First-Year Program Learning Community 2023

HI280: The Holocaust in Film, Theater, Video and the Arts (Dr. Lori Weintrob)
SPC104: Oral Traditions (Prof. Theresa McCarthy)
RFT: Weintrob/McCarthy

In this Learning Community, we examine theatre works, film and other artistic documents that explore oppression and injustice. We connect theater and history to better understand the motivations of the perpetrators of the Holocaust, genocide, and slavery, as well as the impulses that drive the bystander and those who resisted. Telling stories can be a powerful tool for promoting courage and empathy in the face of discrimination and hate. Our students explore the testimony of a diversity of eyewitnesses, reflecting upon, writing, and researching while also practicing community engagement. We look at the leadership strategies of men and women who fought back against injustice to promote human rights. The resilience of the survivors of atrocities, including Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who we may meet, inspires us to be vigilant and challenge anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of prejudice today.

PS101: Introduction to Psychology (Dr. Amy Eshleman)
MU 209: Jazz and Blues (Professor Jose Diaz)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Eshleman and Professor Diaz)

This Learning Community introduces students to the history and cultural contexts of jazz and blues music, using behavioral research in psychology to understand identity, relationships, and prejudice and their intersectionality. The Reflective Tutorial focuses on developing skills in writing, critical thinking, and oral communication; examining research evidence through critical reading; and exploring offerings of jazz and blues in New York City. Trips and volunteer opportunities at performances throughout the city serve to enrich the experience and develop deeper understanding of the performers who are examined.

TH103: Script Analysis (Dr. Felicia Ruff) 
AR200: Making and Seeing Art In New York (Prof. Jennifer Toth)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Ruff and Professor Toth)


LC3 “Ghost Hunters:  Haunting in Art and Theatre” links studio art with the art of theatre and utilizes field trips to experience art and theatre in NYC.  The LC will read plays and make artwork that thematically links to ideas of haunting–whether by memory, ghosts, apparitions, spirits, or ancestors. Field trips will include various major cultural institutions in NYC and include attending the Greenwich Village Halloween parade.

AH 118: Intro to Art History:The Ancient World from a Global Perspective (Dr. Scott)
HI 275: Bringing the Past to the Public History in Museums. (Dr. Palfreyman)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Palfreyman and Dr. 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 course we will explore how and why humans use art, history, and memory to create narratives that give meaning to their lives.  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.

EN 229: Introduction to Comparative Literature (Dr. Emily Barth)
TH 106: Introduction to Acting (Professor Brian Sgambati)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Barth and Professor Sgambati

This learning community asks students to consider how storytelling, in many different modes, helps us understand the world around us. Through a variety of different genres, on page and on stage, students will examine how we communicate with one another, and employ tools of analysis and embodiment to explore the ways in which cultural shifts transform how we see, represent, and make sense of our changing world. In addition to approaching course texts from a literary perspective, students will immerse themselves in characters and stories using an accessible and foundational acting technique, allowing them to engage with the material in a dynamic and creative way. The Reflective Tutorial will focus on developing students’ writing, critical thinking, and oral communication skills in a workshop environment. Students will engage in a variety of experiential learning opportunities, including attending live performances.

EN 111: World Literature (Dr. Steven Thomas)
MI 109: Plagues, Outbreaks, and Biological Warfare (Dr. Melissa Lamanna)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Thomas & Dr. Lamanna)

The plague, smallpox, cholera, TB, and the HIV epidemic are all examples of diseases that have historically engulfed society. In this learning community, we will not only examine how doctors and scientists have responded to outbreaks but also analyze the stories that society tells itself about disease. As citizen scientists, scholars, and makers of meaning, we will investigate the invisible social fabrics alongside the invisible molecular underpinnings of disease ecology. The world literature class will read short stories, novels, poetry, and plays from across the planet, while the microbiology class will introduce students to the history of how scientists have discovered, treated, and halted various epidemics. As a learning community, together we will also learn from community partners that address the economic, cultural, and political structures that affect how different communities experience disease.

SP210: Border Lives: The American Illusion in the XXI Century (Dr. Margarita Sanchez)
GOV249: US Imperialism in Latin America (Dr. Steve Snow)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Snow)

This Learning Community combines an exploration of Spanish literature in translation and a study of U.S. imperialism in Latin America. The first focuses on the struggles of immigrants and refugees, and more generally different cultures and ways of thinking, by reading and analyzing essays, short stories, and novels written by Latin American and Latino writers. The second critically examines justifications and explanations for one country’s military and economic control of another, focusing on U.S. military interventions in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nicaragua, among others. The Reflective Tutorial will teach the rhetorical skills of writing and speaking persuasively and effectively, using readings that encourage interdisciplinary reflections. The RFT will also involve the completion of a community-based project.

ML316: International Filmmakers (taught in English) (Dr. Katica Urbanc)
AH213: From Impressionism to Surrealism (Dr. Laura Morowitz)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Urbanc and Dr. Morowitz)

In this LC we look at forms of expression in European art and film in the modern period. Students will have the opportunity to study major artistic movements from the Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century in France, Germany, Russia, and Italy and explore the works of contemporary film directors from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Turkey. In our RFT we examine the work and lives of important artists and writers in exile from their native countries, including poetry, novels, memoirs, and paintings. In all three courses, students will discover how language, culture, artistic works, social life, and political events are interrelated. Throughout the semester, students will also be exposed first-hand to the ideas and works discussed in class by visiting several museums in New York City and attending Wagner’s International Film Festival.

MU291: Expressions in Music (Dr. Juneau)
HI 120: Global History (Dr. Malak)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Junot and Dr. Malak)

This Learning Community, named after the nine symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, will focus on the multitude of intersections between world and musical events during the period leading up to the American and French Revolutions and how those events continue to affect both world culture and musical culture to this day. From the Discovery of the Americas and the enslavement of African Americans to the birth of the state and the development of standing armies and war, this Learning Community will explore how global events impacted sociocultural history and music, inspiring composers like Ludwig van Beethoven. Students will also explore how music and global history are integrated through major cultural musical figures, including Beethoven and Leonard Bernstein. The Learning Community will feature experiential trips to the New York Public Library’s Archive Division and musical concert venues. Students will experience concert performances and visits to cultural institutions which exemplify the integration of world and musical historical events. While learning to examine music, theater, and film will be a part of this course, prior experience in them is not required.

HI248: African American History from 1614 to the Civil War (Dr. Rita Reynolds)
MDS110: Educating for Democracy (Dr. Vannessa Smith-Washington)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Smith-Washington)

This learning community will explore historical events and the ways in which institutional and community organizations can work together to address specific needs related to amongst other things race, class, education, and community. Focusing on history and how it has impacted 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.

PH 291: Philosophy as a Way of Life (Dr. Donovan)
PS 253: Positive Psychology (Dr. England)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial: (Dr. Donovan and Dr. England)

This learning community will use an interdisciplinary lens to explore theory and science behind what makes a good life. Philosophers since ancient times have been devoted to the study and pursuit of happiness, and psychologists have approximated a formula for achieving a good life. This LC will teach the historical and modern perspectives behind happiness and practical strategies to secure a good life. The LC will incorporate experiential learning that will encourage students to connect theories of the good life to their own lives and communities.

FR 150 Intro to Contemporary French, Culture, and Thought (Dr. Dane Stalcup)
GOV Intro to Political Theory (Dr. Patricia Moynagh)
RFT Reflective Tutorial (Drs. Stalcup and Moynagh)

This LC investigates how to conceptualize freedom and the ways in which it is denied. We will study how bodies have been defined, regulated, and politicized, especially with regard to race, gender, and class. In addition, we will explore how space, particularly in cities, can perpetuate material and cultural inequalities. Finally, this LC invites its students to reimagine freedom in terms of beauty. Therefore, the experiential component of this LC will include visits to some of New York City’s various sites of artistic expression.  

SO103: American Society and Its Social Problems (Dr. John Esser)
SA101: Introduction to Sports Administration (Dr. Margaret Wilkins)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Esser and Dr. Wilkins)

This Learning Community explores strategies to develop city growth, including the role that sports facilities and sports teams may or may not play in developing such growth.  Such “urban development” is considered 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 community-based research around economic development issues in several communities around New York City

MDS103: Business and Society (Dr. Richard LaRocca)
AA250: Introduction to Arts Management (Dr. Penny Brandt)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. LaRocca and Dr. Brandt)

This Learning Community (LC) will give students an overview of general business topics and provide an introduction of management of arts organizations. The LC will look at managers and organizations, finance, marketing, profile of the arts and general business management, and fundamentals of leadership and group dynamics. The LC will also examine the importance of ethics and financial literacy and the financial challenges businesses and people are facing not only in the U.S. but in our globalized world as well. Students will be involved in a semester-long business simulation that introduces them to running a business. It is designed to help students learn about the challenges and rewards of making good decisions in a small, service-based business and create an interactive virtual company.

SW 291:  Society and Disabilities (Dr. Holly Bonner)
PS 111:  Child Psychology  (Dr. Carolyn Taverner)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Bonner and Dr. Taverner)

This learning community will explore the physical, psychological and social-emotional experiences of children with disabilities. Students will develop knowledge in skill development, evaluation and communication strategies across a range of disabilities as they impact child development (including those who may be gifted or have learning, mental, physical, or severe disabilities). Students will participate in community-based experiential learning to better understand the unique experiences of children with disabilities and those who work within this population.  This learning community is ideal for students who are passionate about disability studies, psychology and child development and are considering careers in the fields of education, psychology, social work, child development, sociology, physical or occupational therapy.

AN206: People and the Environment (Dr. Adam Jadhav)
EN226: American Cultures and Literatures (Dr. Eric Wilson)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Professor Jadhav and Dr. Wilson)

This learning community explores our relationship with the environment through the interdisciplinary connections between literature, storytelling, and political ecology. How have writers and filmmakers depicted the environment? What do we mean when we use words like “environment” and “nature”—and do we include ourselves? We will investigate how we understand and narrate the environment and ecological crises past, present and future, and how our framing of them shapes the way we think and act. Our experiential learning will include volunteering for the on-campus chapter of the Food Recovery Network, which fights waste by delivering unused food to nearby communities, or working in the campus composting program. We will also take at least one field trip to a New York City park to reflect deeper on the themes of the course through place.

MI200: Microbiology (Dr. Katherine Moccia)
AR203: Graphic Design I (Dr. Matthew Holben)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Moccia and Dr. Holben)

Imagine you have discovered a potentially dangerous chemical that is leaking into the NYC water system. You need to share the news in a productive way, avoiding widespread panic. How might you get your message to the public in a way that is accurate and approachable to a variety of citizens? In this LC, we will explore the connection between data visualization and public health, and how to communicate data most effectively. We have partnered with a community group that examines health initiatives relevant to the residents of Staten Island. Students in this LC will have firsthand experience with public health initiatives relevant to microbiology, and will learn how to write and design factual and effective public health measures.

Antium Font. Textbooks available on Reserve