Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Autumn 2013 lineup for Freshman Collegium Seminars

It’s your first year at the UW. You’re looking for an interesting class to fill out your schedule, maybe a class that’s a little different from what you normally have to take. You don’t want another classroom with the desks arranged in rows. You want something fresh, lively, maybe a little off-beat. You want a class in which you can meet other people and get to know the professor. And you want a class where you don’t have to worry too much about the final grade.

Does this describe you? Then you should check out Collegium Seminars.

Autumn Quarter 2013

Note: For more specific information about a particular seminar, please contact the instructor listed for the course.

From the Colosseum to Husky Stadium: Sport, Spectacle, and Society

Sarah Stroup, Classics

  • GEN ST 197 A; SLN 14559
  • Th 10:30-11:20

Face Offs. Big Hits. Broken Bones. Bad Calls. The Roar of the Crowd. Victory! Defeat. But wait—are we talking about the gladiators of ancient Rome, and the violent clashes in the Colosseum, or about our own Husky football players, and our own Husky Stadium? In this freshman seminar, we shall talk about both, for sport and spectacle—and often, violent spectacle—was as culturally central to ancient Rome as it is to modern America. While focusing on a comparative (and enjoyable) study of past and present, students in this discussion-based seminar will gain crucial research and argumentation skills.

The Violence of the Small: Looking into Global Complexity

Clarke Speed, University Honors Program

  • GEN ST 197 C; SLN 14561
  • W 1:30-2:20

I have always been interested in the rest of the world – off the global path but tied to all things global. Here one finds the power of the small – people and societies that resist globalization and in a few cases those that remain un-captured by larger global flows. In some cases, the power of the small upsets the rule of law and the Nation State, as ethnic groups and factions in various regions fight both cultural and technological wars for survival. I want to talk about these small wars at very basic levels to get the big and small pictures of the power of the small.

Looking Through the Lens of Language

Laura McGarrity, Linguistics

  • GEN ST 197 D; SLN 14562
  • T 12:30-2:20

Language is a fundamental human characteristic. As such, the study of language can provide a window into human nature. This course aims to look at ways in which the study of language can be combined with a number of disciplines at the UW, cross-cutting various areas of study. Selected readings and potential visits to language-related labs and projects of study around the University will guide class discussions.

Doubt and Discovery in Astronomy: From Crystalline Spheres to an Infinite Universe

Ana Larson, Astronomy

GEN ST 197 E; SLN 14563

T 2:30-3:20

You are a student in Alexandria, Egypt, in 140 AD, under the tutelage of Claudius Ptolemy. You study an earth-centered universe made up of the planets and a crystalline sphere of stars. In 2013 AD you are a student at the U of W. The Universe has no center and possibly no edge; we cannot see and do not know what 96% of it is. How did we get to where we are? Where did the knowledge come from and why did it take 2000 years for our enlightenment? We will actively explore and find the answers to these questions.

Neuroscience and Society

Ellen Covey, Psychology

  • GEN ST 197 F; SLN 14564
  • M 2:30-3:20

This seminar will explore the ways in which neuroscience research influences, and is influenced by, society as a whole. We will consider the application of neuroscience concepts and methodology to fields such as forensics, law, marketing, medical ethics, artificial intelligence, warfare, entertainment, and education, and will consider how neuroscience research is influenced by factors such as economics, politics, religion, and technology. Students will conduct independent research on a topic of personal interest and discuss topics chosen by the instructor. There will be field trips and/or guest presentations to observe and/or learn about neuroscience techniques such as functional brain imaging.

How to Make Friends (and influence people)

Christina Fong, Management and Organization, School of Business

  • GEN ST 197 H; SLN 14566
  • W 10:30-11:20

This seminar will focus on the science of your social relationships. We’ll draw from social psychology, sociology, and other disciplines to discuss the theory and research behind how we make and maintain friends, and how our social relationships shape who we are, how we think, and how we behave. We’ll answer questions such as “What makes us likeable?” “Who do we want to be friends with?” and “How do our friendships affect our abilities to lead and change those around us?”

University Fiction: Is This Stuff True?

Anu Taranath, English and CHID

  • GEN ST 197 I; 14567
  • T 1:30-2:20

We all know that the academy- this place we spend most of our waking hours- certainly introduces us to new ideas and people. But did you know that the academy also breeds its own sordid plots, flamboyant characters and riveting dramas? “University Fiction,” also known as campus novels, refers to a growing genre of literature where the main action is set in and around a university. This quarter, we’ll read some funny and thought-provoking examples, debate their veracity, and learn a lot more about departmental politics, illicit romance, or plain old academic jealousy than you ever thought possible.

What is Philosophy?

William Talbott, Philosophy

  • GEN ST 197 J; 14568
  • W 3:30-4:20

What is Philosophy? This seminar will provide you an informal introduction to philosophy at the University of Washington. In this seminar, you will learn about some of the major areas of philosophy, you will read about some of the important philosophical issues in each of the major areas, and you will have an opportunity to discuss those issues in an informal setting. Questions to be discussed include: What makes acts right or wrong? What reason is there to do the right thing? What do we know and how do we know it? Is death bad? Are women oppressed? How many consciousnesses are inside my head?

Mathematics in our World

Andrew Loveless, Mathematics

  • GEN ST 197 K; SLN 14569
  • W 3:30-4:20

Mathematics is in everything we do. Topics will vary based on student’s interest, but I personally have interests in problems that appear in cryptography, networks, and discrete mathematics. Questions like how do we encode our credit card number so that only Amazon.com can read it? Or how can a delivery company minimize its fuel use? We will touch on many such questions and broadly discuss problems that are interesting to mathematicians and have far reaching applications. Throughout this discussion, I hope to convey the beauty and joy of problem solving which is at the heart of my love of mathematics.

Documents that Changed the World

Joseph Janes, Information School

  • GEN ST 197 L; 14570
  • Th 1:30-2:20

What do a standardized test, an x-ray, a papal decree, the rules of soccer, a map of a 19th century cholera epidemic, the president’s birth certificate, and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution have in common? Each of them, in their own way, has had an impact on some aspect of human history and society. In this seminar we’ll discuss these and other documents that have made a difference, how and why they were created, how they might be done today, and learn what all that tells us about documents…and about ourselves.

Sustainable Energy Solutions for the 21st Century: Science, Technology, and Policy

Payman Arabshahi, Electrical Engineering

  • GEN ST 197 N; 14572
  • T 9:30-10:20

Become an informed citizen of a new generation and prepare to contribute meaningfully to the energy debate. We will cover regional and global energy demand, sources, policy, current and future technologies, costs of sustainable energy production and its impacts on climate and the environment, and solutions to our energy problems. The class text will be “Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air” (download at http://withouthotair.com). Class will be structured around field trips and group projects.

Travel Writing for Student Travelers

Shawn Wong, English

  • GEN ST 197 O; 14573
  • W 11:30-10:20

This course will focus on travel writing and the kind of writing a student might find themselves engaged in while enrolled in a study abroad class. In other words, writing as a “traveler” rather than a tourist. Writing underneath the canopy of the popular tourist sites and looking for the understory. Students will not only read examples of travel writing by professional travel writers, but also writing by UW students who have participated in study abroad classes and/or traveled independently. Forms of writing will include memoir, personal essay, and “fictionalized autobiography.”

Leadership: It’s Not About the Title

Jerry Baldasty, Senior Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs

  • GEN ST 197 P; 14574
  • T 3:30-5:00

Acquiring leadership skills will be vital to success in your career – both here at UW and after you graduate. In this seminar, you’ll learn how to build and expand your own leadership abilities, and develop your own approach as a leader. Learn from some outstanding UW and community leaders –and learn that leadership is something you can exercise NOW; it’s not just a fancy title that you might acquire years from now.

Diversity Issues in Science

Beth Traxler, Microbiology

  • GEN ST 197 R; 14576
  • W 3:30-4:20

“Diversity issues in Science” has been taught by Dr. Traxler since 2005. It is a seminar course focused on discussion of how people of different ethnic/social groups or nationalities experience “research” and how research impacts peoples’ lives. Issues include what informed consent for research means, how different people perceive ethical research, and how politics can inform and affect scientific research.