- Ryan Donaldson ’15
- Hometown: North Canton, Ohio
- Major: Medical Technology
When I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I was interested in becoming a medical technologist, and heard that Mount Union had an outstanding medical technology program.
2013 First Year Seminar Courses
The first year seminar (FYS) focuses on a specific topic in a wide range of areas. The small class size allows you to interact closely with a professor who will help you cultivate a vision for your liberal arts education. The FYS will also expose you to basic writing, communication, and critical thinking skills, among others. Additionally, the faculty member who teaches this seminar will serve as your initial academic advisor during the fall semester and will help you explore the opportunities of a University of Mount Union education, including scheduling for classes until you’ve declared a major.
These courses are full four credit hour courses that will last throughout the entire fall semester and have the same academic rigor and expectations as any other college course. Please carefully consider this as you share your preference for your First Year Seminar below. To aid you in making this decision, please read the descriptions of the seminar courses to help you choose your top five FYS choices.
01. Globalization and Popular Culture
This course will investigate how globalization has caused sharing and adopting of popular culture between countries. Students will examine how their own popular culture has influenced the rest of the world, and how the other popular culture has also affected them. This course will focus on American and Japanese popular cultures. Students will compare and contrast the differences in American and Japanese popular cultures.
02. ‘Bon Appétit!’: All You Ever Wanted to Know About French Cuisine
With an interdisciplinary focus, this course is designed to introduce students to French cuisine and to the concept of gastronomy in French literature and culture. Students will discover the history of French cuisine and its influence on the rest of the world. Students will read and analyze texts, watch and analyze films and cooking shows, examine art, reflect about their own eating habits, become acquainted with basic dietetics, and cook French food. Students will also compare and contrast the differences in American and French gastronomical cultures.
03. Voices of the Game
This course will study and analyze the history of sports as seen through the eyes, voices and writings of sports journalists. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the various techniques that writers and broadcasters have used to shape the image of various athletes and the sports in which they participate.
04. Beyond the Beatles
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles!” With these words, spoken by television’s Ed Sullivan on February 9, 1964, Americans were introduced to an exciting new form of rock and roll from Great Britain. The British Invasion was launched. You will learn about the economic and social factors in post-World War II Britain that helped lead to the development of British Invasion rock and roll. You will also learn about performers such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Who, the Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, and others and their commercial, musical, and cultural impact on the United States.
05. You Are What You Eat: Understanding Our Food Supply
Despite major advances in medical science, Americans have increasing rates of obesity and related rates of diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases. Some say this may result in the first generation of Americans who may not live as long as their parents. Processed foods and reliance on “junk” food is a major reason for the increases in obesity. This seminar will examine how our food is made and marketed. Students who take the seminar will become better lifelong consumers of food, leading to a healthier lifestyle.
06. The Holocaust in Film and Print
How effective is propaganda in encouraging racial/ethnic hatred? What steps were taken to bureaucratize the extermination process? How can otherwise ordinary people be transformed into merciless killers of men, women, and children? To what lengths will people go to stay alive? To what extent are people willing to turn against their long-time neighbors?
07. Sleight of Hand Magic: Theory and Performance
Want to learn how to create and perform your own sleight of hand magic effects, as well as critique your performances and the performances of others? In this class you will study how to create each of the nine major types of conjuring effects: appearance, vanish, transposition, transformation, penetration, restoration, extraordinary feats, telekinesis, and extrasensory perception. Theoretical topics will include (but not be limited to) visual illusion, cognitive illusion, faulty logic, good continuation, active misdirection, time misdirection, social misdirection, inattentional blindness, change blindness, and the misinformation effect. The instructor for this course was a full-time professional magician for 5 years.
08. ULTRA: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
Can you imagine running 135 consecutive miles, starting at the basin of Death Valley and finishing at the 14,505 foot summit of Mt. Whitney… and doing it in temperatures that exceed 115° F? How about ascending and descending the 19,000 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro without any assistance, and doing it in just over 9 hours? Or even still, how about swimming in open water for 2.4 miles, riding your bike for 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles… on two prosthetic legs? This course will explore the stories of athletes who sacrifice their time, energy, money, and bodies to achieve incredible feats. Most of the examples we will discuss will involve athletes, but we will explore some cases that involve people in business, education, and the arts. Over the course of the semester, you will be introduced to these people and explore the theories that attempt to explain 1) what motivates them, 2) what regulates their behaviors during training, and 3) whether they may apply the discipline in one domain to other aspects of their daily lives. We will also look at the role of failure in their performances and discuss how we can learn and benefit from our own successes and failures in everyday life. In addition to learning about other people’s adventures, you’ll be given the opportunity to train for your own feat of “endurance” during the semester.
09. Cryptography!: The Mathematics of Code-Making and Code-Breaking
Join our "Black Chamber: bolted, hidden, guarded, sees all, hears all." Learn how code-makers and code-breakers cost Mary, Queen of Scots, her head; Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of Pearl Harbor, his life; and Samuel Tilden the Presidency of the United States. Use math and statistics to study the rotating grille, the one-time pad, le chiffre indéchiffrable, and public key ciphers. Examine the Playfair cipher John F. Kennedy used to avoid capture by the Japanese, and try to solve the Beale cipher that pinpoints the location of $40 million in gold. Now, about that credit card number you typed into iTunes…
10. CSI Mount Union: Forensic Science, It’s Not What They Show You on TV
Do you enjoy shows like CSI, NCIS, Law and Order and Hawaii 5-0? Would you like to learn more about how forensic scientists do their jobs? This course will use case studies to examine the world of the forensic scientist. This will take us from the crime scene, through the laboratory, to the courthouse. We will see how evidence is collected, analyzed and presented in court. You will see the science of forensic science and may never look at a crime drama on television the same way again.
11. Monuments and Memorials: A Design Perspective
This course will examine how monuments and memorials are conceived and designed. Students will become aware of the social, political and environmental events that shape the circumstances for the creation of large and small, local and national monuments. The course will introduce students to the many varied design considerations that must be factored into the artist's interpretations of what has been termed "the collective memory". The course will demonstrate through an interactive, collaborative, hands-on studio application of design processes of how abstract ideas are manifested into the real structures and environments that individuals, communities, nations and cultures can both accept, appreciate, revere, and also reject, diminish, despise.
12. Tango, Taxis and Travestis: Glimpsing Nightlife in Buenos Aires, Argentina
With an interdisciplinary focus encompassing music, dance, sociology and the distinct form of Spanish spoken in the River Plate region, as well as the Lunfardo dialect that originated in working-class districts of this massive and diverse city, this course is designed to introduce students to the unique nocturnal culture of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Students will read and analyze texts, watch and analyze films and television programs. Students will also compare and contrast the differences between American and Argentine nocturnal culture.
13. Lies Like Truth
A look at the modern misunderstanding of “reality.” When we go to the theatre, we observe actors and designers create an alternate reality in which we lose ourselves for a few hours as we watch the play, knowing that it is not “reality.” But what happens when this manipulation of “reality” comes out of the theatre and into our world? Sometimes it is presented to us as “Truth!” We will look at television and other media and work to gain an understanding of how they try to manipulate us and how we can work to separate fact from “truth.”
14. Myth, Magic & Muggles:Epic Fantasy, Quests & Hero(ine)s for our Time
Hallows or horcruxes? The one ring? Unobtanium or Hometree? Fame? Friendship? What do we seek? High epic fantasy answers these questions – and raises others -- by telling and re-telling the world’s oldest story: the hero’s journey. Across history and cultures, from the epics of Gilgamesh or Odysseus, or Paradise Lost, to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Avatar thehero or heroine’s tale continues to fascinate. Together we explore the archetypal hero’s journey – Joseph Campbell’s monomyth – in ancient and modern epic, contemporary classics, fantasy novels and films.
15. Freaks, Geeks, and Weirdo Geniuses: A Seminar on being Creative, Strange and Smart
Do you love Lady Gaga? Can’t get enough of Facebook (created by Mark Zuckerberg—certified weirdo!)? Ever wonder why many “geniuses” are considered “outsiders”? In this seminar we’ll study the works and words of weirdo geniuses and explore connections between being different and creative. Does being different make people creative or does being creative make people (seem) different? How can you survive and thrive as a creative weirdo in our world? We’ll read a lot, but also listen to music and podcasts, talk to people in the community, watch films, and experience other forms of expression. Come ready to think, write and talk!
16. Pandorans, Wookies and Spock: What Science Fiction and Fantasy can Teach us About History
In this seminar we will use science fiction and fantasy to delve into the way that our most "far-out" thinkers have handled historical issues such as slavery, gender relations and war. We will watch movies and series episodes, read graphic novels and excerpts from traditional novels. Science fiction is more than speed-of-light star ships, big, blue people and transporter beams. We will find that it has very interesting and insightful things to say about important social and political issues.
17. Cleveland Rocks: Stories of the Western Reserve
In this course we will take a close look at the Western Reserve (Northeast Ohio) through stories both written and spoken. The stories may be by or about people like John D. Rockefeller, Toni Morrison, Elliot Ness, or your grandmother. About places like Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the West Side Market, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Lake Erie, a cemetery in your hometown. About events like the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal, the first use of an electric streetlight, and the founding of your hometown. Think nothing ever happens around here? You might be surprised.
18. The Sacred Journey: Literature and the Spiritual Quest
Explore the sacred journey of spiritual discovery from a variety of perspectives: from the ancient to the New Age and from the traditional to the popular. In this seminar, you will read several works of literature, which follow characters through the discovery process of the spiritual quest. These works will lead us into discussions and explorations about how life is altered by encounters with the Sacred. Fundamental questions about the meaning of life will be confronted, and your own spiritual growth and awareness will be enhanced.
19. Texting, Tweeting and Status Updates: Is Technology Making Us Stupid?
It has been proposed that today’s generation of teenagers are writing and reading more than any other. The catch is that much of this reading and writing takes place through texting, tweeting status updates, Wikipedia and webpages. As a result, many argue that the very nature of how we communicate has changed, and that we, as a culture, are losing our competitive edge globally. Others argue that these new communication technologies are actually changing how we think. In this first year seminar, we will examine the many sides of this issue, paying attention to both popular and “scholarly” perspectives, in an attempt to answer the question: Is technology making us stupid?
20. The Human Question Explored in Literature and Film
What does it mean to be human? Speculative fiction imagines times, places, situations that could or might be. Literature like this challenges us to question who we are and helps us to explore our human identity and our humanity. It asks the question "What if?" What if science and technology developed conscious androids or robots? Enhanced our brains or bodies with biotechnology? How do we distinguish ourselves from smart machines? From clones? In this class, using a variety of literary works and films, we will dive into this interesting question of who we are and what we mean by “being human.”
21. Anywhere But Home (Exploring Adventure Travel)
Pack your bags, and get ready to embark on an in-depth look at the joy of travel. In this course, you'll discover and discuss what renowned authors have to say about leaving home (as we also engage in a bit of our own travel-related writing). Together, we'll explore both the spiritual and practical sides of away-from-home adventures… examining everything from cultures and customs to planning and packing. If you believe that the journey can be as captivating as the destination, we'll save you the aisle seat.
22. Malcolm X: Prophet of Reality
Have you ever been told that you could not do something? Or that you did not have what it took? Then you will relate to Malcolm X, one of the most controversial figures in American history. As a youngster Malcolm wanted to be a lawyer but was told he was not being realistic. As a person with a different background than others, you may have had to deal with stereotypes and misconceptions, too. This course will examine the life and times of Malcolm X and see how he was not only able to achieve but to become a role model for many others. We will also look at the lives of two other men who themselves were told that they could not achieve but were able to overcome their background and become successful.
23. The Great Wall of China: Myth and Reality
The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest wonders on earth. This seminar is designed to explore its architectural grandeur, historical significance, and relevance to the contemporary world. In this seminar you will examine various aspects of the Great Wall and through our discussion broaden your world view of different cultures and history.
25. Demon & Diagnosis: Possession, Exorcism, and Psychiatry in Modern Society
Historically, illnesses such as schizophrenia, autism, and epilepsy were viewed as cases of demonic possession. The afflicted would be subject to exorcisms to drive the demons out to cure the individual. The rise of psychiatric knowledge allowed for different explanations and treatment for individuals suffering from mental disorders. However, in modern society exorcisms and claims of possession are curiously on the rise. Is demonic possession possible? Are cases of possession explainable through a psychiatric lens? You will investigate these questions as we engage in an exploration and debate between an ancient rite, and a modern practice.
26. The Meaning of Life.
What is the meaning of life? Those who believe in God often claim that, apart from God, life would have no meaning. Is that true? Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Is that true? What makes life worth living? Many argue that science shows that there is no intelligent design behind the universe. Does it? In this seminar you will explore questions like these. At the end of the day we may not all agree about the meaning of life, but we will have explored interesting and thought-provoking answers to life’s ultimate question.
27. The Big Bang Theory
How did our universe begin? Why do we think there was a Big Bang? What is our universe really like? In this conceptually based course, we will explore the vast reaches of intergalactic space to the infinitesimal workings of subatomic particles, and such ideas as anti-matter and parallel universes.
28. The Horse in Art – Friend, Fury and Beast
They are wild as the wind, yet are proven friends in battle, travel, work, and play. In this seminar we will delve into the spirit and myth of the horse through the study of art. The horse can be traced back 30,000 years as found in the cave paintings of Lascaux. They are depicted in statues throughout the Greek, Roman and Egyptian periods, often included in the tombs of royalty as sculpture or as symbolic decoration on vessels. From Byzantine to Renaissance Art and on to the Impressionist the energetic grace of the horse is never lost. A weapon in many battles throughout Europe, America, China, Russia, and Korea, to name a few, the horse has been a symbol of courage, wealth and the simple life. They can be found in the portraits of royalty or depicted in rural scenes plowing a field. This course will be a journey revolving around this magnificent animal and its contribution to the development of civilization, as well as its personality as seen through the eyes of artists. Also, a greater appreciation of art will be achieved through hands-on projects.
29. China: Friend or Foe?
China’s rise, and the associated opportunities and challenges, will powerfully and consequentially impact the structure and dynamics of the international system. This seminar is designed to put this trend, and its effect on global politics, economics and regional/international security in a disciplined contextual perspective. Students will acquire a balanced, factual understanding of the historical antecedents, contemporary dynamics, and leadership mindsets that underline China’s rising assertiveness on the international stage. Is China’s rise going to be peaceful or un-peaceful? How will it impact the regional and global balance of power? Is the world willing and ready to accommodate the ambitions of an increasingly assertive China?
30. Zombies Were People, Too. The Walking Dead in Popular Culture
The Army has a zombie contingency plan, and so should you! After this class, you will. We're going to explore zombies in popular culture through movies (mostly), graphic novels and a collection of short stories. Through the creation of your own short films, graphic novels and short stories, we'll explore social issues relating to zombies including anarchy, race, industrialization, consumerism, animal experimentation, individuality, cultural norms, and mass assimilation (or loss of identity). This course deals with graphic content, so you need to be willing to be exposed to challenging material including graphic violence and adult language.
31. Behind the Scenes in Division I College Athletics
College athletics are everywhere, but who and what make them happen? We will take a look behind the scenes at what has to occur for a team to exist, be healthy, have money to travel, and have fans in the stands. We will examine some of the unknown jobs in Division I collegiate athletics and what degrees are recommended to do these jobs. We will also discuss and debate many of the recent scandals in collegiate athletics.
32. A Mirror of our Culture? Sports and Society
This seminar will look to answer what role sport plays in political, economic and cultural trends. Would Twitter be as popular if athletes didn’t use it? What if there was no ESPN? What impact did Jackie Robinson & Larry Doby have on society’s view of racial integration? We will get the ball rolling by considering why so much of our everyday language and conversation is sports related? We will touch base on all of these topics as we go the distance to examine the ways sport permeates our society.
33. Sports and Culture: A Link?
Taking a virtual around-the-world trip, you will experience sport and games as you never imagined. Seen through the lens of religion, gender, nationality, legal issues, economics and geography, indigenous and internationally known sports and games will be researched, presented and PLAYED. The world will never be the same for you!
34. Student Athlete? What Does That Mean Today?
Whether a current student-athlete or one in the past, the term “student-athlete” comes with controversy in today’s society. What issues confront college sports and the institutions that sponsor them? We’ll explore issues of diversity, ethics, academic success, the role of the NCAA, and the money generated by college athletics each year. What does it really mean to be an amateur? Student-athletes have the pressure of performing on the field and in the classroom. This class will assist students in understanding the role of today’s student-athletes and their unique challenges and demands as they transition into college and move toward graduation. We’ll explore the issues surrounding college sports and the athletes who dedicate their lives to the sports they love.
35. Kree-ey-Tiv-i-Tee: Finding Creative Instinct and other Platypi
Sir Kenneth Robinson claims, “Creativity is as important as literacy.” This seminar is an exploration of the creative process…how people are creative, why people are creative, when people are creative…The course will develop creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills as well as examine current cognitive research regarding (capital-C) CREATIVITY as well as more common forms of creativity including what might appear to be serendipitous creative acts. Biographies of Capital C Creative folks will be investigated, including Albert Einstein, T. S. Eliot, Sigmund Freud, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, and Mahatma Gandhi. Special topics will include the necessity of imagination as a by-product of globalization, empathy as a feature of the ‘new’ creativity, education and curiosity (and other C-words, e.g. cosmopolitanism), future thoughts, the ‘optimism’ bias, humor and creativity, multiple intelligences 'a la Howard Gardner, IQ and Creativity Tests, the new Bloom’s Taxonomy, lateral thinking and Eureka Thinking, creativity as a function of the human spirit, as well as common mental locks that inhibit creativity – and education as a conspirator to those locks. The class will take on a group creative project, which will involve a product to be on display on campus, as well as in one of the local schools.
When there is a widespread outbreak of infectious disease, ethical, legal, and political principles are tested, and many questions arise. Who should receive scarce medical resources when there is not enough for everyone? If the disease is unknown and dangerous, are doctors still obligated to care for the sick? What powers should the government have to force citizens into isolation or quarantine, or to receive unwanted vaccinations? Through a variety of readings and case studies, we will explore human responses to the threats posed by infectious disease, with a focus on the ethical aspects of such situations.
37. Around the World’s Classroom in 16 Weeks
Do you know that in Luxembourg, high school courses are taught in German and/or French rather than its native language of Luxembourgian? Do you know that in some parts of China, students need to bring firewood to school to keep the classroom warm in wintertime? Or in Japan, some elementary school children clean their classrooms, halls and yards as part of their education? We will consider the philosophical, theoretical, methodological and socio-political aspects of education across the world. We will focus on the comparative strength and weaknesses of educational ideas underlying programs in school contexts.
38. Think Radically…Find Your “Melting Iceberg”
What is that issue that needs to be solved? What do you see that needs to change? How do you make life better for your neighbors, friends, family, or your community? What is your iceberg that is melting? It could be building a more sustainable community, forming an athletic league where you live, dealing with childhood obesity. In this class you will learn how you take “what pains your heart” to a level that becomes part of the solution. During the semester, you will study successful social projects, identify social issues that need attention (the melting iceberg) and develop a vision to present to future partners using an entrepreneurial process. Because every organization must raise more money than it spends, you will need to identify various ways to fund your endeavor. Finally, you will study the change process developed by Dr. John Kotter that will help you implement your solution.
39. Inventing the Captain: Group Process in Teams
In sports, the team captain is usually the fans' hero. They lead our favorite teams to the biggest victories. They make mesmerizing, breathtaking, and fantastic plays as well as make others around them perform even better. From Derek Jeter and LeBron James to Ray Lewis and Sidney Crosby, these sports heroes provide the leadership that their teams need to win. This seminar explores the role of leadership in group process. Are leaders born or are they made? How does one define effective leadership? And how do leaders emerge? As we answer these questions and others, our main focus will be on the ways communication-within the group or team context-contributes to and inhibits effective problem-solving, decision-making, and the development of group cohesion. To do so, we will read and discuss the memoirs of some of our most effective sports leaders and watch sport films that dramatize their greatest accomplishments.
Honors First Year Seminars: HON 110
01. How to Change the World
We are all familiar with Gandhi, MLK, Harvey Milk, and Rachel Carson for having a major impact on our world. What about Sarah Kavanagh (a 15 year old from Mississippi who just last fall led a campaign demanding that Gatorade remove flame retardant chemicals from its drinks, and succeeded) or Craig Kielberger (started a non-profit at age 12 to free children overseas from slave labor) or Julie Jakmides (a Mount Union student who is also a member of Alliance City Council)? What about YOU? You can change the world, starting right now. In this class we will examine the many avenues for change and how to access them: government at all scales, not for profits, citizen groups, and cyber communities. You will have the opportunity to undertake your own change project on a topic that you feel passionate about.
02. Future Shock: Dystopian Fiction
What will our future look like? What should we do when our love of liberty conflicts with our desire for safety and happiness? Dystopian fiction imagines what our world might become if certain real-life trends and value conflicts continue toward their logical extremes. The "negative utopias" it presents shock us in order to provoke critical thinking about the logic and morality that underpins our lives. Seminar assignments range from analyzing literature and film to doing your own creative writing. The course covers novels such as Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, and The Handmaid's Tale and films such as A Clockwork Orange and Children of Men.
03. The Truth is Out There: Biology Meets Science Fiction
What might be the future of human evolution? How would we react to an alien species? How could we survive on Mars? How does our environment influence our behavior? Could we clone a dinosaur? Should we? These and other exciting questions will be answered, or at least addressed, when Biology Meets Science Fiction in this First Year Seminar. From H. G. Wells to Michael Crichton, science fiction authors have explored the scientific discoveries and controversies of their times, weaving tales of mystery and adventure that have entertained readers for more than a century. By studying selected novels and films, we’ll learn about some ground-breaking biological discoveries, and how they have helped shape our relationships with our fellow creatures on planet Earth.