Courses Offered

Spring 2024

These seminars are open only to students who will be freshmen in the Spring 2024 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 | 11:00 – 11:50 AM (ONLC/SYNC)
Instructor: Valerie Kelco
MAC: Written Communication

“The artivist (artist + activist) uses their artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression–by any medium necessary. The artivist merges commitment to freedom and justice with the pen, the lens, the brush, the voice, the body, and the imagination.”
– M. K. Asante

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.

FMS 115-03
T,R | 12:30 – 1:45 PM
Instructor:​ Abby Bryan
MAC: Written Communication

Storying Our Lives: Life Writing as Public Action is a course designed to introduce you to genres of writing that involve personal and lived experience—genres such as the personal essay, autobiography, autoethnography, and biography. Through the study of these life writing genres, we will explore what it means to “story” our lives and consider the possibilities and limitations of telling another person’s story. Together, we will work to define “selfhood” and to understand the extent to which the self—our selves as well as others’ selves—can be expressed through writing. Ultimately then, we will consider how the expression of the self—the storying of life—can be a form of public action. That is, we will consider what personal storytelling can do—what kind of social, political, and rhetorical work personal storytelling can accomplish. As we read and write across and within these life writing genres, we will learn more about the art of writing and of living by sharing our stories with one other.

FMS 115-04
M,W | 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Instructor:​ Carole-Anne Morris
MAC: Written Communication

In this course, we will consider the language of investigation that we encounter in various examples of the mystery genre. We will ask how mysteries and investigations are rhetorically constructed, and how we experience these constructions in stories, reports, and podcasts.  Students will also engage in the writing process and produce original, analytical arguments about the texts and concepts we discuss. 

FMS 115-05
T,R | 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Instructor: Kathleen Macfie
MAC: Written Communication

This Freshman Seminar will focus on the stories of people who have come to the United States to begin new lives. As we explore texts from the diverse cultural groups that have immigrated to the United States, we will also broaden our understanding of cultural identity by exploring our own stories. We ask the following questions: What can we learn from reading another person’s story? What do we learn in writing our own? In this course we will discuss how to read and analyze a variety of texts, including art, performance, and film. Assignments will emphasize critical reading, focusing on analysis of text and building an argument in response to text. Our class discussions and group work will encourage the development of our scholarly voices and encourage growth as communicators and empathetic global citizens.

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

Whether it’s chatting with a friend on the phone, ordering coffee at the local cafe, or negotiating deadlines with a professor, we use oral communication skills every day.  But very rarely do we take the time to sharpen these skills the way we would practice a big presentation or speech.  In this oral communication course, we will explore a large variety of conversation and public speaking scenarios, such as interviewing for a job or reading a book to a child, that you are likely to encounter throughout your life.  

FMS 116-03
MWF | 1:00 – 1:15 PM
Instructor: Janie Raghunandan
MAC: Oral Communication

Whether you are experienced or inexperienced, in this class we will work on communication skills for a variety of situations. For example, we will discuss and analyze public discourse in the popular and news media, workplace communication, and interpersonal communication with peers, friends, and family. In addition to learning about oral communication, we will learn about research and academic writing. You will have the opportunity to explore topics that interest you.

As your instructor, it is my hope that you will leave this course feeling confident in your abilities to conduct, analyze, and engage with research; incorporate research into your written work; develop clear, compelling arguments; and speak coherently and persuasively regarding your writing and research. Regardless of your prior experience with writing, this class has a lot to offer for you as a writer and communicator.

FMS 117-01
T,R | ​3:30 ​- 4:45 PM
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 117-02
MWF | 10:00 – 10:50 AM
Instructor: Rohit Singh
MAC: Diversity and Equity

This course examines issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of supernatural and paranormal traditions in world cultures.  We will ask: How have supernatural rituals and traditions been used to either reinforce or rebel against systems of hierarchy and oppression?  How do supernatural specialists defy, or support a given society’s gender, race, and sexual norms?  To what extent do paranormal communities provide a sense of space and place for disenfranchised populations?  Topics we will cover include death rituals and social stratification in world religion, zombies in the history of slavery, Native American Ghost Dances, magic and social justice in the Hindu caste system, the intersections of LGBQT+ rights and UFO religions,  and witchcraft as resistance in colonial Africa. 

FMS 117-03
T,R | 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Instructor: Noelle Morrissette
MAC: Diversity and Equity

This freshman seminar, taught face-to-face, provides an examination of U. S. Black experience and agency in relation to systems and structures that have produced, and continue to produce, ideas of difference. We will explore how Black people have addressed the environment and created forms of agency through social organization, writing, protest, and/ or policy intervention. Topics may include Black labor and land ownership, Black migration patterns and urban policy, Black people in public recreational spaces, environmental policy, and disaster. We may also consider Black experiences in public history and memory, and twenty-first century social justice protest and the Black Lives Matter generation. Visual art, film, and social media posts may accompany the introduction of texts.  

Students additionally may have the opportunity to attend university lectures pertaining to the topic or take a day trip to a site/sites designated by the course instructor.  

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 183-01
MWF | 9:00 – 9:50 AM
Instructor: Catherine Bush
MAC: Critical Thinking and Inquiry in the Natural Sciences

This course will discuss the biological causes, risk factors, and known treatments for a variety of inherited, chronic, and infectious human diseases that have either plagued humanity for millennia or have just recently been successful in infecting humans.  For each disease, the impact of recent advances in medical biotechnologies as well as global environmental and societal change will be explored.

FMS 183-02
​T,R | 9:30 – 10:45 AM
Instructor: Randall Hayes
MAC: Critical Thinking and Inquiry in the Natural Sciences

This course attempts to bridge the gap between objective quantitative science and more subjective qualitative personal experience.  We push the boundaries in two ways: 1) by extending science into the personal realm through experiments in hypnosis and meditation, as well as a personal data collection project in the Quantified Self tradition; and 2) by asking when imagination and empathy are helpful in science, especially in medicine.  Through these lenses we will examine topics in neuroscience like sleep, stress, mood, and mental health.  Students read and present on two popular science books (with a third for students seeking Honors credit).

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