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Course Topics

Intellectual Foundations (UF 100) is a class that will challenge you to ask questions and seek answers. The courses draw from content in many Disciplinary areas: History, Technology, Sociology, Theater, Literature, Communication, Business, Science, and more.

Choose ONE class topic and register for BOTH sections of the class: a plenary AND a discussion group. Download this PDF or read below to see the topics we are offering in Fall 2017.

Preview of Fall 2017 UF 100 Flyer

Click to Download Fall 2017 UF 100 Schedule


Rifts and Shifts: Investigating Social Change
Professors: Matt Recla

Rifts_Shifts Image

From civil rights to social media, our world is changing faster than ever. But what makes it happen? This course explores how and why change takes place by examining characteristics that shape important social movements. Plenaries blend lecture with individual and group interactive participation. The semester culminates with your individual digital project on a contemporary social issue. Can you predict what change lies ahead?

Navigating Identity: Mapping Your Journey
Professors: John Ysursa & Guy Hudson

Navigating Identity ImageHow will you define yourself?  For most of human history, individual identities were largely assigned by birth as defined by the family, tribe, or larger community. Making use of case studies as examples (Basques & ethnicity, Boise State & university affiliation, and defining being American), students will explore the modern notion of identity more deeply.  Students can expect weekly readings and assignments, as well as individual and team presentations.


American Health and Health Care – Changing the Prognosis
Professor: Ronald Pfeiffer & Michelle Ihmels

Health and Health Care PictureAmerica spends more money per capita on healthcare than any other developed nation, yet we rank 42nd in life expectancy.  Although many factors drive this paradox, the good news is that each of us can help change the situation. We’ll explore the small, preventative steps individual students can take to improve their own health, critically examine the variables that can be changed within America’s healthcare system, and listen to expert guest speakers from several fields–including medicine, finance, insurance, and community planning.

Thinking about Climate Change
Professors: Stewart Gardner & Jennifer Pierce

The planet you live on is changing. You are one of the billions who will be affected by that change. How well do you understand the biggest environmental story of our time? Are  you ready to evaluate the complex projections of climate scientists? To take part in the social debate? To respond to its human consequences? A diverse group of artists, 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.

The History and Future of Education (Limited Enrollment, Online Only)
Professors: Steph Cox & Jen Black

ThiHistory and Future of Education Images course plunges students into an examination of higher education and its role in our society. Students are expected to dig deeply into readings from ancient Greece to modern times to explore multiple perspectives on the purposes of education. Using Blackboard, students complete quizzes and reflective writing. Students work extensively in teams to share their ideas for reinventing college for the future. An example of a final team project from this course:  Optimus University

The Biggest Questions
Professors: Shelton Woods & Rick Moore

Your years in college will shape who you are and whatBiggest Questions Image you become. This course will help students critically examine the answers to big questions everyone should consider—answers that many of us need to explore more deeply, take for granted, or have just never put into words. Students will study what other thinkers have said about formative questions, then consider and articulate their own positions. The big questions addressed in this course will include: Where is happiness found? What is love? And what is the difference between a student and a learner?

Cities of Tomorrow
Professors: Amanda Ashley & Todd Shallat

ImagiCities of Tomorrow Imagene 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.


Invention & Discovery
Professors: John Bieter & Peter Mullner

This course focuses on the many ways society and technology interact. Students will investigate the relationship between social conditions and technological breakthroughs by working on a research project of their own choosing. Projects will focus on inventors, inventions, technological trends, and transformative ideas. Students will spend much of their time on project research and will also work in teams to develop their ideas, as well as their ability to challenge and critique one another.