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FYW 101 & FYW 102 Course Descriptions

FYW 101: Writing Studio

Offered Every Semester

Prerequisite : Placement

Writing Studio offers writing support for FYW 102: Academic Writing and FYS First Seminar. A two-credit studio course, Writing Studio must be taken concurrently with FYW 102 or with FYS. May be repeated.

FYW 102: Academic Writing

Spring 2022

1 Course Unit

Offered Annually

Academic Writing is a four-credit course that offers students the opportunity to develop, advance, and practice skills in the production of academic prose. Within a framework of sophisticated readings, highly coordinated writing workshops, and instructor feedback, students practice rhetorical approaches to the writing necessary to succeed in college. Students read critically, cultivate habits of effective and ethical research, practice conventions of documentation, and use information technologies. Topical readings vary among sections. May be repeated.

The Superheroic Construct: From Gotham to Wakanda
FYW 102-01, Tu/Fr 9:30-10:50AM
Samantha Atzeni
This course will focus on the super-heroic social constructs that define the mythos of the superhero universe, including Marvel and DC’s humble origins within the pages of sequential art. Together, we will deconstruct the role of superheroes and determine how their purposes, environments, and moral codes define these epic narratives. Together we will attempt to answer the question: What cultural components create a legendary superhero story? Assignments and readings will focus on film theory and sequential art theory, as well as issues of identity through gender, race, and class. Throughout the semester, we will focus on each hero’s struggle with personal responsibility, trauma, terrorism in a post 9/11 world, and how the roles of good and evil are modified throughout each medium. We will also explore how authority and chaos are important ingredients for a successful superhero story – and why this recipe works so well for creating a superhero blockbuster. Using academic journals and articles, graphic novels, pages from various comic books, visual texts (films, advertisements, commercials, sitcoms, and documentaries), we will investigate the current comics culture and how superheroes offer us a representation of ourselves.

Creativity & Rhetoric
FYW 102-02, Mo/Th 9:30-10:50AM
Jordan Blum
In this section, we will explore a variety of different artistic outlets, such as fiction, poetry, film, visual art, television, and music, to see how creative minds use their medium for rhetorical purposes. Rather than simply entertain us, these artists ask us to consider complex, sometimes controversial ideas while reflecting on the world around us. For example, the novel `Fight Club’ explores issues of masculinity, consumerism, materialism, sexuality, psychology, and cultism, while The Who’s `Quadrophenia” acts as a musical sibling to Green Day’s `American Idiot,’ as both concept albums house statements about disenfranchised, rebellious male youths. We will examine materialism, conformity, causes of violence, sexuality, and racism, through the works of many iconic figures–some of whom may include Langston Hughes, Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, Pink Floyd, Ben Folds, Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, Joni Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Lee, Norman Lear, and Alan Ball–to see how these creative minds express social commentary through stimulating (and sometimes entertaining) forms.

Dissemination of Disinformation Food, Glorious Food
FYW 102-03, Mo/Th 9:30-10:50AM 
Michael Boldizar 
This course is centered around identifying misinformation and disinformation, their roots, and how to navigate through information online. We will be focusing on honing our abilities to dutifully dissect and understand information by thoroughly developing greater research skills.

Misfits and Monsters: How We Demonize People With Mental Illness  
FYW 102-04, Tu/Fr 2:00-3:20PM
Mary Bonard
The course will examine how the stigmatization of people with mental illness is created through literary and media forms. Students will explore how mental illness is portrayed through various representations of it in literature, poetry, film and in our modern political discourse (op-eds). By discussing how authors, filmmakers and politicians portray people with mental illness, the course seeks to dispel many of the belief systems that create and maintain their demonization.  Among the questions to be considered:  What is the quality of life for people who are directly or indirectly affected by the portrayals that are created to instill fear and shunning of people with mental illnesses? Why do we find these characters so compelling? Why and how are the authors and filmmakers so successful in creating terror and fright out of characters who appear to be mentally ill?  Do we perpetuate fear and apathy with regard to people with mental illness?

Reading and Writing Pop Culture
FYW 102-05, Mo/Th 12:30-1:50PM 
Paige Costantino
This course will focus on a semiotic approach to analyzing several different aspects of popular culture. Through the study of academic articles, television shows, and film, the course will allow students to examine how a collective, cultural consciousness is developed by the ways we read and interact with media and pop culture. The class will include a variety of semiotic analyses applied to individual units including Advertising, Television, Print Media/News, Film, and Social Media. Each unit will include readings that analyze and evaluate individual mediums of popular culture, and students will then apply these ideas to real-life examples. Each unit will culminate with a student essay that synthesizes academic analysis with the everyday examples that surround us in the 21st century.

Scarcity and Indulgence: How Food Availability, Income Disparities, and Corporations Shape Culture
FYW 102-06, Tu/Fr 3:30-4:50PM
Melanie Frances
The course will engage students in modern political issues such as income disparities, food availability, and corporate responsibilities. Students will explore journalistic and academic writings and learn to become thoughtful consumers of modern political discourse.

Food, Glorious Food
FYW 102-07, Mo/Th 9:30-10:50AM
Janet Hubbard 

Everyone needs to eat to live. Many of us have complicated relationships with food, yet many of us are also unaware of what goes into our food and the land and animals it comes from. This section uses common and individual resources, including readings, movies, and websites, to learn about the history of agriculture, and explore and argue about various aspects of the food industry as it exists today. You will cook one of your favorite foods and report to the class, as well as make a specific recommendation to improve some aspect of this important industry.

Race to Justice 
FYW 102-08, We 5:30-8:20PM 
Asmaa Kabel 
This course will examine the country’s current climate around race. Students will engage in timely readings, films, documentaries, and visual media highlighting current events related to issues of social injustice, systemic racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. We will utilize rhetorical claim approaches such as definition, causal, and evaluative, as a way of fostering understanding and writing about these issues. This course will be taught with two sessions of the class run concurrently. At the same time, students will also benefit from the small group FYW 102 environment. When we delve into the writing process, students will meet with their respective class to engage in developing written work, peer editing, and conferencing sessions.

People and Plants: Food, Medicine, Nature, & Wilderness
FYW102-09, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM
Lindsay Knapp
Although we live in a built environment of technology and concrete, humans rely on the natural world for the most basic of needs. As people, we interact with the natural world for food, medicine, beauty, and fulfillment. In this course, we will evaluate articles, visual media, and concepts that help us examine our relationship and dependence on plants and nature. We will discuss questions like: where does our food come from and is the system sustainable? How do big businesses capitalize on humans’ dependence on plants? What is the human fascination with wilderness? Why are we so drawn to and reliant on nature? How does our current environmental crisis jeopardize our ability to rely on nature?

Young Adult Romantic Fiction
FYW 102-10, Tu/Fr 2:00-3:20PM
Laura Kranzler
In this course we will be reading and watching texts by established YA writers such as John Green and Kiera Cass, but we will also explore more diverse voices such as works by and about people of color, and also by and about the LGBTQ+ community.  We will discuss what these TV shows, movies and books suggest about female sexuality, male sexuality, and gender identity, and we will examine what makes these texts so appealing, especially to a teen-age audience.  Why are these narratives seen as so romantic? Are there other, perhaps more critical ways to interpret them?  We will find out! 

Race to Justice
FYW 102-11, W 5:30-8:20PM
Stefanie Marchetti
This course will examine the country’s current climate around race. Students will engage in timely readings, films, documentaries, and visual media highlighting current events related to issues of social injustice, systemic racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. We will utilize rhetorical claim approaches such as definition, causal, and evaluative, as a way of fostering understanding and writing about these issues. This course will be taught, with two sessions of the class run concurrently. At the same time, students will also benefit from the small group FYW 102 environment. When we delve into the writing process, students will meet with their respective class to engage in developing written work, peer editing, and conferencing sessions.

Dream or Simulation? 
FYW 102-12, Mo/We 5:30-6:50PM 
Deborah Morkun
The rapid technological advancement of the past fifty years has led to many important questions about the nature of reality. With immersive digital technologies and multiplayer video games, simulated reality is beginning to look more and more like everyday life.  From Plato’s cave to The Matrix to Black Mirror and notions of the posthuman, we will question what it means to be alive during this truly unique and pivotal period in history.

Exploring the LGBTQ+ Narrative in Cinema
FYW 102-13, Mo/Th 11:00-12:20PM 
Ryan Segura
This semester we are going to be viewing a number of films that address the topic of the LGBT narrative in film. Specifically, we will address the cultural, political, familial, and religious motivations that shape how we understand what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and so on. Please keep in mind that the main theme we are discussing will also broach other topics of a sensitive nature such as politics, socioeconomics, religion, race, and culture so I ask that you approach this course with maturity and understanding and that not everyone in this class will agree on every topic.  I just ask that you politely and maturely disagree during class discussions.  Also, please note that because we are watching a number of films in this course, you will need to find time to watch the films prior to class which will be made available to view via the library’s website. Over the course of the semester we will be addressing some of the following questions:

How are LGBTQ+ characters and storylines represented in film?
Are these representations fair? Why or why not?
Do these films tend to have happy or sad endings? Why or why not?
Do these films tend to appeal to a certain audience? How? Why?
Are there any members of the LGBTQ+ community who are not being represented? Who? Why?
What do these films have in common? What do they do that’s different?
Are there any trends to these films? If so, what are they?

Higher Ed Behind the Wall
FYW 102-14, Mo/We 5:30-6:50PM
Amanda Simpson
Disadvantaged groups remain the focus of conversation in higher education. Often these groups are identified within certain social constructs including race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Incarceration has been another topic of conversation. In this course, we will use selected articles and various media forms to discuss opportunities for postsecondary education for incarcerated individuals with a focus on access. We will review arguments around providing access to college study for students incarcerated or behind the wall.

Blackness on Trial
FYW 102-15, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM
Tracy Thompson
From access to sentencing, the disparities and inequities that Black people face in the criminal justice system are well documented.  However, we remain far from implementing any meaningful solutions. This course will explore the perceptions of race and how they resulted in the criminalization of blackness by examining the impact of racism in criminal law. Using the components of a criminal trial, we will call relevant class speakers as expert witnesses, evaluate a variety of written and audiovisual sources as exhibits, and issue a decision or other written opinion on how we might eliminate race-based or racially influenced decisions in the criminal justice system, develop ways we might decriminalize blackness and achieve justice for all.

Head to Pen- Writing from the inside and investigating your career goals 
FYW 102-16, Tu/Fr 2:00-3:20PM 
Yolanda Whidbee
When the head, heart, mind and soul intertwine, what will you allow your pen to capture? During this course, students will learn how to write from their “inner core,” the place where truth dwells.  These sessions will be designed for students to view writing through the lens of their personal development and self-discovery process.  We will focus on choice of major, intention on choosing that major and the undeclared major. These interactive class discussions and mapping exercises will encourage students to create a life full of endless possibilities. Along the journey, the students will gain essential concepts on writing with intention, trusting the process, and the art of pausing and thinking.

You + Me = US: A deep dive into Diversity and Inclusion
FYW 102-17, Tu/Th 7:00-8:20PM
Amber Yates
We will do a deep dive into Diversity and Inclusion through the examination of film, music, and media. You will strive to improve on academic writing and develop your ability to write for academic purposes. The learning goals and objectives for this course include improving your writing skills, thought process, developing, and advancing through practice of the modes of writing necessary to be successful.

Reboots & Remakes
FYW 102-18, Tu/Fr 3:30-4:50PM 
Nathaniel Drenner
From Star Wars to Spider-Man, sitcoms to dramas, “reboots” abound in modern pop culture, but the concept is nothing new. What makes a successful retelling of an old story? Does past influence enhance or stifle creativity? Using historical and contemporary examples, we will analyze and evaluate how stories are reimagined and why. We will learn to distinguish between adaptations, archetypes, rewrites, sequels, and other means of influence; we will consider artistic, commercial, and cultural issues related to “rebooting.” Students will have the opportunity to propose a fresh reimagining of a creative work of their choice, arguing their rationale for doing so.

Rebuilding a City
FYW 102-19, Mo/Th 3:30-4:50PM
Tiffany Youngblood
In this course students will examine the issues afflicting the inner-city and how the issues trickle down to the youth. Some of the issues that impact the inner-city are the failing school systems, the impact of drugs, food disparities, inadequate housing, and the lack of parental involvement but the root of the problem may be in the hands of the government. We will study historical patterns and follow current news to explore the issues, with the expectation of finding solutions for those communities. Some of the questions this class will consider are: Is the school system failing the youth or are the youth just not taking advantage of valuable opportunities? What decisions are the youth faced with when drugs are involved? What, if anything, can the parents do to tackle these issues?

Life is One Big Lesson 
FYW 102-20, Tu/Fr 9:30-10:50AM
Paula Rainey  
How do we handle lessons that life teaches us every day?  How do some people manage to turn hardship into a triumph?   How do we define success and failure?  These are just some of the questions that we will answer in this course through essays and other writing forms. We will study how people overcome difficult situations.  As a class, we will define and discuss adversity. We will examine how each of us handle adversity. Watching films such as  The Pursuit of Happyness and The Blind Side, and reading stories, we will analyze ways people have triumphed over unfortunate circumstances and persevered.  We will define our personal meaning of success, as well as what society dictates is a successful individual. We will discuss powerful lessons each of us are given.  We will examine our decision-making processes, particularly how we can avoid costly mistakes in life.

YA Literature and Young Activism: Literary Heroes and Their Real Life Counterparts
FYW 102-22, Tu/Fr 9:30-10:50AM
Robyn Gold
Jennifer Ansbach went viral on Twitter for writing, “I’m not sure why people are so surprised that the students are rising up. We’ve been feeding them a steady diet of dystopian literature showing teens leading the charge for years. We have told teen girls they are empowered. What, you thought it was fiction? It was preparation.” The aim of this course is to explore diverse examples of heroes from YA novels or novels that feature young protagonists, TV shows, spoken word poetry, speeches, music, and films while analyzing the ways in which these works might indeed help to inspire or prepare young people for works of real-life activism. In studying a diverse array of young fictional and real-life heroes, we will challenge ourselves to explore how we can utilize language to step into our own power for the purpose of uplifting ourselves and others to spark positive change.

Expedition Unknown
FYW 102-23, Mo/Th 9:30-10:50AM
Courtney Malpass
As children, we all imagine going on adventures with pirates, cowboys, and explorers. Buried treasure and world fame serve as the lure for many of these games. But whether we knew it or not, these make-believe adventures were all somehow based in reality. Some of the world’s greatest legends – Atlantis, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Roanoke, the Nazca Lines – all started with a story, with an imagination. And legends, we know, always contain an element of truth. This formal research writing class looks to uncover the truths behind these legends. Using an interdisciplinary approach – marketing, history, communications and media, culture and identity – students will write several argumentative papers about legends from around the world and evaluate their impact on our modern societies and cultures, culminating in a final presentation. Students will use a variety of professional and popular sources including traditional scholarly academic articles, documentaries, artifacts, newspapers and magazines, and TV shows.

A Startup You
FYW 102-24, Mo/Th 8:00-9:20AM
Tammie Brown
The world is becoming increasingly more innovative and competitive. To thrive, college students need to increase their human capital, by re-imaging their purpose, life, talent acquisition and personal brand. This class focuses on the power of investing in your personal and professional development, and leadership skills. Using a life coach approach, students transform their lives.