First-Year Program Learning Community Courses 2022

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 in the process of reflection using testimony of a diversity of eyewitnesses, as well as in writing, researching and community engagement. We will look at the leadership strategies of men and women who fought back against the odds to promote human rights. The resillience of survivors of atrocities, including Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who we may meet, inspires us to be vigilent 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) W/F 1-2:30
AR200: Making and Seeing Art In New York (Prof. Jennifer Toth)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Ruff and Professor Toth)


LC3 “The Rainbow Connection” links studio art with the art of theatre and utilizes field trips to experience art and theatre in NYC.  Inspired by the upcoming exhibit of Matisse’s “Red Studio” at the Museum of Modern Art, LC3 will use color to connect us as we travel to see art in New York, ranging from outdoor sculptures at Storm King to street murals in Bushwick. Plays will include reading, viewing, and occasional in-class performances of works like Reza’s Art and This is Modern Art about graffiti artists who tagged the famed Chicago Art Institute as well as a trip to Broadway’s Moulin Rouge.  LC3 will consider what Kermit the frog asks: “What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing? And what do we think we might see?”

EN 304: Early Modern Literature (Dr. Emily Barth)
MU 291: Song and Poetry (Dr. David Schulenberg)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Barth and Dr. Schulenburg)

What is song? What is poetry? This learning community explores how words and music come together to create drama, passion, even identity, for readers, listeners, and the performers themselves. With eyes and ears focused on works from Shakespeare’s time to the present, we examine how writers define themselves and their readers, how composers and singers transform poems into living experiences. This LC requires no prior instruction in either music or early modern literature while providing a foundation for further study of both subjects. Students develop skills in aural and written discussion supported by research as they read English poetry, drama, and prose and attend concerts, plays, and other performances.

AN101: Introduction to Anthropology (Dr. Celeste Gagnon)
BI125: Genes to Genomics (Dr. Heather Cook)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Gagnon and Dr. Cook)

Being human is a dynamic interplay of our genetics and culture, and the complex natural and social environmental conditions in which these aspects of ourselves interact. Students in this Learning Community (LC) will take courses in biology (a natural science), anthropology (a social science), and a reflective tutorial (RFT). In these courses, we will examine the nature of scientific inquiry and the shared foundations of anthropology and biology by examining what makes us all human, and each of us unique. The RFT will focus on how scientific knowledge about being human is communicated, how different forms of scientific communication shape what people think about being human, and how this communication influences the choices we make  as individuals and as a society.

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: Explorations in Music (Professor Thomas Juneau)
BU291: Marketing and Music (Dr. Paul Barretta)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Professor Juneau and Dr. Barretta


This Learning Community will explore the various aspects of musical culture in our world yesterday and today, with a special emphasis on the history of music performance production. By learning the history of music marketing and performance, students will focus on a variety of music projects, including creating a marketing campaign for their own musical celebrity. This course will feature experiential trips to Manhattan, especially to various music venues in the city. Students will experience concert performances from a variety of genres and will visit cultural institutions which have felt the influence of the great musical artists of the past and present. Learning to examine music, music business techniques, and the development of writing skills will be an integral part of this LC.

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.

GOV103: American Government and Politics (Dr. Jeffrey Kraus)
MA118: Elementary Probability and Statistics (Dr. Florin Pop)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Kraus and Dr. Pop)

This learning community will focus on polling, its successes and failures, and how polls have been used in the political process. The students will devise, administer, and interpret their own polls, thus gaining first-hand experience with survey research.

GOV251: International Politics (Dr. Shaohua Hu)
HI111: Global History (Dr. Karim Malak)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Hu and Dr. Malak)

This learning community seeks to provide students with long-term and broad views of an increasingly connected world. Human history is one of global interactions and multifaceted conflicts. In the global history class, we will explore and watch movies from around the world that inspire different ways of thinking about specific historical events in context. The international politics class will examine the major schools of thought and basic methods in international studies. Students will learn about the evolution of the modern international system, international conflicts, and the global economy.

PH 202: Medical Ethics (Dr. John Danisi)
BI 209: Human Anatomy and Physiology (Professor Linda Raths)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Danisi and Professor 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?

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.

SO215: Race & Ethnic Relations (Dr. Bernadette Ludwig)
PS212: Psychopathology (Dr. Jessica England)
RFT: Reflective Tutorial (Dr. Ludwig and Dr. England)

This learning community encourages students to explore (the importance of) diversity within our outer and inner worlds. Students will learn more about diverse communities in the US, systemic (racial) oppression and discrimination, identity formation, and how identities shape experiences in daily life and in the realm of mental health. Students will gain a better understanding of the multicultural and societal contexts of human experiences and develop a critical lens in exploring the impacts of such contexts in order to advance social justice. Students will engage in different experiential learning opportunities including going on field trips to different neighborhoods in New York City and museums, participating in Wagner’s Food Recovery Network efforts, volunteering with West African refugees and immigrants, and/or working with local high school students. 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, sociology, social work, psychology, health services, education, community development, and/or advocacy.

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