2016-17 First-Year Seminars

Register for your First-Year Seminar

AA. O My Gods! This course will examine a wide range of mythologies from all over the world, both ancient and modern. It will explore fairy tales, sagas, epic poetry, ghost stories, and various forms of young adult literature, including the Harry Potter series, J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit and the Ring Trilogy, the works of Rick Riordan and much more. It will also explore mythic ideas in films such as the Star Wars series, American Western drama, The Matrix, The Hunger Games, and more. Special consideration will be given to the meaning of mythic ideas in everyday life.
(Scott Thayer, College Chaplain)
BB. We Are Family This course will examine the role of the family and study of individual development, interpersonal and intra-family relationships, and development of the family throughout the life cycle. A study of the societal changes which affect families over the life cycle. Emphasis is placed on effective communication and knowledgeable choices regarding marriage, parenting divorce, family crises and aging. Attention is given to successful marriage and family relationships based on research examining dating and mate selection, marriage, sexuality, family interaction, family resource management, parenting, divorce, and remarriage. Students will explore how human development is influenced by the different types of environmental systems and gain a better understanding why we may behave differently when we compare our behavior in the presence of our family and our behavior when we are in school or at work.
(Sherri Theaker, Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department)
CC. The Beatles and their Times This seminar engages the student in a study of music, popular culture, and history through the phenomenon of the Beatles. Our examination involves listening to music, viewing DVDs, research, writing, discussion and special projects tailored to student interests. An objective of this course is to understand and appreciate the dramatic paradigm shift in popular culture during the 1960s and its ramifications, both musically and sociologically for its own time and beyond.
(Pandel Collaros, Assistant Professor of Music)
DD. Stress, Coping and Health This seminar is intended to teach freshmen about the link between stress and mental as well as physical health. Initial discussions will focus on the effects of stress on anxiety, depression, cardiovascular function, and susceptibility to disease. After that, discussion will focus on ways to cope with stress. Coping techniques for everyday stresses will include humor, social support, exercise and developing a positive self-image. The seminar will also emphasize coping styles specific for the college experience including time management, open communication, conflict resolution, using on-campus resources and developing effective studying techniques to deal with such issues as adjusting to college-level academics, dealing with separation from home and adjusting to a new environment. Students will be graded on attendance, seminar participation and weekly self-reflection papers. Any student is welcome to take this seminar, but the anxious student may benefit the most.
(Mark Affeltranger, Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Psychology Department)

May The Odds Be Forever in Your Favor  "A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born.  But freedom has a cost."  President Snow, The Hunger Games.  "The system removes the threat of anyone exercising their independent will.  Divergents threaten that system.  It won’t be safe until they’re removed."  Jeanine Matthews, Divergent.  "The last law in a world gone out of control.  Pray that he’s out there somewhere."  Tagline for Mad MAX.  Since the dawn of time, society has been obsessed with the apocalypse.  What will the end look like?  What will society become?  Would creating a world where everything and everyone are equal delay the end?  Students in this class will examine works of literature and film that explore post-apocalyptic and utopian/ dystopian themes.  "This is your last chance.  After this, there is no turning back.  You take the blue pill- story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill- you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” Morpheus, The Matrix.​"
Heather Taylor, Assistant Professor in English and Director of the McCann Learning Center

FF. Science & Pseudoscience "What is truth?" and "What kinds of truth are there?" are challenging questions. As far as scientific truth is concerned, the question has become more manageable since the Renaissance when experimental science broke away from mysticism, alchemy, astrology, and magical thinking. None-the-less, our culture is still flooded with many non-scientific beliefs and biases, if not outright pseudoscientific convictions. In this seminar you will learn about the wide-range of pseudoscience from astrology, bigfoot, crop circles, demonic possession, exorcism, flat Earthers .... to zombies through readings, videos, and class discussions. Belief in the bizarre may have many explanations and we will investigate some of the possibilities. You will pick your favorite pseudoscience topics for essays or your oral report, as you inform your classmates on these mistaken but no doubt interesting byways of modern culture. Also, we will learn about critical thinking and the kinds of questions most amenable to experimental science.
(John Burns, Professor of Biology)
GG. Become A Campus Leader Do you hold positions of leadership in your high school? Do you aspire to become a leader in your major field of study? This seminar will show you how to use your past experiences as a leader, identify the innate character traits you possess hat are important for leadership, and develop the skills needed to be a successful leader. During the seminar experience, you will complete personality tests and self-assessments, interview other leaders, explore leadership theories and current research on effective leadership, and discover leadership opportunities on campus that will translate into successful leadership in your chosen career. Your experiences in this seminar will help you to become a campus and community leader, prepared to take on the challenges waiting for you in your future.
(Kathy Furbee, Professor of Social Work, Program Director and Chair of the Department of Social Work)
HH. Leadership: A Journey Not a Destination This seminar will explore historical and contemporary leaders and their chosen style of leadership as applied to a variety of fields such as business, politics, education, and sports. Its intent is to stimulate thought regarding specific strengths and weaknesses associated to different leadership practices. By understanding the decisions of “leaders” the class can better determine what constitutes effective leadership skills.
(Matt Payment, Assistant Professor of Physical Education
II. Your College Bucket List: Things To Do Before Graduation This course is an introduction to college and learning what exactly it means to be a college student. Students will be creating their own College Bucket List. They will learn the importance of scholarships, budgeting, and what exactly a liberal arts education means. Through research, writing of essays, and creating budgets for themselves, the student will learn what they should get out of their college experience. Why should they consider Greek Life? Why is it important to be a part of an athletic team? Why join any clubs or take advantage of any traveling opportunities? Why should they network with alumni? Why is their personal branding on social media important? All of these questions and more will be answered throughout the semester.
(Ashley Kanotz, Director of Alumni & Parent Relations, Adjunct Professor for WV History)
LL. From Gray's Anatomy to Grey's Anatomy: A Brief History of Medicine  This seminar looks at medicine throughout history and is intended for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the medical and allied health field. From the first recorded proof of Witch Doctors in 10,000 BC to sequencing the Human Genome in the early 2000s AD, this course discusses a number of topics including ethical issues in medicine, drug discovery, medical research, and even the significance of the viral phenomenon of 2014: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This course also looks at the admission process for various medical related graduate programs including, but not limited to, Medical School, Physical Therapy School, and Physician's Assistant School.  
(Carolyn Kitchens, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Pre-Health Professions Advisor).
MM. The Laughing Academy This course will study theories and concepts of humor to discover what makes people laugh and how we use comedy in personal, professional, and cultural pursuits. We will analyze texts from literature, film, television, stand up, podcasts, and the many forms of jokes to develop close reading and critical thinking skills while also learning about the resources and practices of Bethany College. Students will be expected to explore the Bethany campus and community as we complete weekly reading and writing assignments and learn about concepts and practices of humor in American and world cultures. Additionally, students will complete oral presentations, take tests on class materials, and participate in online discussion boards.
(Travis Straub, Assistant Professor of English)
NN. World Music This course is a survey and an appreciation of music from African, East Indian, Native American and Latin cultures. Students will develop an ability to formulate and express (both verbally and in writing) meaningful inferences and observations about the various cultures studied in this course.
(Bill Ton, Assistant Professor of Music)
QQ. Happiness 101: Philosophies of Happiness. This seminar is an attempt to identify, describe and implement habits of body and mind that can lead to increased happiness. Using Tal Ben-Sharar's Happier as a starting point, students will identify through critical thought, reading and writing, a personal practice of eudemonia. Student will also read Barry Schwarz's The Paradox of Choice in addition to researching the topic of happiness from the standpoint of eminent thinkers of the student's choosing.
(Luke Hardt, Associate Professor of Theatre, Director of the Bethany College Theatre and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts)
RR. Human Struggle Through Sports  Through the mediums of literature and films, this seminar explores the way in which men and women struggle through sports.  Topics such as the aging athlete, ethical decision making, competition, success, and even death will be explored through the eyes of the athlete, fans, and general sports enthusiast.
(Jan Forsty, Professor and Chair Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies)