UNDERGRADUATE CORE CURRICULUM

First-Year Seminar Courses 2021-2022

You'll take a FYS within your first two semesters at Xavier. FYS is a rigorous, academic, 3-credit course. In the catalog, FYS is called CORE 100. Search under "Core Curriculum" to find these courses.

Spring 2022

Growing Pains
Kelly Austin

Welcome to college, that space between adolescence and full-blown adulting. That means the freedoms and responsibilities of adulthood, without the experience. It's a time to explore who you want to be (identity) and what you want to do (vocation). Some psychologists call this developmental phase emerging adulthood. In this section of First-Year Seminar, we'll study theories of development, identity and belonging to see what makes this phase of life unique and interesting and challenging—and sometimes terrifying. After all, they're called "growing pains" for a reason. We'll examine literature that highlights adolescence and emerging adulthood, and use those discussions to investigate your own journey on the path to adulthood.

 

Slow Food: We Are What We Eat
Kelly Blank

Slow Food is an international movement that began in Italy in 1986, emphasizing Good, Clean, and Fair food. In this First Year Seminar, we will discuss the history, philosophy, and influence of the Slow Food movement worldwide while examining the problems with the modern agricultural machine both in a local and in a global context. Topics of discussion will include the importance of local and seasonal produce, the inherent connections between plate and planet, the water footprint of food, labeling of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), biodiversity, food deserts, and the ethics of meat production and consumption.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Uprising: Slave Rebellions in the Atlantic World

Randy Browne

From the early 1500s through the end of the nineteenth century, millions of Africans and their descendants were enslaved throughout the Americas. In this seminar we will explore enslaved people's armed resistance to slavery, during the Middle Passage and in American slave societies.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

House of Dawn: Grand Canyon and Navajo Nation

Leon Chartrand

Sacred Navajo places--like Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Canyon de Chelly--teach us what it means to be human. In sacred places, we touch the pulse of a living planet. We feel fully alive because these places are fully alive. There, we discover the center of being. Flowing through us like breath are timeless lessons borne from a silence that transcends space and time. Just as the Ancient Ones did, we go to these places not for beauty and inspiration, but for the lessons. This course includes travel over Spring Break to the Grand Canyon and the Navajo Nation. You must pre-register and deposit at http://xavierexpeditions.com

 

Black Literature and Faith

Adam Clark

This seminar explores the dynamics of faith, struggle, resistance, and hope in the lives of African Americans from the deep past to the present through the lens of great works in classic and modern Black literature.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Metaphor, Memes, and the Power of Language

Jane Conzett

What does human language reveal about what we believe? In this seminar, we will explore conceptual metaphor-- something that is often “invisible” to us--and examine its use in multiple disciplines.  We will also take a short dive into memes as a subset of metaphor, focusing on their original, broader definition and their transition to today’s internet memes.  Our overarching questions will be, “What is the power of language?” and “What is its role in the Greater Good?”

 

International Business and Sustainability

Elaine Crable

In this class, we will explore global issues around sustainability which have become an increasingly important part of doing business. Simply put, sustainability is key to creating long-term value for an organization since it operates in ecological, social, economic, and international environments. An added value is that we will explore these issues with an international partner from a Jesuit university in South America. This will be a great opportunity to conncet wtih Spanish-speaking students, especially if you would like to practice your Spanish. The relationships that you will build during this 15-week class will last a lifetime and you will find that you will want to visit your South American partners in the future.

 

Great (and not so great) Expectations

Lara Dorger

We live in our own heads most of the time, but we often evaluate our wants mostly in terms of the outcomes rather than what makes the foundations of our wants. Often our sense of success is arbitrary and personal and may depend mostly on preconceived beliefs. Rather than focusing on solely an end result, a more-sound approach would involve understanding our expectations going forward. This seminar has you carefully reading 12 short stories to use as a springboard to foster the practice of asking questions about topics relevant to you at this time: school, career, and relationships, among other subjects. Some of the questions you will have the chance to discuss are "Can I be a good friend if I stop listening to my friend's problems?" "How much work am I willing to do to get an A?" or the age-old question "What is love?" While answers may not be forthcoming for all questions, you will have the chance to create the habit of examining your expectations prior to evaluating your success or failure, a key component to analysis, through the media of short stories and writing.

 

 

Sport at the Service of Humanity
Sr. Rose Ann Fleming

How can sport serve humanity? Selected readings show how sport brings humanity together across global boundaries to celebrate human talent, regardless of religion, race, culture, beliefs, gender and ability. Immersive experiences such as visits and interviews with members of professional teams and NCAA Division I teams, indicate how sport teaches men and women positive values of joy, respect, love, compassion, enlightenment and balance. Dialoguing with sport experts, and attendance at local sports games, enables the class participant to reflect, critique, and discuss, orally and in writing, the principles and values that sport offers humanity, as well as how to address the evils and scandals that can arise when the power of wealth and greed in sport corrupt the sport environment.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

History of Xavier

C. Walker Gollar

Description coming soon

 

Entrepreneurship: How to Outswim the Sharks in the Tank
Mike Halloran

This course dives into the questions of how and why entrepreneurship can serve the greater good and the role of entrepreneurship in your professional career, no matter what career that you decide to pursue. Learn how entrepreneurs deal with failure, find their purpose, and their keys to success. Course includes 8-10 guest entrepreneur speakers, thought-providing class discussions, learning about the exciting entrepreneurial community in Cincinnati, and investigating the benefits and costs of entrepreneurship for individuals and society as a whole.

 


Revolutionary Reels

David Inczauskis, S.J.

Students will analyze one film from each continent to discover how filmmakers capture and/or criticize revolutionary politics through their cinematographic technique. Students will choose by popular vote the films that we’ll watch. Some possibilities include October by Sergei Eisenstein, The Wind That Shakes the Barley by Ken Loach, Burn! by Gillo Pontecorvo, South of the Border by Oliver Stone, Concerning Violence by Goran Olsson, When the Mountains Tremble by Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel, and Parasite by Bong Joon-ho. Finally, students will select a film of their choice and use the tools they've acquired in the class to assess its take on a particular revolutionary social movement.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Colonial Shadows

José María Mantero

In this course, we will study works of literature, art, and film to better understand how colonial ideologies are still present today in the Americas and how these relate to our own individual faith and our Jesuit institutional identity. The readings (short stories, poems, essays, and a series of scholarly articles) and works of art (paintings, etchings, graphic art and graffiti, for example) will come from traditional and non-traditional sources as we examine the parallels between literary and artistic expressions within a discrete historical context. We will also study films and include other digital media such as podcasts and video recordings that document and construct the historical perspective. The overall objective of the course is to examine the manner in which specific texts, works, media, and artistic objectives dialogue with a particular historical context and both reflect and transcend broader shifts in ideology and faith.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Food on the Move: From Ship to Shore

Margaret Martin

In this FYS, we explore food on the move, from ancient Roman olive oil to South African wine, from wars "won on their stomachs" to high-tech military labs, from banana boats to modern shipping containers. Our plates are full--of history, technology, logistics, economics, politics, ethics, and more.

 

The Art of Expression: Cultivating Creativity for Balance, Growth, and Community

Madeleine Mitchell

Anyone can be an artist, but many people don't see themselves as one. This seminar explores how creative expression is an integral part of being human and how it contributes to personal and intellectual growth, meaningful life work, and stronger communities. In this course, we will examine various roles of artistic expression in society: healer, teller of hard truths, voice of solidarity, and catalyst for social change. Students will study and research examples of art movements, engage with local artists, and create individual works of art.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

On Common Ground: Mexico and the U.S.
Julia O'Hara

Mexico and the U.S. share one of the world's most important international partnerships. How has this relationship developed, and why has it become so tense? What does the greater good mean for the people of both nations? This class explores these and other questions through the history, politics and culture linking people on both sides of the border.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

It's Alive!: From Frankenstein to Artificial Intelligence
David Reid

In this multidisciplinary seminar, we’ll begin with a close reading of Mary Shelley’s timeless 1818 novel Frankenstein and will trace its evolution into the pop-culture icon it has become. Included in the first part of the course will be literary analysis that situates Shelley’s masterpiece in historical and philosophical context. In the second half of the course, we will extend the themes and ideas of Frankenstein into our modern world of artificial intelligence, considering issues of The Common Good along the way. The course materials will include four novels, one biography and several films. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein…200 years old…and yet…it’s alive!

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

  

 

Walking: An Historical Act

Kathleen Smythe

Walking is one of the hallmarks of being human. And yet, as 21st century humans, we either take it for granted or rarely engage in it. This course aims to correct both of those cultural failings. This is an experiential learning course. We will walk, we will read, we will explore, we will talk to people we meet on the way, and we will share with each other what we learn. We will look at walking historically, culturally, mechanically, spiritually, and philosophically. 

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Dante: Pilgrim of the Mind

Michael Sweeney

Dante will be our guide to college as a journey--a pilgrimage of the mind. Medieval pilgrimage was a physical journey to the Holy Land or to some other holy site that was meant to change and reherase the journey of a life. In the Divine Comedy, Dante is often called a "pilgrim," but the Divine Comedy is a different kind of journey, an intellectual journey that is meant to change and rehearse the journey of a life. This course will propose the question whether college is merely job training or whether it is also an intellectual pilgrimage. We will read closely Dante's Divine Comedy with the assistance of selections from Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and Thomas Aquinas's Summa theologiae.

  

Survey of Emerging Artforms

Jason C. White

This course helps students to answer the question, “What’s new in the Arts?” by introducing them to emerging art movements and new genres of art developing around the world. Using excerpts from selected arts-based history books and video demonstrations, this course also introduces students to innovators and pioneers of contemporary visual, literary and performing arts practices.

 

Ireland, Culture, & Film
Timothy White

Employing film as a means of expressing and critiquing culture, this course explores the development of Irish nationalism and those who were not fully included in historic conceptions of Irish national identity. How did Irish nationalism marginalize women, Protestants, travellers, emigrants, new arrivals, and the poor in society? Have recent changes in Ireland contributed to a more inclusive national conception of the greater good? How has Northern Ireland developed a separate culture? Has historic Protestant ascendancy given way to parity of esteem and a true peace since the Good Friday Agreement?

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

 

Fall 2021

Growing Pains
Kelly Austin

Welcome to college, that space between adolescence and full-blown adulting. That means the freedoms and responsibilities of adulthood, without the experience. It's a time to explore who you want to be (identity) and what you want to do (vocation). Some psychologists call this developmental phase emerging adulthood. In this section of First-Year Seminar, we'll study theories of development, identity and belonging to see what makes this phase of life unique and interesting and challenging—and sometimes terrifying. After all, they're called "growing pains" for a reason. We'll examine literature that highlights adolescence and emerging adulthood, and use those discussions to investigate your own journey on the path to adulthood.

 

State-Sanctioned Violence in the U.S.

ShaDawn Battle

On February 23, 2020, a Black man was gunned down for jogging while Black. His murderers insisted that they were fulfilling a civic duty. This heinous murder flew under the national radar for over a month. But why? Ida B. Wells once argued that the grotesque spectacles of anti-violence during Post-Reconstruction were so common that they "failed to have any visible effect upon the human sentiments of the people of our land." And still today, the ubiquitous scenes of violence enacted against Black bodies have desensitized the nation in teh worst way. This seminar will expose the multi-faceted nature of state-sanctioned, anti-Black violence in the U.S. through literary representations, such as The Hate U Give; critical discourse, such as The New Jim Crow; real case examples, such as the Sandra Bland and Michael Brown murder cases; and through propular media such as 13th and When They See Us. In efforts to arouse empathetic reactions in response to state-sanctioned violence, students will become cultural curators, producing TEDTalks, zines, and protest songs. Students should also expect seminar-style discussions, resulting in the production of critical, analytical, and reflective prose.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Ethics, Justice and the Environment
Brent Blair

We each depend on the environment in obvious and subtle ways. But, how we perceive nature and choose to treat it depends on many factors including time period, culture, and economic status. In this course we will explore these ideas as well as how degraded environments impact human wellbeing differently depending on who you are (e.g., race, class & gender) and where you live. Basic ecological and environmental science principles will be explored.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Paris

Rachel Chrastil

Paris: the City of Light. Over the last two centuries, city planners, revolutionaries, artists, immigrants and tourists have all shaped Paris into their vision of the good city. In this course you’ll explore Paris from the catacombs to the top of the Eiffel Tower through novels, paintings, films, memoirs, and famous monuments.

This course includes units focused on issues of diversity and inclusion.

 

Metaphor, Memes, and the Power of Language

Jane Conzett

What does human language reveal about what we believe? In this seminar, we will explore conceptual metaphor-- something that is often “invisible” to us--and examine its use in multiple disciplines.  We will also take a short dive into memes as a subset of metaphor, focusing on their original, broader definition and their transition to today’s internet memes.  Our overarching questions will be, “What is the power of language?” and “What is its role in the Greater Good?”

 

Great (and not so great) Expectations

Lara Dorger

We live in our own heads most of the time, but we often evaluate our wants mostly in terms of the outcomes rather than what makes the foundations of our wants. Often our sense of success is arbitrary and personal and may depend mostly on preconceived beliefs. Rather than focusing on solely an end result, a more-sound approach would involve understanding our expectations going forward. This seminar has you carefully reading 12 short stories to use as a springboard to foster the practice of asking questions about topics relevant to you at this time: school, career, and relationships, among other subjects. Some of the questions you will have the chance to discuss are "Can I be a good friend if I stop listening to my friend's problems?" "How much work am I willing to do to get an A?" or the age-old question "What is love?" While answers may not be forthcoming for all questions, you will have the chance to create the habit of examining your expectations prior to evaluating your success or failure, a key component to analysis, through the media of short stories and writing.

 

Conserving Nature

George Farnsworth

How should we view and manage native and introduced species? How should society decide to spend resources, effort, and regulations trying to preserve species? In this course we will explore what species we value and how we try to keep them from going extinct. Why are some species called “invasive” while others are designated as “endangered” and protected? We will examine the history that led to the distinct roles National Parks, Nature Preserves, Wilderness Areas, and Wildlife Refuges play in trying to preserve nature. Why do we even want to? Are there philosophical, ethical, religious, and/or scientific reasons?

 

Sport at the Service of Humanity
Sr. Rose Ann Fleming

How can sport serve humanity? Selected readings show how sport brings humanity together across global boundaries to celebrate human talent, regardless of religion, race, culture, beliefs, gender and ability. Immersive experiences such as visits and interviews with members of professional teams and NCAA Division I teams, indicate how sport teaches men and women positive values of joy, respect, love, compassion, enlightenment and balance. Dialoguing with sport experts, and attendance at local sports games, enables the class participant to reflect, critique, and discuss, orally and in writing, the principles and values that sport offers humanity, as well as how to address the evils and scandals that can arise when the power of wealth and greed in sport corrupt the sport environment.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

History of Xavier

C. Walker Gollar

This course explores the history of Xavier especially in relationship to recent campus-wide discussions about Xavier’s historical connections to slavery. Amidst national debate about what to do with Confederate monuments, how to make sense of the brutal killing of George Floyd, and what the recent events at the Capitol signify, etc., Xavier has been wrestling with some heretofore untold aspects of the school’s past. Over the past four years, Xavier has entertained some vibrant conversations. This course is an invitation to join the discussion.

 

Entrepreneurship: How to Outswim the Sharks in the Tank
Mike Halloran

This course dives into the questions of how and why entrepreneurship can serve the greater good and the role of entrepreneurship in your professional career, no matter what career that you decide to pursue. Learn how entrepreneurs deal with failure, find their purpose, and their keys to success. Course includes 8-10 guest entrepreneur speakers, thought-providing class discussions, learning about the exciting entrepreneurial community in Cincinnati, and investigating the benefits and costs of entrepreneurship for individuals and society as a whole.

 

Transcending Humanity: The New Biology
James Helmer

The American futurist and transhumanist thinker Ray Kurzweil has suggested that the essence of humanity is our creation and employment of technology.In exploring ethical and religious themes in relation to emerging biotechnologies, this seminar will engage "big questions" such as the reality of God/the Transcendent, the meaning of human existence, and the nature of the human condition (e.g., embodiment, life, death, sickness, disease, finitude, moral perfection).The seminar will give particular consideration to the ethics of employing such biotechnologies in order to overcome human limitation and to fundamentally alter the human condition.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

No Such Thing as a Stupid Question (in Business and Economics)

Jagan Jacob

Course description coming soon.  

 

God on Trial

Martin Madar

This seminar will examine the religious dimension of human existence in relation to a number of problems and challenges: the problem of knowledge; the relation of faith and reason; various historical, social and existential critiques of belief; the challenge of atheism and humanism.

 

Food on the Move: From Ship to Shore

Margaret Martin

In this FYS, we explore food on the move, from ancient Roman olive oil to South African wine, from wars "won on their stomachs" to high-tech military labs, from banana boats to modern shipping containers. Our plates are full--of history, technology, logistics, economics, politics, ethics, and more.

 

The Human Need for Narrative
Anne McCarty

Story? Who needs it? For a phenomenon that seems to serve little practical purpose for human survival, narrative plays a significant and ongoing role in our lives. In this class, we'll explore various facets and functions of story and consider the following questions. How do we shape and how are we shaped by narrative? How do we employ narrative as we attempt to understand, cope with, and modify our past, present, and future both as individuals and as a society? How do the stories we currently produce and consume contribute to or detract from the greater good?

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

The Art of Expression: Cultivating Creativity for Balance, Growth, and Community

Madeleine Mitchell

Anyone can be an artist, but many people don't see themselves as one. This seminar explores how creative expression is an integral part of being human and how it contributes to personal and intellectual growth, meaningful life work, and stronger communities. In this course, we will examine various roles of artistic expression in society: healer, teller of hard truths, voice of solidarity, and catalyst for social change. Students will study and research examples of art movements, engage with local artists, and create individual works of art.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Difficult Women
Niamh J. O’Leary

This seminar explores the concept of the "difficult woman," throughout history. Beginning with Medea and Eve, we consider these prototypes of difficult women--imperfect, vengeful, different visions of maternity, hypersexualized, and more. We will look at how stereotypes of the difficult woman operate differently for BIPOC women, and how they intersect with racism, classism, and more. We will trace these ideas about difficult women from literature, to film, to newsmedia, to the criminal justice system. The course asks how a more nuanced notion of femininity, gender, and power can contribute to the greater good, and how humanity is ill-served by fixating on ideas of difficult women.

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester

 

It's Alive!: From Frankenstein to Artificial Intelligence
David Reid

In this multidisciplinary seminar, we’ll begin with a close reading of Mary Shelley’s timeless 1818 novel Frankenstein and will trace its evolution into the pop-culture icon it has become. Included in the first part of the course will be literary analysis that situates Shelley’s masterpiece in historical and philosophical context. In the second half of the course, we will extend the themes and ideas of Frankenstein into our modern world of artificial intelligence, considering issues of The Common Good along the way. The course materials will include four novels, one biography and several films. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein…200 years old…and yet…it’s alive!

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

Confederate Monuments
Frank Rzeczkowski

This seminar examines the current controversies over monuments to the Confederacy through an examination of the broader historical, social, cultural, and political contexts surrounding the issue. We will also explore the ideas and purposes behind memorialization in a broader sense (including on Xavier’s campus), and seek to understand the decision-making process behind memorialization and the messages memorials seek to convey.

 

Marriage: Crisis and Renewal

Marita von Weissenberg

How do we know what marriage is? How, when, and why does marriage challenge or renew the greater good, and how can we even know? This course seeks to complicate our assumptions of marriage by exploring what marriage has been, is, and might yet become within the Western tradition. We will examine notions of marriage by examining ways history, law, psychology, and literature – to name a few – study marriage.

 

Survey of Emerging Artforms

Jason C. White

This course helps students to answer the question, “What’s new in the Arts?” by introducing them to emerging art movements and new genres of art developing around the world. Using excerpts from selected arts-based history books and video demonstrations, this course also introduces students to innovators and pioneers of contemporary visual, literary and performing arts practices.

 

Ireland, Culture, & Film
Timothy White

Employing film as a means of expressing and critiquing culture, this course explores the development of Irish nationalism and those who were not fully included in historic conceptions of Irish national identity. How did Irish nationalism marginalize women, Protestants, travellers, emigrants, new arrivals, and the poor in society? Have recent changes in Ireland contributed to a more inclusive national conception of the greater good? How has Northern Ireland developed a separate culture? Has historic Protestant ascendancy given way to parity of esteem and a true peace since the Good Friday Agreement?

This course addresses issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the semester.

 

 

Updated 22 October 2021.