Of Orcs, Elves, Dwarfs, Hobbits, and Men
A quest to understand the creatures of Middle Earth in the Third Age created by J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. We read the series and look deeper than the movies at how fate and predestination are interwoven with choices for good and for ill. Did the Ring completely expel goodness from a Gollum's heart? What is the source of the magic? Were Orcs clones of Sauron? Join our search for truth, if you dare! Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne ...
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them ...
Our class addresses big questions but also introduces students to the skills they need in college, and presents them with opportunities to study with others who share their interests
When the Buffalo Roamed the Carolinas
When the Buffalo Roamed the Carolinas Collecting and processing massive and delicious Burr Oak acorns to make acorn flour for acorn cakes. We study the historical ecology of the Carolinas integrating history, anthropology, and ecology to predict change over the next 500 years.
How Sports Have Shaped Society
This First Year Seminar (FYS) course is specifically designed for resident freshmen who want an integrated academic, co-curricular, and social experience. Students taking this section will live on the same residence hall floor, participate in regular hall programs specific to the class, study together, and be enrolled together in the FYS section. (A Living/Learning Community)
The Food, People, and Art of the American South
We use writing and reading about place—the American South — to understand personal identity. We turn our experiences and families into essays, conduct interviews and write magazine-style profiles, and critique music, movies, literature, and art. We visit Mert’s and the Mint Museum in Charlotte — and, of course, we eat barbecue.
Fun reading! “Y’all Ain’t Leaving ‘Til You Eat This Thing: Writing about Food,” “Fishing from Highway Overpasses: Writing about People & Place,” “(Re) Defining a Region: Cooking Southern Food, Filming Southern Movies, and Making Southern Music.”
How are civilizations the same and how are they different? How has the world as we know it changed and evolved? And what do tea and crumpets and croquet really mean?
FIRST! First-Generation Seminar
What does it mean to be first? This FYS explores famous firsts, looks at the challenges with the first gen student, builds social and cultural capital ... and travels to Washington DC over break!
"My FYS had a diverse group of students with one very important thing in common: we were all "firsts." - Chris Money
"Taking an FYS course for first-generation students has shown me that there are other people like me, other people who are dedicated and determined to achieve some of the highest goals in life" - Gina Gerone
Life's Big Questions
Seeks to help students identify a sense of purpose in life and to recognize their capacity to make a difference!
Students grapple with 'what is success?', 'what does it mean to be happy and how do I find happiness?', 'what is it to be a good person?', 'how can I make a difference?' and 'what do I hope to get out of life ... and give to the lives of others?'
Dinners, movies, and speakers complement class work.
"Great course. I learned so much about myself and feel that I know the direction I want to go with my life."
"...the course really helped me get off to a good start with my college career."
Animals in Translation
We ponder the often contradictory relationships we experience with the creatures around us as they serve as pets, food sources, entertainment, and test subjects, considering the religious, socio-political, psychological, and scientific theories about these relationships and reflect on the way animals are presented in art and literature.
"This class has allowed me to investigate and truly understand the relationships between animals and humans." - Ashley Everidge
"The topics for this course are highly compelling, and they have helped me to form my own opinions and gain a greater sense of self. The class is like a family, and we have all been able to share some great times..." - Kathleen Burris
"FYS it is one of my hardest classes but it has been essential to my learning of time management and what college is supposed to be like! But I have had a blast with the discussions and the trips that we have taken." - Alex Fulton
Pay it Forward: Corporate Social Responsibility
We explore the motives of corporations and the implications of their "good works" on society—and then we evaluate "good works" performed by individuals and how they impact society as a whole. Social responsibility is examined from different perspectives—historical, social, economic, and ethical.
"I plan on helping build the house for the needy family—it will serve a wonderful purpose and help me share an emotional bond." - Justin McCrary
"I'm helping at the Harvest Moon Ball at a nursing home. All of these activities are through Volunteer Catawba." - Katie Kennedy
Bet on it!
This seminar explores the mathematics behind popular games and sports. We look at the probabilities in games, the mathematics of gaming, and the implications of gambling, games, and sports on society. We examine gaming from various perspectives, including the historical, economic, and ethical.
Race and Gender Issues in African-American Literature
Have race relations in America changed? We explore those relations in literature, music, and film, and attempt to understand the effects of that history on our relationships with each other.
"The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image." - Charles Chesnutt
Student Activism: Waiting for the World to Change
How has activism on campus influenced generations of students and how have these movements generated some of the most celebratory, liberating, and even tragic events in our nation's history? The focus of this seminar is to review activism events on campus that will demonstrate the enormous power of the student voice.
To better connect our students in the community of Salisbury we visit the elderly in various communities in Salisbury, delivering conversation and diabetic friendly Halloween Candy Bags.
Barbecue: Culture as Reflected in Culinary Tradition
Students explore the history of barbecue in historical, cultural, social, political, and religious contexts with an emphasis on North Carolina barbecue. Class activities include research, writing, guest speakers, visits to local BBQ "joints," and opportunities to attend both the largest barbecue festival in the nation (Lexington, NC) and a local barbecue competition (Salisbury, NC).
What Else But Home?
This seminar uses Michael Rosen's provocative memoir to look at the problem of poverty, class, race, and social opportunities from a variety of academic perspectives. We examine how ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, history,immigration, and finances all play a role in shaping the opportunities Americans have ... and we consider whether differences among people can be transcended by compassion, money, second chances ... and perhaps even baseball.
Author Michael Rosen "joins" our class by responding to student questions about his book and by participating on our class Facebook page!