FYP Courses 2018

HI 280: The Holocaust in Film, Theater, Video and the Arts (Dr. Lori Weintrob)
TH 106: Introduction to Acting (Prof. Theresa McCarthy)
RFT: Weintrob/McCarthy

This Learning Community will examine the Holocaust and genocide through the modern performing arts. The impulse to listen to and enact stories that ask questions about the nature of human prejudices and desires, our dreams and our nightmares, is practiced across cultures. Performance springs from ritual and trauma, to bear witness and create meaning in film, theater, dance, music, video testimony and art. While exploring historical debates on the causes and consequences of genocide, you will apply your voices to the creation of performance pieces inspired by the personal narratives told by the survivors of the Holocaust and other atrocities. You will join those fresh voices from each successive generation who nourish this storytelling tradition to engage and challenge our humanity.

PS 244:  Decisions and Persuasion (D) (Dr. Amy Eshleman)
EC 102: Microeconomics (Dr. Utteeyo Dasgupta)
RFT: Eshleman/Dasgupta

This Learning Community provides a foundation in microeconomics and social psychology, with a focus on using behavioral research to understand practical problems and to suggest solutions. The Reflective Tutorial will focus on using reasoning skills to develop arguments, to appeal to the passions of others, and to explore how one can propose evidence-based public policy.

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

This Learning Community analyzes political themes in theater, literature, and film. We read works by Richard Price, John Steinbeck, Joseph Conrad, Ivan Turgenev, Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy. Films will vary but will include Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and Stacy Peralta’s “Crips and Bloods: Made in America.”  Plays from ancient Greece to today’s theater will be analyzed according to their structure, content, and sociopolitical context.  Playwrights include Aeschylus, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, Wendy Wasserstein, and Anna Deavere Smith. A central learning goal of the LC is developing students’ rhetorical skills, i.e., speaking and writing effectively and persuasively.

HI 291: Bringing the Past to the Public: History in Museums (Dr. Brett Palfreyman)
AH 118: Introduction to Art History: The Ancient World from a Global Perspective (I) (Dr. Sarah Scott)
RFT: Palfreyman/Scott

Two of the fundamental components that define us as humans are our drive to create works of art and to record our own histories. In this Learning Community we will explore how and why humans create works of art and architecture, and how and why these things become an archive of human history. We will look specifically at collections of ancient objects and historical artifacts from collections here in New York City. Through field trips to local museums, historical monuments, and archaeological archives we will learn about the disciplines of history and art history and how they function as tools for the creation of the narrative of humanity. It will be our goal to understand how we as humans, through objects that we create, write our own history, in essence crafting a memory for future generations.

FM 222: Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking (Dr. Philip Cartelli)
BI 291: Global Change (Dr. Elizabeth Suter)
RFT: Cartelli/ Suter

Despite being widely accepted by scientists, climate change remains one of the most politically divisive and misunderstood issues in the United States. This learning community will focus on the science behind concepts such as global warming, pollution, and loss of biodiversity as well as the uses of film in documenting these processes and their effects. As part of developing the abilities to observe, understand, and effectively communicate environmental issues, students will learn how they are manifested in a variety of urban environments in New York City. In addition to studying science and filmmaking, students will practice participant observation as a means of engaging with communities and understanding local perceptions of these issues.

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

The “scientific method” as taught in most introductory science classes is overly simplistic and does not accurately reflect how science is actually done. To better understand how scientists do what they do and how science is different (or not so different) from other ways of learning about the world, students in this Learning Community will take introductory courses in a natural science (biology) and a social science (anthropology). The third component of the LC, the reflective tutorial, will give students a space to discuss different approaches to science, engage the scientific literature, and practice doing science through lab and classroom activities. The reflective tutorial will culminate with an interactive examination of Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution and natural selection, which are central to both biology and anthropology, the nature of science and its relationship to modern life in an industrial society.

MDS 109: Health and Society (D) (Dr. Aleksandra Zagorin)
PH103: Contemporary Moral Problems (Dr. Sarah Donovan)
RFT: Zagorin/Donovan

This learning community is designed to address the needs of students who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare as they develop their skills in critical thinking and ethical reasoning. Working at the intersection between science, healthcare, and ethics, we will examine topics such as the determinants of health, the implications of law and policy decisions, and equity of access. This learning community also emphasizes health traditions, cultures, and philosophical belief systems as they affect health beliefs, values and outcomes. Students will work with local population groups and health institutions to explore the existing healthcare disparities and the behaviors and risks that affect health.

SP111: Spanish for Life: Intermediate Spanish I (Dr. Katica Urbanc)
AH213: From Impressionism to Surrealism (Dr. Laura Morowitz)
RFT: Urbanc/Morowitz

In this LC we look at issues of expression in both language and art, with a special focus on Spain and on the modern period. Students will have the opportunity to strengthen their high school Spanish language skills, while studying the major artistic movements in Twentieth-Century Europe. In our RFT we examine the work and lives of important European artists and writers in exile from their native countries. In all three courses students will discover how language, culture, social and political events are inter-related. During the semester, they will also be exposed first-hand to the ideas discussed in class by working with émigrés on Staten Island and visiting important cultural forums in NYC.

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

This Learning Community will bring our knowledge of biology and ethics to bear upon some of the central human life issues in modern medicine.  Issues discussed include:  Is a patient in a persistent vegetative state considered to be a person?  Is there a place for consciousness within a biological/evolutionary 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 there limits in the use of robotic technology in medicine?

HI 248: African American History from 1614 to the Civil War (D) (Dr. Rita Reynolds)
MDS 110: Educating for Democracy (Dr. Katia Gonzalez)
RFT: Reynolds/Gonzalez

This learning community will explore ways in which institutional and community organizations can work together to address specific needs related to race, class, education, and community. Focusing on ways historical events can impact change, students will consider new ways to think, communicate, and make a difference in the world. The role of intercultural connections and culturally responsive practices will be discussed. In addition, students will have the opportunity to connect theory to practice by closely collaborating with local schools and community organizations on the development of action plans to address specific educational needs.


CH 111: General Chemistry I (Dr. Arun Sharma)
MI 200: Microbiology (Dr. Christopher Corbo)
RFT: Sharma/Corbo

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. For the experiential component, students will facilitate a science club for local elementary schools and middle schools. Through this Learning Community, students will become better global citizens, obtaining a better understanding of the environment and the impact of its inhabitants.

GOV 104: Introduction to Political Theory (Dr. Patricia Moynagh)
EN 226: American Cultures and Literatures (Dr. Alison Arant)
RFT: Moynagh/Arant

This Learning Community draws upon classical as well as contemporary works in the history of political thought and American Literature to examine how contexts shape what it means to act ethically. We will consider questions like How should individuals respond to unjust laws and the systems that create them? Is it possible to look out for one’s own interests as well as the interests of others? What does it mean to write and act with courage in the face of human rights abuses? In addition to covering thematically linked material, the RFT is designed to equip all students with writing, reading, and critical thinking skills.

HI 111: Global Encounters to 1600 (Dr. Alison Smith)
EN 109: World Literature (I) (Dr. Anne Schotter)
RFT: Smith/Schotter

How did New York City become such a powerful magnet for financiers, immigrants and cultural elites?  The seeds of this global city were planted many centuries ago when Europeans and their neighbors began to explore both near and far.  This Learning Community will study travel narratives and other cultural encounters from the Crusades through the European “discovery” of the Americas, with readings by Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Columbus, and Shakespeare.  The Reflective Tutorial will focus on how the impulse to explore has continued to lead energetic, creative people to the shores of New York City. It will feature field trips to museums, immigrant neighborhoods, and Greenwich Village.

GOV 205: Urban Politics (Dr. Abraham Unger)
SO 103: American Society and Its Social Problems (D) (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, religion, 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.

AR 203: Advertising Art 1: Graphic Design (Prof. Andrew Needle)
MU 245: Music in the Theater (Dr. David Schulenberg)
RFT: Needle/Schulenberg

This first-year Learning Community explores how creativity in the visual arts and in music is expressed onstage and in everyday life. It is open to all students, regardless of their prospective major; no previous study of art or music is necessary. Separate courses on art and music examine how paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture reflect ourselves and our world, and how music has deepened and enlivened dramatic forms from ancient Greek tragedy to opera, film, and television. Two reflective tutorial (RFT) sections, one focusing on art, the other focusing on music and theater, provide 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.

EN 109: World Literature (I) (Dr. Ann Hurley)
FR 111: Intermediate French (Dr. Dane Stalcup)
RFT: Hurley/Stalcup

This Learning Community 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 French culture and identity. From reading the literature of a foreign culture, to learning how France defines itself through artistic expression, 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.


SO 215: Race and Ethnic Relations (D) (Dr. Bernadette Ludwig)
AN 106: Cultural Geography (I)  (Dr. Joshua Mullenite)
RFT: Ludwig/Mullenite

This learning community will explore social and spatial issues of diversity and community. More specifically, we will analyze the strengths and resources that some communities have while examining the obstacles they face. Off campus, students and professors will work with the local Liberian refugee community on their current projects that aim to empower them. This will entail volunteering with literacy and U.S. citizenship classes as well as the after-school program. In addition, we will analyze issues of environmental sustainability and food insecurity on and off campus. Concretely, students and professors will work with the Food Recovery Network chapter and conduct community resource mapping to better understand various aspects of food insecurity.

This learning community is ideal for students who are passionate about social justice and inclusion and are considering careers in the fields of public policy, social work, sociology, anthropology, community development and advocacy.

TH103: Script Analysis (Dr. Felicia Ruff )
GOV 215: Law and Justice (Dr. Cyril Ghosh)
RFT:  Ruff/Ghosh

This First Year Program-Learning Community will combine TH103 – Script Analysis with GOV 215 – Law and Justice. In Script Analysis we will read and discuss a range of plays from the Greeks to the present; each play tackles big political issues – from debating democracy to political intrigues to resisting corrupt systems. The fourteen or more plays that we read will include: Macbeth, School for Wives, Waiting for Lefty, The Normal Heart, Enron. Law and Justice is an introductory survey course on political and legal theory. In it, we will read about the major philosophical concepts that have guided political and legal thinking in the Global North throughout the history of western civilization. Some of the concepts we will examine include: liberalism, utilitarianism, libertarianism, communitarianism, and distributive justice.

In our Reflective Tutorial, this Learning Community will also take extensive field trips, including attending plays, films, and public lectures. We will read a great deal about the repression of political speech and political dissent, including a number of works related to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Students will be invited to research the theatre artists and politicians who spoke out against HUAC as well as those who capitulated. Students interested in this LC should be prepared to engage with a range of new creative and political ideas as well as explore New York City and its cultural and intellectual heritage.


PH 103: Contemporary Moral Problems (Dr. Sarah Donovan)
CH 111: General Chemistry (Dr. Nick Richardson)
RFT: Donovan/Richardson

In this Learning Community we examine the art and science of critical thinking and the ethics of science. Using innovative role playing techniques we will explore the arguments about whether or not evolution was originally studied using proper scientific methods. We will also study contemporary scientific problems using critical thinking tools to determine if ethics has a proper role in science. Some examples might include fracking, vaccines, global warming, and GMOs. Students will be given the opportunity to explore these issues outside the classroom in the community.

BU 103: Business & Society (Dr. Mary LoRe)
GOV 251: International Politics (Dr. Shaohua Hu)
RFT: LoRe/Hu

The world is very complex. Economy and politics interact with each other in each society, and all societies are interrelated, for better or for worse. This Learning Community hopes to explore how the various forms of government, politics, international relations and business practices affect society.

BU 103: Business and Society (Dr. Frank DeSimone)
HI 120: Global History (I) (Dr. Hollian Wint)
RFT: DeSimone/Wint

Diverse societies around the world are connected through a system of business and commerce. This Learning Community explores the core components of modern global commerce, including management, finance, marketing, and international business. We will trace the origins of this global commercial system through the history of some of the world’s most important commodities (i.e. cotton, oil, gold). Our goal is to examine the interplay of business and history, paying particular attention to the cultural, social, and workforce diversity of the contemporary commercial world.


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