Courses Offered

Fall 2023

These seminars are open only to students who will be freshmen in the fall 2023 semester.

For the most current information including the location of the class, see UNCGenie.

We encourage students not to sign up for a seminar without first reading the course description and not to sign up for more than one seminar.  Talk with your advisor about registering for a seminar.

Reasoning and Discourse: Written Communication also carries credit equivalent to ENG 101. You may not receive credit for both FMS 115 and ENG 101.

FMS 115-01
T, R | 9:30 – 10:45 AM
Instructor: Dr. Susan Thomas
MAC: Written Communication

This Freshman Seminar in Reasoning and Discourse will focus on the post-Civil War American South through the twentieth century. Our readings will explore how historians, journalists, and novelists have depicted the region and its people. While that sounds straightforward, we will learn that whether intentional or not, writers often present ideas in ways that obscure rather than reveal underlying truths. They construct identities and create indelible impressions through and from a common language; but frequently the reality bears no resemblance to the carefully crafted image presented. We will be examining a variety of texts, looking at both fiction and non-fiction, some of which will provide historical foundations for our course so that we can build from an understanding of the ‘roots’ of southern culture. Various assignments will emphasize the writing/revising process and critical reading, which will require analysis of the sources and generating original work that reflects some aspect of your own experience.

FMS 115-02
MWF |  9:00-9:50 AM
Instructor: Joshua Benjamin
MAC: Written Communication

This course focuses on developing your writing voice, understanding your composing processes, and applying rhetorical and research tools to convincingly present your ideas to an audience. Our course readings and class discussions are centered on the ways authors have navigated their ethos in the midst of illness. Our primary theme is around healing narratives, and we will ask questions such as: Why must we tell our stories? What is at stake for those who do tell their stories? How do the intersections of identity affect how one is heard, interpreted, or stigmatized? How do dominant narratives and clinicians define ideas of normalcy and perversion, sickness, and wellness? Most importantly, we’ll read writers who have imagined what individual and collective healing might look like, and we’ll speculate (through our research) alongside these authors what narrative healing can encompass in our personal and public lives today. 

Our assignments include close readings of texts, practice with rhetorical concepts, analytical and interpretive exercises, presentations, and seminar-style class discussions. We will read several medical articles and theories and you will be asked to apply these theories to real-life contexts through rhetorical analysis. Besides these critical engagements, we will also write creatively. A few examples include composing ekphrastic poems and villanelles, keeping a nature journal, visiting the museum and archives, and writing metaphors. Our class will culminate in a final portfolio and a final research project that you will present to the class.

FMS 115-03
M,W | 2:00-3:15PM
Instructor:​ Sam Phillips
MAC: Written Communication

This class will explore rhetoric and writing through the lens of neurodiversity. We will read texts that engage with ideas of audience, purpose and context with particular attention to the communicative practices of autistic and ADHD rhetors, as well as various other learning and cognitive differences classed under the umbrella of neurodiversity. We will consider scholarship that connects rhetoric and writing to disability studies and engage in reflective writing practices designed to explore our diverse cognitive experiences with communication.

FMS 115-04
T,R | 11:00-12:15PM
Instructor:​ Valerie Kelco
MAC: Written Communication

Artivism & Advocacy is a course dedicated to cultivating appropriate and ethical oral and written communication skills for given advocacy contexts to increase knowledge, foster understanding, and promote change for social justice. Guided instruction emphasizes research methodologies as relevant to college writing projects. Students will practice critical thinking, public speaking, multiliteracy skills, research methods, formal and informal writing, critical analysis, peer review, digital skills, and collaborative learning.

Whether you are an experienced or an inexperienced written or oral communicator, this course will help you develop your voice and rhetorical skills. As a community of communicators, we will respectfully and gainfully engage with one another’s thoughts, ideas, and work. We will collaborate in groups often; in return, we will get an abundant amount of feedback and encouragement aimed at helping us develop into stronger students, innovative communicators, and empathic global citizens.

This course seeks to broaden our understanding of advocacy and activism for social justice by exploring contemporary rhetorical techniques and artistic approaches. Part of the learning experience will include a series of guest speakers. A variety of local artist activists, artivists, will speak about their involvement in response to recent social justice movements and explain how they chose to express their message(s) through effective, creative methods.

FMS 116-01
T, ​R​ |​ ​11:00 – 12:15PM
Instructor: Jessica Sullivan
MAC: Oral Communication

I can’t believe you just said that.  Why won’t you talk to me?  What do you mean that topic is “off limits?”  We’ve all been there.  We’re trying hard to have a meaningful and productive conversation with someone, but are finding it difficult to make headway.  Maybe you’re trying to address someone’s bias or discrimination.  Maybe you’re trying to communicate your own identity, or work through challenging family dynamics. In this class, we’ll explore theories and strategies to guide us toward effective listening, conversations, and conflict resolution.  You’ll have opportunities to practice ethical dialogue and will learn to clearly articulate your own positions and feelings orally.

FMS 116-02
T,R | 12:30-13:45PM (ONLC/SYNC)
Instructor:​ Evan Moore
MAC: Oral Communication

All of us have told a story to someone. Ever since humans developed speech, language, and wonder, we have told each other stories. Some of these stories are about generations past, telling children about how we came to be where we are; others sought to explain the natural world; others were meant only for entertainment. Most, of course, are simply the stories that we share with our friends about what we’ve been up to. We will explore in this section of Freshman Seminar in Oral Communication the ways in which we have told tales that reveal and change themselves in the telling, both before and after the invention of writing. In the process of creating and analyzing oral communication, students in this course will increase knowledge and foster understanding of the ways humans have practiced the art of storytelling across cultures and time. In order to understand that oral communication goes beyond formal presentations, the learning environment in Oral Trad Around the World will include large and small group interactions, gamification, and both prepared and improvisational performances.

FMS 117-01
T, R | ​3:30​ – 4:45PM
Instructor: Calvin Lowery
MAC: Diversity and Equity

​A​ critical analysis of the complicated past, present, and future relationship between Race, Socio-Economic Status, and Education.

FMS 135-01
T, R | 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Instructor: Sarah Krive
MAC: Health and Wellness

If read critically, literature can contribute to wellness by helping us heal ourselves and others. Human beings are inherently social creatures. We crave connection and interaction with others, but of course, our relationships can be fraught. In most situations, someone wields power or authority over another. What does it mean, then, to be an imperfect human; one who gets sick, falls ill, or experiences maladies physical or psychological? How do we treat each other then? This course argues that health and wellness are inherently social; they derive, in part, from an individual’s willingness to discover and act from a place of empathy. This willingness is part and parcel of the medical profession, or at least it should be. Healing means to “make whole,” such that a healed person is one who is able to participate fully in life and indeed flourish.

But what is healing? What if the healers are themselves wounded? One of the best ways to consider these issues is through the reading and discussion of literary fiction. The greatest writers delve deeply into human relationships and can help us examine and understand how, in therapeutic encounters and in everyday life, we treat each other, and how our stance (empathetic or not) and actions can contribute to healing. Finally, since we live in a world where artificial intelligence will quite soon mean the creation of sentient machinery, we will also consider the limits and boundaries of human empathy for the post-human. This course embeds within it a required four-week mini-course in somatic (bodily) practices that contribute to centering and mindfulness.

FMS 183-03
​T,R |10:00-11:15AM
Instructor: Austen Craven
MAC: Critical Thinking and Inquiry in the Natural Sciences

Class description: Meet Helen Obando, a Hispanic 16-year-old who is now featured in a new TV series from The New York Times because she is the youngest person in the U.S. to have her DNA reset in an attempt to cure her sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder that can cause strokes, organ damage and intense pain. Gene therapies in general are advancing and CRISPR/cas 9 has been used in different laboratories in the US and abroad. In August 2017 scientists fixed a heart disease mutation in human embryos using CRISPR/cas 9. A little more than one year later, a Chinese scientist claimed that he created the world’s first genetically edited babies using the same method. Now we know that there are consequences of using CRISPR/cas9. The reality presented in the 1997 sci-fi movie GATTACA is no longer distant from our current lives and more than ever Genetics advancements have social, ethical and political consequences.

What are the consequences for your identity? Do you really know who you are: are you familiar with genetic tests as 23andme? How much do you want to know? How much do you want others to know about your genetic profile? While most Americans are optimistic about the use of genetic information to improve health, many are concerned that genetic information may be used by insurers and employers to deny, limit or cancel their health insurance and to discriminate against them in the workplace. How has genetics changed the food you eat? Are you familiar with the science behind genetically modified foods and how countries see them differently? Did you know that your food has always been genetically modified? In this course we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a new era where genetic information is part of our daily lives and may drastically change the choices you make and how they will impact your life.

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