Your FYE will develop your critical thinking and communication skills, while also supporting you through your transition into college life. FYE classes have two components: first, a core 3-credit class focused on traditional academic skills like writing and analysis, and, second, a companion 1-credit class focused on transitional skills like coping with stress, planning for your career, managing time, and understanding major and general education (here called “Constellation”) requirements.

You will live in proximity to other residential students enrolled in the same FYE, so that—in addition to the two classes you’ll take together—you can enjoy related programming in the residence halls. For instance, films associated with various FYE sections will be shown in the dorms. Because you will learn together and live together, these arrangements are called “Living-Learning Communities.”

Both inside your classrooms and outside them—in the dorm and the wider LVC environment—your FYE will provide you not only with the skills necessary to succeed academically at LVC, but also the community and relationships necessary to thrive here, so that you will be ready to take advantage of the many opportunities LVC offers. Go Dutchmen!

Please use these descriptions to fill out your FYE Course Selection Form.

Fall 2018 Sections

FYE-111-01 and 111-03 | To the Ends of the Earth

Section FYE-111-01 Professors: Dr. Kevin Pry & Dan Lebo

Section FYE-111-03 Professors: Dr. Kevin Pry & James O'Brien



Why are human beings fascinated with the unknown and the dangerous? Why will some people take enormous risks in the world's most forbidding environments, just to reach the extreme limits of human endurance? This seminar invites students into the story of polar expeditions and the often fatal attraction that exploration as organized risk-taking exerts on our fellow humans. Will skill, luck, organizing ability, and determination combine to find the fabled Northwest Passage, win the races to be first at the North and South Poles, and come back alive, or will carelessness, lack of foresight, and character flaws be exposed ruthlessly and lead to defeat, disgrace, destruction, and even (shudder!) cannibalism?

FYE-111-02 and 111-08 | Let the Great World Spin

Section FYE 111-02 Professors: Sally Clark & Kelsea Gonzalez 

Section FYE 111-08 Professors: Sally Clark & Shannon Brandt



The world became entranced by "The Crime of the Century" in 1974 when a young Frenchman danced along a tightrope strung between the top of the nearly completed World Trade Towers. Colum McCann's novel, Let the Great World Spin (winner of the 2009 National Book Award), uses the daring act of this "angel in the sky" to contrast with people in the depths of the city who struggle with diverse issues, ultimately searching for joy and redemption. Using film and other texts, both fiction and nonfiction, we will spin off of McCann's novel to explore such subjects as art and risk, faith and belonging, loss and grief, and the nuances of history. As Esquire's Tom Junod explains, "We are all dancing on the wire of history, and even on solid ground we breathe the thinnest of air."

FYE-111-04 and 111-07 | The American Dream

Professor: Theresa Rosenberg 


The term American Dream, coined in 1931, suggests an ability for us to reach complete success and happiness in our personal and professional lives. Much has changed in American society and culture since 1931 leading many to question if the American Dream still exists. Through selected readings on family, education, and technology, this course will challenge you to think critically about the ability of a person to achieve the American Dream today. The readings will be supplemented with numerous media clips that will push us to explore the representation of ideal families in TV sitcoms from 1950-2000s, educate ourselves about the state of the education system through the documentary Waiting for Superman, look at how technology might change our world through the science fiction drama Humans. We will specifically challenge, revise, and defend the role of family, education, and technology in our pursuit of the American Dream.

FYE-111-05 | People & the Planet

Professors: Dr. Micheal Schroeder & Jen Thornsberry 


What is the state of Planet Earth these days? How do we think about issues like climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification, the loss of biodiversity, energy use, consumption patterns, and most broadly, the changing relationship between people and the planet - today, in the recent past, and into the foreseeable future? What is meant by "environmental sustainability"? This course interrogates these and related enviro-questions via a diverse array of literatures, media, and activities.

FYE-111-06 and 111-09 | Crib to College

Section FYE-111-06 Professors: Dr. Rachel Albert & Jessica Ickes

Section FYE-111-09 Professors: Dr. Rachel Albert & Jill Russell



Why do teenagers fight with their parents? Is TV really bad for kids? How do babies learn to talk? Why do children lie? In this seminar, we will discuss these topics and many more related to how children's social environments (e.g. parents, peers, school, and media) impact their learning and development. We will read and discuss current research findings while considering the parenting and public policy implications for these childhood questions. This course will enhance your knowledge of child development while encouraging you to reflect on the family, friends, and experiences that shaped the person you are today.

FYE-111-10 | Get Medieval on It

Professors: Dr. Holly Wendt & Maureen Bentz 


The Middle Ages have long fascinated modern people, so much so that we're constantly revisiting and reinventing them, in books, movies, and video games, and through the lenses of history and fantasy. In this course, we'll delve into medieval history and literature to separate fact from fiction and show how vibrant the "dark ages" actually were. We'll also consider both books and films in popular culture to explore the ways in which medieval lore and tropes are used in contemporary contexts.

FYE-111-11 | Art and the Body

Professors: Dr. Grant Taylor & Helga McCullough 


Our human body defines our species. Our complex living system is the seat of consciousness and the machine that replicates and transmits our code for continued life. As the physical extension and stored repository of our worldly experiences, our body is crucial to self-identity. It is no surprise, then, that the depiction of the body is central to art. Our desires, our self-doubts, and our prejudices are all found in the way we represent ourselves. Through various modes of critical thinking and writing, we will uncover, complicate, and question the history of human embodiment in the visual arts.

FYE-111-12 | The Examined Life

Professors: Dr. Noel Hubler & Michelle Scesa 


Socrates famously said that the "Unexamined life is not worth living," but what did he mean by an examined life? For Socrates examination did not so much involve reflection of one's own views and values, but an active and critical inspection of the positions of others, primarily about the nature of the good life. In FYE 111, we will retrace the steps of Socrates through the writings of his most famous student, Plato. We will also engage more recent philosophers both in class discussions and interactive writing assignments.

FYE-111-13 | Faith & Doubt in 21st Century

Professors: Dr. Jeffrey Robbins & Julia Harvey 


This course will explore questions of religious meaning through the various ways contemporary individuals and traditions have sought to reconcile their faith with the modern world. Objectives will include the effort to understand the continuing importance and impact of religion on contemporary culture, politics, and philosophy, to learn about the many facets of religious diversity in the United States and around the world, and to reflect on the crisis of traditional beliefs about God brought about by the development of modern science and technology. Writing assignments will provide an opportunity for students to narrate their own spiritual journeys and identify their own questions of meaning.

FYE-111-14 | Electing the President

Professors: Dr. James Broussard & Shannon Brandt


In this course we will use recent presidential campaigns (including 2016) to focus on four questions: 1) how did the process of nominating and electing a president in 2016 compare with past years; 2) does this process need major changes; 3) what is the proper balance between government power and individual liberty; and 4) what is the proper balance between your rights and your responsibilities as a citizen of a free society? Class activities will include drafting a party platform, preparing a campaign plan for a presidential candidate, critiquing and writing political ads, and explaining the surprising outcome of the 2016 election.

FYE-111-15 and 111-19 | What's Love Got to Do With It?

Section FYE-111-15 Professors: Dr. Gary Grieve-Carlson & Molly O'Brien Foelsch

Section FYE 111-19 Professors: Dr. Gary Grieve-Carlson & Beth Julian



Love is a difficult thing to define with any precision, even for someone as wise as Tina Turner. It seems to have emotional and physical components, and some people have claimed that it has spiritual and/or intellectual components as well. It has been called a kind of madness, and it has been called what's left over after the madness has passed. We may not come up with any final answer to the question posed in the course title, but we'll be thinking about it as we read and write about four famous and very different depictions of romantic love, from four very different periods of history: Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the great medieval tale Tristan and Iseult, and the Roman writer Apuleius's Cupid and Psyche.

FYE-111-16 and 111-18 | Thinking Changes Everything

Section FYE-111-16 Professors: Dr. Robert Valgenti & Donna Miller

Section FYE-111-18 Professors: Dr. Robert Valgenti & Maureen Bentz



Are you the sort of student who is driven to ask the big questions-Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Is there an ultimate good? What is beauty? If you are, then you are already on your way to success as a college student. What if being philosophical makes you a better student-a college student who takes charge of his or her own development and desires to live what Socrates understood as "the examined life"? In this course we will not only examine life with our minds, but also come to understand the extent to which the essence of reality is shaped by our minds and the knowledge we seek. Thus, we might begin: does thought change everything? Some things? Nothing? This is a question that stretches beyond philosophy and affects all of our knowledge in every discipline and form of experience. The purpose of this course is therefore to reflect, to reason, and to excite the wonderment that accompanies the many academic fields and pursuits that shape our common experience at LVC.

FYE-111-17 | African American Popular Culture

Professors: Dr. Cona Marshall & Jessica Ickes 


From Kevin Hart to Kendrick Lamar to Beyonce to Shonda Rhimes, African Americans influence American cultural production. This course introduces writing genres of spoken word, rap, and comedy while engaging African American cultural productions-movies, music, religion, sports-to better understand narratives of how African Americans write themselves in the world and how counter-narratives have been written and read about African Americans in American society. The readings we examine, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine and The Color Purple will provide some unique perspectives on African American experiences; exploring the multi-faceted relationship between language, culture, and society. We will also examine such topics as defining African American identities, the construction of race, racism, and Ebonics.

FYE-111-20 | Heroes of Star Wars

Professors: Dr. Anderson Marsh & Jen Thornsberry 


Star Wars has been a cultural phenomenon since the release of the first movie in the saga and its influence has extended beyond just movies. Did you know that a number of myths, legends, stories, and histories have influenced the creators in many ways? In fact, numerous characters share commonalities with heroes from a variety of tales and histories. In this course, we will connect the journeys of heroes in stories from ancient civilizations to characters in the Star Wars universe, with particular focus on the original and prequel trilogies.

FYE-111-21 | How to Speak 'Science'

Professor: Constantinos Scaros & Dr. Elizabeth Sterner 


Ever read news about a big scientific breakthrough, but weren't sure if the journalists got it right? Or maybe you've wished you could explain a cool science experiment to your family or friends? What does good communication even look like? Science, as understood by scientists, is often disconnected from how science is perceived by the media and the public. It can be difficult to navigate many different sources to get at an accurate representation of the facts. In this class, we will explore the different ways science is reported on, from scholarly journals to social media, and figure out effective strategies for communicating about science without sensationalizing or misrepresentation. You will build writing, speaking and critical reasoning skills that will let you learn about scientific issues that are important to you, come to a well-supported opinion, and express your views. All majors are welcome, because science literacy is important for everyone!

FYE-111-22 and 111-25 | Frame Tales

Section FYE-111-22 Professors: Shayani Bhattacharya & Greg Krikorian

Section FYE-111-25 Professors: Shayani Bhattacharya & Chuck Yasinski



Whether there be ogres, monsters, witches, talking frogs, evil stepmothers or magic beans; almost every fairy tale has one thing in common – the happily ever after. But if fairy tales are the stuff of childhood why do they crop up in the adult world through films like the steam punk gore rendition of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters or the feminist retelling Maleficent, procedural TV shows like Grimm or fantasy dramas like Once Upon a Time, or ads for Chanel No.5 and Pepsi? In this class we will explore the frame narratives of the "classic" fairy tales of the Grimm brothers and Charles Perrault in the hands of 20th century writers and filmmakers to reflect on modern renditions of the "ever after" myth. We will read Angela Carter's feminist retellings of popular fairytales, participate in a D-I-Y shuffle narrative game, and create fairy tale adaptations of our own. The course aims to interrogate socio-political structures by examining the shared narrative fabric of society.

FYE-111-23 | Horror in Film and Literature

Professors: Dr. Laura Eldred & Michael Diesner 


From the old English classic Beowulf to the TV series The Walking Dead, art has expressed people's fascination with monsters and violent mayhem. Though the horror genre has always been popular, it is also often dismissed as lowbrow, even exploitative, entertainment that caters to humanity's baser instincts. In this class, we will confront that point of view by looking at the ways in which horror entertainment both reflects and challenges the cultures in which it is produced. We will analyze a variety of texts, including Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein and George Romero's film Night of the Living Dead. Students will learn about milestones in the development of the horror genre in film and literature, gain an understanding of introductory terminology in film and literary analysis, and discover the main theories about why audiences enjoy horror.

FYE-111-24 | Faith & Doubt in the 21st Century

Professors: Dr. Matthew Sayers & Renata Williams 


This course will explore questions of religious meaning through the various ways contemporary individuals and traditions have sought to reconcile their faith with the modern world. Objectives will include the effort to understand the continuing importance and impact of religion on contemporary culture, politics, and philosophy, to learn about the many facets of religious diversity in the United States and around the world, and to reflect on the crisis of traditional beliefs about God brought about by the development of modern science and technology. Writing assignments will provide opportunity for students to narrate their own spiritual journeys and identify their own questions of meaning.

FYE-111-26 | What Do You Think About...?

Professors: Michelle Scesa & Dr. Michael Kitchens 


Should student loan debt be forgiven? Is it better to eat food grown locally? What's the purpose of college? Should the government regulate how much junk food people eat? What should be done about immigration? In this FYE course, we will read the arguments for both sides of these kinds of hot topics as a way to practice critical thinking and clearly communicating your own opinion about these kinds of topics.

FYE-111-27 | Taking Sides: Controversial Issues

Professors: Dr. Terrance Alladin & Michael Davis 


The United States has the highest number of incarcerated persons in the world. The term "incarceration nation" is now used to describe our criminal justice correctional system. Do Black lives matter or are the police just doing their job? Does racial profiling exist? Should the Federal government legalize recreational marijuana? These are some of the issues that will be discussed in this course. This course encourages critical thought. Students are not confined to adopting one or the other position presented; they may see important points on both sides of an issue and may construct a new or creative approach.

FYE-111-28 | Dystopian & Apocalyptic Literature

Professors: Dr. Jeffrey Ritchie & Todd Snovel 


Apocalyptic literature and films are prevalent in times of social, cultural or technological change. Aside from providing thought-provoking settings for works of fiction, the treatment of such themes often reveal the anxieties of the age. From graphic novels to literature, and film, this course will analyze what these apocalyptic settings can tell us about cultural anxieties and concerns. The course will engage works such as The Girl with All the Gifts, The Road, and Cloud Atlas, films such as Dr. Strange Love, The Road Warrior/Fury Road, The Matrix, Apocalypto, and Snowpiercer and smaller works of poetry, short fiction, and myths.

FYE 111-29 | Sports Journalism

Professors: Jaime Fettrow-Alderfer and Beth Julian


Students will study how sports have impacted our society and how the media has shaped the relationship. As a class, we will study the history of sports journalism, and students will read and analyze a variety of writing styles from sportswriters in all media, including broadcast, print and the web.

FYE-112-01 | A Good Argument?

Professor: Theresa Rosenberg 

Prerequisite: FYE 111, or permission of the instructor 


The civil exchange of opposing viewpoints is the cornerstone of a democratic republic. However, in recent years, those exchanges are rare and often riddled with logical fallacies rather than effective rhetoric. Most people simply assert their viewpoints without listening to the opposition. In this class, we will discuss effective ways to communicate a particular viewpoint in academic writing using various elements of argumentation. We will examine several historical pieces of writing including "A Modest Proposal" and "Civil Disobedience" as well as articles written on more contemporary controversies. An extended research paper and presentation are required components of this course.