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2022 Fall FYS Courses

FYS 001 (CRN 2931) - Improvisational Communication for Leaders
Joe Van Haecke
MW 12:30- 1:45pm

Improv isn’t just for actors anymore! From schools to businesses to scientists, many are learning the skills of improv to become better communicators, better collaborators, and stronger leaders. Whatever your next role is, even if it’s on a stage, you’ll benefit from learning the skills improvisors use every day! You’ll participate in a highly engaging class where almost anything can happen and probably will! This learning environment gives students confidence in their speaking and thinking abilities while developing confidence for one-on-one and group dynamics now and well into the future.

FYS 002 (CRN 11157) – 1930's Hollywood
Dina Smith
TR 3:30-4:45pm

Students will read about the economic and cultural history of 1930s Hollywood as well as explore the unique genres that engaged Depression-era audiences, such as the delightful and politically transgressive “screwball comedy" unique to the era. Students will closely analyze the films and their relationship to the rise of the Hollywood movie studio system. Students may expect to watch several, black-and-white movies of the era with the goal of connecting these films, via critical analysis, to their 1930s context..

FYS 002 (CRN 6611) – 1930's Hollywood Lab
Dina Smith
Sunday 5:30-8:15pm

FYS 003 (CRN 6453) – Evolving Healthcare Paradigms
Erik Maki
MW 8:00-9:15am

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), health care in the United States has moved in a state of rapid transformation. This course will review the history and changing paradigms of health care in the United States with specific focus on the Affordable Care Act and innovative technology. Students will develop their understanding healthcare financing including pricing and payment systems and the challenges/opportunities created by the system. This course will be delivered in person. This course will emphasize critical thinking through collaborative problem-based learning. Students will be expected to be active participants in class, complete both individual and group assignments, a group presentation and a final individual reflection paper.

FYS 005 (CRN 6959) – Science in Sport
Nathan Newman
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Science and sport are two common fields of interest in the American culture. While they can coexist separately, combining these two fields has produced a variety of successes and failures that have furthered the knowledge, enjoyment, and experiences of many. Concussions, injury treatment, performance enhancing drugs, and career longevity are some of the areas where science and sport have more recently overlapped. These areas will be the focus while introducing students to critical thinking, college writing, and the liberal arts.

FYS 006 (CRN 6456) Banned Books
Michael McGuire
MW 8:00-9:15 am

In this course, we will read and analyze books that have regularly been banned or censored in American schools and libraries and study the political and cultural contexts that lead to such strong reactions toward works that "cross the line." We will explore how both literature and censorship are cultural expressions that serve or subvert different structures of power and discuss the unique strength of the written word in society. 

FYS 007 (CRN 1129) –This Ain't No Disco: Electronic and Alternative Music of the 1980's
Geoff Wall
MW 12:30-1:45pm

The 1980's saw a fundamental shift in popular music as technology advancements and social issues came together to produce some of the most unique music of the last 100 years.  This class will explore the development of alternative music and the effects of technology, social issues, and videos on pop culture and popular music of today.

FYS 009 (CRN 6479) – Lovecraft: Horror & Madness
Kyle McCord
TR 2:00-3:15pm

This course introduces students to the horrifying writing of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Students produce their own works of horror, consider Lovecraft in the context of contemporary scholarship, and analyze his themes and their contemporary horror on the page and screen. Discussions center on expanding students’ understanding of the connection between this bright but troubled author and the world of post-WWI America.

FYS 010 (CRN 6481) - Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Character & Culture
Michael Couvillon
TR 8:00-9:15am

"I hear of Sherlock Holmes everywhere…” were the prophetic words spoken by his brother Mycroft, as recorded in the story “The Greek Interpreter”. Created in 1887, by Arthur Conan Doyle, SherlockHolmes, and his companion Dr. John Watson continue to be the most enduring fictional characters of all time. Enormously popular from the outset, the sixty original story adventures of Sherlock Holmes, written by Conan Doyle, along with adaptations and extensions across virtually all forms of media, are the basis of an encompassing global cultural phenomenon. Why do Holmes and the stories endure and continue to thrive? This course will be an investigation of seven factors that have sustained the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, with special focus on the character traits of Sherlock and Watson through the original stories, the historical and social context of Doyle’s life and times, and the continuing cultural presence and bonds that Holmes has inspired. "Come, Watson, come – the game is afoot!”

FYS 011 (CRN 11065) – Lovecraft Horror & Madness
Kyle McCord
MW 8:00-9:15am

This course introduces students to the horrifying writing of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Students produce their own works of horror, consider Lovecraft in the context of contemporary scholarship, and analyze his themes and their contemporary horror on the page and screen. Discussions center on expanding students’ understanding of the connection between this bright but troubled author and the world of post-WWI America.

FYS 012 (CRN 6967) – Comics & Social Diversity
Jeffrey Karnicky
TR 12:30-1:45pm

In this course, we will look at how comic books have portrayed social difference, and more recently, how diversity in comics’ creators and audiences has affected the production of contemporary comics.

FYS 013 (CRN 6484) – Adventure Journalists
Lee Jolliffe
MW 12:30-1:45pm

The journey or adventure tale is among humanity’s greatest archetypal tales, manifest throughout history in fictional and nonfictional works, taking on a variety of narrative forms. Epics such as Homer’s Odyssey established the journey motif as well as the traveler-hero figure, embodied with the bravery, intelligence, and resourcefulness needed to wrestle with the natural world and its inhabitants. Adventure journalists in the Gilded Age were sent out by newspaper publishers to provide day-by-day accounts of their journeys. Unlike the "objective" reporting we value most in our news, these writers placed themselves onstage as actors in the drama, writing in the first person. They sought out new, exotic, often dangerous locales specifically in order to send home tales of their own derring-do to an audience hungry for their stories. They brought skills of observation, an investigative mind, a commitment to truth-telling, description and details, and a sense of news – what in this day’s adventure was important, unique, etc.


FYS 014 (CRN 11066) – Improvisational Communication for Leaders
Joe Van Haecke
MW 8:00-9:15 am

Improv isn’t just for actors anymore! From schools to businesses to scientists, many are learning the skills of improv to become better communicators, better collaborators, and stronger leaders. Whatever your next role is, even if it’s on a stage, you’ll benefit from learning the skills improvisors use every day! You’ll participate in a highly engaging class where almost anything can happen and probably will! This learning environment gives students confidence in their speaking and thinking abilities while developing confidence for one-on-one and group dynamics now and well into the future.

FYS 015 (CRN 6515) –  Politics and the Beautiful Game
Gregory Wolf
MW 12:30-1:45pm

Soccer is more than a game. The most popular sport in the world is a representation of identity politics, political inequality, culture, and conflict that frame conflict and struggle around the world. This course explores soccer in political and cultural contexts, considering the impact of the game beyond the touchline.

FYS 016 (CRN 6486) – Conversation
Amy Letter
MW 8:00-9:15 am

This seminar focuses on conversation — not “argument,” or “communication,” but conversation: the creative-yet-critical open-ended exploration of ideas and experiences in exchange with our fellow human beings. Our readings will focus on the subject of in-person and online conversation, and our routine goal in the classroom and online will be to hold meaningful and rewarding conversations with one another. We will also converse in writing, through our essays, and collaborate on a final project.

FYS 018 (CRN 11067) – Transformations of Society and Self
Petra Lange
MW 8:00-9:15am

We will explore how identities are formed by social conventions and how individuals produce, maintain, or challenge those conventions. The multi-genre culminating project will capture students' analysis, reflection, and thinking about literature of transformation.

FYS 019 (CRN 6964) - Sexual Health Initiatives
Lynne Cornelius
TR 12:30-1:45pm

In order to prevent sexual assaults on our campus we must first understand how we got here. We need to take a look at the social and environmental factors that continue to contribute to harmful situations on college campuses. In this course we will take a nuanced approach to the age old conversations of sexual relationships and consent. We will also examine personal and social concepts of healthy sexual relationships. The conversations and course work will be grounded in empathy, mutual respect and bodily autonomy. Once we have gained an understanding of the problems in front of us we will utilize an adaptive leadership approach to formulate solutions to address campus sexual assaults here at Drake.

FYS 020 (CRN 6507) - Conspiracy Theories in the U.S.
Bartholomew Schmidt
TR 12:30–1:45 pm

From the Salem witch trials to present-day headlines about the Deep State, Americans have embraced conspiracy theories to explain the sometimes un-explainable. This course will explore a sample of conspiracy theories in United States history, focusing primarily on the past century. Students will be exposed to the language, rhetoric, and logic of conspiracy theories. They will be asked to reflect on what these conspiracy theories say about the people who believe them, the people who don’t, and society in general. Students will emerge from the course with a better understanding of the differences between conspiracies and conspiracy theories.

FYS 021 (CRN 11137) – How to Have a Meaningful Life
Jennifer McCrickerd
MW 12:30-1:45pm 

What are the components and routes to a meaningful life? Philosophy, religion, literature, and psychology (to name a few) have each offered responses to this question. In this class we will read and discuss a wide variety of works focused living meaningfully so that students leave the course with a better sense of the conversations about what constitutes a meaningful life and how to best achieve it.

FYS 023 (CRN 4098) – Adaptation: Reading Films
Nicholas Renkoski
MW 8:00-9:15am

More than half of current Hollywood movies are based on other sources but what is the process of bringing a story from page or stage to the screen? What things are gained, and what things are lost? This FYS examines the range and forms these transformations can take.

FYS 024 (CRN 6962) – How We Show Up: Service & Community
Ryan Arnold
TR 2:00-3:15pm

The mission of Drake University is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. In this FYS, students will address concepts, issues, and practices related to charity, volunteering, and social justice. Utilizing classroom discussions, various readings, and service learning, students will spend time in reflective observation, conversation, and writing to articulate their individual contributions to common good. We will wrestle with the notion of good intentions and question how to best show up to make a difference.

FYS 026 (CRN 6593) – Ethnobiology Nature & Culture
Nanci Ross
TR 12:30-1:45pm

"Ever tried to suck the sugary nectar out of the base of a clover flower or watched a bird build a nest? People often fail to realize that it is these experiences and observations that are the beginning of the study of natural science. Most people think of the science of the natural world as a series of quantitative measurements and Latin names that is wholly removed from their daily lives, but people have been practicing science since the beginning when we classified plants as separate from animals. The way we perceive nature is, in many ways, inherited from our culture which leads to fascinating, weird, and intriguing insights. In this class we will explore the connection between nature and human cultures over time and around the world though the media of discussion, video, readings, and direct hands-on experience. Nature has changed us as much as we have changed nature and we will investigate examples of both throughout the semester."

FYS 027 (CRN 3437) – Energy for Future Presidents
Klaus Bartschat
MW 12:30-1:45pm

We discuss the book "Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines", which deals with "Energy Catastrophes", the current "Energy Landscape", and "Alternative Energy". The seminar is meant for the non-scientist (most politicians and lawmakers) who needs to make sensible energy decisions without detailed knowledge of the underlying science.

FYS 028 (CRN 3006) – Law & Culture
Abigail Stepnitz
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Through this course students will explore culture and society and how issues social justice work to provide a framework for an equitable community. Students will explore how culture forms and shifts over time, and look at inequalities that can be addressed through principles of social justice. Students will engage in a hands-on community based research project that brings to light the principles of culture, society and social justice, as well as providing a bridge to the student to become a part of the Drake and Des Moines Community. Our inquiry will be both academic and experiential, as we explore questions about how to sustain a commitment to personal well-being and academic success while simultaneously engaging larger questions about social justice.

FYS 029 (CRN 7907) – The Impact of the Disney Co.
Rudy Trejo
TR 3:30-4:45pm

What started off as one man’s vision has turned into a multi-billion-dollar company that impacts our lives daily. The Walt Disney Company is rich in history, power struggles, and influence. This course examines Disney’s vision and its evolution to being a global conglomerate.

FYS 030 (CRN 6963) – Ghost Stories
Megan Brown
MW 8:00-9:15am

This class will explore classic and contemporary tales of ghosts and hauntings. We will also discuss the ways in which these stories may express the anxieties of the times and places that produced them.

FYS 031 (CRN 7002) – The History of Hip Hop
Janalyn Phillips
MW 8:00-9:15am

Ready or Not, Walk this Way! This class will discuss everything ‘Hip Hop’ from A to Jay-Z. The influences, the legends, the culture, the celebrations, the rivalries and the art (in so many forms) will be explored through presentations, readings, writings, and through the media. Oh yes, and there will also be plenty of music!

FYS 032 (CRN 6973) – New York, New York
Mary Beth Holtey
TR 12:30-1:45pm

New York City has served as the backdrop for countless books, movies and television shows. It’s a cultural icon. But how did New York City make the leap from Dutch colony to one of the world’s most influential cities? In this course we will examine the city’s early and modern history in the context of location and reform. Focus will be given to the large influx of people who entered the United States through Ellis Island, the ramifications of events such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the rise of muckraking journalism and the political machine, Tammany Hall.

FYS 033 (CRN 6974) – Composing the Female Body
Yasmina Madden
MW 12:30-1:45pm

Students will read and write extensively about the ways the female body has been composed in contemporary literature, film, and popular culture. How do we “write” the female body? How do we rely on, reify, or resist Western cultural definitions of women’s bodies? Students will engage with fiction, memoir, personal essay, film, and critical texts.

FYS 036 (CRN 3663) – Burn After Reading:  Banned Books in the 21st Century
Beth Younger
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Banned Books: Burn After Reading’ will explore, analyze, and interrogate the current climate of censorship & book banning as well as historical incidents of restriction, removal, and destruction of reading material. We will read banned books, as well as articles on this trend, and do research on ideological justifications for censorship. Texts may include Maus (removed from schools), Two Boys Kissing (burned), The Handmaid's Tale (banned), The Hate U Give (removed from schools & libraries), & Fifty Shades of Grey (burned).

FYS 037 (CRN 6490) – South Africa
Melisa Klimaszewski
TR 12:30-1:45pm 

This seminar studies the literature and culture of South Africa through novels, films, biography, short stories, and poetry. Students will understand figures like Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko in depth as they learn about the history of apartheid, Black consciousness, and coalitions against racism through detailed analysis of literary texts. Students with interest in African Studies, Social Justice, English/Writing, Politics, International Relations, and History may find the course particularly rewarding.

FYS 038 (CRN 1916) – Famous and Almost Famous Women
Carrie Dunham-Lagree
TR 12:30-1:45pm

This course explores fictional depictions of real women in fiction and films.  Together, we will read a novel, watch films, write, research, and discuss both the fictional depictions of women and what we learn about their real lives.

FYS 039 (CRN 6977) – A Small Dose of Toxicology
James Sacco
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Rapid advances in science and technology have produced enormous benefits but have also created undesirable dangers that impact human health and the environment. How do we deal with products that make our lives better but that also harbor a potential for harm? Why are we still confronted, on a daily basis, by toxins in our food, air and water? Through selected readings and movies, class discussions, presentations, and simulation games, students will study and research the controversial impact of poisons on our society.

FYS 043 (CRN 7503) – Photography: The Art, Science, and Impact of Caputuring Moments

Chuck Sengstock
TR 8:00-9:15 AM

The world’s first photograph was taken in 1826 by French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Since then, many things have changed about taking, processing, and sharing pictures. One thing that has not changed is the impact a photo can have. This course will cover the evolution of photography and identify current and past images of significance. Students will take and share photographs each week throughout the semester. Discussions will center on increasing students’ understanding of photography and its impact on our lives.

FYS 044 (CRN 7058) – Daring to Dream: Def. Success
Debra Bishop
MW 12:30-1:45pm

Many aspects of business success were, in fact, the path-breaking innovations of pioneering entrepreneurial leaders. Passion, timing, connections – what makes for either business or personal success? We will ponder business success using both well-known and fascinating little-known stories. Along the way, you will have an opportunity to dream; developing your personal mission and strategy for success, while discovering the impact culture and experiences play in defining success.

FYS 045 (CRN 6980) – Place, Power and Identity
Leanne Purdum
TR 8:00-9:15am

How are the spaces we inhabit shaped by power and identity, and vice versa? Through the lens of human geography, we will learn to think about the places we are in, how they are made, and how they impact us. This is a broad social science theme to expose students to a wide variety of topics, and prepare you for a variety of skills. We’ll critically explore a wide range of social topics: Where did the weekend come from? What does The Titanic have to do with us? What is the connection between law, identity, and Chinese restaurants? We will think about the past as a history of the present. We will read, listen, and watch materials about topics such as pandemics, conflicts over monuments, student movements, and other current events. We will practice expressing ideas in writing and through class discussion, informal and formal. After examining a variety of case studies, students will select a topic of personal interest related to Place, Power and Identity and we will use class time to create final projects. 

FYS 046 (CRN 7041) – Journalists on Screen
Lee Joliffe
TR 12:30-1:45pm

FYS 047 (CRN 7041) – What Makes a Life Happy
Amanda Hardy
MW 12:30-1:45pm

WWW - This course will be offered online

What does it mean to be happy? We’ll will focus on human science understandings of happiness (child development and parenting, social capital, positive psychology, education, and public policy); and we will explore broader dimensions of community development and planning, government, and sustainability. 

FYS 048 (CRN 11159) – Vote Smart! Internship
FYS 048 (CRN 6983) – Vote Smart!
Rachel Paine Caufield
TR 12:30-1:45pm

What does it mean to be an “informed” voter? In an age of instant communication, echo chambers, ideological bubbles, and fake news, where can voters go to get reliable information that will allow them to make meaningful decisions? Vote Smart, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered at Drake University, provides the tools for voters to learn about elected officials and candidates. All students will do an internship with Vote Smart, supplemented by course readings and guest speakers to gain insight into the ways that citizens can make sense of politics – from interest group assessments, campaign finance disclosures, candidate speeches, and voting records.  

Students will complete an internship with Vote Smart (CRN 6983 - additional 3 credits), supplemented by readings and guest speakers to understand the ways that citizens can make sense of politics.

FYS 050 (CRN 7952) – The Florida Project: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Walt Disney World
James McNab
MW 12:30-1:45pm

The Florida Project will explore the development, construction, and operation of Walt Disney World as both an ideal and a reality and begin to answer the question of what Disney World means to us as a society.


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