First-Year Seminars

New College launches a new First-Year Seminar program for students entering Fall 2019.

First-Year Seminars

10 Seminars – 10 Unique Topics

New College of Florida launches an exciting new program this fall exclusively for incoming students. The First-Year-Seminar (FYS) program consists of 10 courses open only to first-year students. Faculty members designed each course to help first-year students flourish in the unique academic environment that is New College. Courses in the FYS program are limited to a maximum of 16 students, including transfer students, and explore an inspiring topic of inquiry. A teaching team made up of an accomplished New College professor, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff member of the New College community who serves as a partner instructor, and a seasoned student peer leader who is ready and able to share their expertise will teach each course. Our three-person teaching teams will model teamwork and engage students in meaningful discussions to foster community, cultivate resilience, encourage agency, and advance understanding of how New College works.

New College Orientation 2019: First-Year Seminars

New College of Florida is introducing an exciting new program this fall exclusively for incoming students. The First-Year-Seminar (FYS) program …

1st year seminar courses

The Inquisitive Scientist

The Sixties: American Culture and Politics in Turbulent Times

The Good Life: Happiness, Meaning and Ethics in a Complex World

Cities for all: Placemaking, Public Space and Building Resilient Communities

Heritage: Telling Stories of Our Past

Queer Literature

Experimental Marine Biology

Music Without Boundaries

Animal Thinking

Memories: True, False and Distorted

The courses

The Inquisitive Scientist

T,F 2:30-3:50 p.m.

Would you like to be as curious as an otter? Would you like to explore and discover what others might not see? Science is about going into the unknown. A spark of curiosity leads us into the dark and we find our way with creativity, the scientific method, and failure. Many science courses will focus on the scientific method, here we will learn about other important aspects of science and develop equally important skills for science. We’ll take inspiration from nature to hone our curiosity. Consider how perspective influences our observations. Explore how failure is a valuable part of science that progresses our understanding of nature. And reflect on lessons from distinguished biologist E.O. Wilson. Through guided readings, journaling and local field trips, we will all become inquisitive scientists. Anyone considering a science-oriented AOC is welcome!

Instructor

Athena Rycyk
Assistant Professor of Biology and Marine Science and a New College alumna
Dr. Rycyk is a marine mammal biologist who specializes in manatee biology and acoustic ecology. Her courses highlight primary scientific research and include topics like Foundations of Biology, Marine Mammal Biology, Research Methods in Biology, and Marine Ecology. She happily supports tutorials and ISPs that encourage students to follow their own interests and design their own research. Dropping by her office to talk about marine mammals over tea is also encouraged! As a New College of Florida alumna, she is excited to help students navigate New College academics and help them get the most out of their time here.

Co-instructor

Tammera Race
Librarian: Systems, Metadata and Assessment, and a New College alumna


The Sixties: American Culture and Politics in Turbulent Times

M, Th 3:30-4:50 p.m.

A central trope of the American experience is “The Sixties”: a historical term that has become a kind of litmus test for how one understands the recent American past as well as our present political debates. Despite constant invocation of that turbulent period in our media, our classrooms, and our political rhetoric, however, most Americans tend to have a weak grasp of what actually drove the profound social, political, economic, and cultural changes of the period — let alone its many legacies. This course will challenge students to examine the rapid change that swept through postwar America from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s — in other words, the “long Sixties”— with particular focus on the modern Civil Rights Movement, the culture of suburban affluence, the foreign policy of the Cold War, the cultural politics of youth rebellion and the Counterculture, the Sexual Revolution and the origins of “second wave feminism,” the Vietnam War and anti-war activism, the rise of Black Power and the Silent Majority, the roots of “post-Stonewall” America and environmentalism, as well as the long shadows of Watergate, deindustrialization, the Oil Crises, and “the fall of Saigon” in today’s America.

Instructor

Brendan Goff
Assistant Professor of History
Brendan Goff received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan in 2008 (with a focus on modern U.S. international history). Before coming to New College of Florida, Dr. Goff held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Michigan and then served as a lecturer in the Honors Program at the University of Michigan. Before entering the Ph.D. program at Michigan, Dr. Goff was a freelance English teacher in Madrid, Spain; worked in a major bank in New York City; studied philosophy in Glasgow, Scotland; assisted in the government and community affairs division of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., and attended seminary.

Co-Instructor

Winn Wasson
Librarian: Research, Instruction, and Data Services

 


The Good Life: Happiness, Meaning and Ethics in a Complex World

T, Th 9-10:20 a.m.

What makes life good? This seminar draws from philosophy and the psychology of happiness and well-being and blends theory and practice to offer an introduction to great philosophical questions, critical thinking, and connection-making between timeless questions and the contemporary world: e.g. how to live a meaningful life in the Anthropocene? Will making this world better make me happy? Is Marco Rubio’s complaint that ‘We need more welders; less philosophers’ evidence that we need more philosophy? Also, together we’ll think of, and try out, ways of making our own and others’ lives better.

Instructor

Nicolas Delon
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies
Professor Delon studied in France and moved to Sarasota by way of Chicago, New York, and Paris. He works primarily in ethics, with a focus on animals, food and the environment. His interests also include the psychology of our relations to nature and other creatures, legal, social and political philosophy, and the philosophy of death. His classes are typically interdisciplinary and designed to give students a sense of the complexity of real-world issues, including problems we cannot solve (easily) but need to keep thinking about. Professor Delon also likes to make jokes about his children, his cat, and the importance of coffee, cookies, food, sleep and exercise for a good life.

Co-Instructor

Caitlyn Sanderson
Donor Relations/Prospect Research Associate, New College Foundation, and a New College alumna

 


Cities for all: Placemaking, Public Space and Building Resilient Communities

M,Th 3:30-4:50 p.m.

According to the UN, 55% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and it is expected that more than two-thirds of the world will live in cities by 2050. With this demographic shift, cities have become a key site for confronting a wide range of 21st century challenges. In particular, there has been a growing interest in the importance of urban public space as a crucial component of cities that are livable, equitable and sustainable. In this seminar, students will explore current ideas regarding the nature and importance of urban public space, current practices of “placemaking,” and the challenges of effective community engagement in a diverse society. Readings and seminar discussions will provide a conceptual and critical framework, situating our discussion in the global context. With this foundation, we’ll take our discussion out of the classroom, observing and analyzing examples of public spaces, placemaking and public life in Sarasota and Bradenton.

Instructor

David Brain
Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies
Professor Brain’s research and teaching interests focus on the connections between place-making, community-building, and civic engagement, and on sociological issues related to the planning and design of good neighborhoods, humane cities, and sustainable development. Locally, he and his students have worked with city and county government as well as local non-profits, neighborhoods and community groups. He has been recognized internationally as an expert on contemporary efforts to transform the way cities are built, and as a frequent contributor to educational programs for citizens and professional practitioners. For the past two years, he and student research assistants from New College have been part of an international research team funded by the Center for the Future of Places at KTH, Stockholm, Sweden. In the spring, 2019, as part of this research project, Professor Brain and two students participated in an expert symposium held in Reykjavik, Iceland, on the future of public space.

Co-instructor

Lisandra Jimenez
Assistant Director, Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity


Heritage: Telling Stories of Our Past

W, 12:30-3:20 p.m.

Students will develop the academic skills to understand what heritage is today (in terms of social meaning of heritage, the legal framework in the USA for historic preservation, and how local communities are using heritage for resilience), to understand the basic concepts in heritage studies for identity, community, culture, universalism, relativism, and cosmopolitanism; to experience the methodology used in this field of research; and to explore the relationship between heritage and global challenges such as migration, rising sea levels, and economic inequalities. As significant will be the skills for building trust and resilience in self and peer evaluations of coursework and exploration of the relevance of heritage for contemporary social concerns. A result of connecting the first year students to the heritage of place will be rooting them in the New College campus and the surrounding region. The course will stress creative representations of the past via drawing and landscape mapping, writing concisely for the general public, and class presentations and seminar-type discussion skills. Students will be evaluated on their observational skills, writing, and creativity for representations.

New College First-Year Seminars: Uzi Baram

Uzi Baram is an anthropologist whose academic efforts focus on heritage tourism, public archaeology, and the politics of the past. …

Instructor:

Uzi Baram
Professor of Anthropology and Heritage Studies; Director of New College Public Archaeology Lab
Uzi Baram is an anthropologist whose academic efforts focus on heritage tourism, public archaeology, and the politics of the past; his research includes the eastern Mediterranean, the North American Northeast, and Florida. Professor Baram teaches a wide range of archaeology and cultural anthropology course. As founding director of the New College Public Archaeology Lab, Professor Baram has experimented with “radical openness” for collaborations, undergraduate research opportunities, and representations for the ancient and recent past of the communities around Sarasota, Florida. Recent projects in the region include recovering an early 19th century maroon community, heritage interpretation for a county park, and building community resilience through heritage in an age of rising sea levels.

Co-instructor

Liz Lebron
Associate Director of Communications and Marketing


Queer Literature

M,Th 12:30-1:50 p.m.

How many different ways are there to be queer? We won’t be able to check out all the options, but in this seminar, we’ll explore a variety of queer experiences through contemporary LGBTQ novels, supplemented with a selection of poetry and a screening of HBO’s adaptation of “Angels in America.” We’ll discuss the AIDS epidemic, gay culture in the ’90s, creative re-imagining of trans history, and a variety of emotional responses to LGBTQ experiences. Regardless of your identity, this class is for you if you want to learn more about the LGBTQ past, present and future!

Instructor

Nick Clarkson
Assistant Professor of Gender Studies
Professor Clarkson’s research and teaching interests involve a variety of topics at the intersection of trans, feminist, and queer theory. At New College, he has taught classes such as Masculinities; Feminist, Queer, and Trans Theory; Gender, Race, and Surveillance; Queer History; and Introduction to Gender Studies. He has a 10-year-old Pug named Amos.

Co-instructor

Helene Gold
Librarian, Research, Instruction and Information Literacy


Experimental Marine Biology

Th, 2-4:50 p.m.

This course is a hands-on laboratory course designed to introduce students to key concepts in marine biology and provide them with a broad overview of the different types of marine organisms, from plants to invertebrates, to fish. The specific objectives of the course include:

  • learning to distinguish between different groups of marine organisms
  • learning to operate field and laboratory equipment typically used by marine biologists
  • learning to design and carry out a research project, to collect and analyze data, create tables and graphs, use basic statistics, and to interpret results.

Students will also learn to communicate project results in a professional format (brief scientific-style papers). Through this process, they will learn how to conduct a literature review, search for references, and properly cite scientific articles. The course is organized into several experimental units, and teams of students carry out each experiment over two or more laboratory sessions. This course will, therefore, naturally lead to students connecting with each other, engaging in teamwork, and learning to manage their time, as well as the expectations of others in their groups.

Instructor

Jayne Gardiner
Associate Professor of Biology; Director of Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center
Professor Gardiner specializes in the sensory biology and behavior of fishes. Her research focuses primarily on multisensory integration – understanding how animals use multiple sensory cues simultaneously to perform complex behaviors such as feeding, navigation, and homing. She is also interested in how fish learn to use sensory information and how human activities and environmental disturbances affect sensory perception and behavioral performance. Her research employs both laboratory and field-based techniques to study these questions in elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays), as well as bony fishes.

Co-instructor

Angie Fairweather
Director of Educational Technology Services


Music Without Boundaries

T,Th 10:30-11:50 a.m.

The musical landscape of the past 50 years has been characterized by the emergence of musical collectives. These groups integrate paradigms of performance, composition, and improvisation, and are often dedicated to bringing unique visions of music’s present and future into public discourse. An important feature of such groups is an emphasis on the personal responsibility of musicians in collaborative contexts; this will be emphasized in the course. In this course, students form a musical collective and have the opportunity to explore musical practices in performance, improvisation, and composition. We will read, listen, and discuss the work of several such groups. Through these activities, students will gain academic skills in reading to identify a thesis as well as writing to describe musical works and respond to an author’s ideas. Students will also gain important musical skills in listening, collaboration and performance.

Instructor

Marc Dancigers
Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Music
Mark Dancigers’ work as a composer explores imaginative collaborations between music, dance and film, as well as the role of the electric guitar and technology in musical environments. His work for ballet has been performed at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and at New York City Center by dancers from the New York City Ballet; at the Martha Graham Theater with dancers from the American Ballet Theater and numerous other venues. His film music has been performed at the Sundance Film Festival, the Nordernzon Performing Arts Festival in the Netherlands, The Athens Concert Hall, Greece, and at The Kitchen, NYC.

Co-instructor

Ruthann Daniel-Harteis
Assistant Director of Student Disability Services


Animal Thinking

W, 12:30-3:20 p.m.

Humans and other animals differ significantly from each other in some ways and share many similarities in others. Honeybees dance to indicate the location of food sources. Dolphins are acoustic super-heroes who can hear across a vast frequency range. Clark’s nurcrackers remember thousands of locations in which they have stored nuts. First-year New College students also want to know where to find good food (sometimes connected to dancing!), to engage with each other using their own acoustic super-powers of listening and talking, and to learn where to go when they need help with financial aid, counseling, writing, or statistics. In this course, we’ll learn about psychological methods: the ways we make discoveries about animal thinking as well as the ways students make discoveries about themselves and their new lives in college. Welcome to New College, home to many wonderful humans as well as bees, butterflies, ospreys, squirrels, ants, fish, corals, and a bay that’s home to the longest-studied wild dolphin population in the world!

New College First-Year Seminars: Heidi Harley

Professor Harley is a comparative psychologist who studies how animals think. She teaches both psychology and environmental studies courses at …

Instructor

Heidi Harley
Professor of Psychology/Peg Scripps Buzzelli Chair; Director Environmental Studies Program
Professor Harley is a comparative psychologist who studies how animals think. Most of her research focuses on dolphins: What information do they get through echolocation and how do they integrate it with other sensory information? How do they categorize their own vocalizations and how do they use them? What do dolphins like doing, and how can we make their lives better? Dr. Harley teaches both psychology and environmental studies courses including Cognitive Psychology, the Wellbeing of Humans and Other Animals: Intersecting Worlds, and Environmental Studies Capstone. She’s taught many seminars for first-years through the years because she likes introducing students to the beauty of New College, the mysteries of animal perspectives, and the fun of navigating life in and after college.

Co-instructor

Regina Rodarte
Case manager, Office of Student Success


Memories: True, False and Distorted

T, F 12:30-1:50 p.m.

Memories are an essential aspect of everyday life, whether we are recounting a family trip to a best friend, finding our car keys, or remembering to meet a friend at the cafe. For these tasks, we rely on our memories to be accurate, and most of the time they are. But because memory is a reconstructive task, rather than a verbatim recording of the past, it can be prone to forgetting, as well as distortions and interference from other information. In more extreme cases, memory can be vulnerable to suggestion that may to lead to vividly recalling events that never occurred. This intro psychology First-Year Seminar will examine the factors that affect the creation and recall of our true, false, and distorted memories, as well as how our memories can shape our expectations of ourselves, our friends and new experiences. We will use the topics of this class to reflect on our past, our present and our future selves.

Instructor

Michelle Barton
Associate Professor of Psychology
Professor Barton is a developmental psychologist specializing in early childhood cognitive development. Her research examines preschool children’s curiosity as they seek facts and explanations in everyday conversations with adults. Professor Barton’s classes include Developmental Psychology, Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Child Development, and Motivated Minds: Learning In and Out of the Classroom. Her classes are designed to give students a variety of research and/or field experiences, from collaborating on a memory experiment in her First Year Seminar, to volunteer work with children in local preschool programs in Developmental Psychology, to learning to use video and transcript analysis software for observational research in her lab classes.

Co-instructor

Rebecca Casky
Director of Campus Programs/Title IX Coordinator