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UF 100 THEMES

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WHAT DOES EVERY UF 100 CLASS HAVE IN COMMON?

Each Foundations of Intellectual Life 100 class will challenge you to become a more active and expert learner as you investigate important ideas that affect everyone. UF 100 classes are designed to help you further develop two complex skills that successful students continue sharpening throughout college and life: critical inquiry and oral communication.

FALL 2018 UF 100 CLASSES

Choose any ONE class topic and register for BOTH sections of the class: a plenary AND a discussion section. 

ALIEN WORLDS, ALIEN LIFE

Does life exist beyond Earth? We are living through an age of rapid discovery, within our solar system and beyond, and scientists are developing new and exciting answers to this age-old question. In this course, students will learn about the science behind planetary exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life—and even have the opportunity to conduct their own astronomical observations. We will also explore how astronomical discoveries have shaped and been shaped by the societies in which they occur. Lead Instructor: Brian Jackson.

ECONOMIC DECISION MAKING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

A person decides to throw a plastic water bottle in the trash. A mountain biker decides to ride in a wilderness area. A developer decides to build homes in a flood zone. What is the economic impact of individual decisions like these? This course explores fundamental concepts of economic theory and applies them to decisions people make every day. Through experiments, observation, and a final, culminating project, students will gain greater insight into how our everyday choices affect the environment. Lead Instructor: Guido Giuntini.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES: TALKIN’ TRASH

This course will raise complex historical, political, economic, and ecological issues related to our stewardship of the environment by examining the local and global role of trash in modern human society. We will track the production, management, disposal, and re-use of trash and consider best practices and innovative solutions to an ancient problem:  What we should do with the things we can’t use or no longer want? Lead Instructor: Mari Rice.

FOUNDATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is one of the most complicated and challenging problems the world has ever faced. In this class, we will interrogate both its causes and consequences. Are you ready to evaluate how climate change will influence ecosystems, natural resources, food security, and energy use? Have you considered what part human nature or culture plays? A diverse group of educators, citizens, and scientists will join us as we construct a rich, many-sided portrait of climate change. Expect to rigorously evaluate the scientific and cultural insights offered by our guest speakers as you read, write, present, and become an expert learner. Lead Instructors: Stephen Crowley, Jennifer Pierce, and Stewart Gardner.

GOD & THE GOOD LIFE

All human beings are concerned with big questions about their lives: What is a good life?  How shall I live? What is a good society? Throughout human history, great minds and civilizations have grappled with important questions like these. In this course, you will examine different answers thinkers from ancient to contemporary have given to enduring questions about life and the universe. Lead Instructor: Andrew Cortens.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS

How can we use the past to help us understand and respond to the present? Media coverage of current events often lacks coherent, meaningful, and useful historical context. In this class we will (a) explore the past to reveal the origins and development of current events; (b) identify similarities and differences between the past and present; and (c) examine how people acted/reacted in the past—for better or worse. Ultimately, this class will help you develop the skills and tools to make sense of the past, so that you can make better decisions in the present and future. Lead Instructor: Bob Reinhardt.

HISTORY OF IDENTITY

Some of our identities are given to us, while others are chosen, and each of these identities is either thin (of minimal importance) or thick (of greater significance). These thin and thick identities help define who we are individually and collectively. In this course, students will explore the complex and layered nature of identity through case studies that will include: the university (change and continuity of institutional identity), Basques (change and continuity of ethnic and collective identity), and America (origins of the present American identity crisis: Red v. Blue America). Lead Instructor: John Ysursa.

HISTORY’S BIGGEST QUESTIONS

Does God exist? How should we treat others? Is life meaningful? How can we determine what is true? This course will examine important philosophical responses to these big questions. You will learn to think more clearly and logically about them, to treat opposing views with fairness and honesty, and to see philosophical thinking not as a purely academic exercise, but as something of the utmost relevance to the real-life choices we all face. Lead Instructor: Shelton Woods.

THE IMPACT OF MATERIALS ON SOCIETY

From ancient cities and Roman baths to steel foundries and Tupperware parties to virtual communities and nanomedicine, the physical properties of different materials have intersected with cultural variables to shape human civilization. By connecting lessons from the past to today’s cutting-edge materials, this course will explore the future social impacts of new materials on medicine, construction, transportation, clean energy, sports, and other areas. Students will explore how engineers and their materials-based technologies shape our society, as well as how society shapes engineering innovations. Lead Instructor: Amy Moll.

INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT IN 21ST CENTURY HEALTH, HEALTHCARE, AND WELL-BEING

America spends more money per person on healthcare than any other developed nation, yet we rank 42nd in life expectancy. The good news is that each of us can help change the situation. We’ll explore the small, preventive steps individual students can take to improve their own well-being, critically examine the variables that can be changed within America’s healthcare system, and explore the 8 dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, social, financial, intellectual, occupational, environmental, and spiritual). Lead Instructor: Jillian Moroney.

LITERATURE FOR LIFE: GRAIL QUEST

Medieval quest stories inspire our movies, games, and fantasy novels. As you encounter grail quests from the past and present, you will explore shifting ideas about spiritual purpose and changing notions of community. Your imaginative responses to grail literature will empower you to explore your assumptions, your ideals, and your life goals. Lead Instructors: Linda Marie Zaerr and Elizabeth Cook.

MEDIA LITERACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Why is “the media” the way it is? Like fish immersed in water, we live in a world dominated by media products and messages, and it can be hard to take a step back and examine this environment. That is why we need to develop media literacy: the ability to analyze media messages and their social contexts. In this class, you will learn how to sort fact from fiction, how to separate reality from its representation, and how to use media to be an active participant in public life. Lead Instructor: Seth Ashley.

NAVIGATING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

Engaging in conflict management requires the ability to foster dialogue and to explore differences in a productive and respectful way. How do we explore potential agreements when our polarized views and communication patterns lead to distrust? This course will develop the skills necessary for handling conflict. You will learn the fundamentals of negotiation as you are trained to listen persuasively and mediate disputes. Plenaries are highly interactive with group and individual exercises. Discussion sections will include role plays. This course satisfies the Idaho Mediation Association’s basic mediation training requirement. Lead Instructor: Brian Pappas.

THE PURPOSES OF COLLEGE: LITERATURE ON THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

What should college be for? This course plunges students into an examination of higher education and its role in society. Students are expected to dig deeply into a wide range of readings and to explore the purposes of college from multiple perspectives. Students work extensively in teams to research and share ideas about how to make the most of their own university experience and how to shape higher education for the future. Lead Instructors: Jennifer Black and Stephanie Cox.

POWER & VIOLENCE

What are the economic, political, and cultural causes of violence around the world? At the start of 2018, dozens of active conflicts raged throughout the globe, including: civil wars in Syria and Yemen, drug violence in Mexico, an endless conflict in Afghanistan, and terrorist insurgencies in Nigeria and Somalia. In this course, students will explore global political violence through an interdisciplinary mix of political science, history, economics, and anthropology. We will consider innovative ways governments and societies can respond to political violence. Lead Instructor: Isaac Castellano.

RELIGION’S PAST & FUTURE

Many people predicted the decline of religion in modern society, yet it has continued to flourish around the globe. Religion is clearly not going away anytime soon, but its function is a subject of debate. Some see religion as the foundation of societal morals; others condemn it as the source of societal violence. In light of these conflicting claims, this course asks the following question: What was the role of religion in the past, and what should it be in the future? If we critically engage the complexity of religious history and belief, we can better address the pressing questions about religion in our shared future. Lead Instructor: Matthew Recla.

SEX, LOVE, & EVOLUTION: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL APPROACH

How do we make sense of the human sexual experience? From romantic and sexual partners to friends, enemies, and everything in-between, how can we best understand the great diversity of intimate relationships across cultures and time? This course will help you make sense of our ever-changing social world as you learn about the evolutionary history of our species and cross-cultural variations in behavior. You will also investigate how anthropological approaches help us understand human behavior and the challenges we face as a species. Lead Instructors:  John Ziker and Nicole Herzog.

TELLING STORIES WITH DATA

Given the rivers of data flowing through the world, the ability to find meaningful messages and communicate them is rare and valuable. This introduction to data science will familiarize you with modern tools for the collection, analysis, and visualization of data and teach you how to build and interpret informational displays. Along the way, you will explore ways to effectively use data to support and refute claims, teach or persuade others, gather insights, and generate new questions. Lead Instructor: Joe Champion.

THE URBAN IDEA: CITIES OF TOMORROW

Imagine the urban future. Imagine the Boise valley with two tall cities larger than Cleveland by the time the Class of 2020 reaches retirement age. UF 100: Cities of Tomorrow invites students to read the skylines and think about what to expect. Topics include: cities as ecosystems of energy and innovation, cities with Google cars and sci-fi architecture, cities blighted and starkly divided by income and race. Bring a sense of adventure. We promise a thrilling ride. Lead Instructor: Amanda Ashley.

(UN)NATURAL DISASTERS: A GEOSCIENCE PERSPECTIVE ON NATURAL HAZARDS, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND SOCIETY

Are YOU prepared for Natural Hazards? Is Yellowstone really going to blow? Regardless of where we live now or in the future, we all face threats from possible natural hazard events. This course will help you understand the geologic and climate processes that result in natural hazard events (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, floods, landslides, severe weather, and more). By the end of this class, you will understand the causes and consequences of a variety of natural hazards and know how individuals and communities can work together to reduce their impact. Lead Instructors: Brittany Brand and Jennifer Pierce.