics, economics, and society: all contribute to the development of bodies of history. How can we better understand our place in the world today though an examination of the various evidences of textual and material culture from other places and other periods? This Learning Community will examine global traditions of material expression through Art History and History. It will explore how a global perspective is relevant to American society today. How can adults better guide children through a global world? By understanding the material world of other cultures, we can better prepare ourselves to interact and function within a global setting. By visiting museums, examining text and objects, and working with community groups, students will develop an understanding of world art and history. What is global perspective, given that our population itself is diverse? How do we learn, children and adults from multiple backgrounds, about the world around us?

LC 5: Spanish at Work: Language and Business in the 21st Century

SP 111: Intermediate Spanish (Dr. Marilyn Kiss)
MDS 103: Business and Society (Dr. Donald Crooks)
RFT: Kiss/Crooks

This Learning Community is designed primarily for those who are considering a possible major in business administration. One course Business and Society, (MDS 103) will cover a broad range of practical business issues, effective communication strategies, and the role of business practices on society at large. Interdisciplinary topics will include the history of advertising, the current power of branding and the principles of political persuasion and how they are used in contemporary America. The other intermediate Spanish course is a class with vocabulary and cultural activities designed for those in business situations. Because of the growing Hispanic population of the U.S., students in all areas of business will need to be able to use the Spanish language with clients. In the Reflective Writing Tutorial, students will see such films as The Social Network or Inside Job that deal with ethical issues relating to business, do oral presentations and group works on the topics presented, and write essays about them, using insights from both classes. The experiential component will involve field trips to major Hispanic businesses and such places as the Financial Museum and Wall Street. Students will also work with El Centro del Immigrante in their after school program. (Open to those with 2-3 years of previous study of the language).

LC 6: Emerging Global Health Concerns

CH 111: General Chemistry 1 (Dr. Nicholas Richardson)
MDS 109: Health and Society (Prof. Patricia Tooker)
RFT: Richardson/Tooker

An examination of the role of chemistry in issues affecting the health status of individuals and groups throughout the world with emphasis on the needs of vulnerable populations and equity of health care. Experiential hours include two field trips: 1) Ellis Island; and 2) the Staten Island Health Care Expo. In addition, students will be assigned to a community agency to examine how determinants of health influence individuals and communities while, at the same time, providing service determined by the needs of the agency. Upon completion of the experiential and didactic components, students develop an understanding of how society influences health.

LC 7: Encountering Others in the New and Old World

HI 111: Global Encounters to 1600 (Dr. Alison Smith)
EN 111: World Literature (Dr. Anne Schotter)
RFT: Smith/Schotter

This learning community focuses on cultural encounters across the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It will look at conflict and trade between Christians, Muslims, and Jews during the Middle Ages and between Europeans and Indigenous peoples of the “New World’ as the former began to explore and colonize. Readings will include literary and historical selections from Marco Polo, Dante, Boccaccio, and Shakespeare, Arab and Crusader chronicles, and the writings of Columbus, Bartolome`de las Casas, and John Smith.

The Reflective Tutorial will bring the study of cultural encounter to New York City, from its beginning as a colony to its current status as a magnet for global immigration. We will study the dynamic contributions of immigrants to the city’s culture and economy and discuss ongoing patterns of resistance to immigration. The 30 hour experiential component will involve field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as immigrant neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.

LC 8: Remembering and Representing America
LC 9: Minds, Machines, and Human Beings

PH 202: Medical Ethics (Dr. John Danisi)
BI 209: Human Anatomy and Physiology (Prof. Linda Raths)
RFT: Danisi/Raths

This LC will bring our knowledge of biology and ethics to bear upon some of the central human life issues in modern medicine. Questions to be discussed include: Is a patient in a persistent vegetative state a person? Is there a place for “personhood” within a biological account of human beings? Are the practices of abortion and euthanasia morally permissible? Do animals have rights? What is the nature of the relationship between healthcare professionals and their patients? Are their limits in the use of robotic technology in medicine? Designed for physician assistant majors.

LC 10: So You Want to Be A Human Being?

PH 101: Contemporary Moral Problems (Dr. Sarah Donovan)
PS 101: Introduction to Psychology (Dr. Steve Jenkins)
RFT: Donovan/Jenkins

Psychology and philosophy describe and categorize human experience from distinct perspectives. In this LC, we will underscore the interplay between psychological and philosophical approaches to the basic study of human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. As we examine the basic foundations of the fields of psychology, and philosophical ethical theory, our topics will include: What are the different philosophical approaches to describe the self? What are some different ethical theories? What is the cause of, and how do we treat psychological illness? What is our ethical obligation to our environment and to individuals in other countries? How does our society shape our subjectivity? How do drugs and alcohol alter our states of consciousness? By reflecting on the human experience across two related, but often conflicting disciplines, students will gain a vocabulary and framework for understanding their relation to themselves, each other, and the complex world around them.

LC 11: The Love-Hate Relationship Between Humans, Microbes, and Chemicals

CH111: General Chemistry 1 (Dr. Arun Sharma)
MI200: Microbiology (Dr. Christopher Corbo)
RFT: Corbo/Sharma

When we hear “bacteria” we think “illness;” when we hear “chemicals” we think “poisons;” when we hear “environment” we think of the world around us. Can you name one thing which connects all three? Do you know that bacteria can positively affect human health as well as the health of our planet by remediating poisons and toxic waste? Humans, bacteria and the environment are constantly interacting with one another through chemical processes. The human attitude towards the environment has been shaping the lives of all species on our planet, but did you know there are microbes that can also end a human life within days? Chemical reactions are the weapons used in this “microscopic” battle between humans and bacteria.

In this learning community, the focus is on the triangular interaction of humans, microbes and the environment by viewing their basic chemical interactions. Students will observe how chemistry and microbiology are intertwined in everyday human life. They will develop a better understanding of the influences the three parties have on one another and on our planet. Experiential hours will include field trips to the Greenbelt, Food and Drug Administration and NYU Medical School. The field trips are chosen to support three directions of interactions: 1) interactions within the environment, 2) interactions within the health care system, and 3) interactions within the society through the implementation of laws and regulations. Through this learning community, students will become better global citizens, obtaining a better understanding of the Earth and the impact of its inhabitants.

LC 12: Human Rights and Wrongs

GOV 104: Introduction to Political Theory (Dr. Patricia Moynagh)
EN 111: World Literature (Dr. Alison Arant)
RFT: Moynagh/Arant

This Learning Community draws upon classical as well as contemporary works in the history of political thought and world literature to probe notions of human rights and human wrongs in a changing world. We’ll examine various literary and political interventions that allow us to think through what socially responsible citizenship might entail. What does it mean to write and act with courage in the face of human rights abuses? Can human rights be cast as universal? If so, is nationalism a human wrong? We’ll address these kinds of questions through a rigorous reading of literary and political works.

In addition to covering thematically linked material, the RFT is designed to equip all students with writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. The course also introduces students to experiential learning outside of the classroom through three visits to museums or other appropriate venues. Because of these many components of the course, you should expect the schedule to change at times according to our needs as a group, and you should take the opportunity to be creative and flexible in your own approach to the course.

LC 13: Being Human: Biological and Anthropological Perspectives

BI 213: Genes, Cells and Evolution (Dr. Heather Cook)
AN 101: Introduction to Anthropology (Dr. Celeste Marie Gagnon)
RFT: Cook/Gagnon

Being Human is a complex interplay of our genetics and society, which becomes expressed in our biology and culture. In this Learning Community, we will examine the basic foundations of the fields of biology and anthropology by examining what makes us human. To this end, we explore the molecular and evolutionary bases of life. In addition, we will investigate how genetic and environment interact to create individuals and how individuals come together to form households, communities, and society. To explore these connections and see how humans are bio-cultural beings, we will complete a number of field and community based experiences focused on issues of diet and health.

LC14: Society and the City

GOV 205: Urban Politics (Dr. Abraham Unger)
SO 103: American Society and Its Social Problems (Dr. John Esser)
RFT: Unger/Esser

This Learning Community explores the historical development of urban politics within a broader American social context characterized by race, gender, class, religious, and ethnic distinctions. It emphasizes the political and economic development of American cities and the intersection of public and private interests in urban policy-making, with a special focus on New York City. Students will conduct fieldwork around economic development issues in the St. George and Port Richmond communities. Past projects have included simulated grant proposals and policy papers after time spent visiting these neighborhoods and interviewing community leaders.

LC 15: Art, Music, and Technology: Spirit Meets Practice in the Visual and Performing Arts

AR 203: Advertising Art 1 Computer Design (Prof.Andy Needle)
MU 102: Introduction to Music (Dr. David Schulenberg)
RFT: Needle/Schulenberg

This first-year learning community explores how changes in social thought and technical progress have influenced the history of music and art. Progress in the use of new materials, design, and performance practices have influenced how artists create and how viewers and listeners experience art. Separate courses on art and on music examine how developments in both technology and society have affected visual art, musical composition, and musical performance. The reflective tutorial (RFT) provides an experiential component for this LC in the form of field trips to museums, concerts, and other venues for art and music in New York City.

LC 16: Leashed and Unleashed: Animals in Art

AR 103: Design and Color (Prof. Jenny Toth)
TH 103: Script Analysis (Dr. Felicia Ruff)
RFT: Toth/Ruff

Animals in Art:  Leashed and Unleashed explores theatre and art with a special emphasis on how each form artistically represents animals whether in scripts, puppetry, sculpture, poetry, drawing, cartoons, film, installations etc.  We also engage with issues of animal rights.  Script Analysis involves extensive reading and analysis of plays, including animals as characters, images, themes etc.  Works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Williams and others will be discussed.  Color and Design involves learning basic color theory and practicing basic design principles; student work will use animals as subject matter.  All three classes require extensive field trips to theatres, galleries, and museums throughout NYC and even trips to the zoo as well as animal shelters.  Students in LC16 will read and see various forms of art so an interest, although no mastery, of any art is helpful.

LC 17: Micro-Macro Linkage: Microeconomics and International Politics

GOV 251: International Politics (Dr. Shaohua Hu)
EC 102 : Microeconomics ( Dr. Utteeyo Dasgupta)
RFT : Hu/Dasgupta

This learning community focuses on the theme of micro-macro linkage in the world. Aside from the reflective tutorial, it consists of two courses from two disciplines. Microeconomics analyzes theories of decision-making using the rational man/homo-economicus paradigm. In particular, it looks at theories of decision-making for individual consumers as well as firms when faced with economic scarcity. International politics studies relations among countries, which range from economic transactions to military conflicts. In particular, it analyses decision making through a rich lens that enriches and adds insights for the homo-economicus framework considerably. The subjects, although disparate in their theoretical approach, share similar logical structures. In particular, all actors, individual or states, are assumed to act in their interest under given circumstances. The experiential component of the RFT will be coordinated with “Generation Citizen,” a national organization with action based programs that work to strengthen our nations democracy by empowering young people to become engaged and effective citizens.

LC 18: Global Travel through Cultural Studies

EN 111: World Literature (Dr. Ann Hurley)
FR 111: Intermediate French (Dr. Dane Stalcup)
RFT : Hurley/Stalcup

This course is designed for students who are curious, energetic, flexible and adventurous, and who perhaps plan a future of travel and experience in cultures other than our own and in languages other than English.

Our focus will be on cultural studies as our primary mode of inquiry, and we will carry out our exploration by putting the world of non-western literature into dialogue with the French language and Francophone readings. From reading the literature of a foreign culture, to learning the nuances of another language, to the simple act of daily conversation, this communicative process regularly takes us beyond that which we presume to know best, ourselves.

Our textbook for the RFT will be the city of New York, which we will explore by visiting, closely observing, and writing about its museums, restaurants, music, street fairs, art galleries, and theater. We will be seeking the fascinating and unfamiliar, so bring open minds, a taste for intellectual adventure, and a willingness to work at understanding the complex global world in which we live.


LC 19: Views from the Fringe: Access and Equity in America Through the Lens of Immigrants and Individuals with Disabilities

MDS 106: Ways of Knowing (Prof. David Gordon)
SO 103: American Society and its Social Problems (Dr. Bernadette Ludwig)
RFT : Gordon/Ludwig

This Learning Community (LC) is designed for students who are considering the fields of Education, Social Sciences, or Social Work as a career, but all undeclared students are welcome. In this course students will learn about society and its problems (with an emphasis on the Education System) through the lens of exclusion and inclusion of immigrant populations and individuals with disabilities. Students will have the opportunity to discover the implications of these inequalities through hands-on teaching and learning with individuals from Lifestyles for the Disabled, Napela, Inc., and the Staten Island Liberian Community Association. Wagner students will explore access and equity issues—past and present—that both populations face(d) every day. Toward the end of the course, students will work on a culminating project focused on creating a solution that addresses a specific societal need for either population. Students will have the opportunity to discover New York City physically in our Reflective Tutorial (RFT) through visits to historically significant places that relate to the ideas of access and equity in our society. Finally, LC students will use these experiences and perspectives to better understand their own ways of learning, and how to incorporate and collaborate with others who may learn differently due to socio-cultural backgrounds and experiences.


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