UNIV 103: Seminar Descriptions

UNIV 103: Seminars

UNIV 103 students may select their top three choices of the various seminars offered (some are listed below) as part of their learning experience.  The seminars cover a variety of topics that are of interest to students and faculty alike.  Seminars are coupled with a prerequisite course of either Communications 100 or English 110.    In this way, students get to know one another and build a community.

Seminar Title

Description of Seminar


Modern Politics Through Film 

This course introduces students to central concepts of politics through analysis of films. The goal is for students to learn about political science through a fun and engaging mode of learning. However, since this is not a film studies course, the goal will not be to simply critique films but to use them as a prism through which we will discuss basic political science concepts such as democracy, realism, capitalism, socialism etc. This course will teach basic content which is useful for understanding our political environment. In addition, it will teach students how to read and write in the social sciences, and ways in which different media (articles, books, movies) contribute to our engagement with and understanding of politics.


Culture, Science and Mathematics in the Pre-Columbian Americas


An introduction to the study of the Pre-Columbian Americas, part of the broad interdisciplinary field of Native American Studies. The emphasis will be on the role that science and mathematics played in the culture of these indigenous groups (including the Aztec, Incan, Mayan, and other Native American groups). The course will explore the Pre-Columbian world through the eyes of our ancestors, as well as through our classmates. Special attention is given to the science of archaeo-astronomy and mathematics and the ways in which all of the great cultures of antiquity have left a mark.


Force for Social Change

What is the role of service in American society?  Explore how to make profound social changes as demonstrated by the disability rights and emerging civil rights movements. The activities of this course develop skills for teachers, social workers, business people, engineers, and others that see their vocation as vehicles for change. The reflections of this course develop personal power conducive to being a member of a democratic society.


Homes and Homelessness


What is a “home?”  What elements—both physical and psychological – make up the experience of home?  How does one come to feel “at home” in a new place?  In contrast…what are the social/emotional, economic, and psychological consequences of being without a home?  Who are the homeless?  Why are people homeless?  We will attempt to answer these and other questions by studying the concepts and realities of “home” and “homelessness.”  The course also will offer a service-learning opportunity as students investigate the problem of homelessness in Lancaster County.


Inside Out:  Detective Fiction, Jazz, and Philosophy


Philosophers, jazz, and detectives?  How could these things have anything in common?  This class will use all three to investigate the relationship between the "insiders" and "outsiders" of contemporary culture.  There is nothing simple about this relationship.  So you can expect as many twists and turns in this class as you might find in a detective story.

Intro to Human Rights

This interdisciplinary course explores the history, meaning, and foundation of human rights debates as a standard for governance.  It examines the universality of human rights within the contexts of religious and political pluralism, social, and economic realities of our contemporary era.  Students will engage with basic human rights documents that govern the practice of human rights beginning with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHRs), International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and Convention Related to the Status of Refugees.

Learning by Doing

We are all familiar with this well-known Chinese proverb: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”  This course engages students in exploring the value of learning by doing.  Learners will investigate ways that experiential learning is applied at all levels (Pre-K through adult), with particular emphasis on design, technology, and engineering experiences that make connections across content areas (e.g., math, science, literacy, art, social studies) at the elementary level. Students are challenged to evaluate how children learn through active engagement and to reflect on how personal and authentic experiences play a role in their own learning as college students.

Leadership Through Sports

Leadership through sports will discuss aspects of leadership through the eyes of famous sports coaches and players, such as Pat Summit, John Wooden, Tony Dungy, and Cal Ripken.  Through reading books by these and other authors participants in this class will learn more about their leadership potential and how they can be students of  influence at Millersville University.   Each student will complete the class with a leadership plan that maps out how they will use the leadership skills to make Millersville University a better community.  Current or previous sports team membership is not required to participate in this class.


Who Am I? Identity in Literary and Cultural Studies

Do you ever ask yourself what defines “the real you?”  Do you ever wonder how much your identity has been influenced by your environment: your family, your school, your culture, your religion?  This course will help students answer these questions through an in-depth study of works in literature and film that focus on the theme of identity. The readings for the course will encompass modern and contemporary fiction from the U.S. and abroad, as well as theoretical articles in literary and cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy.  Students will investigate the relationships between identity and ethnicity, nationality, history, religion, social class, sexuality, and gender.  Throughout the semester students will have opportunities to apply these concepts to their own experience in order to better understand themselves.

1776: A Year of Revolution

1776 was a momentous year in American history:  the Russians traded and fought with the Aleuts in the Pacific Northwest, the Sioux displaced the Cheyenne to take possession of the Black Hills, and the Spanish founded San Francisco.  Meanwhile, on the eastern seaboard, Anglo-American colonists rebelled against Great Britain and inaugurated a worldwide republican revolution.  Students in this FYI will explore critical events from this tumultuous year while placing them in global context. 

Towards Sustainability:  An Exploration of Environmental Ethics

This seminar investigates environmental ethical concepts and theories and what they have to offer in promoting a sustainable society.  The course considers what has moral standing in the global environment as well as the responsibilities we have to ourselves, each other, and the biosphere.   Students will carefully read, critically evaluate, and respectfully discuss numerous environmental case studies.  And then, students will apply their growing expertise to research, analyze, write, and present on an environmental issue of their choice.